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Colin Firth

Firth at 2009 Venice Film Festival
Born Colin Andrew Firth
10 September 1960 (1960-09-10) (age 49)
Grayshott, Hampshire, England
Occupation Actor
Years active 1983–present
Spouse(s) Livia Giuggioli (1997-present)

Colin Andrew Firth (born 10 September 1960) is an Oscar-nominated and Bafta Award winning English film, television, and stage actor. Firth first gained wide public attention, especially in the United Kingdom, for his portrayal of Mr. Darcy in the 1995 television adaption of Pride and Prejudice. He subsequently achieved film stardom with the international box-office success of Bridget Jones's Diary (2001), where he co-starred with Renée Zellweger and Hugh Grant. On February 2, 2010, he received an Academy Award nomination for his work in A Single Man, for which he won the BAFTA for Best Actor.


Early life

Firth was born in Grayshott, Hampshire, England, the son of Shirley Jean (née Rolles), a comparative religion lecturer, and David Norman Lewis Firth, a history lecturer and education officer for the Nigerian Government.[1][2][3] Firth has a sister, Kate, and a younger brother, Jonathan, who is also an actor. Firth's parents were raised in India,[4] because his maternal grandparents, Congregationalist ministers, and his paternal grandfather, an Anglican priest, performed missionary work abroad.[5][6][7][8] Firth spent part of his childhood in Nigeria, where his father was teaching. He lived in St. Louis, Missouri when he was 11. He later attended the Montgomery of Alamein Secondary School, (now King's School), a state comprehensive school in Winchester, Hampshire, and then Barton Peveril College in Eastleigh, Hampshire. While in Kings' School, he wanted to play the guitar, but the school banned the guitar and saxophone, as they were "not serious instruments", and he was told to play the baritone euphonium instead.[9] His acting training took place at the Drama Centre London.

Film career

In 1983, Firth starred as Guy Bennett in the award-winning London stage production of Another Country. In 1984, he made his film debut in the screen adaptation of the play, taking the role of Tommy Judd (opposite Rupert Everett as Bennett). In 1986 he starred with Laurence Olivier in Lost Empires, a TV adaptation of J. B. Priestley's novel, and in 1987 he appeared alongside Kenneth Branagh in the film version of J. L. Carr's novel, A Month in the Country. In 1989, he played the title role in the film Valmont, and was co-lead in the film Apartment Zero.

It was through the 1995 BBC television adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice that Firth gained wider renown. The serial was a major international success, and Firth gained heartthrob status[citation needed] because of his role as Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. This performance also made him the object of affection for fictional journalist Bridget Jones (created by Helen Fielding), an interest which carried on into the two novels featuring the Jones character. In the second novel, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, the character even meets Firth in Rome. As something of an in-joke, when the novels were adapted for the cinema, Firth was cast as Jones's love interest, Mark Darcy.[citation needed] Continuing this in-joke there was a dog called Mr Darcy in the film St. Trinian's which Firth's character accidentally kills.[citation needed]

Firth had a supporting role in The English Patient (1996) and since then has starred in films such as Fever Pitch (1997), Shakespeare in Love (1998), Relative Values (2000), Bridget Jones's Diary (2001), The Importance of Being Earnest (2002), Love Actually (2003), What a Girl Wants (2003), Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003), Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004), Nanny McPhee (2005), Then She Found Me (2007) with Helen Hunt, The Last Legion (2007) with Aishwarya Rai, When Did You Last See Your Father? (2008), the film adaptation of Mamma Mia! (2008), Easy Virtue which screened at the Rome Film Festival to excellent reviews[10] and most recently he starred in A Christmas Carol (2009), the 50th adaptation of Charles Dickens's novel A Christmas Carol using the performance capture procedure, playing Scrooge's optimistic nephew Fred.

