The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Annie. Legend. Clue. Stephen King’s It. Home Alone 2. It’s an appropriately wild, wide-ranging resume for Tim Curry, one of the greatest character actors to ever show up in supporting roles and cameos and steal scenes out from under the leads.
From cross-dressing aliens to killer clowns, Curry has played myriad parts and he has excelled in them all. Having made his (small) screen debut almost 55 years ago, Curry has in his time displayed the knack to be able to go from being fairly sedate to genuinely terrifying in many of the roles he has taken on, making his already impressive range of performances even more impressive. Let’s take a look at this great actor with some facts about Tim Curry you may not have known.
40. He voiced S.I.R., the robot that welcomed visitors onto the Alien Encounter attraction at Disney World
Curry is no stranger to lending his voice to voice acting projects – famously, he voices Nigel Thornberry in children’s cartoon The Wild Thornberrys. But few people know that he provided the voice of ‘S.I.R.,’ the robotic host of Disneyworld’s Alien Encounter attraction. The ‘theatre-in-the-round’ attraction opened briefly for previews in 1994, but was quickly shut after Disney CEO Michael D Eisner claimed it wasn’t scary enough.
The attraction then officially opened in 1995, with Curry brought on board as the voice of S.I.R. Curry, following a lifetime of playing creeps and villains, was the perfect choice to inject a little terror into the attraction. The attraction ultimately closed in 2003 to make way for Stitch’s Great Escape! which was made in the wake of the success of Lilo & Stitch.
39. He appeared on The Clash’s album Sandinista!
Curry has also lent his voice to music projects – notably, he speaks on The Clash’s iconic album Sandinista! If you listen to the album’s 18th track, The Sound of the Sinners, you’ll be able to hear Curry speaking towards the end of the song. In the song he takes up the role of a priest. If you listen extra closely, you can hear him directing an imagined congregation towards collection boxes and says “see you next Sunday.”
Curry may not be singing on the Clash track, but he’s more than capable of holding a note. As a young boy, Curry received classical vocal training and was a huge fan of jazz artists like Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong. Curry has released a number of solo albums, and also sang backing vocals on Carly Simon’s 1979 album Spy.
38. He was considered for the role of Scar in The Lion King
Oscar winner Jeremy Irons was a perfect fit for Scar in 1994 animated film The Lion King. Once he was cast, the film’s animators were even told to make the evil lion resemble the English actor. But before Irons landed the role, a few other actors who were equally distinguished for their on-screen maleficence were in the running for the part.
Malcolm McDowell, renowned for his role of teenage sadist Alex DeLarge in Stanley Kubrick’s classic A Clockwork Orange, was considered for the part. Curry, too, was in the running, having made a name for himself in The Rocky Horror Picture Show and It. But unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be, and the part went to Irons. Probably for the best – no doubt Curry would have made Scar even more terrifying than he already is.
37. He’s scared of clowns
Despite being renowned for his terrifying performance as Pennywise the Clown in It back in 1990, Curry actually hates clowns. A prominent sufferer of coulrophobia, Curry is so scared of clowns that he even had a clause written into his contract for It which ensured he would never have to see himself in costume. The clause stated that reflective surfaces needed to be kept away from Curry so that he didn’t get spooked by his own reflection.
Naturally, this was very hard for everyone on the production to adhere to. A makeup assistant was reportedly nearly fired for allowing Curry to catch a glimpse of himself in a mirror he was holding. Chelan Simmons, who plays Pennywise’s first victim in the It series, was also afraid of clowns and has admitted that she’s never seen the finished work because of this. Ironically, some psychologists believe the portrayal of killer clowns in films and TV series such as It may have contributed to a massive uptick in coulrophobia.
36. He turned down the chance to play Bernadette in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
After his stellar performance as cross-dressing scientist Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, it’s no surprise producers wanted Curry to appear in camp tour-de-force The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. While some sources claim that Curry was in the running for the role of Tick/Mitzi (the part ultimately went to Hugo Weaving), according to a book written by producer Al Clark, the film’s production team were keen on having Curry play the role of Bernadette, a transgender woman. However, Curry was passed over for the role and the part eventually went to English actor Terence Stamp.
Stamp was reportedly apprehensive about accepting the job, as it was incredibly different to any other roles he’d done before. Before settling on Stamp, producers also considered veteran actors Tony Curtis and John Cleese. The film was a huge success and went on to win an Academy Award for Best Costume Design.
