British actor, voice actor and singer Tim Curry was born 19 April 1946 in Grappenhall, Cheshire. Curry spent most of his childhood in Plymouth, Devon; but, after his father’s death from pneumonia in 1958, his family moved to South London. Curry then went to boarding school and attended Kingswood School in Bath, Somerset. He developed into a talented boy soprano (treble). Deciding to concentrate on acting, Curry graduated from the University of Birmingham with a combined degree in English and Drama (BA Drama & Theatre Studies, 1968).
Curry’s first full-time role was as part of the original London cast of the musical Hair in 1968, where he first met Richard O’Brien who went on to write The role of, Dr Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Show. Originally, Curry rehearsed the character with a German accent and peroxide blond hair, and later, with an American accent. 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 that carried over to the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show and made Curry both a star and a cult figure. He continued to play the character in London, Los Angeles and New York City until 1975.
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 which 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. In 1981, Curry formed part of the original cast in the Broadway show Amadeus, playing the title character, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He 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.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show was released on film in 1975 and became a huge international cult classic. After this success Curry began to star in many films, acting in supporting roles, such as Robert Graves in the British horror film The Shout, as Johnny LaGuardia in the cult classic, Times Square, as Daniel “Rooster” Hannigan in Annie, and as Jeremy Hancock in the political film The Ploughman’s Lunch. He also 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, Curry did the national tour of Me and My Girl as the lead role of Bill Snibson.
Between 1989-90, Tim Curry returned once again to the New York stage in The Art of Success. In 1982 Curry portrayed Rooster Hannigan in the film adaptation of Annie, he also portrayed The Prince ofDarkness in the fantasy film Legend, directed by Ridley Scott. Curry appeared as Wadsworth in the mystery comedy film Clue, as Pennywise in the horror miniseries It and as Nigel Thornberry on the animated television series The Wild Thornberrys. Curry also starred as. Ray Porter in Pass the Ammo, Dr Thornton Poole in Oscar, Mr Hector in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Jigsaw in Loaded Weapon 1 and as Long John Silver in Muppet Treasure Island. He portrayed Dr Yevgeniy Petrov, in The Hunt for Red October and appeared in the 1993 reboot of The Three Musketeers as Cardinal Richelieu, he also appeared in the superhero film The Shadow as Farley Claymore and as Herkermer Homolka in the 1995 action adventure Congo. In 1993, Curry played Alan Swann in the Broadway musical version of My Favourite Year, earning a second Tony Award nomination, for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical. Curry also starred in Charlie’s Angels as Roger Corwin, in Scary Movie 2 playing Professor Oldman. And he portrayed Thurnam Rice, in the critically acclaimed biographical film Kinsey.
In 2001, Curry starred 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. Moving to Broadway in 2005 earning him a third Tony nomination, for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical. in 2006 Curry reprised this role in London’s West End at the Palace Theatre. He was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award as the Best Actor in a Musical for the role, and also won the Theatregoers’ Choice Award them in 2012, Tim Curry appeared in Eric Idle’s play What About Dick? at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles. In 2015 Curry was awarded an Artistic Achievement Award at the Actors Fund 19th Annual Tony Awards viewing Party.
Curry has also appeared in many television series, such as Eugene in Napoleon and Love, and guest roles in Armchair Theatre, Play for Today. He appeared in The courtroom drama Wiseguy, as Winston Newquay, the science fiction television series Earth 2 and the sitcom Rude Awakening. He has also guest starred in Roseanne, Tales from the Crypt, Lexx, The Naked Truth, Monk, Will & Grace, Psych, Agatha Christie’s Poirot and Criminal Minds. Curry has also appeared in a large number of television films and miniseries, including Three Men in a Boat, the titular role in Will Shakespeare, playing the role of Bill Sikes in a television adaptation of Oliver Twist, the children’s classic The Worst Witch, Titanic, Terry Pratchett’s The Colour of Magic (as Trymon)Alice and Return to Cranford. One of Curry’s best-known television roles, and best-known roles overall, is Pennywise the Dancing Clown in the 1990 horror miniseries Stephen King’s It.
Curry has also lent his voice talents to a large number of animated television series and films, such as the Serpent in The Greatest Adventure: Stories from the Bible and Captain Hook in the Fox animated series Peter Pan and the Pirates For which Curry won a Daytime Emmy Award. He also portrays Nigel Thornberry in The Wild Thornberrys. He also played the antagonist roles in animated series such as MAL in Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Skullmaster in Mighty Max, Dr Anton Sevarius in Gargoyles, George Herbert Walker ‘King’ Chicken in Duckman, Lord Dragaunus in The Mighty Ducks, Professor Finbar Calamitous in The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Slagar the Cruel in Redwall and G. Gordon Godfrey in Young Justice. He also appeared in FernGully: The Last Rainforest, The Pebble and the Penguin, all three Rugrats films, Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, Scooby-Doo! and the Witch’s Ghost, The Wild, The Cat Returns, Valiant, Garfield: Tail of Two Kitties, Fly Me to the Moon.Curry’s voice also appears in numerous video games, such as, Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers and Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned, where he voiced the title character, Gabriel Knight, Toonstruck, Sacrifice, Brütal Legend and Dragon Age: Origins. His audio book 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.
He has also had some success as a solo musical artist, Having received classical vocal training as a boy, his musical influences included jazz vocalists such as Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong as well as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. He released his debut solo album Read My Lips. in 1978 which featured an eclectic range of songs (mostly covers) performed in diverse genres such as 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, Curry released his second album Fearless. The LP was more rock-oriented than Read My Lips and mostly featured original songs rather than cover versions such as: “I Do the Rock” and “Paradise Garage”. Curry’s third and final album, Simplicity, was released in 1981 and In 1989 The Best of Tim Curry was released 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”. He also recorded a nine-track album for Lou Adler’s Ode Records in 1976 Which was eventually released as …From the Vaults in 2010 and included Curry’s rendition of the Supremes’ hit “Baby Love”.