Richard Curtis - Details

Biography

Richard Curtis was born in New Zealand in 1956 and raised in Manila, Stockholm, Folkestone and Warrington. He has now lived in London off and on for 20 years.

He began writing comedy after leaving Oxford University in 1978. His first job in television was writing for all four series of the BBC's "Not The Nine O'Clock News". He then went on to write the "Blackadder" series, a situation comedy set in four different eras of British history starring Rowan Atkinson. This series won awards both in America and the UK. A 'Blackadder' special - written by Curtis and Atkinson - was shown at the London Millennium Dome for the New Year celebration on 31 December 1999. The last three series of "Blackadder" were co-written with Ben Elton. During these years, Curtis, Atkinson and Elton staged two West End comedy revues and Curtis wrote a stage adaptation of "Don Quixote" for the Actors Touring Company, followed by his first film "The Tall Guy" directed by Mel Smith and starring Jeff Goldblum, Emma Thompson (in her film
debut) and Rowan Atkinson.

Back on television, Curtis and Atkinson created Mr Bean, and have continued to make intermittent programmes. In 1993, Curtis wrote "Bernard and the Genie", a Christmas fantasy starring Lenny Henry and Alan Cumming. In December 1993, Richard Curtis was awarded the Writers Guild of Great Britain Comedy Lifetime Achievement Award.

His second film "Four Weddings and a Funeral", directed by Mike Newell and starring Hugh Grant and Andie McDowell won a host of awards including a French Cesar, an Australian Academy Award and the BAFTA for Best Film. The screenplay won the Writers Guild Award in America and the UK, and the Evening Standard Comedy and London Critics Awards. At the Academy Awards, the film was nominated for Best Original Screenplay.

In 1994, Curtis was made an MBE and wrote "The Vicar of Dibley", a situation comedy for the BBC starring Dawn French.

His most recent movies are "Bean", directed by Mel Smith and starring Rowan Atkinson, and "Notting Hill" directed by Roger Michell and starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. "Notting Hill" is the highest grossing film in British history, and both "Bean" and "Four Weddings and a Funeral" are in the top five highest grossing British films in history.

It is his theory that the funniest lines in BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY were made up by Hugh Grant on the set.

Curtis is co-founder and vice-chairman of British Comic Relief, the organisation which runs Red Nose Day. He has co-produced the six nights of Comic Relief for the BBC since 1987. Comic Relief has made 190,000,000 for charity projects in Africa and the UK.