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Colin Firth

Date of Birth: Saturday, September 10, 1960
AGE: 58
Occupation: Actor

Biography: A British film, television, and theatre actor. Firth gained wide public attention in the 1990s for his portrayal of Mr. Darcy in the 1995 television adaptation of Jane Austen?s Pride and Prejudice. In 2011, Firth received an Academy Award for his portrayal of King George VI in The King?s Speech, a performance that also earned him the Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actor. The previous year, he received his first Academy Award nomination, for his leading role in A Single Man, a performance that won him a BAFTA Award. He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2011.

Firth was born in England. His mother, Shirley Jean (née Rolles), was a comparative religion lecturer at King Alfred?s College Winchester (now the University of Winchester), and his father, David Norman Lewis Firth, was a history lecturer (also at King Alfred?s) and education officer for the Nigerian Government. Firth has a sister, Kate, and a younger brother, Jonathan, who is also an actor. Firth?s parents were raised in India, because his maternal grandparents, Congregationalist ministers, and his paternal grandfather, an Anglican priest, performed missionary work abroad. Firth spent part of his childhood in Nigeria, where his father was teaching.

He lived in St. Louis, Missouri when he was 11. He later attended the Montgomery of Alamein Secondary School (now Kings? School), a state comprehensive school in Winchester, Hampshire, and then Barton Peveril College in Eastleigh, Hampshire. While in Kings? School, he wanted to play the guitar, but the school banned the guitar and saxophone, as they were "not serious instruments", and he was told to play the euphonium instead.

It was through the 1995 BBC television adaptation of Jane Austen?s Pride and Prejudice that Firth gained wider renown. The serial was a major international success, and Firth gained heartthrob status because of his role as Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, in which he emerged in a wet shirt after a swim. This performance also made him the object of affection for fictional journalist Bridget Jones (created by Helen Fielding), an interest which carried on into the two novels featuring the Jones character. In the second novel, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, the character even meets Firth in Rome. As something of an in-joke, when the novels were adapted for the cinema, Firth was cast as Jones?s love interest, Mark Darcy. Continuing this in-joke, there was a dog called Mr Darcy in the film St. Trinian?s, which Firth?s character accidentally kills.

Firth had a supporting role in The English Patient (1996) and since then, has starred in films such as Fever Pitch (1997), Shakespeare in Love (1998), Relative Values (2000), Bridget Jones?s Diary (2001), The Importance of Being Earnest (2002), Love Actually (2003), What a Girl Wants (2003), Hope Springs (2003), Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003), Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004), Nanny McPhee (2005), Where The Truth Lies (2005), Then She Found Me (2007) with Helen Hunt, The Last Legion (2007) with Aishwarya Rai, When Did You Last See Your Father? (2008), the film adaptation of Mamma Mia! (2008), and Easy Virtue, which screened at the Rome Film Festival to excellent reviews.

Firth starred in the 2010 film The King?s Speech as Prince Albert, Duke of York/King George VI. The film details him working to overcome his speech impediment while becoming monarch of the United Kingdom at the outbreak of World War II. At the Toronto Film Festival, the film was met with a standing ovation.

Firth resides in Chiswick, London. In 1989, he entered into a romantic relationship with actress Meg Tilly, his co-star in Valmont. In 1990, she gave birth to a son, William "Will" Joseph Firth, and they made their home near the Lower Mainland of B.C., Canada. Firth remains in contact with Will and with Tilly?s two other children, for whom he was a stepfather. In 1994, after he and Tilly had separated, Firth became involved with actress Jennifer Ehle, his co-star in Pride and Prejudice; the two eventually broke up. Firth is married to Italian film producer/director Livia Giuggioli and lives in both London and Italy. They have two sons, Luca (born March 2001) and Mateo (born August 2003). Firth started to learn Italian when he and Giuggioli began to date and he is now fluent in the language.

Firth has been a long-standing supporter of Survival International, a non-governmental organisation that defends the rights of tribal peoples. Speaking in 2001, he said, "My interest in tribal peoples goes back many years... and I have supported ever since." In 2003, during the promotion of the movie Love Actually, he spoke in defense of the tribal people of Botswana, condemning the Botswana government?s eviction of the Gana and Gwi Bushmen from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. He says of the Bushmen, "These people are not the remnants of a past era who need to be brought up to date. Those who are able to continue to live on the land that is rightfully theirs are facing the 21st century with a confidence that many of us in the so-called developed world can only envy."

He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2011 Birthday Honours for services to drama

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