Colin Firth

  He began his career working in a London theatre ticket booth after arriving in the capital disillusioned with the treadmill of school and academics. Age 23, Firth got his acting break taking over the role played by Daniel Day-Lewis in the West End production of Another Country; a year later he was starring in a film version of the show alongside Rupert Everett. In the years between his debut and the 1995 ‘drenched shirt moment’ that was to catapult him to heartthrob status and superstardom, Firth featured in a string of lower-profile successes, including an on-stage production of Pinter’s The Caretaker and as the libertine protagonist in the 1989 film Valmont, an adaptation of Les Liaisons Dangereuses. The BBC’s famous Pride and Prejudice came along in 1995, leading to his subsequent Mark Darcy roles in the Bridget Jones films. The charming-mannered Englishman became something of a trademark character for Firth, who went on to star in such films as Fever Pitch, The Importance of Being Ernest and the British classic Love Actually. However, despite Darcy’s ghost lingering in the shadows, Firth has always sought diversity in his roles, moving away from the romantic comedies that made his name. He received widespread acclaim in projects such as And When Did You Last See Your Father, about the life of poet Blake Morrison, and was nominated for an Emmy after playing lawyer Wilhelm Stuckart in the TV drama Conspiracy. His 2009 role in Tom Ford’s poignant work A Single Man, as a professor mourning the death of his lifelong partner, earned Firth a Bafta and the Venice Volpi cup, as well as an Oscar nomination and numerous other awards. In January he was chosen for the honour of a Hollywood Walk of Fame star, which he dedicated to his wife, the Italian-born film producer Livia Giuggioli.