Timothy James Curry was born on the 19th of April 1946 to Jim Curry, a Methodist Naval Chaplain, and his wife Maura "Pat" Curry. Tim was not born into a show business family by any stretch: his father’s ancestors were County Durham builders and his mother’s family were seafarers. But after his father’s death in 1958, Tim gained a scholarship to Kingswood School, Bath. It was during this time that he first started to act in school plays, leading to his attendance at Birmingham University to study Drama and English between 1965 and 1968.
Tim’s first acting job after university was in the original London production of "Hair," in 1968. When asked if he had professional experience and an Equity card, Tim lied about both; by the time the producers found out the truth, they were sufficiently impressed with his talent and presence to sponsor him for his union membership. He later appeared in several productions at the Royal Court Theatre, a connection that would lead to the breakout role that would change his life forever: In 1973, he was invited by Richard O’Brien, a fellow cast member from "Hair," to audition for O’Brien’s new experimental musical "The Rocky Horror Show," to be produced at the Royal Court’s Theatre Upstairs. Needless to say, Tim won the role of Dr. Frank-N-Furter and "Rocky Horror" was an enormous hit, transferring to several progressively larger venues.
"The Rocky Horror Show" took Tim to Los Angeles for the first time, where it enjoyed a successful run at The Roxy on Sunset Strip. Record mogul Lou Adler produced the LA show, followed by the movie version; "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" filmed in 1974. The film remains a cult phenomenon over forty-five years later and has helped cement Tim’s status as a pop icon to generations of fans. Upon completion of the film, the play took to the stage one final time with Tim at the helm. "The Rocky Horror Show" opened at the Belasco Theater in New York in 1975 and met a different fate on Broadway than it had in London and LA. It was panned by the critics -- some of them the same critics who had raved about the LA production -- and closed after only forty-five performances.
Tim would not be away from Broadway for long. In 1975, the year of "Rocky"’s demise on the Great White Way, he was approached to play Dadaist Tristan Tzara in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Tom Stoppard’s "Travesties." After a run in the West End, the show transferred to Broadway and ran through 1976. Meanwhile, Tim’s career also continued to accelerate on TV and film, playing the eponymous bard in the six-part television series "The Life and Times of William Shakespeare" and starring in "The Shout" opposite Alan Bates and John Hurt on the silver screen. He also worked with A&M Records to produce three studio albums between 1978 and 1981; his song "I Do the Rock" from the 1979 album "Fearless" reached number 53 on the American Billboard Chart, and Tim toured America and Germany in the late 1970s.
While writing songs for his albums, Tim developed a friendship with playwright Peter Shaffer, who was, at the time, writing "Amadeus" with an eye on Tim for the leading role opposite Ian McKellen as Salieri. The result was a smash hit show, and Tony nominations for both Tim and McKellen. While performing as Mozart in the evenings, Tim was busy recording his third and final album, "Simplicity," in the daytime. He was also busy building an American movie career, working on films such as John Huston’s big screen adaptation of the musical "Annie."
In 1982, he returned to the London stage in Joe Papp’s pop revival of Gilbert and Sullivan’s "The Pirates of Penzance" as a sexed-up version of the Pirate King, a role originated by Kevin Kline in New York. Swashbuckling through the performance in an unbuttoned shirt and thigh-high boots, Tim gained rave reviews for his performance and won The Royal Variety Club award for Stage Actor Of The Year. His return to the UK also saw several television appearances including "Blue Money," a comedy written specifically for Tim; Bill Sikes in a television adaptation of "Oliver Twist"; and opposite Jonathan Pryce in "The Ploughman's Lunch."
In 1983, he joined the National Theatre, where he stayed until 1986, performing in a number of productions including "The Rivals," "Love For Love," "Dalliance," and as MacHeath in "The Threepenny Opera." It was during this same time that Ridley Scott was looking for just the right actor to play the devilish character of Darkness in the fantasy film "Legend," and thought of Tim Curry. Cast opposite a very young Tom Cruise, Tim wore full prosthetic make-up to play the now-iconic character, including hooves and horns that increased his height by several feet and contact lenses that reduced his pupils to slits. By the time the makeup team were finished, Tim had very little left to work with but his voice, which nevertheless proved both seductive and memorable.
Demonstrating his almost dizzying range, Tim was cast shortly after as Wadsworth, the very proper English butler in Jonathan Lynn & John Landis’s movie "Clue," which would become years later another cult classic. In 1986, Tim also appeared as The Grand Wizard in the TV movie "The Worst Witch," a role often remembered due to the now-infamous "Anything Can Happen On Halloween" music video, which featured an array of psychedelic special effects.
Despite these film appearances, Tim wanted to fid his way back to the stage, and agreed to appear in the US national tour of "Me & My Girl" as the central character Bill Snibson. He toured the United States throughout 1988 before doing an extended run at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles. It was during this residency at the Pantages that two things occurred that would change Tim’s life and career: Tim decided to move to Los Angeles permanently, as he wanted to focus on a movie career; and he was approached by Hanna Barbera to voice The Serpent in a cartoon adaptation of "The Creation" and found that he thoroughly enjoyed doing voiceover work.
