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ROWAN ATKINSON (Bean/Original Character Created by) was born on the 12th night of Christmas 1955. His middle name is Sebastian.

A budding electrical engineer with degrees from the University of Newcastle and Oxford University, Atkinson attracted wide critical notice at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 1977. After mounting his own revue at London's Hampstead Theatre in 1978, he became a founding member of the BBC's Not the 9 O' Clock News team. This was an experiment that turned into rather a success—with four series, platinum and gold LPs, many best-selling books, a Silver Rose at the Montreux Film and Television Festival, an International Emmy, the British Academy Award and an award as BBC Personality of the Year.

In 1981, Atkinson became the youngest performer to have a one-man show in London's West End; the sellout season at the Globe Theatre won him the Society of West End Theatre's award for Comedy Performance of the Year. In 1983, Atkinson embarked with writer Richard Curtis on their situation tragedy Blackadder for the BBC. Over the ensuing five years, the four series won three British Academy Awards, an International Emmy, three ACE Awards and personal awards for his performance—including Best Entertainment Performance. Once again, Atkinson was voted BBC Personality of the Year.

Onstage, in 1985, he took the lead in Larry Shue's The Nerd at the Aldwych Theatre. The following year, he mounted a new one-man show in the West End and, after a sellout season, the show was transferred to Broadway. There, it was described by the New York Post as "hilarious” and by The New York Times as "stunningly predictable.” This show went on to tour successfully in Australia, New Zealand, the Far East and the U.K. In 1988, he undertook a six-month run in the West End, starring in The Sneeze, a collection of humorous one-act plays by Anton Chekhov.

Atkinson's next major television undertaking was the creation of the silent comedy series Mr. Bean for ITV and HBO. The pilot program won the Golden Rose at Montreux and was nominated for an International Emmy. Subsequent episodes continued to win plaudits, including an International Emmy, two BANFF Awards and an ACE Award for Best Comedy in 1995. The programs have been sold to more than 200 territories. It was the highest-rated comedy show of the decade on commercial television; and it was produced by the production company Tiger Aspect, of which he is a partner and for which he has also appeared in a number of highly successful documentary programs—on subjects ranging from comedy to his passion, the motorcar.

In 1995, Atkinson starred as the lead role, Inspector Raymond Fowler, in the first series of Tiger Aspect's No. 1-rated situation comedy The Thin Blue Line, written by Ben Elton. A second series was produced in summer 1996.

For HBO and the BBC, Tiger also produced Rowan Atkinson on Location in Boston, a one-hour special featuring highlights from his stage shows. The production won an ACE Award in 1993. He has appeared in a number of films, including Never Say Never Again, with Sean Connery; The Tall Guy, with Jeff Goldblum; Nicolas Roeg's The Witches; and The Appointments of Dennis Jennings, for HBO, which won the 1989 Oscar® for Best Short Film. Other film appearances include Hot Shots! Part Deux, Four Weddings and a Funeral and as the voice of Zazu in The Lion King.

He also co-produced and appeared in 1997's Bean: The Ultimate Disaster Movie. The Polygram film, produced by Working Title in association with Tiger Aspect, was a huge hit, second only to Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill as the highestever grossing U.K. film internationally.

Throughout 2000, Blackadder Back & Forth, a 35-minute film shot on 70mm, was shown at the Millennium Dome. With Atkinson portraying Edmund Blackadder f


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