Icon Of The Month: Tim Curry

That’s right, this month the legendary Tim Curry, is my icon of the month.

Timothy James Curry was born 19 April 1946 in Grappenhall, Cheshire, England to a Methodist Naval Chaplain, James Curry, and his wife, Patricia Curry. His early life prepared him for the life of a travelling actor. Curry’s parents met in Malta during World War II and were married in Egypt, where their first child, Judith, was born. Curry himself was conceived in South Africa, born in Cheshire, and by the time he was six months old the family had moved to Hong Kong.
The young Curry lived a peripatetic life until his father suffered a stroke and the family settled in Plymouth with his maternal grandfather close by, whose West Country accent Tim borrowed for his portrayal of ‘Long John Silver’ in “Muppet Treasure Island”. Curry 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. Tim’s father had an intellectual bent and wrote a thesis on ‘English Sea Chaplains in the Royal Navy, (1577-1684)’ gaining an MA from Bristol University in 1956.
After another stroke and a bout of pneumonia, Jim Curry died in 1958, during Tim’s 12th year. Following his father’s death Tim gained a scholarship to Kingswood School, Bath, where he first started to act in school plays and where he met Jonathan Lynn, who would go on to write “Yes Minister” and who would direct Tim in Clue years later. Following Kingswood and a gap year spent in Europe with another classmate, future art critic Richard Cork, Curry attended Birmingham University to study Drama & English between 1965 and 1968. He often refers to the fact he didn’t attend classes much and merely acted in extra-curricular productions. He even claims one of his professors tried to stop him from taking his final exams because he had never met him before.
Curry’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, Curry 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. Curry’s enthusiasm for the show didn’t last long, and he sought release from his eighteen-month contract before moving to the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of “After Haggarty” in 1970. Curry also spent a season at the Glasgow Citizens Theatre as well as working in various West End shows and some small-scale television such as “The Policeman & The Cook” (1972) with Michael Crawford. He also 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 the early 70s, Curry began to mix with the theatrical crowd in London and Ian McKellen recalls how “he used to come to parties I gave at Christmas and was always the little boy in the corner who was a slight strain to talk to because he never opened his mouth. He was very tentative and private and perhaps rather wry about the company”.
Quiet though he may have been at parties, Curry’s next major role would show the world a more flamboyant and boisterous side of his personality. 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. Curry’s audition song was Tutti Frutti. O’Brien initially had Jonathan Kramer (of Midnight Cowboy) in mind for the role of ‘Frank-N-Furter’, ‘but Tim Curry came in to audition and poor Jonathan never had a chance.’ “Rocky Horror” was an enormous hit, transferring to several progressively larger venues while Curry was with the cast and attracting attention from celebrities ranging from Mick Jagger to Tennessee Williams.
The Rocky Horror Show took Curry 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 forty years later and has helped cement Curry’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 Curry 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 45 performances.
Curry was devastated about his Broadway debut, and Rocky’s treatment at the hands of the New York critics was a turning point in his development as an artist: ‘I think that was really one of the most formative things that has ever happened to me. I just went home and took out a bottle of vodka for about a month, actually. I sent out for submarine sandwiches and drank and got hugely patched, and then started work again. And I think once you’ve had a really serious failure, nothing can ever be as bad as that again. So you might as well just go for it, because they can’t make you feel any worse than they did before.’
Curry’s first role after “Rocky Horror” was in Stephen Frears’s television production of “Three Men in a Boat”, in which Curry played author ‘Jerome K. Jerome’, alongside Monty Python’s Michael Palin. ‘I asked him [Frears] if he thought I could play that, and he said that after Frank-N-Furter I could play anything’.
Curry 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. One of Curry’s first stops back in New York was at the storied Algonquin Hotel. Just months before he had left the Algonquin with his tail between his legs, unable to pay his bill. The manager had told him, ‘don’t worry, you’ll be back. Pay me when you can.’ Curry recounts with glee that he indeed went back to the Algonquin…and paid his outstanding balance in $5 bills.
Curry’s career also continued to accelerate on TV and film. In 1976 he began to film the prestigious six-part television series “The Life & Times of William Shakespeare” portraying the Bard from a young man through to his death. He was in high-powered company for his first film after “Rocky”, “The Shout” with Alan Bates and John Hurt. Meanwhile, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” was developing into a cult phenomenon in America, opening doors not just for Tim’s acting pursuits but also for his long-held wish to have a career as a recording artist. ‘’I was a boy soprano,’’ Curry explains. ‘’I sang in church from the age of 6 or 7, which I guess started it really.’’ While at Birmingham, he was still considering a career as a vocalist: ‘at the time I wasn’t really sure whether I wanted to be an actor or a singer; so I talked my way into “Hair” and postponed the decision for another year or so’.
Curry had originally started working on a studio album with Lou Adler in 1976 but the album never came to fruition; Tim still craved a music career, and off the back of the “Rocky Horror” phenomenon brewing in the States he began to work with A&M Records, making three studio albums between 1978 and 1981. Bob Ezrin produced the first of these albums, “Read My Lips”: ‘As soon as I met Tim, I decided to produce him. He came walking into the studio, into another artist’s session, and acted as though it was his session. He projected a kind of instant charisma, very serious, very powerful, very determined. He’s polished on the surface, but beneath it there is a raw sinister power. He’s got plenty of balls’.