He has also appeared in several television productions, including Donovan Quick (an updated version of Don Quixote) (1999) and Conspiracy (2001), for which he received an Emmy nomination. Colin Firth's most recent role is in the Toronto International Film Festival debuted film, Genova.[11]

At the 66th Venice International Film Festival in 2009, Colin Firth was awarded the Volpi Cup for Best Actor for his role in Tom Ford's A Single Man as a college professor grappling with solitude after his longtime partner dies. Fashion designer Tom Ford made his director's debut with this movie. This role has earned Firth career best reviews and Academy Award, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, BAFTA, and BFCA nominations; he won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role in February 2010.[citation needed]

Other work

Firth played William Shakespeare in a comedy special entitled Blackadder: Back & Forth. Edmund Blackadder runs into Firth's character while he is working on Macbeth, asks him to sign the script for him, and then punches him, saying "That is for every schoolboy and schoolgirl for the next 400 years!".

He was a guest host of Saturday Night Live in 2004 alongside musical guest Norah Jones.

Colin performed in theatre frequently between 1983 and 2000. He starred in Three Days of Rain as lead character Ned/Walker, as well as The Caretaker, Desire Under the Elms and Chatkzy.

He served as executive producer for the 2007 documentary produced by his wife, Livia Giuggioli, In Prison My Whole Life. The film questions the trial proceedings and evidence used against political activist and former Black Panther member, Mumia Abu-Jamal, who is on death row for the 1981 killing of a Philadelphia police officer, Daniel Faulkner.

Firth is also a Jury Member for the digital studio Filmaka, a platform for undiscovered filmmakers to show their work to industry professionals.[12] On February 2,2010, Firth was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in "A Single Man"


Firth's first published work, "The Department of Nothing", appeared in Speaking with the Angel (2000).[13] This collection of short stories was edited by Nick Hornby[14] and was published to benefit the TreeHouse Trust,[15] in aid of autistic children. Firth had previously met Hornby during the filming of the original Fever Pitch.[16][17] Colin Firth contributed with his writing for the book, We Are One: A Celebration of Tribal Peoples, released in 2009.[18] The book explores the culture of peoples around the world, portraying both its diversity and facing threats. It counts with the contributions of many western writers, such as Laurens van der Post, Noam Chomsky, Claude Lévi-Strauss; and also indigenous peoples, such as Davi Kopenawa Yanomami and Roy Sesana. The royalties from the sale of this book go to the indigenous rights organization, Survival International.

Personal life

Firth at the Nanny McPhee London premiere in October 2005

Firth resides in Chiswick, London. In 1989, he entered into a romantic relationship with actress Meg Tilly his co-star in Valmont. In 1990, she gave birth to a son, William "Will" Joseph Firth, and they made their home in Canada. He still stays in contact with Will and with Tilly's other children for whom he was a surrogate father. In 1994, after he and Tilly had separated, Firth became involved with actress Jennifer Ehle, his co-star in Pride and Prejudice, but the two broke up eventually. Firth is currently married to Italian film producer/director Livia Giuggioli and lives in both London and Italy.[19] They have two sons, Luca (born March 2001) and Matteo (born August 2003).

Firth has been involved in a campaign to stop the deportation of a group of asylum seekers, because he believed that they might be murdered on their return to the Democratic Republic of Congo.[20] Firth argued that "To me it's just basic civilization to help people. I find this incredibly painful to see how we dismiss the most desperate people in our society. It's easily done. It plays to the tabloids, to the Middle-England xenophobes. It just makes me furious. And all from a government we once had such high hopes for".[21] As a result of the campaign, a Congolese nurse was given a last-minute reprieve from deportation.[22]

Firth has been a long-standing supporter of Survival International, a non-governmental organization that defends the rights of tribal peoples.[23] Speaking in 2001, he said, "My interest in tribal peoples goes back many years... and I have supported [Survival] ever since."[24] In 2003, during the promotion of the movie Love Actually, he spoke in defense of the tribal people of Botswana, condemning the Botswana government's eviction of the Gana and Gwi Bushmen from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. He says of the Bushmen, "These people are not the remnants of a past era who need to be brought up to date. Those who are able to continue to live on the land that is rightfully theirs are facing the 21st century with a confidence that many of us in the so-called developed world can only envy."[23]

Firth has also been involved in the Oxfam global campaign Make Trade Fair,[25] in which several other celebrities participated as well in order to bring more attention to the issues involved.[26] The campaign has focused on several trade practices seen as unfair to third world producers especially, including dumping, high import tariffs, and labour rights such as fair wages. Firth remains deeply committed to this cause, making efforts such as supporting fair trade coffee in his daily life, as he believes "[i]f you're going to sustain commitment to any of this, ... [y]ou've got to get involved on an ordinary every day basis."[27] He has further contributed to this cause by opening (with a few collaborators) an eco-friendly shop in West London, Eco.[28] The shop offers fair trade and eco-friendly goods, as well as expert advice on making spaces more energy efficient.

