RICHARD CURTIS (Written and Directed by/
Executive Producer) was
born in New Zealand in 1956
and raised in the Philippines,
Sweden and the U.K. He
has now lived in London
off and on for more than 35
years. Curtis began writing
comedy after leaving Oxford
University in 1978. He had
worked with Rowan Atkinson
there -- and continued to do so. His first job on television
was writing for the topical sketch show Not the Nine
O'Clock News for the BBC. He then went on to write
The Black Adder series, a situation comedy set in four
different eras of British history, always starring Rowan
Atkinson in a different amusing haircut. The last three
series were co-written with Ben Elton.
During these years, Curtis, Atkinson and Elton
staged two comedy revues in London's West End and
Curtis wrote his first film, The Tall Guy. The film was
directed by Mel Smith and starred Jeff Goldblum and
Emma Thompson, in her first film. It was produced by
Working Title, the production company with whom
Curtis has worked with since.
Back on television, Curtis and Atkinson began
working on Mr. Bean, and continued for some years to
make intermittent programs starring the man in the tie
who says very little. Mr. Bean has become one of the
world's most famous comic creations. In 1993, Curtis
wrote Bernard and the Genie, a wholesome Christmas
fantasy, which starred Lenny Henry and Alan Cumming.
In December 1993, Curtis was awarded the Writers'
Guild of Great Britain Award for Top Comedy Writer.
Curtis' second film, Four Weddings and a Funeral,
was directed by Mike Newell, produced by Duncan Kenworthy and starred Hugh Grant and Andie
MacDowell. It was released in March 1994. The film
won a French Cesar, an Australian Film Institute
Award and the BAFTA Award for Best Film. At the
Academy Awards, the film was nominated for Best
Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen,
and Best Picture.
Curtis' next film, Notting Hill, which starred Julia
Roberts and Grant, was released in May 1999. At the
time of its release, it was the highest-grossing British
Curtis was co-writer of Bean, which starred
Atkinson, and the award-winning screenplay Bridget
Jones's Diary, which starred Renee Zellweger, Colin
Firth and Grant.
In 2003, Curtis wrote and directed Love Actually,
a story about many different kinds of love set during
the Christmas season. The film featured 22 leading
characters, including Firth, Grant, Thompson, Bill
Nighy, Liam Neeson, Martin Freeman and Billy Bob
Thornton. He was also co-writer of Bridget Jones: The
Edge of Reason.
In 2005, Curtis wrote the G8 Summit drama The Girl
in the Cafe for HBO and the BBC, which starred Nighy
and Kelly Macdonald. The drama won three Primetime
Emmy Awards, including Made for Television Movie.
In the meantime, he had been writing The Vicar of
Dibley, a sitcom about a female vicar in a small English
village. The Black Adder and The Vicar of Dibley were
voted the 2nd and 3rd most popular British sitcoms of
In 2008, Curtis co-wrote The No. 1 Ladies'
Detective Agency, with Anthony Minghella. That same
year, Curtis wrote and directed Pirate Radio, a comedy
about a 1966 pirate radio station. In 2011, he co-wrote
the screenplay for Steven Spielberg's War Horse.
In 2012, Curtis wrote the BBC/HBO television
movie Mary and Martha, about two mothers who lose
their sons to malaria. The film was directed by Phillip
Noyce and starred Hilary Swank and Brenda Blethyn.
Curtis is co-founder and vice-chairman of Comic
Relief, the organization that runs Red Nose Day and
Sport Relief in Britain. He began the charity after a trip
to Ethiopia during the 1985 famine. Since 1988, Curtis
has co-produced the 14 live nights of Comic Relief for
the BBC. Comic Relief has made more than $1 billion
for charity projects in Africa and the U.K.
Curtis was a founding member of the Make Poverty
History coalition and worked throughout 2004 and
2005 on the campaign, in addition to Live 8, which
concentrated on trade justice, more and better aid, and
debt cancellation for the world's poorest countries.
Curtis was executive producer of Idol Gives Back
for American Idol in April 2007, which raised more
than $75 million for projects helping the poorest
children and young people in the U.S. and Africa. Idol
Gives Back received the 2007 Governors Award at the
Curtis is not married to Emma Freud. Together, they
have a daughter, Scarlett, and three sons, Jake, Charlie
and Spike. In 2000, Curtis was made a Commander
of the Order of the British Empire. In 2007, he was
awarded a BAFTA fellowship.
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