Although none of the albums were a commercial success Curry had a minor hit with ‘I Do The Rock’ from his 1979 album “Fearless” when it reached number 53 on the American Billboard Chart. Curry toured America and Germany in the late 1970s with a band including famed guitarist Dick Wagner. While writing songs for his albums, Curry developed a friendship with playwright Peter Shaffer. He recounts going to Shaffer’s house for Sunday lunch, and playing for him the new songs he was in the process of composing. A friend tipped off Curry that Shaffer was writing ‘a wonderful part’ for him. Curry’s response was to say ‘it will go to someone else.’

The role of ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’ did indeed go to someone else, at least at first. But when it came time for “Amadeus” to transfer to Broadway, it was Curry in the title role, working for the first time with Ian McKellen, who was playing the role of Salieri. Shaffer made extensive revisions in the play for its US run, and during rehearsals the two actors were dealing with new lines and new material every afternoon, and then putting it on its feet that night in the theatre. The result of this creative collaboration was a smash hit show, and Tony nominations for both Curry and McKellen. Curry lost out on the Tony Award to his co-star McKellen but often refers to the production as the piece of work he is proudest of.
While performing as ‘Mozart’ in the evenings, Curry 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 the ill-fated “Times Square” and John Huston’s big screen adaptation of the musical “Annie”. By the early eighties, it was clear that Tim Curry was not fated to be a rock star. ‘He enjoys telling how, whenever Sting was asked what made him imagine he could act in movies, Sting replied: ”If Tim Curry can make rock tours, I don’t see why not!“ There’s a CD entitled The Best of Tim Curry. ”They couldn’t call it the Greatest Hits,“ he says, ”Because there weren’t any’’.
But the end of Tim’s career as a rock god didn’t mean his days of musical glamour were finished. 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. The role was vocally demanding and at the high end of his vocal range, and Curry admits it was the first time in his life he was required to take formal singing lessons. Swashbuckling through the performance in an unbuttoned shirt and thigh-high boots, Curry 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 Curry as a vehicle to showcase his mimicry and singing skills. It was at this time that Curry also began what would become a lifelong exploration of villainous roles, appearing as ‘Bill Sikes’ in a television adaptation of “Oliver Twist” and, as a more subtle and sexy antagonist in the feature film “The Ploughman’s Lunch” (with Jonathan Pryce), a role which Tim claims as one of his favourites.
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 The Threepenny Opera”. Tim had long wanted to play the role and was disappointed with the results, citing poor reviews‚ ‘I’ve got a pretty good relationship with the critics, thankfully. But there was this sort of period this particular year at the National which was, uh, not very successful. In particular, a production of Threepenny Opera where I played MacHeath, which I’d always wanted to do and was truly slaughtered for the first time in my life, and it was very, it was very difficult. Particularly at a place like the National, where if a production clearly doesn’t work, they don’t take it off’. In actual fact, the reviews of Tim’s work were largely rather good, though the critics felt the production itself fell short.
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”. Scott thought of Tim Curry: ‘Darkness was a very difficult guy to cast because of his physical requirements and his grand dramatic, melodramatic, requirements; operatic capability all but opera short of singing; I always remembered The Rocky Horror Show and whilst it’s nothing to do with this – that’s a brave thing he did. Really brave.’ Cast opposite a very young Tom Cruise, Curry 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 men were finished, Tim had very little left to work with but his voice, which nevertheless proved both seductive and memorable. Interviewing Curry years later on the hit American TV show The View, hostess Meredith Viera explained ‘you know what I think it is about you, I’ve thought about this – because I’m a big fan – I think it’s that you’re very seductive…if you were the devil – I would pay to go to hell. I really would.’ (Tim barked with laughter in response, and declared ‘that is going on my resume!’)
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 another cult classic. In 1986 Tim also appeared as ‘The Grand Wizard’ in the TV movie “The Worst Witch”, a role often remembered as a pivotal performance for all the wrong reasons, mostly due to the now infamous ‘Anything Can Happen On Halloween’ music video, which featured an array of cheesy psychedelic special effects.
Despite these film appearances, Tim found his time at the National Theatre didn’t do much for his financial well-being, the pay at the National being substantially lower than on the West End. In an interview with Twiggy years later, Tim claimed that ‘the cupboard was bare’. He therefore agreed to appear in the US national tour of “Me & My Girl” (which he later referred to as the ‘get rich and get thin’ tour) 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 Curry’s life and career. The first was that Tim decided to move to Los Angeles permanently after the run, as he wanted to focus on a movie career, and LA was ‘where they point cameras at you’.
The second happened quite by chance when he was approached by Hanna Barbera to voice ‘The Serpent’ in a cartoon adaptation of The Creation. Tim found that he thoroughly enjoyed doing voiceover work, and went on to become one of the most well-known, prolific voiceover artists in the industry. He has voiced 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, including “Gabriel Knight”, “Frankenstein: Through The Eyes of A Monster”, and most recently “Red Alert 3”, “Dragon Age: Origins”, & “Brutal Legend”.
While some actors find voicework a poor second to stage work, Curry feels differently about it: ‘Growing up in England I was a child of what today would be considered austere surroundings. It was all radio; we had no TV until I was about 10. I believe, as a result, that I became a good reader of imagination, which is an enormous part of recording work…. I find there is something very intimate about being the voice in someone’s ear when they’re driving. I’ve received letters from people who’ve said, “You took me all the way to Tuscaloosa.” It’s you, the author and your own imagination, and you’re trying to engage the listener’s imagination. It’s a creative, lovely thing to do’.
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. The garden seems to have had particular meaning for him, as his father made a garden from scratch during the years of his illness. Reflecting on his own garden, Curry said ’I made two patios with benches. From one you can see the sun rise and from one you can watch the sun set. Often I just sit up there and see what I imagine for the next project. If I didn’t have to work, I’d never leave. The 20th century has been very much about getting what you want now. Gardens are about making something terrific for those who come after’.
His Hollywood career underway, Curry appeared in six episodes of the hip television series “Wiseguy” (1989) as corrupt record producer ‘Winston Newquay’. His performance in the series’ story arc ‘Dead Dog Records’ is often regarded by fans as one of his best. Curry then returned to the stage between 1989 and 1990 playing William Hogarth in Nick Dear’s “The Art Of Success” for the Manhattan Theatre Club before finally focusing on his movie career in LA. In 1990 Curry won a small role alongside Sean Connery in “The Hunt For Red October”, followed by a television adaptation of “Stephen King’s IT” as ‘Pennywise’, a terrifying killer clown, where he somewhat reluctantly returned to wearing prosthetic makeup for the role. ‘Pennywise’ has been terrorizing generations of children ever since. Alongside these roles, Curry appeared as ‘The Prosecutor’ in Rodger Waters’s concert “The Wall: Live In Berlin” which commemorated the fall of the Berlin Wall.

