Billericay Famous Face Colin Firth

For some people, the question of who was the best James Bond, the best Doctor, or the best host of Bake Off is a thorny, contentious issue with the power to divide families and destroy relationships.

 

For Jane Austen fans, the question of who was the best Mr Darcy is another divisive conversation, and impossible to have without at least mentioning the actor whose portrayal, for many fans, reigns supreme: Colin Firth.

 

Colin Firth was born on 10th September 1960. His parents were teachers, and the family travelled a lot in the line of work. Firth, along with his younger sister Kate and younger brother Jonathan (who are also both actors), spent some of his childhood in Africa, and then in England when his family moved to Billericay and Brentwood, before they moved to America. He attended school in St Louis, Missouri for a while, and then the family moved back again to England.

 

Firth began acting early on, appearing in school plays and pantomimes from the age of five, and officially decided at the age of fourteen that he wanted to be a professional actor. After Sixth Form he moved to London and got a job at the National Youth Theatre, and then won a place at Drama Centre London. It was here that he played Hamlet, was spotted and cast in the 1983 West End production of Julian Mitchell’s play Another Country. The year after, Firth made his big screen debut in the film adaptation of the same play.

 

After this Firth had various parts and successes – he was nominated for a BAFTA in 1989 for his role as a disabled soldier in Tumbledown – but his breakthrough came in 1995 when he was cast as Mr Darcy in the BBC miniseries adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. His performance won acclaim and adoration, shooting Firth simultaneously to stardom and heart-throb status. In 2001, Firth played the role of Mark Darcy in the film adaptation of Bridget Jones’ Diary as a meta joke to the role that made his name.

 

Firth has won a number of awards through his career, including an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a British Academy Film Award, and Screen Actors Guild Award. In the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours, he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his services to drama.

 

Firth has three children; the eldest, William Firth, from a relationship with the actress Meg Tilly, is also an actor. In 1997 he married Italian producer Livia Giuggioli with whom he has two sons. The couple divorced in 2019 after 22 years of marriage. Firth speaks fluent Italian and successfully applied for dual British-Italian citizenship in 2017.

 

by Alice Smales

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