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Things You Probably Didn't Know About Legendary Actor Tim Curry

March 17, 2021 4.1k votes 702 voters 43.2k views14 items

List RulesVote up the most impressive facts that made you say, "Whoa."

Of all the amazing and talented actors to come out of the United Kingdom, Tim Curry stands as one of the greatest and most inimitable of them all. The internet is flooded with memes about the man, and it's no wonder why. The man has played some of the most iconic characters in movie history, including Dr. Frank-N-Furter, Rooster Hannigan, The Lord of Darkness, Wadsworth, It/Pennywise the Dancing Clown, and many more.

There's just something about the way the man smiles that either draws you in or scares you to death. Whatever your introduction to Curry's amazing talent was, there's a good reason it's burned into your memory. He's that good and memorable, but how much do you really know about him?

Odds are, there are tons of things you probably didn't know about legendary actor Tim Curry. He's brilliant, and his performances stand the test of time. Check out the list below, which includes some of the more fascinating facts about the man who has been entertaining the world for more than 50 years.

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    You Might Be Surprised To Learn Which Of His Roles Was His Favorite

    The list of acting roles on Tim Curry's CV is certainly extensive, but you might be surprised to learn that his favorite role wasn't Wadsworth, Pennywise, or Dr. Frank-N-Furter - it was Long John Silver in Muppets Treasure Island. For a man who's played some of the most iconic characters in the past half-century, it's a surprising reveal, but that was, by far, his favorite role.

    Looking back on his time filming the movie, he's described it, saying, "It was one of the happiest sets I've ever been on," and further explained, "There's a conspicuous lack of ego among the Muppets." Curry changed things around a bit during the filming process by singing all of his music live on set. Typically, films dub in recordings made in proper studios, but Curry's preference ended up passing on to the rest of the cast. Brian Henson changed the format so everyone could sing their songs on set.

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  • 2

    Tim Curry Lied To Land His First Role

    Photo: Ruspoli Rodriguez/Michael Butler / Wikipedia / Fair Use

    Tim Curry's first major role was in the theater, where he played Woof in the London production of Hair. Interestingly, he had to lie to get the part. He ran into one of the biggest issues anyone with a theater degree finds themselves dealing with after graduating: you need to have theater experience to get a job, but you need to get the job to build that experience. It's a perfect catch-22, and Curry was stuck right in the middle of it.

    So, he did what many people do when they apply for a job; he lied. While he was being considered for the role, the production wanted to make sure he had experience and was a member of the Actors' Equity Association. He had neither, so he lied about it. They cast him in the role, but his ruse was eventually found out by the producers. At that point, they were so impressed with his performance; they decided to keep him in the role. They even sponsored his union membership, so it all worked out for him in the end.

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    A Chance Meeting Led To His First And Most Famous Role

    Tim Curry's most famous film role was his first when he played Dr. Frank-N-Furter in 1975's The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Watching the movie, it doesn't seem possible that anyone else could have played the character, but the whole thing happened by chance. Curry had heard of the film but hadn't thought to audition for a particular role. 

    Curry had previously met Richard O'Brien while appearing in Hair, but he hadn't spoken to him about a particular role when he was casting Rocky Horror. One day, Curry went down to the gym, and at the same time, O'Brien was there looking for a muscular man who could sing. Curry asked him why he needed him to sing, "And he told me that the musical was going to be done, and I should talk to [director] Jim Sharman. He gave me the script, and I thought, 'Boy, this is going to be a smash.'"

    The rest is history! Curry took the role, he made the transition from theater to film, and his breakout performance helped him gain more work in front of cameras. Had he not gone to the gym that day, who knows how his career might have turned out.

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    Tim Curry Scared Real-Life Children On The Set Of 'It'

    Tim Curry's job on the set of It was to scare children, but it was all acting... wasn't it? As it happens, a psychotic-looking clown is frightening to children on and off the set. When he was filming the miniseries, Tim Curry scared the living daylights out of Tony Dakota, the little boy who played Georgie. If you recall from the book/movie(s), Pennywise rips off Georgie's arm and drags him down into the sewers, which is scary as heck.

    Still, the young actor knew what was coming, but he was still struck with fear upon seeing his castmate in full makeup. Tim Curry shared his experience, explaining how much he respects child actors:

    I have a lot of sympathy for child actors. Most of them don’t know what the hell they’re doing there. There was a point in IT, at the beginning of the movie, this little kid called Georgie is sailing his boat down the gutter and it goes down the drain, and Pennywise grabs it. And Georgie puts his hand down the drain and I grab it and I suggest that he joins me, and say, "Down here, you’ll float." And he stopped and said, "Tim, you’re scaring me." I said, "Gee, I’m so sorry, but that’s what I’m supposed to be doing."

    When he was pressed on the subject, asking if the young lad had to go to years of therapy, Curry responded, "I sure hope so."

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