Colin Firth Bio: In His Own Words – Video Exclusive, News, Photos
Colin Firth, CBE is a British actor and activist, best known from his role as Mark Darcy in the Bridget Jone’s franchise, King George VI in The King’s Speech, and most recently Harry Hart in the spy film Kingsman: The Secret Service. His rise to prominence alongside other British actors in the late-eighties puts him in the “Brit Pack,” which includes Daniel Day-Lewis, Gary Oldman and Rupert Everett.
An Academy Award, Golden Globe, British Academy and Screen Actors Guild Award winner, Firth received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2011 and was selected as one of the Time 100. He has an honorary rank below British knighthood, Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE).
While not acting, he has been noted for his campaigning for the rights of indigenous tribal peoples and refugees, and is also an environmental activist.
Colin Firth Bio: AGE, EARLY LIFE AND EDUCATION
Firth was born Colin Andrew Firth on September 10, 1960 (current age: 56) in the village of Grayshott, Hampshire, England to Shirley Jean Rolles and David Norman Lewis Firth. His mother was a comparative religion lecturer at King Alfred College, Winchester (now the University of Winchester), while his father was a history lecturer and education officer for the Nigerian government. Firth is the middle child, and his older sister Kate and younger brother Jonathan are also actors. A result of his father’s occupation, the family traveled frequently, and lived in Nigeria until Firth was four years old.
Firth was the target of bullying when his family relocated back to England, where he attended Montgomery of Alamein, a comprehensive (i.e. public, non-selective) secondary school. In order to avoid further harassment, Firth assimilated the accent of the working-class families around him, and began to express disinterest in school, refusing to do homework and frequently cutting class; his academic performance was so lackluster that he had to retake English. He has gone on to tell the BBC that, “I didn’t like school. I just thought it was boring and mediocre and nothing they taught me seemed to be of any interest at all,” but that his time at Barton Peveril Sixth form college in Eastleigh (the UK equivalent to high school) instilled in him a love of English literature.
At the age of 14, Firth decided that he wanted to pursue acting and avoid college altogether. Years prior, he discovered his love for the stage while playing Jack Frost at his infant’s school’s Christmas Pantomime performance, and Firth continued with his craft by attending drama workshops from the age of ten. He moved to London at eighteen to join the National Youth Theatre, which helped him land a job in the wardrobe department of the National Theatre in 1979. His experience working backstage sparked an interest in attending the London Drama Centre. It was there that Firth’s talent was recognized while playing parts in King Lear, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof and Hamlet.
Colin Firth Bio: DISCOVERY AND FILM DEBUT
While acting in Hamlet, Firth was discovered by playwright Julian Mitchell and was cast as the gay schoolboy Guy Bennett in the 1981 West End production of Another Country. Rupert Everett, upon seeing Firth’s performance, managed to get him a co-starring role in the film adaptation of the play in 1984, this time playing Tommy Judd, the straight Marxist friend to Everett’s Bennett. Incidentally, Another Country supposedly marks the beginning of a decades-long feud between Firth and Everett, the latter referring to his co-star as, ‘‘boring” and classified him as ‘‘a ghastly guitar-playing redbrick socialist who was going to give his first half-million away to charity,” according to a Herald Sun article. Regardless of on-set drama, the film was well-received and Firth received several BAFTA nominations.
Firth followed up his film debut with a brief move to television, booking a starring role opposite actress Greta Scacchi in the CBS remake of the George Cukor story, Camille. He also starred on the English miniseries Lost Empires in 1986. His first award, from the Royal Television Society for Best Actor, was for his turn as a paralyzed soldier in the television movie Tumbledown in 1989.
