Rowan Atkinson, who is generally worldwide as Mr. Bean, is said to be the man who made the world laugh without saying a single word. His laconic style of comedy has been very captivating to the audience, and he is much loved and recognized everywhere. The original Mr. Bean sketch also gave rise to some live-action shows and animated series that retained the spark Mr. Bean has.
However, Atkinson’s career does not reside just in his Mr. Bean sketches and Johnny English shows. There are still some interesting aspects of his life that go beyond his comedy roles. This list explores seven details of Atkinson’s life that will see him more appreciated and noticed.
1. Mr. Bean Was Almost Called Mr. Cauliflower
According to Atkinson, when he was coming up with the idea of Mr. Bean, the character did not have a name. For him, the character did not need to have a name because he was a silent character in a silent sketch. However, he and his team realized that the character needed to have a name so that the sketches would have one.
One of the names considered was Mr. White, but it was a bit dull for Atkinson. Later on, they presented vegetables on the table (no pun intended). Cauliflower was one of the top contenders. But they settled with Bean because it was sharp, concise, and easy to remember.
2. He Appeared In A Scooby-Doo Movie
In Scooby-Doo: The Movie (2002), Atkinson appeared as Emile Mondavarious, the owner of the Spooky Island amusement park. He individually invited the members of Mystery, Inc., because the youth in his park seemed to be acting quite weirdly. Mondavarious was the owner of the said place and wanted to keep things in order.
However, there were two versions of Mondavarious in the film – the robot one and the human one. The former was the entity the gang met in their first encounter, as the latter was held captive by Scrappy-Doo, Scooby’s evil nephew. Towards the end of the movie, the real Mondavarious was released with a more pleasing appearance.
3. Rowan Atkinson Has A Fascination For Cars And Has Raced Before
His love for cars was reflected in some of his characters. In 1991, his character in the series The Driven Man featured him as a man who loved cars and driving and tried to solve his obsession with it. In 1995, he played Henry Birkin in the series Full Throttle.
He also raced in a Renault 5 GT Turbo for the Renault Clio Cup Series. He owned a McLaren F1 supercar, which suffered heavy damages in 1999 and 2011. The misfortunes of McLaren prompted the largest-ever insurance payout in Britain, at £910,000.
4. The Actor Once Averted A Plane Crash By Grabbing The Plane’s Controls
During a family holiday in Kenya in March 2001, the pilot on Atkinson’s private plane fainted while they were at an altitude of 16,000 feet. Atkinson took control of the plane without any experience in flying. Luckily, he kept the plane in the air long enough until the pilot regained consciousness. They safely landed at Nairobi’s Wilson Airport after the incident.
5. He Voiced Zazu In The Lion King
Many may not know this, but he was one of the voices in The Lion King, as Zazu, the bird. Zazu is a black, blue, and white hornbill who served as Mufasa’s majordomo – a position which he took pride in. Atkinson only voiced the character in the 1994 movie. Altogether, there were different voice actors for the bird in the subsequent movies.
6. Rowan Atkinson Has A Master’s Degree In Electrical Engineering
Before acting, he embarked on earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Newcastle University. After that, he bagged a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering at The Queen’s College, Oxford, the same school his father attended. He has a Master’s thesis titled “Simulation Study of Self-Turning Control Laws” (1977). He briefly attended his Doctoral but left to pursue acting.
7. He Has Earned Several Awards, Nominations, And Honors Throughout His Career
Rowan Atkinson was the recipient of the 1981 British Academy Television Award for the sketch Not the Nine O’Clock News, and also in 1990 for the series Blackadder Goes Forth. Two of his notable nominations came from the 2003 Best European Actor Award and the 2020 National Film Awards. In 2013 he was awarded his Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE), Civil Division.