35. His nickname is ‘The Cheshire Cat’
Curry was born in Grappenhall, Cheshire, in April 1946 to Maura and James and his full name is Timothy James Curry. Curry also has the nickname of The Cheshire Cat, which was given to him early on in his life as a school kid. Though the nickname refers to his hometown of Cheshire for the most part, there is another interpretation of the name that a lot of people assumed was the true one.
Instead of referencing where he was from, people assumed the nickname was thanks to his large, toothy grin, which became iconic throughout his career. Several of his characters relied on this distinct mischevious grin, including Rooster from Annie and Long John Silver in Muppets Treasure Island.
34. He graduated from two universities at once
Looking back, it seems like Tim Curry was always destined to become an actor, to the point where it’s difficult to imagine him having any other job. However, throughout Curry’s education he was constantly questioning what his path should be, cultivating an interest in both English and music. During his private schooling in Somerset, he developed into a talented child soprano, and was considering a career in music.
Later he pursued an English degree, even going so far as to study at the prestigious Cambridge university. In the end, he decided to study concurrently in Cambridge and Birmingham, studying Drama and Theatre Studies.
33. He was one of the top choices to play The Joker in 1989’s Batman
Tim Burton’s Batman has reached beloved cult status in recent years, thanks to the wacky, off-kilter aesthetic and bordering-on-parody dialogue. However, the other aspect of the movie that has ensured its infamy are the performances, which are each excellent and iconic in their own right. Most famous of these is probably Jack Nicholson’s Joker, whose menacing but jovial gangster became one of the most unique comic book character portrayals of all time.
However, Nicholson was not the only actor in the running, as Tim Curry was also considered for the role of the crown prince of crime. In the end, Nicholson won out due to him looking more bizarre and off-putting, rather than alluring and enigmatic.
32. He was replaced as the voice of The Joker in the animated Batman series because he was too scary
Though Curry missed out on playing the Joker in Burton’s film series, he did have another chance to play the character, even if only for a short time. He was given the opportunity to voice the clown in the wildly successful Batman: The Animated Series, but was replaced after just four episodes. The reason is simple, Curry’s voice was considered to be too scary for the character, mostly since the show was supposed to be aimed at children.
Curry apparently couldn’t rework his Joker voice into something that wouldn’t give children nightmares, and so he had to be replaced. In a weird twist, however, his replacement ended up being Mark Hamill, whose own Joker voice gave plenty of children nightmares.
31. He was also considered too terrifying to play Who Framed Roger Rabbit’s villain
Judge Doom is one of the most terrifying villains in all of movie history, which is made even scarier by the fact that Roger Rabbit is a family movie. Whether it’s his creepy cartoon eyes or the fact he melts a harmless cartoon shoe in “Dip”, he’s one of the most nightmarish villains in Disney history. Given how all out and terrifying Christopher Lloyd is in that role, it’s strange that he was actually considered the less frightening choice.
Tim Curry was also in the running to play the part, but was passed over as his portrayal was apparently too scary. It’s hard to imagine how frightening Curry’s version must have been to out-scare Loyd, but it must have been far too intense for a family film.
30. He was the original Pennywise
In spite of losing out in the roles of The Joker, the animated Joker and Judge Doom, Curry went on to be cast as Pennywise the Clown. He was chosen to star in the Stephen King It miniseries in 1990, giving him the chance to be terrifying for all the right reasons and to the right audience. The original vision for Pennywise included extensive latex prosthetics, to give the clown carved cheekbones and a hue, bulbous forehead.
However, Curry emphasised that he didn’t want to spend hours in the make-up chair, especially when it could actually distract from and hinder his performance. The creative directors came up with a more stripped-back look for him to try out, and the rest is history.
29. He didn’t speak about the role for years
Following his role as Pennywise in Stephen King’s It, Curry very rarely spoke about the part. In fact, despite being the star and most memorable part of the series, he did not publicly acknowledge his appearance in it until 2015. The reason why isn’t completely clear, but it mostly has to do with how hammy and exaggerated many parts of the mini-series are.
Most of the series isn’t looked upon too kindly, with Curry’s portrayal being lauded as easily the best thing about it. However, Curry didn’t understand at first how loved his portrayal was, and so wanted to distance himself from it in case it hurt his chances of getting other jobs.
