The world knows Rowan Atkinson by his legendary name and role as Mr Bean, is one of Britain’s most famous comedy experts.
In 1979, Rowan Atkinson wrote for and starred in the BBC’s Not the Nine O’clock News. He later landed a role on the television series Blackadder and subsequent spin-off TV specials.
In 1990, he starred as his originally developed character Mr Bean on the television series of the same name. Mr Bean was adapted for film in 1997 and enjoyed wide success.
The comedian and actor has also appeared in some popular big-budget movies, including Four Weddings And A Funeral and The Lion King.
Rowan Sebastian Atkinson was born on January 6, 1955, in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. Atkinson attended Durham Cathedral Choristers’ School. He progressed to the University of Newcastle where he studied electrical engineering and to the University of Oxford for a master’s degree in electrical engineering.
While attending Oxford, he began working with actor Richard Curtis and composer Howard Goodall, and together they ventured to the Edinburgh Festival. There, Atkinson’s classic schoolmaster sketch rocketed him to fame. Soon, he was entertaining at theatre clubs and on comedy shows for BBC Radio 3.
TV, Movies and Theater
In 1979, Atkinson wrote for and starred in the BBC’s Not the Nine O’clock News. In 1981, Atkinson became the youngest performer to star in a one-man show in the West End.
Atkinson later appeared in theatrical productions like The Nerd (1984), The New Revue (1986) and The Sneeze (1988). He then landed parts on such television shows as Not the Nine O’Clock News (1979-1982), Blackadder (1983-1989) and The Thin Blue Line (1995-1996). The success of Blackadder spurred the creation of the TV specials Blackadder’s Christmas Carol and Blackadder: The Cavalier Years—both of which aired in 1988.
In 1990, Atkinson starred as his originally developed character Mr Bean on the TV series of the same name. The successful comedy series was adapted for film in 1997. Atkinson reprised his famous Mr Bean character in a comedy sketch at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.
Atkinson’s other film credits include Mr Bean: the Ultimate Disaster Movie (1997), Johnny English (2003) and Keeping Mum (2005).
Wife and Children
In 1990, Atkinson married wife Sunetra, a makeup artist. They had two children before divorcing in late 2015. In 2017, he became a father for the third time, this time with actress girlfriend Louise Ford.
In 2001, Atkinson reportedly came to the rescue when the pilot of his private plane passed out mid-flight, handling the controls until the pilot revived. Later, the actor was unwittingly featured in a series of online hoaxes that attempted to spread computer viruses and hack credit card information via fake news about his death.
For his services to drama and charity, Mr Bean was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2013.
Facts about Mr Bean
1. He went to the same school with Tony Blair
Rowan Atkinson hails from Consett in the North East and went to the prestigious school Cathedral Chorister School in Durham. One of his fellow classmates was Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister, who was 2 years older than him.
2. He has a degree in electrical engineering.
Even though Atkinson is well known as a comedian and actor, he actually got a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Newcastle University in 1974. He then went on to Queen’s College, Oxford and earned a Masters in the same subject. In fact, Atkinson had already begun doctoral work when he decided to devote himself to comedy full-time.
3. He used his own Aston Martin in Johnny English
In Johnny English, Rowan Atkinson used his own Aston Martin DB7 Vantage in the film, a powerful and expensive car!
4. He has trouble pronouncing words with the letter ‘B’ in them.
When pronouncing words that start with the letter B in which the B is followed by a vowel, Atkinson has to pause before speaking them. This makes sense when he says things like, “Well then… Bob!” on screen.
5. He’s had a stammer for many years
Rowan Atkinson has actually suffered from a stammer for many years and this is why he gives very few interviews as he isn’t too keen on conversing with strangers as a result.
6. He saved his family from crashing in an airplane
In 2001, Atkinson was travelling on a private plane with his family over Kenya, and the pilot passed out. Atkinson, who had never piloted a plane before, took control of the aircraft long enough for the pilot to come back around and land the plane at Wilson Airport, Nairobi. The plane had already begun to lose height before he saved his family.
7. Atkinson loves cars.
He once said that one of the best moments in his life was getting his Class 1 license to drive a lorry. He now owns an impressive collection which includes an Aston Martin, Mercedes Benz, Honda, Audi and even an MC Laren F1.
However, he doesn’t like Porsche’s: “I have a problem with Porsches. They’re wonderful cars, but I know I could never live with one. Somehow, the typical Porsche people – and I wish them no ill – are not, I feel, my kind of people.”
8. He’s good friends with Prince Charles and Camilla
Atkinson is actually one of the few celebrity guests who were invited to attend the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Knowles.
Atkinson has also done a lot of charitable work for The Prince’s Trust, which might help explain the connection. He’s also a regular guest at Royal events.
9. Mr Bean’s name wasn’t always Mr Bean.
The show was originally Mr White, then the show creators wanted a vegetable name. Then, it was changed to Mr Cauliflower, before it was Mr Bean.
Sources: The Biography.com. 80’s kids.