Stefán Karl Stefánsson

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Stefán Karl Stefánsson
Born (1975-07-10) 10 July 1975 (age 42)
Hafnarfjörður, Iceland
Residence Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1994–present
Spouse(s) Steinunn Ólína Þorsteinsdóttir (m. 2002)
Children 4

Stefán Karl Stefánsson (/ˈstɛfən ˈstɛfənsən/; Icelandic: [ˈstɛːvaun ˈkʰartl̥ ˈstɛːvaunsɔn]; born 10 July 1975) is an Icelandic actor, best known for playing the villain Robbie Rotten on the children's television series LazyTown. He is now living in Los Angeles with wife Steinunn Ólína Þorsteinsdóttir, three daughters, and one son.


In Stefánsson's early career starting at 1994, at the age of 19, he worked as a puppeteer for television. During his years as a puppeteer, he had also been studying at the Drama Academy of Iceland. However, he wasn't satisfied with the perspectives of Icelandic drama standards. He recalls that his principal at his high school said that "Acting is not about making faces and changing your face", which he disagrees with.[1]

Later, Stefánsson had been invited by Magnus Scheving, an Icelandic gymnast, to act one of the characters in the musical LazyTown, due to Scheving's concerns about Iceland's younger generation lacking sufficient physical exercise. “He wanted the kids to get healthier, so he created this musical called LazyTown. He played Sportacus, the fitness fanatic and I was Robbie Rotten, the guy who liked to stay indoors and sleep.” After initial success with the musical, Nickelodeon eventually made a deal with the creators of LazyTown to air the first 40 episodes of LazyTown along with a special studio built at Iceland. During the first few years of LazyTown in the early 2000s, Stefánsson initially didn't know any English, but soon was fluent in English.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Following Stefán's announcement in October 2016 that he had been diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma,[2][3][4][5] a GoFundMe campaign was created by LazyTown head writer Mark Valenti to pay his living costs when he fell too ill to work. The campaign was popularized by various YouTube users uploading parodies of Stefán's work, which led to the songs "We Are Number One" and "The Mine Song" from LazyTown becoming an Internet meme.[6] On 11 August 2017, Stefán was announced as cured from cancer in an interview with RÚV.[7] Furthermore, Stefán has clarified on his campaign on GoFundMe that while his metastases have been removed after successful liver surgery in June 2017, he still has the disease and has refused further adjuvant therapy.[8] However, in March 2018, Stefán was diagnosed with inoperable terminal cancer, and that he was on chemotherapy to prolong his life.[9] In April 2018, Stefán announced that he personally chose to come off chemo, and proceeded to shut down all his social media accounts.



Year Title Role Notes
2008–15 Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical Baltimore and Boston (2008)

Los Angeles (2009)

North American tour (2010–14)

Worcester, Massachusetts and

Appleton, Wisconsin (2015)[10]

2002–2003 Life x 3 by Yasmina Reza
2002–2003 Noises Off by Michael Frayn
2001-02 Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand
2000-02 The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov
2000-01 Singin' in the Rain by Comden, Green, Freed and Brown
2000-01 Stones in His Pockets by Marie Jones
1999–2000 Glanni Glæpur í Latabæ by Magnús Scheving and Sigurdur Sigurjónsson Glanni Glæpur (Robbie Rotten) Primary antagonist
1999–2000 A Midsummer Night's Dream
1999–2000 Little Shop of Horrors
1999–2000 1000 Island Dressing by Hallgrímur Helgason
1998–99 Ivanov by Anton Chekhov
1998–99 Palace of Crows by Einar Örn Gunnarsson
1997–99 The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling


Year Title Role Notes
1994 Áramótaskaup New Reporter / Many others Debut film; TV film
1995 Privacy Student First feature film
1999 Skaupið: 1999 Robbie Williams / Many others TV Film
2001 Regina Manni – Police officer
2001 Áramótaskaup TV film
2002 Stella For Office Ingimundur
2002 Litla lirfan ljóta The Worm
2002 Áramótaskaup Many roles TV film
2006 Night at the Museum Voiceover
2009 Jóhannes Diddi
2011 Thor Voiceover
2011 Polite People Lárus Skjaldarson Lead actor
2014 Harry Og Heimir Símon


Year Title Role Notes
2015 Titch and Ted Do Maths
2004–2007; 2013–2014 LazyTown Robbie Rotten Main villain
2000 Cars Can Fly Channel 1 program
2000 Car Mechanic Sketches for Eurovision Channel 1 program
2000 Angel No. 5503288 Channel 1 program
1999 God Exists... And Love Channel 1,

Drama Academy of Iceland

1998 Baking Trouble Channel 1 program



  1. ^ a b "The Grinch who came from Iceland". 2018-05-22. Retrieved 2018-05-22. 
  2. ^ "Stefán Karl alvarlega veikur". (in Icelandic). 22 September 2016. Retrieved 17 November 2016. 
  3. ^ "Stefán Karl lagður inn á sjúkrahús um helgina". DV (in Icelandic). 22 September 2016. Retrieved 17 November 2016. 
  4. ^ "Actor de Lazy Town padece de cáncer y pide ayuda". La República (in Spanish). 19 October 2016. Retrieved 21 October 2016. 
  5. ^ Sandwell, Ians (March 16, 2018). "LazyTown actor Stefan Karl Stefansson reveals his cancer is back and it's 'inoperable'". Digital Spy. Retrieved April 8, 2018. 
  6. ^ "'We Are Number One' Meme: Why Do People Keep Remixing A Children's Show Song?". 17 December 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2017. 
  7. ^ ""Lífið er núna"". RÚV (in Icelandic). 11 August 2017. Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
  8. ^ ""Stefan Karl Stefansson Is Free of Cancer"". Digital Spy. 14 August 2017. Retrieved 15 August 2017. 
  9. ^ Kelly, Emma (March 16, 2018). "LazyTown's Stefan Karl Stefansson confirms 'inoperable' cancer has returned". Metro. Retrieved March 16, 2018. 
  10. ^ "I am Stefan Karl (Robbie Rotten from LazyTown) and I am in the fight of my life against cancer! AMA! • /r/IAmA". reddit. Retrieved 29 December 2016. 

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