A British actor, Colin Firth is best noted for his portrayal of Mr. Darcy in the television adaptation of Jane Austen`s Pride and Prejudice and for his commanding role as the future King George VI in The King`s Speech
. For essaying several critically acclaimed roles, Firth has been the recipient of many prestigious awards like Academy Award, BAFTA, and Golden Globe.
Firth, in 2011, was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was validated with an honorary degree from the University of Winchester, in 2007. Firth has been actively associated with various causes. He has for many years campaigned for the rights of indigenous tribal people, rights of refugees and environment-related issues. Early Life
Born into a family of academicians on 10th September 1960 in Hampshire, England, Firth`s mother Shirley Jean was a lecturer at the University of Winchester and his father David Norman Lewis Firth was a scholar of History and Education Officer with the Nigerian Government. Firth has two younger siblings, Kate, a theater actress and Jonathan, an actor. Both his parents lived in India in their growing years, as his maternal and paternal grandparents were employed for missionary work there.
Because of his father`s work, Firth for a long time stayed in Nigeria and then one year in America, before finally moving to Winchester, UK. Owing to his parents` dominating, orthodox Christian beliefs, Firth was always considered to be an "outsider" by the other kids in his school. He tried to vent out by learning guitar when no mode of entertainment was approved by his parents inside the house. Soon, he realized that his classes would involve learning biblical songs rather than trendy pop tunes. He then enrolled for acting lessons as a creative outlet. He started acting in school plays and was later accepted at the Drama Centre London, where he was spotted playing `Hamlet` by the playwright Julian Mitchell. She then cast him in his first professional role as Bennet in the West End Production, Another Country.Personal Life
In 1989, Firth started dating his Valmont co-star Meg Tilly and they have a love child William "Will" Joseph Firth. However, in 1994, the couple parted ways through mutual consent. Firth then married Italian film producer and director Livia Firth, in 1997. They have two sons, Luca, born on March 2001 and Matteo born on August 2003.Movie Career
Firth broke into the Hollywood film industry by starring in the film adaptation of the West End production Another Country. Over the next few years, Firth appeared in several stage, television and movie productions. In 1989, he played the role of Robert Lawrence in the TV production Tumbledown. For his portrayal of a Scottish leader injured during the war, Firth bagged the Royal Television Society Best Actor Award and his first BAFTA nomination. Even after receiving immense critical acclaim for Tumbledown, Firth went on to do films like Apartment Zero (1988), Valmont (1989), and Circle of Friends (1995), which were all box office duds.
His first major breakthrough came when he appeared as Mr. Darcy, a stuck-up and conceited patrician, in the 1995 BBC television adaptation of Jane Austen`s Pride and Prejudice. The serial not only made him extremely popular but also gave him a newly acquired sex symbol status. The scene where he dives into the lake and walks out of the water displaying his well-toned body instantly made him an international heartthrob.
He then starred in The English Patient, where he played the good-natured pilot husband, and Shakespeare In Love
, in which he featured as the odious Lord Wessex. Both of these movies received an Academy Award for Best Picture. Following this, he starred in some light-hearted rom-coms like Fever Pitch (1997), Relative Values (2000), and The Importance of Being Earnest (2002). In 2001, Firth was further catapulted to stardom as he portrayed the character of the arrogant and rude, Mark Darcy in the romantic comedy Bridget Jones`s Diary, an adaptation of Helen Fielding`s novel by the same name. Based on Austen`s Mr. Darcy, he reprised the same role in Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004). The movie along with Firth stars Renee Zellweger,
who plays the titular character and Firth`s love interest in the movie.
Subsequently, he featured in movies like Girl With A Pearl Earring,
What A Girl Wants, Trauma, The Accidental Husband
, and the hit 2008 musical, Mamma Mia.
Mamma Mia went onto become the highest grossing British film made until that time and Firth described working in the film as "a bit nerve-wracking". Not ceasing to experiment with his films, Firth, in 2009, essayed the role of a gay professor who, after the death of his lover, exhibits an unemotional front while contemplating suicide. This movie called A Single Man
is directed by Tom Ford
and is an adaptation of Christopher Isherwood`s novel of the same name. The film opened to amazing reviews by the critics and Firth`s performance was highly appreciated, earning him the Volpi Cup for the Best Actor at the 66th Venice International Film Festival in 2009.
He next starred in The King`s Speech, in 2010, as Prince Albert, who takes the help of a bizarre speech and language therapist to cope up with his stammer. The movie was a blockbuster both critically and commercially. Firth received the highest honor for any actor in the American film industry- an Academy Award for Best Actor in 2011.
In the coming years, he appeared in movies like Main Street, Tinker. Tailor. Soldier. Spy
, Arthur Newman, The Railway Man and Before I Go To Sleep, all of these films were moderately received and failed to emulate the success of The King`s Speech. Then in 2014, Firth starred in the spy action comedy Kingsman: The Secret Service.
Directed by Matthew Vaughn, the film received highly positive reviews and grossed over $414 million worldwide, becoming Vaughn`s most commercially successful film to date.
Colin Firth`s 2016 projects include the rom-com Bridget Jone`s Baby
, which is the third film in the Bridget Jone`s franchise. In 2017, he appeared in the sequel of Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014), Kingsman: The Golden Circle. His other releases include Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018) and Mary Poppins Returns (2019), The Mercy (2019), 1917 (2020) and The Secret Garden (2021).