A rubber-faced comedian and actor, Rowan Atkinson is especially famous in Great Britain, first as a cult favorite in the television series Blackadder, then as an even bigger star in the series Mr. Bean. Rowan Atkinson was born on January 6, 1955, in Durham, England. Rowan was the youngest of four boys. He was sent to two boarding schools, both of which were run under the auspices of the Church of England. Atkinson’s character of Mr. Bean existed for 10 years before the character was even given a name. The Mr. Bean character catapulted Atkinson into international stardom as the show was seen all over the world. It was the highest-rated comedy on British TV in the 1990s; it was sold to more than 245 countries and 50 airlines. Later, there were movies such as Bean: The Ultimate Disaster Movie (1997) and Mr. Bean’s Holiday (2007). The actor has left open the door to the possibility of reprising the Mr. Bean character in the future. Mr. Bean became the most popular show in the U.K. and has since been shown in 89 countries where it has gained a cult following comparable to Monty Python and Fawlty Towers. Atkinson himself attributes his character’s popularity to the fact that the socially awkward, middle-aged Bean’s mundane adventures, largely due to his clumsy inability to cope with even the smallest of life’s foibles, mirror the feelings and experiences of people the world over. In 1997, Atkinson brought the character to the big screen in Bean. Other notable Atkinson film performances include his voice characterization of Zazu in The Lion King and that of the hilariously inarticulate priest in Four Weddings and a Funeral. Atkinson oversaw an animated television series based on his beloved Mr. Bean character, and then took a cameo part in his longtime collaborator Richard Curtis’ directorial debut Love Actually. In 2003 he starred in another international comedy hit, the spy spoof Johnny English, a movie so successful it spawned a sequel in 2011.
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