28. He followed in the footsteps of a legend
Tim Curry has been called one of the best character actors of modern times, but he actually has more in common with one of history’s most famous leading men. In particular, Curry’s career has closely shadowed that of legendary actor Charlton Heston, even if Curry’s has also included some much weirder roles.
In particular, both of them starred in adaptations of The Three Musketeers, and even played the same character in those adaptations. Not only that, but they also both played Long John Silver in Treasure Island, though those adaptations were decidedly different. Across the years of his career, he has also become more and more of a leading man, thus echoing Heston further.
27. He suffered a major stroke in 2012
In July 2012, Curry sadly suffered a major stroke and lost the use of his legs. After that, he required a wheelchair to stay mobile, but he was still able to speak lucidly and has attended several Q&A sessions since. He has said that for the most part, it was humour that helped him to persevere through his recovery, which wasn’t actually that hard for him to do.
That’s because the humour was such a natural part of him that it happened naturally, he didn’t even have to think about it. He also said that he had a wonderful and storied career behind him, which helped him to contextualise what was happening to him.
26. It hasn’t stopped him working
In spite of suffering the major stroke in 2012, Curry has gone back into acting, though he cannot take the high-energy character roles he used to gravitate towards. Instead, he appeared as The Criminologist in The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again, a live recorded theatre version of the original show that starred Victoria Justice and Laverne Cox.
In addition to that, he has begun focussing on voice acting, since it is a more accessible form of performance for him. That mainly manifests in his work on Star Wars: The Clone Wars – an animated series in which he voices several characters. He has also admitted that he plans to continue working for as long as he can, so keep an eye out!
25. A Rocky Horror sequel was written just for him
Frank N Furter is undoubtedly Tim Curry’s biggest ever role, as it is the one that the most people know him for. It’s also become essentially the original cult movie, and is the movie with the longest in-theatre run ever, thanks to its continued successful midnight showings. Due to the movie’s massive success, director Richard O’ Brian quickly got to work writing a sequel, which was also inspired by classic B-Movies.
In it, Frank was resurrected as a rock and roll vampire desperate for the taste of virgin’s blood, while Rocky was his Egor-like servant and sidekick. Despite this brilliant idea, the project never got past the screenplay stage, and the sequel we eventually got was very different.
24. Curry refused to ever play Frank-N-Furter again
The reason for the scrapping of the original sequel vision is simple: Tim Curry simply didn’t want to play Frank again. He has said of the part that it was “neither a blessing or a curse”, even though he has also admitted that he was lucky to get to play him. When Curry refused to return for the sequel, several other cast members followed suit, leaving just Richard O’Brien and Patrica Quinn to continue the production.
The new sequel reflected this, focussing in on two sibling doctors who torture a recast Brad and Janet in the middle of a TV studio in which everyone in town is forced to live. The movie is considered to be even camper and more surreal than the original, and has become an even more obscure cult hit. It does have its own fans, however, who are small in number but famously dedicated.
23. Frank-N-Furter had some unexpected celebrity fans
There are several celebrities who have come out to say that Tim Curry’s portrayal of Frank N Furter are very important to them. However, they mostly consist of other cult film directors or rock stars, who aren’t fazed by the explicit and edgy nature of the movie. With that said, one of the musical’s most famous fans was actually Princess Diana, who even requested a meeting with Tim Curry for that exact reason.
Both Diana and her husband were attending a more family-friendly play that Curry was involved in, and requested to meet him afterwards. Once they met, she said with a grin and a wink that Rocky Horror had “quite completed [her] education.” For his part, Prince Charles just said that he vaguely recognised Curry from his work on television.
22. He was no one’s first choice to appear in Clue
Tim Curry’s role in Clue might be one in which he appears the more normal, but his performance in the comedy is anything but a sedate one. His portrayal of Wadsworth the Butler is one of his more eccentric and unusual performances, with a character that he seems to be a perfect fit for. That only makes it more surprising that he was no-one’s first choice for the role, and instead was passed over several times.
The original director John Landis wanted stage actor Leonard Rossiter, but that idea was cut short when Rossiter sadly passed away and Landis stepped away from the project. The next director wanted Rowan Atkinson, but the studio wasn’t interested in casting him, and so Tim Curry was brought on as a late third choice.
