Tim Curry was born in Grappenhall, England, in 1946. He shot to fame as Dr. Frank-N-Furter in the stage (1973) and film (1975) productions of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and later earned notice for his villainous movie and TV characters. Curry claimed his third Tony Award nomination in 2005 for his performance in Monty Python's Spamalot and has remained busy as a voiceover actor.
Timothy James Curry was born on April 19, 1946, in Grappenhall, Cheshire, England, to a Methodist Royal Navy chaplain and a school secretary. He displayed a gift for singing at an early age, performing as a boy soprano for a church choir at the age of 6.
In his teens, Curry earned a scholarship to the preparatory Kingswood School in Bath, where he made his start as an actor, appearing in school plays. Curry then attended Birmingham University, where he studied literature and performing arts.
After graduating in 1968, Curry made his professional theater debut as Woof in a West End production of Hair. Despite being well received in that role, he left in 1970 to join the Royal Shakespeare Company for a production of After Haggerty as well as appearing in bit parts on television series.
In 1973, Curry landed what would be a career-defining role as the outrageous, hypersexualized transvestite Dr. Frank-N-Furter in the London stage production of musical comedy The Rocky Horror Show. Its smash success eventually brought the show to Los Angeles and Broadway, and it was adapted into a 1975 movie, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which also starred Susan Sarandon and quickly became a cult classic. It has occupied the midnight slot at countless theaters since, with large groups of devoted fans attending in costume and interacting with the film.
Stage, Screen and Sound
Capitalizing on the musical talent he displayed in Rocky Horror, Curry signed with A&M Records and released three solo albums over the next few years, Read My Lips (1978), Fearless (1979) and Simplicity (1981), all of which sold moderately well.
Meanwhile, continued to appear on stage and screen, though more often in more prominent roles. He was nominated for his first Tony Award in 1981 as the titular musical genius of Amadeus, and displayed a devious flair as Rooster Hannigan in the 1982 film adaptation of Annie. He also commanded the screen as Wadsworth the Butler in the 1985 ensemble mystery Clue, and enjoyed a recurring role as crooked record executive Winston Newquay in Season 2 of the cop drama Wiseguy.
The 1990s brought yet more recognition for the versatile Englishman. After starring as the murderous clown Pennywise in the TV miniseries of Stephen King's It (1990), he won a Daytime Emmy Award for voicing Captain Hook in Peter Pan and the Pirates (1991), and received his second Tony nomination in 1993 for his performance as Tony Swann in My Favorite Year. Curry also embraced the villainous roles of Cardinal Richelieu in The Three Musketeers (1993) and Long John Silver in Muppet Treasure Island (1996), and enhanced his voiceover resume with parts in cartoon series such as Sonic the Hedgehog (1994) and the animated The Rugrats Movie (1998).
The Next Millennium
In 2000, Curry played suspicious communications-satellite maven Roger Corwin in the blockbuster Charlie's Angels, and voiced different characters for two Rugrats sequels. In 2004, he returned to his musical roots as King Arthur in Monty Python's Spamalot and earned his third Tony nomination. For the rest of the decade, Curry regularly surfaced on popular TV shows such as Will & Grace, Psych and Criminal Minds, and supplied his distinctive voice for countless animated features, series and video games.
Famously private, Curry has kept the details of his private life shielded from the media. He lives alone in a Spanish colonial villa in the Hollywood Hills. In recent years, the veteran actor has displayed signs of declining health. He pulled out of a 2011 production of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead at the Chichester Festival in England after dealing with asthma attacks and a chest infection. In July 2012 Curry suffered a major stroke, which has confined him to a wheelchair and affected his speech. Undeterred, Curry has continued to find work and was cast in a remake of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, which will air on Fox in fall 2016 and features Laverne Cox in the role that Curry made famous more than 40 years ago.
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