In 1991 Curry took a brief hiatus from the shady and villainous roles he had begun to specialize in, to appear in “Oscar” with Sylvester Stallone. The role of ‘Dr. Thornton Poole’, a shy and bumbling elocution coach hired to help the gangster Stallone clean up his English, remains one of his favourite parts. Tim quipped that ‘Dr. Poole’ is a genuinely kind character that gets the girl in the end: ‘I usually kill the girl’. Unable to resist the lure of the stage, Tim appeared briefly with his good friend and “Pass The Ammo” (1988) co-star Annie Potts in “Love Letters” at the LA Theatre Club in 1991. He also continued his voiceover career and appeared in his first full-length animated feature film “FernGully: The Last Rainforest” in 1992.

Curry’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 York” 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 the Broadway in the musical “My Favorite Year” as ‘Alan Swann’, an ageing 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, but again did not win. 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 1994.

In 1995, Tim appeared in the feature film “Congo”, which became known as a notorious flop. The following year, his fortunes improved and he landed the role of ‘Long John Silver’ in the new Muppet movie, “Muppet Treasure Island”. Curry gained great critical acclaim for this magical performance and director Brian Henson applauded Tim’s ability to stand his own amongst the screen-grabbing Muppet crew. Curry commented, ‘what’s extraordinary is that after the first day or two, you don’t think of them as Muppets. You think of them as characters – as fellow actors’. He performed his two songs ‘Sailing For Adventure’ and ‘Professional Pirate’ live on set and impressed Henson so much that he insisted all performers in his films should do the same from then on. Curry thoroughly enjoyed the experience: ‘It was one of the happiest sets I’ve ever been on. There’s a conspicuous lack of ego among the Muppets’.