21. He once played an actual Devil
Pennywise was one of Curry’s least favourite roles, mostly because of the lengthy process it took to get the make-up on and off. However, he insisted on stripping the make-up way down because he was scared of repeating what had happened on another production, and that production was Legend. In Legend, Curry played a demon called the Lord of Darkness, and the extensive face and body prosthetics took over five hours every morning to apply.
Curry got so frustrated that he insisted on removing the make-up himself, and in his haste he ripped parts of his own skin off with the latex. The director felt so bad for him that he tried to shoot around him while his skin recovered, which led to an even more suspenseful introduction for the character. As for Curry, he vowed never to do such a make-up heavy role again.
20. His theatre career is also prestigious
Though most people know Curry for his extensive TV and film work, he was originally a committed stage actor, and maintained a theatre career alongside his other work. That made him one of the few actors to become famous as a stage actor first, and then successfully transition to become famous in the medium of TV too, which is infamously hard to do. After doing several classic plays, he made his name playing King Arthur in the original Broadway cast of Spamalot, and then transferred to London to originate the same role on the West End.
He was given a Tony nomination for his work on the production, and even won a Theatre Goer’s Choice Award for his performance. As of right now, he’s had three Tony nominations, as well as a slew of other award nominations and wins.
19. He had a rivalry with Ian McKellen
One of Curry’s most widely regarded roles was when he played Mozart in the play Amadeus. His stellar performance earned him a Tony nomination, and he was even thought to be at the front of the race to win, but he was pipped at the post by his co-star. That probably stung, but it probably hurt more that the winner had acted in the same play, and as his very best friend.
Plus, not only did his very best friend murder him in the play, but the character was played by a fledgling Ian McKellen. McKellen won the Tony for his production, kicking off a friendly rivalry that lasted for the rest of the production’s run.
18. He once had to film around active volcanoes for the film Congo
One of Tim Curry’s lesser-known roles was in Congo, an action-adventure movie that also starred Laura Linney, Dylan Walsh and Ernie Hudson. Despite what you might expect, no filming was actually done in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but there were dangerous shooting conditions and locations involved.
Shooting was mostly conducted in Kenya, Costa Rica, Uganda and Tanzania, each of which came with its own unique set of challenges. One of those challenges was shooting on and around active volcanoes, which Curry said massively interfered with his smoking habit. Given that he was used to smoking two packs of Marlboros a day, this was a pretty big adjustment for him.
17. His favourite ever role isn’t what you might expect
Tim Curry has played a lot of roles over the years, and those roles have seriously varied in terms of tone and genre. Out of all the movies and TV shows he’s appeared in however, he does definitely have a favourite, and it’s not the one most people would guess. In fact, his favourite project he’s ever gotten to work on is Muppet Treasure Island, which he starred in as the lovable villain Long John Silver.
As for why he loved working on the project, he said he liked working on something people of all ages could enjoy, and that no-one would be terrified by. Oh, and he also said he loved getting to meet and work with the legendary Miss Piggy.
16. He appeared in Annie because of his strict childhood
Out of all the odd roles Curry has taken, his appearance in the original Annie is one of the most obscure. He plays the money-grubbing and villainous Rooster, who is surprisingly eccentric and even raunchy in his portrayal. His choice to appear in the movie might seem like an odd one, but it was actually informed by his childhood.
That’s because he was raised by strict parents, the son of a school secretary and a Royal Navy Captain. As a result, he was only allowed to watch movies they believed were wholesome and appropriate enough for him to consume. That meant a lot of musicals, which eventually led him to appear in a family-friendly musical of his own.
15. He returned for the Rocky Horror Picture Show reboot in 2016
Though Tim Curry famously said he would never reprise the role of Frank N’ Furter, he thankfully made no such promises about distancing himself from the Rocky Horror Show in general. That explains why he was on board to return to the property when it was rebooted in 2016. The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again was a TV movie released in 2016, with a whole new cast of actors.
It followed the same events and characters, with the script being almost exactly the same, aside from some costuming and set differences. Curry returned to the franchise to play The Criminologist, the role that was originally played by Charles Gray in the 1975 original. This role allowed Curry to act entirely from a chair in the wake of his mobility issues, while still getting in some of his signature quips.
