- August 24, 1957
Stephen Fry is an English actor, activist, comedian and writer.
Fry started his television career in 1981 with the broadcast of the 1981 Cambridge Footlights Revue which he co-wrote with Hugh Laurie, Emma Thompson and Tony Slattery.
His best known television appearances since then have been in "A Bit of Fry and Laurie" and "Blackladder", as Jeeves in “Jeeves and Wooster”, and more recently as host of the panel game “QI”. He has also made documentaries, including “The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive” and “HIV and Me”, as well as programmes about America and the natural world. He has also acted in several films, directed the film “Bright Young Things”, and can be heard regularly narrating, acting, presenting or interviewing on radio,. His highly successful multi-faceted media career had a set-back in when in 1995 he disappeared after a few days in the West End production of Simon Gray’s play “Cell Mates”, pleading stage fright. One result of this episode was his “coming out” as bipolar.
He has written four best-selling novels, an autobiography, Moab is My Washpot, and a book on poetry form, The Ode Less Travelled, and is well-known among a younger generation as the reader of the audiobook versions of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels. He has also written for newspapers and is well-known as a blogger and tweeter.
In 1995, he was presented with an honorary doctorate from the University of Dundee, and he served two terms from 1992 to 1998 the student-elected Rector of the University of Dundee. He was also awarded an honorary degree from Anglia Ruskin University, is an honorary fellow of Queens’ College, Cambridge, and was made honorary president of the Cambridge University Quiz Society. In December 2006 he was ranked sixth for the BBC’s Top Living Icon Award, and was voted “most intelligent man on television” by readers ofRadio Times. The 2007 Independent on Sunday “Pink List” named Fry the second most influential gay person in Britain. Also in 2007, he was BT Mind Champion of the Year, in recognition of his work on raising awareness of bipolar disorder. He has been described as a polymath, a “national treasure”, and a “Treasure of the British Empire”, and won a lifetime achievement award at the British Comedy Awards in 2007.
He has used his public profile to promote many causes and charities. He has worked for the Prince’s Trust, is a member of the British Jews for Justice for Palestinians, and opposed the Iraq War. His interest in and enthusiasm for wildlife and conservation was very evident in his 2008 television series “Last Chance to See”. He was one of the signatories to a statement published by Sense About Science on 4 June 2009, condemning the use of British libel laws to “severely curtail the right to free speech on a matter of public interest”, in this case the British Chiropractic Association suing science writer Simon Singh for libel – a cause supported by many humanists and rationalists. In 2009, Fry lent his support to a campaign led by the human rights organisation Reprieve to prevent the execution of Akmal Shaikh, a British national who suffered from biopolar disorder and who was executed in China in December 2009.