Rowan Atkinson: Life and Career of Mr. Bean

Rowan Atkinson is a British actor, comedian, and writer, best known for his iconic portrayal of the bumbling character Mr. Bean. However, Atkinson’s career spans far beyond this character, as he has been involved in various stage productions, TV shows, and films. In this article, we’ll take a comprehensive look at the life and career of Rowan Atkinson, examining his early life, rise to fame, notable works, and his impact on comedy as a whole.

Early Life and Education

Rowan Atkinson was born on January 6th, 1955, in Consett, County Durham, England. His parents were Eric Atkinson, a farmer, and Ella May, a housewife. Atkinson grew up in a rural setting, where he developed an interest in performing at a young age. He attended Durham Choristers School and later went on to study at St. Bees School in Cumbria. Atkinson then pursued a degree in Electrical Engineering at Newcastle University, where he became involved in the university’s drama club.

The Beginnings of Atkinson’s Career

After graduating from Newcastle University, Atkinson pursued a career in comedy, beginning with his involvement in the BBC Radio 3 program “The Atkinson People” in 1978. He then went on to perform in various comedy clubs and venues, where he developed his comedic style and persona. In 1979, Atkinson appeared on the television series “Not the Nine O’Clock News,” which helped to launch his career in television.

Rise to Fame with Mr. Bean

In 1990, Rowan Atkinson created the character of Mr. Bean, a lovable but hapless man-child who found himself in awkward situations on a regular basis. The character was an instant hit, and the TV show “Mr. Bean” became a global phenomenon, airing in over 200 countries. Atkinson’s portrayal of the character was praised for its physical comedy and nuanced expressions, and Mr. Bean quickly became a household name.

Notable Works Outside of Mr. Bean

While Mr. Bean is undoubtedly Atkinson’s most well-known character, he has also been involved in numerous other projects throughout his career. In 1983, Atkinson starred in the British sitcom “The Black Adder,” which was set in medieval England. He went on to star in three more seasons of the show, each set in a different historical period. Atkinson has also appeared in numerous films, including “Johnny English” and its sequels, “Love Actually,” and “Four Weddings and a Funeral.”

Atkinson’s Impact on Comedy

Rowan Atkinson’s impact on the world of comedy cannot be overstated. His physical comedy and facial expressions have become iconic, and his ability to make people laugh without saying a word is a testament to his talent. Atkinson has inspired countless comedians and actors, and his work has had a lasting impact on popular culture.

Personal Life

In 1990, Rowan Atkinson married Sunetra Sastry, a makeup artist whom he met on the set of “Blackadder II.” The couple has two children together, a son named Benjamin and a daughter named Lily. Atkinson and Sastry divorced in 2015, and Atkinson is now in a relationship with actress Louise Ford.

Awards and Honors

Rowan Atkinson has been recognized for his contributions to comedy and entertainment with numerous awards and honors. He has won four BAFTA Awards, an Olivier Award, and a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire). Atkinson was also named one of the 50 funniest actors in British comedy history by The Guardian in 2018.


Despite his success, Rowan Atkinson has not been without controversy. In 2011, he was involved in a high-profile car accident in which his McLaren F1 supercar crashed into a tree, resulting in the car catching fire. Atkinson suffered a shoulder injury but was otherwise unharmed. The incident led to a debate about the safety of high-performance sports cars on public roads.

In addition, Atkinson has faced criticism for his portrayal of Mr. Bean, with some arguing that the character reinforces negative stereotypes about British people being clumsy and bumbling. Atkinson has defended the character, arguing that Mr. Bean is meant to be a universal character, not representative of any one culture.


Rowan Atkinson’s impact on comedy and entertainment is undeniable. His contributions to physical comedy have inspired countless comedians and actors, and his work continues to be beloved by audiences around the world. His legacy is sure to endure for many years to come.


Rowan Atkinson is a true icon of comedy and entertainment, with a career spanning over four decades. From his early days in comedy clubs to his iconic portrayal of Mr. Bean, Atkinson has captivated audiences with his unique blend of physical comedy, facial expressions, and comedic timing. Despite controversies and criticisms, Atkinson’s talent and impact on popular culture are undeniable.


What other TV shows has Rowan Atkinson been involved in besides Mr. Bean?

Atkinson has also starred in the TV series “Blackadder,” “The Thin Blue Line,” and “Maigret.”

Has Rowan Atkinson ever won an Academy Award?

No, Atkinson has never won an Academy Award. However, he has been recognized with numerous awards for his work in comedy and entertainment.

Is Rowan Atkinson still involved in acting and comedy?

As of 2023, Rowan Atkinson’s net worth is estimated to be around $150 million.

Has Rowan Atkinson ever written a book?

Yes, Atkinson has written several books, including “Mr. Bean’s Diary” and “The Big One.”