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Colin Firth Biography:

This dashingly handsome British actor garnered worldwide admirers with his brooding turn as Mr. Darcy in the 1995 BBC/A&E miniseries adaptation of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice". The son of academics, Colin Firth spent his early years living in Nigeria before his family finally settled in England when he was five. Although as a child he had expressed interest in acting, he was 18 when he began to pursue his studies in earnest, joining the National Youth Theatre. Following training at London's The Drama Centre, Firth made his London stage debut in Julian Mitchell's "Another Country", replacing Rupert Everett in the leading role of upper class spy-in-the-making Guy Bennett. He went on to make his screen debut in the 1984 film version of the play but not as Guy (that role went to Everett), but as Tommy Judd, the Communist schoolmate of Bennett who also appears to be the only student with no gay inclinations. He proved his mettle as a romantic lead in the CBS remake of "Camille" (1984), opposite Greta Scacchi, and solidified his standing as a rising star anchoring the 1986 British miniseries "Lost Empires" (aired on PBS in the USA in 1987).

Often heralded as one of the best actors of his generation in Britain, Firth has proven his capabilities with a string of fine performances. In "A Month in the Country (1987), he gave a strong portrayal of a haunted World War I veteran who romances a vicar's wife while in "Apartment Zero" (1988), the actor had arguably one of his best roles as the lonely and sheltered film lover whose life is changed when he takes in a mysterious American boarder (Hart Bochner). "Valmont" (1989) saw Firth in the title role of the rich and too clever count, but the film was overshadowed by the previous year's lavish "Dangerous Liaisons" (1988). Still, the handsome actor once again displayed his finesse in period roles. The same year, he earned raves as paralyzed soldier Robert Lawrence in the TV biopic "Tumbledown".

Showing he could play moral ambiguity, Firth shone as Simon Westward, the cold Protestant land baron whose dalliance with a college girl (Saffron Burrows) almost leads to the loss of another couple's true love in "Circle of Friends" (1995). He offered a stoic turn as the cuckold husband of Kristin Scott Thomas' Katherine in "The English Patient" (1996) before portraying a childhood friend of the sisters at the heart of "A Thousand Acres" (1997), a modern-day version of "King Lear" set in the American heartland. Although he has tried to eschew costume roles, Firth cut a dashing figure in doublet and hose in the comic, slightly villainous role of the Earl of Wessex in the Oscar-winning "Shakespeare in Love" (1998) and excelled as an eccentric inventor who risks his marriage and family by making a pass at his brother's fiancee in the 1930s-set "My Life So Far" (1999). Following a turn as a Noel Coward hero in "Relative Values" (2000), he embarked in a bit of post-modern casting, playing Mark Darcy -- a character inspired by his glowering interpretation of the Austen hero -- in the film version of "Bridget Jones's Diary" (2001). Firth earned an Emmy nomination for his strong performance as the Nazi secretary of state taking part in the drafting of the Wannsee protocol in "Conspiracy" (HBO, 2001). Shifting gears, he next tackled Shakespeare's Melancholy Dane in a stage production of "Hamlet" and essayed the bon vivant gentleman Jack Worthing in the 2002 remake of "The Importance of Being Earnest".

In 2003 a very busy Firth will play a variety of roles. He plays a British politician with a long-lost, wild American daughter in What a Girl Wants; an artist who is forced to chose between two women in Hope Springs; as part of the ensemble cast in Love Actually; and Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer in The Girl With the Pearl Earring. He is also set to play Mark Darcy again in the second Bridget Jones movie, The Edge of Reason.

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