In October 2009 at the London Film Festival, Firth launched a film and political activism website,[29], along with his wife Livia and a team headed by Paola De Leo, a former Director of Deutsche Bank and Head of the Global Major Donor Programme for Amnesty. In a 2006 interview with French magazine Madame Figaro,[30] Firth was asked "Quelles sont les femmes de votre vie?" (Who are the women of your life?). Firth replied: "Ma mère, ma femme et Jane Austen" (My mother, my wife and Jane Austen). He was awarded an honorary degree on 19 October 2007 from the University of Winchester.

In early 2010, Firth announced his support for the Liberal Democrats, having formerly been a Labour supporter, citing asylum and refugees' rights as a key reason for his change in affiliation. He said he had "been appalled by the abandonment of the values they advocated while in opposition, each Labour Home Secretary seeking to outdo the last in sheer viciousness. For me, their conduct on asylum alone is reason enough never to be able, with any conscience, to contemplate voting for them again".[31]

Singing career

Firth has performed songs in many of his films, the most recent being Mamma Mia! He performs the song "Lady Come Down" alongside Rupert Everett in The Importance of Being Earnest as well as one song in St. Trinian's with Everett which appeared in the credits, an adaptation of "Love Is in the Air".


Year Film Role Notes
1984 Another Country Tommy Judd
Camille Armand Duval Made for TV Movie
1985 1919 (young) Alexander Scherbatov
Dutch Girls Neil Truelove Made For TV Movie
1986 Lost Empires Richard Herncastle TV mini-series with Laurence Olivier
1987 A Month in the Country Tom Birkin
Pat Hobby:Teamed With Genius Rene Wilcox PBS Shorts Special
The Secret Garden adult Colin Craven Hallmark Hall of Fame
1988 Tumbledown Robert Lawrence Made for TV Movie
Royal Television Society Award for Best Actor
Nominated — British Academy Television Award for Best Actor
1989 Apartment Zero Adrian LeDuc
Valmont Valmont
1990 Femme Fatale Joseph Prince
Wings of Fame Brian Smith
1991 Out of the Blue Alan Play for Television
1993 Hostages John McCarthy Television - HBO
The Hour of the Pig Richard Courtois aka The Advocate
1994 Master of the Moor Stephen Whalby Made for Television - UK
Playmaker Michael Condron/Ross Talbert aka Death Date (Germany)
The Deep Blue Sea Freddie Page Play for Television - UK
1995 Circle of Friends Simon Westward
Pride and Prejudice Fitzwilliam Darcy Television mini-series
Broadcasting Press Guild Award for Best Actor
Nominated — British Academy Television Award for Best Actor
Nominated — National Television Award for Most Popular Male
The Widowing of Mrs. Holroyd Charles Holroyd Play for Television - UK
1996 The English Patient Geoffrey Clifton Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
1997 A Thousand Acres Jess Clark
Fever Pitch Paul Ashworth
Nostromo Charles Gould Television mini-series
1998 Shakespeare in Love Lord Wessex Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
1999 Blackadder: Back & Forth William Shakespeare short
Donovan Quick Donovan Quick/Daniel Quinn Made for Television - UK
My Life So Far Edward Pettigrew
The Secret Laughter of Women Matthew Field
The Turn of the Screw The Master Masterpiece Theater
2000 Relative Values Peter Ingleton
2001 Bridget Jones's Diary Mark Darcy European Film Awards Audience Award for Best Actor
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Conspiracy Wilhelm Stuckart Television - HBO
Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor – Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
We Know Where You Live Himself Benefit for Amnesty International
Londinium Allen Portland Television - HBO
a.k.a. Fourplay
2002 The Importance of Being Earnest Jack Worthing
2003 Girl with a Pearl Earring Johannes Vermeer Nominated — European Film Awards Audience Award for Best Actor
Hope Springs Colin Ware
Love Actually Jamie Bennett Nominated — Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
What a Girl Wants Henry Dashwood
2004 Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason Mark Darcy
Trauma Ben Slater
2005 Nanny McPhee Cedric Brown
Where the Truth Lies Vince Collins
2006 Born Equal Mark Armitage Television movie - UK
2007 The Last Legion Aurelius
And When Did You Last See Your Father? Blake Morrison Nominated — British Independent Film Award for Best Supporting Actor
Then She Found Me Frank
St. Trinian's Geoffrey Thwaites
2007 In Prison My Whole Life Himself
2008 The Accidental Husband Richard Bratton
Mamma Mia! Harry Bright Nominated — National Movie Award for Best Performance Male
Easy Virtue Jim Whittaker
Genova Joe
2009 A Christmas Carol Fred
Dorian Gray Lord Henry Wotton
A Single Man George Falconer Austin Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Detroit Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Volpi Cup - Venice Film Festival
Santa Barbara International Film Festival - Outstanding Performance of the Year
Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Chlotrudis Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated — Independent Spirit Award for Best Lead Male
Nominated — Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated — Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association for Best Actor
Main Street Tom Phillips in post-production
St. Trinian's II: The Legend of Fritton's Gold Geoffrey Thwaites
Catalonia George Orwell in pre-production
2010 The King's Speech King George VI in post-production

