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Tim Curry

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Tim Curry
Curry at the 47th Emmy Awards in 1995
Timothy James Curry

(1946-04-19) 19 April 1946 (age 78)
Alma materUniversity of Birmingham
  • Actor
  • singer
Years active1968–present

Timothy James Curry (born 19 April 1946) is an English actor and singer. He rose to prominence as Dr. Frank-N-Furter in the film The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), reprising the role he had originated in the 1973 London and 1974 Los Angeles musical stage productions of The Rocky Horror Show.

Curry's other stage work includes various roles in the original West End production of Hair, Tristan Tzara in the 1975 West End and Broadway productions of Travesties, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in the 1980 Broadway production of Amadeus, Alan Swann in the Broadway production of My Favourite Year, and King Arthur in Broadway and West End productions of Spamalot from 2005 to 2007. His theatre accolades include three Tony Award nominations and two Laurence Olivier Award nominations.[1]

Curry received further acclaim for his film and television roles, including Rooster Hannigan in the film adaptation of Annie (1982), Darkness in Legend (1985), Wadsworth in Clue (1985), Pennywise in the miniseries It (1990), the Concierge in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992), Cardinal Richelieu in The Three Musketeers (1993), and Long John Silver in Muppet Treasure Island (1996). Other notable film appearances include The Shout (1978), Times Square (1980), The Worst Witch (1986), The Hunt for Red October (1990), Oscar (1991), Congo (1995), Charlie's Angels (2000), Scary Movie 2 (2001), and Kinsey (2004).

Curry is also a prolific voice actor, with roles in animation including his Emmy Award-winning performance as Captain Hook on Peter Pan & the Pirates (1990–1991), Hexxus in the film FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992), King Chicken in Duckman (1994–1997), Sir Nigel Thornberry in The Wild Thornberrys (1998–2004), and Chancellor Palpatine / Darth Sidious in Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2012–2014).

As a singer, Curry has released three rock-focused studio albums: Read My Lips (1978), Fearless (1979), and Simplicity (1981).

Early life


Timothy James Curry was born on 19 April 1946 in Grappenhall, Cheshire,[a][2][3] the son of school secretary Patricia (died June 1999) and Royal Navy chaplain James Curry. His father died of pneumonia in 1958, when Curry was 12 years old.[2] His elder sister, Judith, was a concert pianist who died of a brain tumour in 2001.[4] Curry spent most of his childhood in Plymouth. After his father's death, Curry and his family moved to South London, where he attended boarding school before attending Kingswood School in Bath, Somerset.[5] Curry developed into a talented boy soprano (treble).[6] Deciding to concentrate on acting, he graduated from the University of Birmingham with a combined BA in English and drama in 1968.[7]





Rocky Horror


Curry's first full-time role was as part of the original London cast of the musical Hair in 1968, where he met Richard O'Brien,[8] who went on to write Curry's next full-time role, that of Dr. Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Show (1973).[9] Curry recalled his first encounter with the project:

I'd heard about the play because I lived on Paddington Street, off Baker Street, and there was an old gym a few doors away. I saw Richard O'Brien in the street, and he said he'd just been to the gym to see if he could find a muscleman who could sing. I said, "Why do you need him to sing?" [laughs] And he told me that his musical was going to be done, and I should talk to Jim Sharman. He gave me the script, and I thought, "Boy, if this works, it's going to be a smash."[10]

Originally, Curry rehearsed the character with a German accent and peroxide blond hair, and later, with an American accent. In March 2005, in an interview with Terry Gross of NPR's Fresh Air, he explained that he decided to play Dr. Frank-N-Furter with an English accent after listening to an English woman say, "Do you have a house in town or a house in the country," and decided, "Yes, [Dr. Frank-N-Furter] should sound like the Queen."[11]

Curry originally thought the character was merely a laboratory doctor dressed in a white lab coat. However, at the suggestion of director Sharman, the character evolved into the diabolical mad scientist and transvestite with an upper-class Belgravia accent. An immediate hit, a reviewer at the premiere in London in June 1973 wrote Curry gives a "garishly Bowiesque performance as the ambisextrous doctor."[12] This change carried over to the 1975 film adaptation, The Rocky Horror Picture Show,[13] which made Curry a household name and gave him a cult following. Curry continued to play the character in London, Los Angeles, and New York City until 1975.

