Tim Curry is best known from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, where he sashayed into cult legendary status as the “sweet transvestite” Dr. Frank N Furter. Before he was stunning in leggings he had his first full-time role as part of the original London cast of the musical Hair. It was while working on Hair that he met Richard O’Brien, who wrote his now-infamous role as the amorous, cross-dressing “doctor”. Initially reluctant to be typecast as ole Frankie, Curry eventually embraced the movie’s importance as a “rite of passage” for many young people.
He’s been working as an actor for over 30 years, and has been memorable in every role that he plays. He wasn’t entirely wrong for holding a bit of a grudge against RHPS for typecasting him though; he really hasn’t had many mainstream roles to speak of since then. But hey, if he was that kind of guy he wouldn’t be deserving of all the accolades and prestige that a Cult Hero of the Week feature affords, now would he? There were a few early exceptions, such as his turn as Lord of Darkness in Legend, masterfully acted and voiced behind all that makeup and vocal rendering, and Pennywise the Clown. If one ever needed any proof of how fully Mr. Curry dives into a role one need not look farther than Pennywise The Source of All Nightmares. Never before has this humble audience member ever seen one of Stephen King’s paranormal villains brought to life on screen and able to produce such terrible, gut-wrenching fear. If you have a fear of a clowns, this guy is the reason why.
He also had a few other roles worth checking out in the films Annie, Clue, and Muppet Treasure Island. These days we see him mostly in atrocious parts that he takes on for some truly abominable films, but even he can make most anything watchable for the moments he’s on screen (Notable exception: Bailey’s Billions).
Mr. Curry is a terrific singer, with a mellifluous voice that ranges from sensual to evil to extremely odd. He has used these immense vocal talents to perform brilliantly, not only in the theater for the past forty years, but as a voice actor as well. Mr. Curry boasts a sizable list of voice work for animated features and video games alike, having roles in two popular video game titles released last year.
There’s just something about Tim Curry. He has a unique, eclectic kind of mystique that holds your attention no matter if you’re watching him in movies, TV, broadway, or trying to destroy him with the help of a certain famous dog and his skinny, constantly-hungry sidekick.
Look, I played that Scooby-Doo game because of my little nephew, okay?
Essential Tim Curry
- Why, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, of course!
- The Wild Thornberrys (voice of Nigel Thornberry)
- Muppet Treasure Island