25 Interesting Things About Rowan Atkinson You May Not Know

Posted by , Updated on April 20, 2024

If Rowan Atkinson is not a name you recognize, you may be more familiar with his character Mr. Bean. Born on January 6, 1955, Atkinson is widely recognized for his commitment to keeping his private life firmly out of the public eye. Yet, his recent 60th birthday offers a great chance to reveal some captivating details about this remarkable English comic. To learn more about Rowan Atkinson, or his celebrated persona Mr. Bean, explore these 25 lesser-known aspects of his life.


Born as the youngest of four brothers in the town of Consett, Atkinson was brought up Anglican by his parents Eric and Ella May.

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While he used to be a class clown when he was young, by the time he got into his pre-teens he developed self-consciousness and became rather quiet and withdrawn.

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A very educated man, Atkinson is a graduate from two universities – the Newcastle University and the Oxford University. His thesis was on self-tuning control systems.

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When attending Durham Choristers School, Atkinson was Tony Blair's schoolmate.

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Despite being known mainly as a great actor, he also starred in a series of comedy shows for BBC Radio 3 called The Atkinson People.

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At the beginning of his career, Atkinson appeared in several shows and movies but it was the BBC comedy sketch show Not the Nine O´Clock News that made him famous.

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The success of Not the Nine O'Clock News gave him the lead role in the popular medieval sitcom The Black Adder, which he also co-wrote with Richard Curtis.


One of Atkinson´s greatest passions are cars. Once he even said that one of the best moments of his life, aside from personal relationships, was to get a Class 1 license to drive a lorry (semi-truck).

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His fondness for big cars might have originated as early as in his childhood when young Atkinson loved to drive his father´s tractor.

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He is also a proud owner of an impressive collection of fast cars including Aston Martin, Honda, Audi and even MC Laren F1.

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But there is one brand he doesn’t like – Porsche. Once he said "I have a problem with Porsches. They're wonderful cars, but I know I could never live with one. Somehow, the typical Porsche people – and I wish them no ill – are not, I feel, my kind of people.“

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In his MC Laren F1 car, Atkinson got involved in two accidents. The second one, in 2011, was quite serious – the actor hydro-planed into a tree and dislocated his shoulder. The car was badly damaged and it was the first case in British history where the insurance company billed 1 million pounds.

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Naturally, cars have played an important role in his film career as well. The scene with Mr. Bean driving his mini from a chair on the roof is known all over the world.

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Occasionally, Atkinson also writes for some British car magazines such as the Car magazine.

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He was one of the guests at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton as well as the one of Prince Charles and Camilla.

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Atkinson is known for publicly opposing the British Labor government's plans to introduce new legislation on incitement to religious hatred, arguing that it would undermine free speech.

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For most of his life, he has suffered from a mild stammer, which might be also why he has been known as very taciturn in his private life, particularly disliking interviews. In fact, Mr. Bean also hardly ever speaks.

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Atkinson has been a big fan of James Bond and he even got a chance to play a supporting character in the James Bond movie “Never Say Never Again” from 1983 with Sean Connery.

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Earlier in his career, the comedian dated actress Leslie Ash and, despite the totally unromantic nature of Mr. Bean, he did show off some deep romantic feelings back then as he planted rowan and ash trees at the house he bought.

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In 1990, Atkinson married Sunetra Sastry, a BBC makeup artist that he met in the late 1980´s. They have two children – Lily and Benjamin. In February 2014, though, he filed for divorce from Sastry.

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During the first date with Sastry, Atkinson allegedly said nothing except for a request to pass the ketchup.

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During his prolific film career, the actor earned significant money. His current wealth is estimated be about £85 million (approximately 130 million dollars).

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In 2001 while on a holiday trip to Kenya, the plane he and his family were in, started to go down after the pilot had passed out. Atkinson managed to take control of the plane before the pilot woke up. The plane landed safely.

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Atkinson has been so protective of his family´s privacy that not even his closest friends knew Sastry was pregnant until the kids were born.

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Originally, the name of his most famous role, Mr. Bean, was Mr. White. It was later changed to Mr. Cauliflower but finally ended up Mr. Bean.

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