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Rowan Atkinson Biography

Rowan Atkinson returns as Mr.Bean in Mr. Bean's Holiday.
Courtesy of Universal

Birthday: January 6, 1955
Birthplace: Consett, England

You may not recognize Rowan Atkinson's name, but you'll undoubtedly recognize his work: he's Mr. Bean! We've got the rundown on Rowan's life and work (but we never did figure out how he got his head inside that turkey)!

Rowan Atkinson - Baby Bean

Little Rowan was born in Consett, England to Anglican farmers Ella May and Eric Atkinson, who had two older sons Rupert and Rodney. He attended the same prep school as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair (who was two years ahead of Rowan) and went on to study electrical engineering at Newcastle University. With his future looking rather un-funny, Rowan continued his studies at Oxford University, where he earned a masters degree. It was while he was at Oxford that Rowan planted the seeds that would eventually grow the Bean we all know and love.

Rowan Atkinson - Bean Sprouts

While studying at Oxford, Rowan joined the Oxford University Dramatic Society and the Experimental Theatre Club, where he caught the comedy bug in a big way. Rather than pursue a career in his chosen field after graduation, Rowan began to tour in a comedy duo with his friend Angus Deayton. Their act was eventually filmed for TV, and soon the two were famous in their home country. He was offered his own TV show, but turned it down in order to do the sketch show, Not the Nine O'Clock News. That show eventually led to the hugely popular comedy Blackadder - a comedy set in the middle ages. Rowan Atkinson was now a huge celebrity in the UK, but his next role would make him a worldwide star.

Rowan Atkinson - When You're This Funny They Call You Mister

Rowan appeared in a half-hour TV special called Mr. Bean in 1988. The show caught on at home in the UK and abroad, and led to several more TV specials and a big screen film titled Bean, which debuted in 1997. Rowan went on to feature in plenty of other big screen hits including Four Weddings and a Funeral with Hugh Grant, and the James Bond parody Johnny English, but the call of the Bean was hard to ignore: Rowan will star in Mr. Bean's Holiday, due out August 24, 2007!

Rowan Atkinson - Fun Facts

  • Rowan Atkinson was a guest at Prince Charles's 2005 wedding to Camilla Parker-Bowles.
  • Rowan and his wife Sunetra Sastry have two children - Lily and Benjamin. Lily makes an appearance in Mr. Bean's Holiday.
  • Rowan was the voice of Zazu in The Lion King.
  • Bean gets his head stuck inside a raw turkey in a Mr. Bean Christmas special. The gag was spoofed on an episode of Friends.
  • Rowan Atkinson appeared in Scooby Doo.

Rowan Atkinson Says...

"People think because I can make them laugh on the stage, I'll be able to make them laugh in person. That isn't the case at all. I am essentially a rather quiet, dull person who just happens to be a performer."

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