14. He has voiced two royal cats over the course of his career
After losing the mobility in his legs, Tim Curry continued his acting career by pivoting to doing mostly voice work. One of these voice roles was Prince in Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties, a spoiled, royal cat living in a palace who happens to look identical to Garfield. Playing royalty who also happen to be feline is a very niche acting job to be offered, so of course, Tim Curry never expected to play more than one royal cat.
With that said, a few short years later Curry was again asked to voice a cat, this time the Cat King in The Cat Returns. The Cat King was obviously another royal cat character, which is quite an unusual type of character to play twice. The Cat Returns received significantly better reviews compared to Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties, due to it being a Studio Ghibli project.
13. He has voiced Emperor Palpatine
It’s an undeniable fact that Tim Curry has played plenty of villainous – or at the very least amoral – characters throughout his career. For the most part, however, his voice acting work has focused on comedic or heroic characters, rather than villains. The exception to this is Curry’s work on the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series, where he voiced Chancellor Palpatine.
The iconic Star Wars villain has been played by many actors over the years, though Ian McDiarmid is most famous for originating the role. Tim Curry voiced the character of Palpatine for two years, consistently appearing in The Clone Wars from 2012 to 2014. It is unclear if he will ever return to the show, in flashback form or with his voice contained within a Sith Holocron.
12. He has put his iconic voice to work reading audiobooks
Over the course of his career, Tim Curry has become notable for various different things. Whether it’s his cheeky, Cheshire Cat grin or his hilarious delivery of the words “in space”, Curry has made himself an instantly recognisable brand. Most recognisable of all is his voice, with his crisp English diction becoming a mainstay of many of his roles.
That same skill at articulation and enunciation has made him the perfect actor to set about reading audiobooks, which he has. Many of the audiobooks that Curry has read have had a dark or humorous element to them, with most including both. For example, Curry has read out audiobooks for the entire Lemony Snicket series: A Series of Unfortunate Events, as well as the Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol, and Dracula.
11. He reprised the role of Frank-N-Furter in 2019
Tim Curry famously declined to appear in the sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture show, and made it clear that he would never take up the mantel of Frank-N-Furter again. However, Curry did agree to return to the character this year, if only to do a table read of the original Rocky Horror Picture Show script. Curry joined other original cast member Little Nell in a script reading on Zoom, which was supplemented by various young actors from the touring theatre productions of Rocky Horror.
Several celebrities even recorded musical interludes to be spliced into the call, covering popular songs from the Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack. The celebrities involved included everyone from Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump to David Arquette, and made the roundtable a truly star-studded event.
10. He’s charted twice in the US music charts
Tim Curry has appeared in a number of musicals over the course of his career, from the scandalous Rocky Horror Picture Show to the family-friendly Beauty and the Beast: An Enchanted Christmas. Therefore, it probably won’t surprise anyone to know that he has an excellent singing voice. However, what you might not be aware of is that Tim Curry also made the time to achieve a sizable music career in between starring in various movies. In fact, he even made a name for himself in America as a bona fide rock and roll star. Tim Curry grew up as a talented soprano in his school’s all-boy choir, and growing up singing hymns definitely allowed him the advantage of classical training. In his adult music career, he even began by defining his influences as classical jazz musicians, such as Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong.
In contrast to both his influences and his upbringing, Tim Curry’s most successful album was a much more edgy affair. Fearless was Curry’s sophomore album, and focused on original songs with rockier vocals and instrumentation. Fearless was the most successful record of Tim Curry’s career, as one of the singles from it actually managed to crack the Billboard Hot 100 in America. The single was called I Do the Rock, and it managed to make it all the way to number 91 during its promotion. As for the album itself, Fearless managed to reach 51 on the Billboard Pop Album chart when it was released in 1979.
9. He has a whole covers album
1979s Fearless might have represented Tim Curry’s first foray into original songs, but it wasn’t his first flirtation with the music industry as a whole. In 1978, just three years after his legendary performance in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Curry released Read My Lips. The title of Read My Lips was no doubt designed to reference Curry’s memorable turn as Frank N’ Furter, although the album was a far less salacious affair than the movie itself. Read My Lips was comprised almost completely of covers, with the songs chosen to be included ranging from The Beatles’ I Will to Joni Mitchell’s All I Want.