In an interview with NPR, Curry called Rocky Horror a "rite of passage", and added that the film is "a guaranteed weekend party to which you can go with or without a date and probably find one if you don't have one, and it's also a chance for people to try on a few roles for size, you know? Figure out, help them maybe figure out their own sexuality".[11]

In 2016, Curry played The Criminologist in the television film remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.[14]


Curry in New York City in 2005

Shortly after the end of Rocky Horror's run on Broadway, Curry returned to the stage with Tom Stoppard's Travesties, which ran in London and New York from 1975 to 1976. Travesties was a Broadway hit. It won two Tony Awards (Best Performance by an Actor for John Wood and Best Comedy), as well as the New York Drama Critics Circle Award (Best Play), and Curry's performance as the famous dadaist Tristan Tzara received good reviews.[15]

In 1981, Curry formed part of the original cast in the Broadway show Amadeus, playing the title character, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Curry was nominated for his first Tony Award (Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play) for this role but lost out to his co-star Ian McKellen, who played Antonio Salieri. In 1982, Curry took the part of the Pirate King in the Drury Lane production of Joe Papp's version of The Pirates of Penzance opposite George Cole, earning enthusiastic reviews.[citation needed]

In the mid-1980s, Curry performed in The Rivals and in several plays with the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain, including The Threepenny Opera, Dalliance and Love For Love. In 1988, he did the national tour of Me and My Girl in the lead role of Bill Snibson, a role originated on Broadway by Robert Lindsay and followed by Jim Dale. In 1989–90, Curry returned once again to the New York stage in The Art of Success, and in 1993 played Alan Swann in the Broadway musical version of My Favorite Year, earning him his second Tony Award nomination, this time for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical.[16] In 2001, Curry appeared as Scrooge in the musical version of A Christmas Carol that played at Madison Square Garden.

In 2004, Curry began his role of King Arthur in Spamalot in Chicago. Written by Monty Python member Eric Idle and based on Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the show successfully moved to Broadway in February 2005. It sold more than $1  million worth of tickets in its first 24 hours.[17] His performance brought him a third Tony nomination, again for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical. Curry reprised this role at the Palace Theatre in London's West End, where Spamalot opened on 16 October 2006. His final performance came on 6 January 2007. Curry was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award as the Best Actor in a Musical for the role, and also won the Theatregoers' Choice Award (getting 39% of the votes cast by over 12,000 theatregoers) as Best Actor in a Musical.[18]

From May to August 2011, Curry was scheduled to portray the Player in a Trevor Nunn stage production of Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead at the Chichester Festival Theatre and then in London. Curry withdrew from the production on 27 May, citing ill health.[19] From 26 to 29 April 2012, he appeared in Eric Idle's play What About Dick? at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles.[citation needed] Curry had originally appeared in the play back in 2007 when it was still a work in progress.[20]

Curry's career in theatre was honoured on 7 June 2015 at the Actors Fund's 19th annual Tony Awards Viewing Party, where he was awarded an Artistic Achievement Award.[citation needed]



After The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Curry began to appear in many films, acting in supporting roles, such as Robert Graves in the British horror film The Shout, as Johnny LaGuardia in Times Square, as Daniel Francis "Rooster" Hannigan in the 1982 film version of Annie, and as Jeremy Hancock in the political film The Ploughman's Lunch.[21]

In 1985, Curry starred in the fantasy film Legend as The Lord of Darkness. Director Ridley Scott cast Curry in the film after watching him in Rocky Horror, thinking he was ideal to play the role of Darkness. It took five and a half hours to apply the makeup needed for Darkness onto Curry and at the end of the day, he would spend an hour in a bath in order to liquefy the soluble spirit gum. The same year, Curry appeared in the comedy mystery film Clue as Wadsworth the butler. In August 1986, he auditioned for the Judge Doom role in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. However, Curry was rejected due to a too-frightening performance. The role went to Christopher Lloyd, his co-star in Clue.

After this, Curry began to be cast in more comedy roles throughout the late 1980s and '90s such as Rev. Ray Porter in Pass the Ammo, Dr. Thornton Poole in Oscar, Mr. Hector the suspicious Plaza Hotel concierge in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Jigsaw in Loaded Weapon 1 and as Long John Silver in Muppet Treasure Island. Although he featured in mostly comedies throughout the '90s, Curry did appear in some action films, such as the thriller The Hunt for Red October as Dr. Yevgeniy Petrov, the 1993 adaptation of The Three Musketeers as Cardinal Richelieu, in the superhero film The Shadow as Farley Claymore, and as Herkermer Homolka in the 1995 action adventure Congo.[22] He also starred in the 1998 direct-to-video film Addams Family Reunion playing the role of Gomez Addams.