Curry appeared in several films through 1996 and 1997, including “Lover’s Knot” and “McHale’s Navy”, which were filmed alongside his animation work on the cult cartoon “Duckman” and television guest parts in “Lexx” and a TV adaptation of “Titanic”. In 1997 Curry once again worked with his good friend Annie Potts on the ABC sitcom “Over The Top”. Tim worked as a producer on the series and did several large-scale interviews to promote the series on shows such as “The View”, “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee”, and “Arthel & Fred”. Curry was the star of the show as washed-up actor ‘Simon Ferguson’, the ex-husband of Annie Potts’ hotel-owning ‘Hadley’. ‘Simon’ is sacked from daytime soap ‘Days To Remember’ and shows up at his ex-wife’s hotel, hoping for a free place to stay, despite the fact their marriage of just three days ended twenty years before. The show also featured a young Steve Carell as a wacky European chef and guest stars such as John Ritter. Unfortunately only three episodes of the eleven filmed were ever shown on American television due to low ratings and alleged conflicts between network bosses.
After the lack of success for “Over The Top”, Curry went on to do several television and straight-to-video movies such as “Doom Runners” (1998) and “Addams Family Reunion” (1998) with Tim as ‘Gomez’ and Daryl Hannah as ‘Morticia’. The television ‘mockumentary’ “Jackie’s Back” was filmed in 1999 alongside a great deal of voiceover work in animation, audiobooks and video games before Curry finally got back into mainstream work during 2000. Curry appeared in the movie adaptation of “Charlie’s Angels” in 2000 as villain ‘Roger Corwin’. The same year, he also appeared in two small-scale independent films “Four Dogs Playing Poker” and the ‘Brit flick’ “Sorted”.
Shifting gears yet again, Curry 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. This was Curry’s first theatre performance for almost a decade, and the transition back to the stage took some getting used to. Tim recalls, ‘the theatre there has 5,000 seats, and I was dreading it. But I remember going out on stage at the beginning of the technical rehearsals and thinking, “You idiot, this is what you do”’. During this time, Tim also took a leading role in the campaign to attract people to New York and the theatre after the 9/11 attacks.
Following his performance as ‘Scrooge’, Tim returned to film and television work appearing in “Attila” (2001), “Scary Movie 2” (2001), “Wolf Girl” (2001), and “The Scoundrel’s Wife” (2002). In 2001 he provided the voice of ‘Nigel Thornberry’ in the Nickelodeon cartoon “The Wild Thornberrys” which remains one of his most popular animation voiceovers to this day. In 2002 he landed the role of ‘Mr. French’ in a remake of the popular sitcom “Family Affair”. After the failure of “Over The Top”, this series marked a chance for Curry to return to mainstream American television and prove himself to the public once more. Unfortunately, despite a well-crafted and subtle performance by Curry, this show was also slated by the critics, and, once again, Tim did not gain the success he clearly craved.
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, Curry 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”. Curry would be playing the role made famous by Graham Chapman, ‘King Arthur’, in this Broadway-bound musical comedy spoof. The reading went well, Tim said , ‘the whole thing went like gangbusters and the show was to go ahead.’ “Spamalot” was performed in Chicago for a preview period to be followed by a run on Broadway. Curry 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; yet again losing out on the gong as he saw it awarded to “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’” Norbert LeoButz.

Despite the disappointment over the Tony Award, “Spamalot” did something for Curry’s career that no show in 20 years had done – it brought him back to the London stage. Curry had been looking for a vehicle for his return, and he was thrilled to be back, and particularly thrilled to be playing very English comedy with other English actors: ‘I’m loving being back among English actors, who just do it and they do it with an absolutely idiosyncratic sense of humour’. He performed in London for a limited four-month run and then handed ‘King Arthur’s crown over to Simon Russell Beale. Mike Nichols, the show’s director, told Curry he was welcome to open the show anywhere it played, an offer that touched Tim deeply. In the end, though, his homecoming to London was shortlived, and Tim returned to his adoptive home: ‘I was going to go to Las Vegas and open Spamalot there, but I decided that I was just too physically exhausted. I plan to go home to Los Angeles and have a bit of a life for a moment. I’ve been doing Spamalot for a very long time, and it’s time to go home’.

