Rowan Sebastian Atkinson (born 6 January 1955) is an English comedian, actor and writer. He is most famous for his work in the satirical sketch comedy show Not The Nine O'Clock News, and the sitcoms Blackadder, Mr. Bean, and The Thin Blue Line. He has been listed in The Observer as one of the 50 funniest actors in British comedy, and amongst the top 50 comedy actors ever in a 2005 poll of fellow comedians.
Atkinson, the youngest of three sons, was born in Consett, County Durham, England. His parents were Eric Atkinson, a farmer and company director, and his wife Ella May (née Bainbridge), who married on 29 June 1945. He has two older brothers, Rodney, a Eurosceptic economist who narrowly lost the United Kingdom Independence Party leadership election in 2000, and Rupert. Atkinson was brought up Anglican. He was educated at Durham Choristers School, followed by Bede Grammar School for Boys, Sunderland Tyne and Wear, and studied electrical engineering at Newcastle University. He continued with an M.Sc. at The Queen's College, Oxford, first achieving notice at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1976. While at Oxford, he also acted and performed early sketches for the Oxford University Dramatic Society (OUDS), the Oxford Revue and the Experimental Theatre Club (ETC), meeting writer Richard Curtis and composer Howard Goodall, with whom he would continue to collaborate during his career.
Atkinson first met his wife Sunetra Sastry in the 1980s, who was working as a make-up artist with the BBC. Sunetra was of mixed descent, being the daughter of an Indian father and a British mother. The couple married at the Russian Tea Room in New York City in 1990. They have two children and live in Northamptonshire as well as Oxfordshire and London.
The hapless Mr. Bean, first appeared on New Years Day in 1990 in a half-hour special for Thames Television. Several sequels to Mr. Bean appeared on television in the 1990s, and it eventually made into a major motion picture in 1997. Entitled Bean, it was directed by Mel Smith, his former co-star from Not the Nine O'Clock News. A second movie was released in 2007 entitled Mr. Bean's Holiday.
Best known for his use of physical comedy in his trademark character of Mr. Bean, others of Atkinson's characters rely more heavily on language. Atkinson often plays authority figures (especially priests or vicars) speaking absurd lines.
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