Cult Hero of the Week: Tim Curry

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!
  • Legend
  • IT
  • The Wild Thornberrys (voice of Nigel Thornberry)
  • Muppet Treasure Island

10 comments

  1. Great choice. One of my personal favorites. I have to mention his role in the tv series Earth 2 – I lost interest once he was gone. He was also the snotty hotel employee in Home Alone 2 and Cardinal Richelieu in the 1993 version of The Three Musketeers. Definitely one of the best voice actors in the business – I’ll always remember how scary he was as Hexxus in Ferngully.

  2. He’s one of my favorite things about Home Alone 2, a movie that was pretty mediocre at times.

    I’ll talk more about his amazing voice acting when I feature him (because believe me I plan to) in my Great Voice Actors series. He was really fantastic as Hexxus. Either that or HA2 was probably my first exposure to him, but I could be wrong.

  3. I’ll always have a place in my heart for his role in Congo. If it weren’t for that, how would I know not to eat Delroy Lindo’s sesame cake?

  4. You were sadly right about “Bailey’s Billions!” I myself am partial to his turn as record producer Simon Newquay from “Wiseguy.” But if you want the total Tim Curry experience, you need to see him live. The man is pure magic onstage.

  5. Oh I bet he is awesome onstage. I’d love to watch him live. Not sure why it never crossed my mind until now. Thanks for the tip. I’ll be looking for any performances in my area.

  6. I am so glad to see Tim being honored. He is an amazing performer. There is a facebook site
    Tim Curry Live In Concert – The Official Petition 2010 with the hope that we can get Tim to do a live concert. What magic to see him perform and sing live on stage.

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