During his time in “Spamalot”, Tim was plagued by an old foot injury for which he’d had surgery many years before. He continued to perform through the pain (and has since had more surgery to correct the problem). Reflecting on the passage of time and his role in “Spamalot”, Tim has said, ‘I…thought that I only had one more musical in me. They are hugely physically demanding, especially as you get older’. One evening in 2006, autograph-seekers stopped Tim as he was getting into his car after dinner in a Los Angeles restaurant, and one asked about the cast he was wearing on his foot. Tim’s comment was ‘ancient musicals’.

After his return home and having had a bit of a life, Curry turned his attention once again to film and television. He appeared in the popular sitcom “Psych” in 2007 as a Simon Cowell-type talent judge called ‘Nigel St. Nigel’. He appeared alongside Patrick Swayze in 2007’s “Christmas In Wonderland” and returned to British television for the first time in several years in Terry Pratchett’s “The Colour Of Magic” in 2008. In 2007, Curry returned briefly to the stage in a three-day run of Eric Idle’s “What About Dick” in Los Angeles. In 2009 he appeared as ‘Dodo’ in a Syfy Channel adaptation of “Alice In Wonderland” entitled “Alice”. This was quickly followed by yet more British television during Christmas of 2009 where viewers saw Curry in an episode of “Agatha Christie’s Poirot” titled “Appointment With Death” at 9pm on Christmas Day. Curry appeared as an eccentric Italian magician on the BBC’s ever-popular television series “Return to Cranford” with Judi Dench the very next day. (In an interview about the series, Dame Judi confided, ‘I’ve always had a huge crush on Tim Curry since I saw him Amadeus’.)

Curry most recently guest-starred as serial killer ‘Billy Flynn’ on CBS’s “Criminal Minds”. He appeared in the final episode of season five in May 2010 and the first episode of season six in September 2010. In October 2010 Tim played ‘Dr Monro’ in the John Landis film “Burke and Hare”. In May 2011 Tim was set to return to the UK stage as ‘The Player’ in Tom Stoppard’s “Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead” directed by Trevor Nunn. Unfortunately after only a few days in the production at Chichester Festival Theatre, Tim was forced to pull out of the play due to ill health. Tim’s understudy, Chris Andrew Mellon, took on the role of ‘The Player’ for the remainder of the Chichester run and in the London run at The Theatre Royal Haymarket.

Tim’s illness was particularly unfortunate given the tremendous promise of his performance. One critic remarked that ‘his delivery of the “actors are the opposite of people” speech was so arresting and passionate that the silence in the theatre reached a whole new level, as the audience became ‘absorbed in his every word’. 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 and Tracey Ullman.

In July of 2012, Tim suffered a major stroke. His family and friends closed ranks around him as he began his long road to recovery, and managed the near-miracle of keeping the news secret until the following May, when somehow the Daily Mail learned about it. In response to the flood of press queries, his agent Marcia Hurwitz confirmed that ‘Tim is doing great. He absolutely can speak and is recovering at this time and in great humour’ She also adds ‘He has been going to physical therapy doing very well and still has his great sense of humour. He thanks everyone for sending good wishes.’ Tim has returned to work following his stroke and has recorded several voice projects including “Over The Garden Wall” for Cartoon Network. In 2016 Tim appeared in the FOX Television Event “The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do The Time Warp Again” as the Crimonlogist. During 2016 Tim also appeared at cabaret evenings in LA where has has taken to the stage to sing original self penned material. 2016 also saw Tim appear at Conventions to meet his fans and pose for photos. He continues to attend physical and speech therapy in his continued recovery.

Not only was he Tim Burton’s second choice for the role of the ‘Joker’, he was the producers’ first choice for the role on the animated series. However, after recording four episodes, his take on the ‘Joker’ was deemed as too scary for children, and thus the part was given to Mark Hamill. He auditioned for the role of ‘Judge Doom’ in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit “(1988), but was rejected at audition for being too terrifying. The role instead went to “Clue” (1985) co-star, Christopher Lloyd.

For many years, he did not publicly acknowledge his role as ‘Pennywise’ the Dancing Clown in the 1990 made-for-TV movie “It” (1990), based on the novel by Stephen King, until a 2015 interview with Moviefone in which he called the role “a wonderful part”.
Famously private, Curry has tried to keet the details of his private life shielded from the media.Tim currently lives in Los Angeles. He has never been married and has no children. Tim is an avid reader, painter, and a keen gardener; he created a beautiful garden from scratch in his previous residence in Los Feliz, LA, which was featured in several magazines alongside his interior design skills. In addition to his performance career, Tim is known to enjoy property development and has developed several beautiful homes around Los Angeles.
“It’s so comforting to know that there are so many people in this world sicker than I am.”Tim Curry

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