Colin Firth Bio: FROM PRIDE AND PREJUDICE TO BRIDGET JONES
Firth had his big break in 1995, when he was cast as British aristocrat Mr. Darcy in the BBC television adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. He was personally chosen by producer Sue Birtwistle, and committed to the role despite his reluctance to take the part, claiming that he was unfamiliar with the writing. He began a short-lived off-screen relationship with his on-screen romantic co-star Jennifer Ehle. Firth was praised for his portrayal of Darcy, and was nominated for a BAFTA and National Television award. He won a Broadcasting Press Guild Award for the role. When the show aired in the United States, Firth quickly became a heartthrob, an iconic wet shirt scene marking an increased rise to stardom and public attention.
Firth feared being typecast in similar roles. Ironically, his next major role was a modern adaptation of the same character, starring alongside Renée Zellweger as Mark Darcy in the adaptation of Bridget Jones’s Diary. He has since appeared in the 2004 sequel, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, and the 2016 film, Bridget Jones’s Baby.
In between these two major successes, Firth had a supporting role in the Academy Award-winning films The English Patient and Shakespeare in Love. His first primetime Emmy nomination came in 2001, for his role as Dr. Wilhelm Stuckart in the HBO television film Conspiracy.
Colin Firth Bio: MAMMA MIA, THE KING’S SPEECH AND KINGSMEN
Following a stint of romance-centric roles, Firth worked on his first musical in the film adaptation of Mamma Mia in 2008. Like many popular movie roles, his performance and the film were given mixed reviews, despite being the highest grossing British-made film of all time.
Firth’s most critically-acclaimed role to date was his turn as King George VI in the 2010 Tom Hooper biopic The King’s Speech. Playing a British king with a severe speech impediment, who must speak to a nation in the midst of war, Firth was nominated and won an Academy Award for best actor. Entertainment Weekly described Firth as, “front and center in this intelligent crowd-pleaser, and he endows Albert-turned-George with a poignant dignity even while exposing his past as a lonely little boy who grew up stammering in the shadow of his imperious father and dashing brother.”
Firth followed his performance in The King’s Speech with a turn as secret agent Bill Haydon in the acclaimed 2011 film adaptation, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, teaming up with fellow “Brit Pack” actor, Gary Oldman. When asked about his connection to the character, Firth exclusively told uInterview that, “He [Haydon] handles things with great authority and great aplomb, and I’m not saying I am capable of doing that, but I do find those things attractive. He’s also a terrible poser, and I’m an actor.”
Firth has continued his role as a spy in the action-comedy franchise, Kingsman, playing Harry Hart/Galahad alongside newcomer Taron Egerton.
Colin Firth Bio: BEYOND ACTING
Firth has pursued interests outside of his roles, publishing short story “The Department of Nothing,” in the 2000 anthology Speaking With The Angel. The proceeds of the work went to benefit autistic children. An advocate for the rights of indigenous peoples, Firth also contributed to British novelist Nick Hornby’s book We Are One: A Celebration of Tribal Peoples, released in 2009. He has commissioned research to scan the brains of politicians to see if the scans correlated to political leanings; he was subsequently credited as a co-author in an academic paper on human brains.
Firth has also taken behind-the-scenes roles on several film productions. He executive produced the film In Prison My Whole Life, which appeared at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. Firth most recently founded Raindog Films in 2012, which produced the thriller film Eye in Sky, featuring one of Alan Rickman’s final performances.
Colin Firth Bio: DATING, MARRIAGE, PERSONAL LIFE
Firth dated co-star Meg Tilly from 1989 to 1994. During their time together, the couple had son William Joseph Firth, before later splitting amicably. Firth married Italian film producer and director Livia Giuggioli in 1997. They have two sons, Luca and Matteo. Firth is fluent in Italian.
Firth has an honorary degree from the University of Winchester, his parent’s former place of employment. He was appointed Order of the British Empire in 2011 and as a Freeman of London in 2012.
Exceptionally philanthropic, Firth has been a longtime supporter of Survival International, a non-governmental organization defending the rights of tribal peoples. He is also a supporter of the Refugee Council, Oxfam and the UK centrist political party Liberal Democrats.
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