In the early 2000s, Curry was cast in the film adaptation of Charlie's Angels in the role of Roger Corwin, and in the parody film Scary Movie 2 playing Professor Oldman. Curry went on to play Thurman Rice, a supporting role in the biographical film Kinsey. In later years, Curry has mostly performed voice roles for animated films and television series. His last feature film onscreen role to date has been in the 2010 British black comedy Burke & Hare as Alexander Monro.[23]



Curry started his career with small roles in television series, such as Eugene in Napoleon and Love, and guest roles in Armchair Theatre and Play for Today including as 'Glen' in Dennis Potter's "Schmoedipus".

Curry also appeared in the "Dead Dog Records" storyline of the television series crime drama Wiseguy, as Winston Newquay. He also had recurring roles on the short-lived science fiction television series Earth 2 and the sitcom Rude Awakening.

Curry has also guest starred on other series such as The Tracey Ullman Show, Roseanne, Tales from the Crypt (which earned him an Emmy award nomination), The Naked Truth, Lexx, Monk, Will & Grace, Psych, Agatha Christie's Poirot and Criminal Minds.

Curry also performed in many television films and miniseries, including Three Men in a Boat, the title role in Will Shakespeare, playing the role of Bill Sikes in a television adaptation of Oliver Twist, Blue Money, The Worst Witch, Titanic, Terry Pratchett's The Colour of Magic, Alice, Jackie's Back, Return to Cranford, and many more.

Although Curry has appeared in numerous television series throughout his career he has only had lead roles in two live-action series: Over the Top, a sitcom that he also produced, and the revival series of Family Affair. Both were cancelled after one season.

One of Curry's best-known television roles (and best-known roles overall) is as Pennywise the Clown in the 1990 horror miniseries Stephen King's It. Aside from one Fangoria interview in 1990, Curry never publicly acknowledged his involvement in It until an interview with Moviefone in 2015, where he called the role of Pennywise "a wonderful part", giving his blessing to successor Will Poulter; Poulter was set to play the character in the reboot, although ultimately dropped out.[24] Bill Skarsgård replaced Poulter, and while being interviewed at Fan Expo Canada, Curry gave his approval, saying "I like [Bill] Skarsgård. I think he's very clever. It'll be interesting to see what sort of clown face he puts on. because it's not an obvious clown face at all.[..] So I'm fascinated to see it."[25]

Voice acting


Curry has appeared in many animated television series and films, starting with the performance of the Serpent and Judas Iscariot in The Greatest Adventure: Stories from the Bible. Curry won a Daytime Emmy Award for his performance as Captain Hook in the Fox animated series Peter Pan and the Pirates. His longest-running animated role was as Nigel Thornberry in The Wild Thornberrys, which ran for five seasons on Nickelodeon.

Curry was mainly known for villainous roles in animated series such as Konk in The Pirates of Dark Water, MAL in Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Skullmaster in Mighty Max, the Evil Manta in The Little Mermaid, Dr Anton Sevarius in Gargoyles, Kilokahn in Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad, 'King' Chicken in Duckman, Taurus Bullba in Darkwing Duck, Lord Dragaunus in The Mighty Ducks, as various characters Dinosaurs, Professor Finbarr Calamitous in The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Slagar the Cruel in Redwall, Doctor Morocco in Transformers: Rescue Bots, G. Gordon Godfrey in Young Justice, The Sorcerer in Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja, and Auntie Whispers in Over the Garden Wall. He also became the voice of Chancellor Palpatine/Darth Sidious in Star Wars: The Clone Wars upon the death of Ian Abercrombie.

Curry also appeared in a number of animated films such as FernGully: The Last Rainforest, The Pebble and the Penguin, Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, Scooby-Doo! and the Witch's Ghost, Barbie in the Nutcracker, The Cat Returns, Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties, and many more.

Curry has also lent his voice to numerous video games, such as playing the titular character in Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers and Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned, Toonstruck, Sacrifice, Brütal Legend and Dragon Age: Origins. A cutscene of Curry in Red Alert 3, portraying Soviet Premier Cherdenko, has gone viral as a meme.[26]

Curry's audiobook work includes Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, Geraldine McCaughrean's Peter Pan in Scarlet, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Bram Stoker's Dracula and the Abhorsen trilogy by Garth Nix.