The album caught people’s attention due to how eclectic it was – most of the covers changed the genre and instrumentation of the original song completely, some in pretty surprising and difficult to imagine ways. The most famous example of this is the cover of The Beatles’ song I Will, which was changed from an upbeat folk-pop track to a reggae song. However, almost every cover on the album underwent some kind of transformation to its sound or vocal delivery, even if not to such a dramatic extent.
8. His long-lost LP was finally released in 2010
Tim Curry’s third and final album was called Simplicity and was released in 1981. The album featured a mix of covers and original songs, and had a more pop slant than his previous offerings. Unfortunately, it did not sell as well as either of his previous albums. Despite the lack of success regarding his third album, Tim Curry’s record company did eventually release a greatest hits collection of his work. This was released in 1989, and was titled The Best of Tim Curry. The Best of Tim Curry featured the most popular tracks from his three-album discography, as well as a live cover of Bob Dylan’s Simple Twist of Fate.
Aside from these four releases though, Tim Curry did record one more project, an LP of songs that was largely considered to be lost and forgotten. Tim Curry was one of many artists to have lost recordings of his work in the 2008 Universal Studios fire, which destroyed a whole archive filled with original pressings of songs. However, the lost LP in question was recorded by Curry in 1976, and was initially supposed to be released through Lou Adler’s Ode Records. The LP was never released as Curry quickly moved to a different record company, but it was finally made available as a legal digital download 2010,
7. He has never been married
From the moment they first appear in the spotlight to the time that their obituaries are printed, many celebrities are subjected to ruthless scrutiny about all aspects of their lives. In particular, much of this invasiveness is focused on romantic questions, with paparazzi and journalists spending endless time speculating on a celebrity’s dating life. Questions on who is marrying who, when they are having a baby or splitting up, and even what the wedding dress will look like – these are questions that often grace the gossip magazines and generate endless clicks on websites.
With that said, if you were to spend your time digging into Tim Curry’s history to look for information on his past relationships or dating habits, you simply wouldn’t find anything. As opposed to the many celebrities who have had numerous marriages in the public eye, Tim Curry has never so much as been seen to officially date anyone. Not only has he never been married, but Curry has never formed any attachments of an official kind, at least not any that the press has managed to discover.
6. He was almost banned from taking his final university exams
Tim Curry went to a private boarding school growing up, before graduating from the University of Birmingham with a combined degree in English literature and drama. In the years since, Curry has played his fair share of noblemen and gentlemen, whether in Clue or in Spamalot, and he often comes across as ceaselessly chivalrous and polite at meet and greets with fans. This biographical background has often led fans of Tim Curry to believe that he has always been a polite rule follower, ever since his schooling. However, this is not exactly the case.
Perhaps Tim Curry’s history of playing roguish characters in Muppet Treasure Island and The Rocky Horror Picture Show present a more accurate picture of his personality. Throughout his university years, Tim Curry was famously uninterested in the rules, spending far more time rehearsing for and performing in extra-curricular productions than he did studying. In fact, he was so disinterested in his actual education that he barely showed up to classes at all. This tendency towards truancy became a big problem when he showed up to take one of his final exams, and was told by a teacher that he would not be allowed in. The reason was simple: the teacher in question had not seen Curry in a single one of his classes all year, and so assumed he was lying about having been on the course in the first place. Curry did eventually get to sit the exam and graduate, although his final grades remain unknown.
5. He lied about his qualifications to land his first job, in the musical Hair
Being so used to skipping class that your professor doesn’t know who you are when you go to take the final exam might seem pretty scandalous, but that wasn’t even the extent of Tim Curry’s mischievousness when he was younger. After successfully convincing his professor to let him take the final exam and graduate, Tim Curry once again fell back onto roguish tactics when it came time to begin his post-graduation career as a professional actor. Tim Curry’s first job was a member of the chorus of Hair, a famous musical that debuted in the West End in September of 1969. Hair was a cultural phenomenon, debuting in theatres the day after British censorship laws changed and immediately making headlines.