Further reading


  1. ^ Actor Colin Firth is perhaps bes
  2. ^ Colin Firth's Lineage
  3. ^ Colin Firth Biography (1979-)
  4. ^ Real Magazine interview with Colin Firth (Aug 2002)
  5. ^ Colin Firth - Fresh Air interview 2001
  6. ^ Colin Firth: Bridget Jones' Sweetie Would Rather Play Bad Guys
  7. ^ British Actor Colin Firth : NPR
  8. ^ Globe and Mail - The Other Face of Colin Firth (May 18, 2002)
  9. ^ "February 16, 2010". The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. 2010-02-16.
  10. ^ "Easy Virtue brings British humour to Rome Film Festival". Retrieved 27 October 2008. 
  11. ^ Colin Firth, Genova Interview. AOL Entertainment Canada
  12. ^ Filmaka Jury Member Colin Firth,
  13. ^ Colin Firth Career Timeline: Department of Nothing
  14. ^ Nick Hornby
  15. ^ Nick Hornby
  16. ^ Colin Firth Biography
  17. ^ Fever Pitch (1997)
  18. ^ Survival International - We Are One
  19. ^ Steiner, Susie (31 March 2001). "Twice Shy". The Guardian.,,465976,00.html. Retrieved 20 May 2008. 
  20. ^ Firth, Colin (26 February 2007). "We must stop a deportation that is likely to end in murder". The Independent. Retrieved 27 February 2007. 
  21. ^ Johnson, Andrew (26 February 2007). "Colin Firth makes plea for nurse 'facing murder' in Congo". The Independent. Retrieved 27 February 2007. 
  22. ^ "Firth's intervention saves nurse from deportation". The Independent. 27 February 2007. Retrieved 27 February 2007. 
  23. ^ a b "'Love Actually' star Colin Firth condemns Bushman evictions". Survival International. Retrieved 27 February 2007. 
  24. ^ "Audio". Survival International. 
  25. ^ "Make Trade Fair - Oxfam International". 
  26. ^ "Celebrities present 18 million-strong Make Trade Fair petition to World Trade boss in Hong Kong - Oxfam International". Oxfam International. 
  27. ^ "Colin Firth Profile in the Independent". 
  28. ^ "Colin Firth's New Eco-Store". London: 
  29. ^ "The Rebirth of Colin Firth". 
  30. ^ "In Private with Colin Firth". 
  31. ^

External links

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