Curry has done voice over for various advertisements for products and companies such as Smirnoff, Cravendale and Paramount Network.[27]



Aside from his performances on various soundtrack records, Curry has had some success as a solo musical artist. Curry received classical vocal training as a boy. He has mentioned that his musical influences included jazz vocalists such as Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong and he idolised the Beatles and the Rolling Stones as a teenager. In 1978, A&M Records released Curry's debut solo album Read My Lips.[28] The album featured an eclectic range of songs (mostly covers) performed in diverse genres. Highlights of the album are a reggae version of the Beatles' song "I Will", a rendition of "Wake Nicodemus" featuring the Pipes and Drums of the 48th Highlanders of Canada, and a bar-room ballad, "Alan", composed by Canadian singer-songwriter Tony Kosinec. In 1979 he scored a minor hit single with "I Do the Rock".

The following year, Curry released his second and most successful album Fearless.[28] The LP was more rock-oriented than Read My Lips and mostly featured original songs rather than cover versions. The album included Curry's only US Billboard Hot 100 charting song: "I Do the Rock".

Curry's third and final album, Simplicity, was released in 1981, again by A&M Records.[28] This record, which did not sell as well as the previous offerings, combined both original songs and cover versions. Still, it was the only Curry recording to hit the charts in Canada, reaching No. 45 on the album chart.[29] The writing, production, and musician roster for Curry's solo albums included an impressive list of collaborators, including Bob Ezrin, Dick Wagner, and David Sanborn.

In 1989, A&M released The Best of Tim Curry on CD and cassette, featuring songs from his albums (including a live version of "Alan") and a previously unreleased song, a live cover version of Bob Dylan's "Simple Twist of Fate".

Curry toured North America and some European countries with his band between 1978 and 1980.

In 1990, Curry performed as the Prosecutor in Roger Waters' production of The Wall – Live in Berlin.[30]

Although Curry's first album was released in 1978, he had previously recorded a nine-track album for Lou Adler's Ode Records in 1976. However, the album remained unreleased in its entirety until February 2010, when it was made available as a legal download entitled ...From the Vaults (though four tracks from these sessions had been released on a 1990 Rocky Horror box set). The album, produced by Adler, included Curry's rendition of The Supremes' hit "Baby Love".

Personal life


From the mid-1970s onward, Curry was friends with Freddie Mercury after the Queen singer had seen Curry in both the London stage production of The Rocky Horror Show and its 1975 film version. A keen horticulturalist, Curry later told the UK edition of House & Garden magazine about designing Mercury's garden: "Freddie came back from a tour and said, 'The garden, dear, it's dead.' I said, 'What? Did you water it?' And Freddie said, 'Water it, dear?'"[9] Both Curry and Mercury were also close friends with Peter Straker, with Straker starring with Curry in the London production of Hair.[31]

Curry has used a wheelchair since having a major stroke in July 2012.[32] As a result, he has shifted his work mostly to voice acting, although he has continued to perform as a singer and make appearances at fan conventions. He has never married and has no children.

In October 2020, Curry reprised his role as Dr. Frank-N-Furter in a live table reading of The Rocky Horror Picture Show in support of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin to raise funds for Joe Biden's presidential campaign.[33]






Soundtracks and cast recordings


Awards and nominations

Year Title Award Category Result
1975 The Rocky Horror Show Drama Desk Award Best Actor in a Musical Nominated
1981 Amadeus Best Actor in a Play Nominated
Tony Award Nominated
1982 The Pirates of Penzance Royal Variety Club Award Stage Actor of the Year Won
Laurence Olivier Award Best Actor in a Musical Nominated
1991 Peter Pan and the Pirates Daytime Emmy Award Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series Won
1993 My Favorite Year Tony Award Best Actor in a Musical Nominated
Passed Away American Comedy Award Funniest Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture Nominated
1994 Tales from the Crypt Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series Nominated
1995 CableACE Award Best Actor in a Dramatic Series Nominated
Mighty Max Daytime Emmy Award Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program Nominated
1996 Congo Razzie Award Worst Supporting Actor Nominated
1998 Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas Annie Award Voice Acting in a Feature Production Nominated
2002 The Bad Beginning Grammy Award Best Spoken Word Album for Children Nominated
2005 Spamalot Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical Nominated
Tony Award Best Actor in a Musical Nominated
2007 Laurence Olivier Award Nominated
WhatsOnStage Award Won
2010 Brütal Legend NAVGTR Award Supporting Performance in a Comedy Nominated
Dragon Age: Origins Supporting Performance in a Drama Nominated
2015 Actors Fund of America Artistic Achievement Award Awarded


  1. ^ Grappenhall did not become part of the nearby town of Warrington until 1 April 1974.