Tim Curry was lucky enough to score a part after auditioning, but technically speaking he should not have been given an audition in the first place. Before being asked to audition properly, Curry was asked both if he had professional experience in theatre and if he had been registered with the actors’ union Equity, and he said yes on both counts. The trouble was that, at the time, Curry had no professional credits to his name. Not only that, but he didn’t even have an Equity card yet. Curry managed to hide this from casting directors until late into the auditioning process, when he was discovered as a recent graduate. In a lucky break, however, everyone involved in casting the show was so impressed with Curry’s acting ability that they not only cast him in the show, but agreed to sponsor his Equity membership as well. Not a bad result for a first job!
4. He attended the oldest Methodist school in the world
Plenty of actors have had prestigious upbringings and education, with Emma Watson and Hugh Grant being just a couple of Oxford’s most famous graduates, and Steven Fry famously attending Queen’s College, Cambridge. However, even within the group of actors who can boast the highest quality schooling, not many can say that they attended the oldest religious educational institution in the country, let alone the world. After his father died, Tim Curry and his family moved to South London, and it was not long after that when Curry was enrolled in Kingswood School in Bath, Somerset.
Kingwood School is famous for being the world’s oldest Methodist educational institution, as it was established to provide an education to the sons of Methodist clergymen in 1748. Former students of Kingswood School are called Kingswoodians, and there are other notable Kingswoodians aside from Tim Curry. In particular, two Labour politicians are alumni of Kingswood School: Alan Fitch and Jeremy Bray. Several philosophers, historians and poets have also graduated from Kingswood.
3. He voiced his own namesake in Paddington Bear
There’s no denying the fact that the film that made Tim Curry famous was The Rocky Horror Picture Show, in which he played a character about as far away from family-friendly as it is possible to be. Since then, however, Curry has mostly become known for playing characters that in some way walk the line between appropriate for children, and who are dark and villainous – such as Long John Silver. Even in Tim Curry’s voice acting career, he has mostly stuck to playing genuinely threatening villains, such as Palpatine in The Clone Wars or the Goblin King in (surprise, surprise) Scooby-Doo and the Goblin King.
Given this expectation, it is surprising to hear Tim Curry’s voice in something as sweet and innocuous as the 1989 series Paddington Bear, even if he is playing the villain. Tim Curry voices the evil Mr.Curry in Paddington Bear, the longtime foe of the protagonist who is portrayed in the live-action film by Peter Capaldi. Curry has never said publicly whether it was the chance to play a character who shared his name that drew him to the Paddington project, or whether he just has a secret soft spot for bears who love marmalade sandwiches and blue duffel coats.
2. He’s appeared in several Christmas films
Tim Curry might have made a career out of comedic villains with over the top musical numbers, but he has also consistently returned to one particular niche throughout his life: Christmas movies. It might sound odd, but Tim Curry has appeared in over six different Christmas-themed stories throughout his career, which is an above-average amount for any actor. The Christmas films that Tim Curry has appeared in vary from live-action to animated, and they also vary in terms of style. Curry has lent his talents to everything from the straight-to-VHS sequel Beauty and the Beast: An Enchanted Christmas, to the literary Christmas classic itself – A Christmas Carol.
In fact, Tim Curry has even returned to the same festive properties multiple times in his career, voicing Ebenezer Scrooge in a 1997 animated adaptation of A Christmas Carol and then reprising the role in a live-action staged production of the musical in 2001. In addition to playing recurring Scrooges, Tim Curry also played Gordon McLoosh in the 2007 movie Christmas in Wonderland, which follows a group of children who catch a band of counterfeiters while Christmas shopping in Alberta. Curry even appeared in back-to-back Christmas roles in 2006 and 2006, narrating The Sesame Street Christmas Carol in 2006, and playing Sir Evil in Once Upon a Christmas Village in 2007. Clearly, he must love the festive season.
1. He appeared in a Pennywise documentary
Despite Pennywise being one of the most iconic roles of Tim Curry’s career, he did not speak about it publicly for many years, aside from one interview in the horror magazine Fangoria. However, once Curry broke his silence and admitted that it really was him behind the red nose, he was quick to voice his support for the new Pennywise project, as well as his personal congratulations to Bill Skarsgård.
Since then, Tim Curry has kept up his support for all things It, and is even appeared in a documentary on the subject. Pennywise: The Story of It explores our enduring fear surrounding the iconic clown, as well as looking into what makes the story quite so terrifying. Tim Curry was one of many actors interviewed for the project, but he is one of a precious few who can actually describe what it felt like to don the clown makeup and spend days being filmed frightening children.