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Born: Sept. 10, 1960 Grayshott, England, UK
Colin Andrew Firth was born on September 10th, 1960 in Grayshott, Hampshire, England. His love for acting developed in his early teens and at eighteen he began drama studies at the National Youth Theatre and afterwards The Drama Centre London.
Shortly after graduating, Colin replaced Daniel Day-Lewis on stage as the lead of the play Another Country in the West End. It would be ten years of performing in theatre before he would venture to television and film. His film debut was ironically the same work as his theatre debut as the film version of Another Country came out in 1984. From there he went on to television movies like Camille in 1984 with Greta Scacchi and 1985’s Dutch Girls as well as the television mini-series Lost Empires.
Firth’s work would go back and forth between film and television with projects A Month in the Country in 1987, TV’s The Secret Garden also in 1987, and Tumbledown in 1988.
1989 saw him appear in both Apartment Zero and Valmont. Valmont had him playing opposite Annette Bening in another adaptation of Les Liasons Dangereuses, but the film was not as widely seen as the John Malkovich/Glenn Close version from the previous year.
Over the next few years he appeared in Wings of Fame, Femme Fatale, The Hour of the Pig and Playmaker. International audiences began to take notice of him when he appeared with Minnie Driver and Chris O’Donnell in Circle of Friends but he really exploded when he played Mr. Darcy in the BBC’s 1995 mini-series Pride and Prejudice. The attention continued when he then appeared with Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas in 1996’s The English Patient.
He followed that project with Fever Pitch and A Thousand Acres in 1997 and Shakespeare in Love with Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, and Geoffrey Rush in 1998. He followed that with My Life So Far and Relative Values.
In 2001, he made worldwide audiences swoon when he played Mark Darcy in the romantic comedy Bridget Jones’s Diary with Renee Zellweger and Hugh Grant, a role that earned Firth a BAFTA nomination. He then played a Nazi Secretary of State in Conspiracy and John Worthing in 2002’s The Importance of Being Earnest.
Firth kept himself busy in 2003, appearing in What a Girl Wants with Amanda Bynes, Girl with a Pearl Earring with Scarlett Johansson and the romantic comedy ensemble of Love Actually with Laura Linney, Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant. In 2004, he appeared in the less-loved Bridget Jone sequel Bridget Jones and the Edge of Reason. In 2005, he starred in Nanny McPhee with Emma Thompson and then had a very busy 2007 with The Last Legion, When Did You Last See your Father?, Then She Found Me and St. Trinian’s.
In 2008, he played one of three men who may be young Sophie’s father in Mamma Mia!, a musical which teamed him with Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Amanda Seyfried and Stellan Skarsgård. He also starred opposite Uma Thurman in The Accidental Husband, worked with director Michael Winterbottom on A Summer in Genoa (a.k.a. Genova) and starred with Jessica Biel, Kristin Scott Thomas and Ben Barnes in Easy Virtue. He worked with Barnes again the following year on Dorian Gray. 2009 also saw him star in A Single Man with Julianne Moore and Matthew Goode (earning him several nods including a Best Actor Oscar nomination), lend his voice to the animated A Christmas Carol opposite Jim Carrey and work with Rupert Everett on the comedy St Trinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold.
Firth played King George VI in 2010’s The King’s Speech (opposite Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter), a role that won Firth an Oscar, Golden Globe, SAG Award and BAFTA among others. The same year he also shot Main Street with Ellen Burstyn, Patricia Clarkson, Amber Tamblyn and Orlando Bloom. 2011 saw him working with Gary Oldman and Tom Hardy on Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
Audiences in 2012 had a chance to see Colin work with Emily Blunt in Arthur Newman and with Cameron Diaz and Alan Rickman in Gambit. Working with Nicole Kidman and Stellan Skarsgård, Firth played a former British officer searching for his WWII tormentor in The Railway Man and worked with Reese Witherspoon and Alessandro Nivola on Atom Egoyan’s Devil’s Knot, which was based on the story of the West Memphis Three.
A busy 2014 saw Firth work with Emma Stone in Woody Allen’s Magic in the Moonlight, appear with Nicole Kidman and Mark Strong in Before I Go to Sleep and star with Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Caine and Taron Egerton in the action film Kingsman: The Secret Service.
On the personal side, Colin has a son with actress Meg Tilly and two sons with producer Livia Giuggioli. He and Livia married in 1997.
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