He went on to become one of the most well-known, prolific voiceover artists in the industry,voicing hundreds of cartoon characters, perhaps most notably Nigel Thornberry in "The Wild Thornberrys" and Captain Hook in "Peter Pan And The Pirates," for which he won an Emmy in 1991. He has also recorded a varied range of audiobooks including Lemony Snicket’s "A Series of Unfortunate Events" (for which he received a Grammy nomination in 2002), and many video games.
Tim’s move to Los Angeles allowed him to put down roots for the first time. One of his greatest off-screen pleasures was the restoration of a grand 1920s mansion in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles, nestled under the Hollywood sign and overlooking the lights of the city. Tim bought the house in a dilapidated condition, found the original plans for the home and garden, and painstakingly restored it, adding personal touches along the way.
His Hollywood career underway, Tim won a role alongside Sean Connery in 1990's "The Hunt For Red October," followed by a television adaptation of Stephen King’s "IT" as Pennywise, a terrifying killer clown and the farce "Oscar," alongside Sylvester Stallone. Unable to resist the lure of the stage, Tim appeared briefly with his good friend and "Pass The Ammo" co-star Annie Potts in "Love Letters" at the LA Theatre Club in 1991, and continued his voiceover career and appeared in his first full-length animated feature film "FernGully: The Last Rainforest" in 1992.
Tim’s film roles were becoming steadily more prominent, and he soon found himself working with Macaulay Culkin in the popular movie sequel "Home Alone 2: Lost In New Yor"k as the Plaza Hotel’s nosey and smarmy concierge. But the stage was a constant lure, and in late 1992 he decided to return to Broadway in the musical "My Favorite Year" as Alan Swann, an aging alcoholic movie star who is given one last chance to revive his washed-up career on a television show. Bringing a distinctive edge and pathos to the role Peter O’Toole had originated on film, Tim gained his second Tony Award nomination for the role. By 1993, he was back at work in the movies, creating one of his most memorable villains in Walt Disney’s "The Three Musketeers" as the delightfully evil and seductive Cardinal Richelieu. In 1994, he appeared in "The Shadow" alongside Alec Baldwin and his Amadeus co-star Ian McKellen. On television, he played a whole family in the "Tales From The Crypt" episode "Death Of Some Salesmen." His portrayal of Ma, Pa, and Winona Brackett earned him a Primetime Emmy award nomination.
In 1996, Tim landed the role of Long John Silver in the new Muppet movie, "Muppet Treasure Island," which set the golden standard for human roles in Muppet films. He later appeared in the widely anticipated movie adaptation of "Charlie’s Angels" in 2000 as villain Roger Corwin. Shifting gears yet again, Tim returned to the Broadway stage in 2001, playing Ebenezer Scrooge in a musical version of "A Christmas Carol" for the Theater at Madison Square Garden, his first theatre performance for almost a decade. Animation feature films and cartoon voiceovers followed alongside two television guest star appearances in sitcoms "Monk" and "Will & Grace" and the feature film "Kinsey" during 2004.
The same year, Tim was approached by his friend and ex-Monty Python star Eric Idle and asked to attend a read-through for a new musical written by Idle based on the 1975 film "Monty Python & The Holy Grail," to be named "Spamalot." Tim would be playing the role made famous by Graham Chapman, King Arthur, in this Broadway-bound musical comedy spoof. The reading went well. "Spamalot" was performed in Chicago for a preview period, to be followed by a run on Broadway. Tim secured the role of King Arthur in a cast that included Hank Azaria, David Hyde Pierce, and Sara Ramirez as The Lady Of The Lake. He performed in the show between 2004 and 2007, appearing in the Chicago, Broadway and London productions and gaining his third Tony Award nomination.
In 2010, Tim guest-starred as serial killer Billy Flynn on CBS’s "Criminal Minds." Tim returned to the stage in April 2012 when he appeared in a re-write of Eric Idle's "What About Dick" at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles. The show had a limited four-night run, with a remarkable cast that also included Eddie Izzard, Billy Connolly, Tracey Ullman, and Russell Brand.
In July of 2012, Tim suffered a major stroke. He has worked incredibly hard in his ongoing and continued recovery over the last ten years, and has since returned to work. In 2016, Tim appeared in the FOX Television Event "The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let's Do The Time Warp Again" as the Criminologist, and he reprised his role of Frank-N-Furter in a 2020 benefit reading of "The Rocky Horror Show" in aid of the Wisconsin Democrats.
Since 2016, Tim has traveled extensively across the USA and Canada to make special guest appearances at large scale events such as Comic Con, MegaCon, GalaxyCon and Fan eXpo. Fans can also speak to Tim virtually via Tim's online platform, alongside private calls, videos and shoutouts which can be purchased in our store. Tim regularly and exclusively signs with Lance Kirkland's professional autograph company OC Celebrity Marketing and both pre-signed, personalized and send-in options are available in our store.
Copyright SW and L. Brown 2022.