, or to women around the world, the actor who brought Mr Darcy’s lake scene to life in the 1995 BBC adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” and who then went on to make Bridget Jones sublimely happy in “Bridget Jones’s Diary” and “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason”.
Colin Andrew Firth was born 10 September 1960 in Grayshott, Hampshire. He was born into a well-educated family.
His father is a History lecturer at Winchester University and his mother is a comparative religions lecturer at the Open University.
Firth spent his early childhood in Nigeria, where his grandparents were Methodist missionaries.
He returned to the UK when he was 5 and studied at a school in Winchester. He showed an interest in acting from a young age and was always involved in school productions.
At 18 he decided to study performing arts and enrolled at the “Drama Centre”, in London. It was here his talents were first discovered, when he played the role of “Hamlet” in his final year.
Shortly after graduating he landed his first West End role as “Bennet” in the production of “Another Country”.
Colin Firth’s first major film role was in the film “A Month in the Country” (1987) followed by “Apartment Zero” (1988). He starred in the controversial film “Tumbledown” (1988), a film about a wounded Lieutenant returning from the Falklands War.
It sparked controversy through its portrayal of the indifference shown by the government and the British public towards wounded soldiers returning from fighting. His performance in this film earned him a BAFTA nomination for “Best Actor”.
Firth also appeared in several television series, including “Midsomer Murders” and the “Ruth Rendell Mysteries”.
However, he won women’s hearts all over the UK, as the handsome, Mr Darcy in the BBC’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” (1995).
This made him into an unlikely sex symbol and to this day he jokes that if he had a problem getting work all he would need to do is don a pair of britches and stand outside his local supermarket!
He did, however, fall for his leading lady, Jennifer Ehle, who played Elizabeth Bennett. Their relationship was intense but short-lived.
In 1996, he starred alongside Ralf Fiennes and Juliette Binoche
in “The English Patient” and then went on to star in an adaptation of Nick Hornby’s Novel “Fever Pitch” (1997), where he played the role of an Arsenal supporter whose relationship mirrors the turbulent fortunes of his favourite football club.
Although Firth never wanted to be type-casted, in both films he played the role of an emotionally reserved Englishman. He also starred as Lord Wessex in “Shakespeare in Love” (1998), alongside Gwyneth Paltrow
and Joseph Fiennes
2001 saw the return of “Mr Darcy”, in the first of what is now going to be three “Bridget Jones” films. Starring alongside love rival, Hugh Grant
, and the object of his affections, Renee Zelwegger (as Bridget Jones), Firth made ladies across the world swoon as the emotionally reserved, successful, ever reliable, Mark Darcy, who rescues Bridget not once, but twice, from the grasp of Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant).
Bridget Jones’s Diary was followed by “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason” (2004) and in 2013 we will have the pleasure of Mark Darcy once again in “Bridget Jones’s Baby”.
Following the huge success of “Bridget Jones’s Diary”, Firth went on to star in the films “The Importance of Being Earnest” (2002) “Hope Springs”(2003), and “Girl With a Pearl Earring” (2003), for which he was nominated for “Best Actor” at the European Film Awards in 2003.
In 2003, he played the role of a widower with three children in the family comedy “Nanny McPhee”, where he starred alongside Emma Thompson
and Imelda Staunton. In the same year he starred in Richard Curtis’s Christmas rom-com, “Love Actually”, alongside a host of stars, including Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant and Liam Neeson
, to name but a few.
Firth returned to comedy in 2007, when he played a supporting role in the adaptation of Ronald Searle’s “St. Trinian’s” and the sequel “St. Trinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold” (2009).
2008 saw Firth hit our screens in the all singing, spandex wearing, feel good hit film of the summer, “Mamma Mia” where he played “Harry”, one of Sophie’s potential fathers.
He starred alongside Pierce Brosnan
, Meryl Streep, Julie Walters, the lovely Amanda Seyfried
and the very gorgeous Dominic Cooper.
The following year Firth starred in the film “A Single Man”, a very moving story of “George Falconer” (played by Firth), whose life partner is killed in a car accident.
His moving and tender performance in the film earned him an Oscar nomination for “Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role” and earned him a BAFTA award for the same category.
2010 was the culmination of a superb career to date, with over 30 films under his belt and a string of awards and nominations. Firth starred as King George VI in Tom Hooper’s film, “The King’s Speech”.
The film swept the board at the 2011 Oscar’s and other award ceremonies around the world. Firth won “Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role”.
2011 saw Firth star alongside Gary Oldman and Tom Hardy in the Cold War inspired spy film “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”.
This year Firth is set to star in the films “Gambit” and “Arthur Newman, Golf Pro”, before returning as the wonderful “Mr Darcy” next year.
In his private life, Firth has been married to wife Livia Giuggiolo since June 1997. The couple have two children. Firth also has a child with former girlfriend, Meg Tilly, who lives in Colarado.
Colin Firth’s career is much more than “Mr Darcy”, but he will continue to send pulse rates soaring for a long time to come.