  1. ^ "Look Back at Tim Curry, Hank Azaria, Sara Ramirez and More in Spamalot on Broadway". Playbill.com. 17 March 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Tim Curry Biography (1946–)". Film Reference. Retrieved 15 September 2009.
  3. ^ Whittaker, Jim (1998). Cosmic Light: The Birth of a Cult Classic. Acme Books. p. 31. LCCN 98232656. Timothy James Curry was born in Cheshire, England, on April 19, 1946, the son of a Methodist Navy chaplain who died when Curry was twelve.
  4. ^ "Tim Curry's back on the Grail trail". Evening Standard. 25 September 2006. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  5. ^ Brown, Laura. "Biography". timcurry.co.uk. Archived from the original on 4 October 2017. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  6. ^ Rothstein, Mervyn (24 January 1990). "Tim Curry Plunges Ahead into the Past, Part IV". The New York Times.
  7. ^ Harding, James (1 October 1987). The Rocky Horror Show Book. London: Sidgwick & Jackson. p. 45. ISBN 978-0283993886.
  8. ^ "Terry Pratchett's The Colour of Magic: Sky One". 18 January 2008. Archived from the original on 18 January 2008. Retrieved 15 September 2009.
  9. ^ a b Brown, Mark (20 October 2006). "We were all going to join this street theater troupe. Tim got a job in Hair the next day. All he had to do was sing". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 26 March 2008.
  10. ^ Lovece, Frank (8 December 1992). "Curry Prefers the Sidelight for Now". Newspaper Enterprise Association newspaper syndicate. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
  11. ^ a b Gross, Terry (15 March 2005). "Star of 'Spamalot,' Actor Tim Curry". Fresh Air. NPR. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  12. ^ "Rocky Horror Show opens in London – archive, 1973". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 October 2022.
  13. ^ "Mark Caldwell interview with Tim Curry". Stoic Productions. Film Talk. September 1975. Archived from the original on 6 March 2012.
  14. ^ McHenry, Jackson (9 August 2016). "Tim Curry Is Perfectly Happy Fox's Rocky Horror Remake Is Doing the Time Warp Again (Again)". vulture.com. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  15. ^ "NEW AGAIN: TIM CURRY". Interview. 25 February 2015.
  16. ^ "Biography". Tim Curry. Retrieved 16 June 2019.
  17. ^ "In Step With: Tim Curry". Parade. 29 May 2005.
  18. ^ "2007 Results". WhatsOnStage Awards. Archived from the original on 1 July 2017. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  19. ^ Amer, Matthew (31 May 2011). "Curry Withdraws from Haymarket Production". Official London Theatre. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  20. ^ "Eric Idle Workshops 'What About Dick?' with Izzard, Curry". Broadway World. 12 October 2007. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  21. ^ "Tim Curry". IMDb. Retrieved 6 December 2015.
  22. ^ "Tim Curry". IMDb. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  23. ^ Burke and Hare (2010), 9 September 2011, retrieved 23 August 2017
  24. ^ "Tim Curry to the 'It' Remake's Pennywise: 'Good Luck'". Moviefone. 8 June 2015. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  25. ^ "[Exclusive] Tim Curry's Take on the New IT Reboot | Nightmare on Film Street". Nightmare on Film Street. 1 September 2017. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  26. ^ Fyfe, Duncan (18 August 2022). "An Oral History of Tim Curry's Escape to the One Place Uncorrupted by Capitalism". Vice Media. Retrieved 2 September 2022.
  27. ^ "Video: Tim Curry Announces Paramount Network's Killer Classics Month Line Up". Dread Central. 3 October 2020. Retrieved 14 October 2022.
  28. ^ a b c Colin Larkin, ed. (2003). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Eighties Music (Third ed.). Virgin Books. p. 140. ISBN 1-85227-969-9.
  29. ^ "RPM Top 50 Albums - September 26, 1981" (PDF).
  30. ^ Smith, Rob (18 April 2018). "Why Tim Curry left the spotlight". Looper.
  31. ^ Jones, Lesley-Ann (2011). Bohemian Rhapsody The Definitive Biography of Freddie Mercury. Hodder & Stoughton.
  32. ^ Abramovitch, Seth (24 May 2013). "Tim Curry Recovering From Stroke". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  33. ^ "Tim Curry Reprises Dr. Frank-N-Furter Role in 'Rocky Horror' Political Fundraiser". The Hollywood Reporter. 1 November 2020. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
New show Actor playing King Arthur in Spamalot (Broadway)
17 March 2005 (Opening) –
19 December 2005
Succeeded by
Simon Russell Beale
21 December 2005 –
26 April 2006
New show Actor playing King Arthur in Spamalot (West End)
30 September 2006 (Opened 16 October 2006) –
6 January 2007
Succeeded by
Simon Russell Beale
24 January 2007 –
July 2007