Rowan Atkinson Biography

    Rowan Sebastian Atkinson is an English actor, comedian, and screenwriter who is best known for his work on the sitcoms Mr. Bean and Blackadder. Atkinson first came to prominence in the sketch comedy show Not the Nine O'Clock News (1979–82), and via his participation in The Secret Policeman's Balls from 1979. His other work includes the sitcom The Thin Blue Line (1995–96).

    He has been listed in The Observer as one of the 50 funniest actors in British comedy and amongst the top 50 comedians ever, in a 2005 poll of fellow comedians. He has also had cinematic success with his performances in the Mr. Bean movie adaptations Bean and Mr. Bean's Holiday and in Johnny English and its sequel Johnny English Reborn.

    Early life and education

    Atkinson, the youngest of four brothers, was born in Consett, County Durham, England. His parents were Eric Atkinson, a farmer and company director, and Ella May (née Bainbridge), who married on 29 June 1945. His three older brothers are Paul, who died as an infant; Rodney, a Eurosceptic economist who narrowly lost the United Kingdom Independence Party leadership election in 2000; and Rupert. Atkinson was brought up Anglican, and was educated at Durham Choristers School, St. Bees School, and Newcastle University, where he received a degree in Electrical Engineering.

    In 1975, he continued for the degree of M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering at The Queen's College, Oxford, the same college his father matriculated at in 1935, and which made Atkinson an Honorary Fellow in 2006. First winning national attention in the Oxford Revue at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August 1976, he had already written and performed early sketches for shows in Oxford by the Etceteras – the revue group of the Experimental Theatre Club (ETC) and for the Oxford University Dramatic Society (OUDS), meeting writer Richard Curtis and composer Howard Goodall, with whom he would continue to collaborate during his career.

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