Richard Curtis - Or, The Man Whose Children I Want to Bear
In my opinion, Richard Curtis is one of the funniest men in the world. The television shows and films he has written are some of my all-time favorites. I once joked to friends after watching three of his romantic comedies in a row that I wanted to have his children. Since 1979, he has been enriching the world with his comedy and his charitable efforts.
Richard Whalley Anthony Curtis was born in Wellington, New Zealand on November 8, 1956. He moved with his family to England when he was 11. He attended Harrow on a scholarship and then attended Oxford University. While at Oxford he met Rowan Atkinson. He currently lives with Emma Freud and their 3 children in the Notting Hill area of London.
The first television series that Richard Curtis wrote for was Not the 9 O’clock News in 1979 which featured comedy sketches and songs. Rowan Atkinson was one of the stars of the show. After the series ended in 1982, Curtis went on to write Blackadder the next year. He was the only writer of the series who wrote or co-wrote every episode in the 4 seasons that it ran. Blackadder starred Rowan Atkinson and was about four generations of the Blackadder family from the time of Richard II, through the Elizabethan era, the time of George III, and finally ending during World War I. There were also several Blackadder specials including A Blackadder Christmas.
In 1990, he began writing Mr Bean, again starring Rowan Atkinson. He also wrote The Vicar of Dibley beginning in 1994. The Vicar of Dibley was a very successful series about a female minister in a small town in England. It starred Dawn French. Blackadder and Vicar of Dibley were mentioned as second and third best sitcoms respectively in Britain. In between writing those shows, Curtis was also a writer for Spitting Image, a satirical television show that made fun of current events and celebrities using puppets.
In 1989, Richard Curtis began to write for film; his first film, The Tall Guy, starred Jeff Goldblum and Emma Thompson. Next he wrote the film Bernard and the Genie which starred Alan Cumming, Lenny Henry and Rowan Atkinson. It is a staple that is shown every Christmas on television. Curtis’s next project was one that earned him an Oscar nomination for script. Four Weddings and a Funeral was a huge hit in the United States and made a star out of Hugh Grant. The film also starred Andie MacDowell as Grant’s love interest. The success of Four Weddings and a Funeral was followed in 1999 by Notting Hill which starred Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. This further cemented Curtis’s reputation as a writer.
Curtis’s next project was to adapt the novel Bridget Jones’ Diary to the big screen. This was followed in 2003 by Love, Actually; a touching romantic comedy that starred Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman and Colin Firth among others. The next year, he adapted the sequel to Bridget Jones’ Diary, The Edge of Reason, to the big screen.
His most recent project is The Boat That Rocked which stars Philip Seymour Hoffman and Kenneth Branagh. It is about the pirate radio station Radio Caroline which took over the British airwaves in the 1960s.
In addition to all his films and television programs, Richard Curtis has done a lot of charitable work. He founded Comic Relief in 1988. The organization raises money for the fight against problems such as combating domestic violence, improving support for those with mental health problems and helping street children worldwide. Every year in Britain Red Nose Day earns thousands of dollars for the charity; they sell red noses and everyone wears them on the same day. He also founded Make Poverty History. He also organized Live 8, the concert that took place 10 years after the original Live Aid. Richard Curtis also convinced the producers of American Idol to have previous idols travel to Africa in 2008 which became American Idol Gives Back.
In 2007, Richard Curtis was given the BAFTA Fellowship Award for his contributions to television, film, and charities.
What Richard Curtis will accomplish next is anyone’s guess. He is a great talent and whatever he seems to become involved in becomes a success.