Richard Curtis Biography

Richard Curtis photo

Born: November 08, 1956


Date of Birth: November 8, 1956

Born in New Zealand, Richard Curtis was raised in Manila, Stockholm, Folkestone and Warrington. He attended Oxford University and began writing comedy after graduating in 1978. His first television job was writing for the BBC's Not the Nine O'Clock News, alongside Rowan Atkinson, with whom he would team up often in the years to come. Curtis wrote the screenplay for the short 30-minute film Dead on Time (1982), which starred Atkinson, then the two co-wrote the British sitcom Blackadder, again starring Atkinson. Curtis' first screenplay for a full length feature film was The Tall Guy, starring Jeff Goldblum, Emma Thompson and none other than Rowan Atkinson as a cruel, heartless comedian headlining a West End show.

Curtis and Atkinson then began working on Mr. Bean, a TV series that would gain fans all around the world. In 1994 Curtis won several major awards for his screenplay, Four Weddings and a Funeral, including Writers Guild of Great Britain and Writers Guild of America Awards, as well as nominations for Best Screenplay from the BAFTAs, the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards.

Having become an internationally acclaimed screenwriter, Curtis wrote the big budget feature Notting Hill (1999), filmed in England and starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. The film was a top box office draw, earning over $100 million in the US alone, and another $200 million plus worldwide. Curtis, along with several other writers, undertook the project of turning Helen Fielding’s best-selling novel Bridget Jones’s Diary into a screenplay. The result was successful, and the producers had a big enough hit on their hands that they immediately began thinking about a sequel. Along with co-writers Helen Fielding and Andrew Davies, Curtis won an Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Screenplay, and was again nominated for a BAFTA. The star of the film, Renée Zellweger, was nominated for an Oscar for her performance.

For his next screenplay, Love Actually (2003), Curtis made his directing debut, working again with Hugh Grant, Colin Firth and Emma Thompson, as well as a slew of other top British and American actors.

In December 1993, Curtis received an acclaim for his entire comedy career from his fellow Writers Guild of Great Britain. The following year, he became a member of the British Empire and received the title of Commander of the British Empire in 2000.

In the 2000s, he wrote the sequel Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004) and the comedy Mr. Bean's Holiday (2007) before returning to directing with his screenplay for the comedy/musical Pirate Radio (2009), choosing Bill Nighy, Nick Frost and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman to star in the film.

Before directing Canadian Rachel McAdams on the set of his romantic work About Time (2013), he was involved in the writing of War Horse (2011), a feature film directed by Steven Spielberg and based on the book of the same title. Acclaimed, the film received six nominations at the 2012 Oscars.

Mixing humor and comedy on the big screen, he wrote the screenplays for Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018) and Yesterday (2019), titles that respectively feature great hits from the careers of ABBA and The Beatles.

In addition, he is co-founder and vice-president of Comic Relief, which raised more than $545 million for charities in Africa and the United Kingdom.

In between films, he has written TV shows and movies such as Bernard and the Genie (1991), Merry Christmas Mr. Bean (1992), The Vicar of Dibley (1994) and Hooves of Fire (1999).

Curtis has two sons and a daughter with script editor Emma Freud.

Filmography (director):

Pirate Radio (2009)
Love Actually (2003)

Change Location