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Mel Smith

Having started his career as a theatre director, multi-award winning comedian Mel Smith has gone on to embrace a wide variety of artistic disciplines working as a writer, director and performer across film, theatre and television.

As a film director, Smith has directed Jeff Goldblum and Academy Award-winner Emma Thompson in The Tall Guy (1989) and the George Lucas-penned Radioland Murders (1994). In 1997, he went on to direct one of the most successful British comedies of all time, Bean, the film following the hilarious antics of Rowan Atkinson's much loved television character, Mr. Bean.

In addition to his talents behind the camera, Smith has starred in numerous features, including Morons From Outer Space, which he also wrote, and Wilt, both also starring his long term comedy partner Griff Rhys-Jones. In addition he starred in National Lampoon's Vacation, The Princess Bride, Wolves of Willoughby Chase, Lame Ducks, and Twelfth Night, alongside Nigel Hawthorne and Ben Kingsley.

With Rhys-Jones, Smith formed one of the most successful long term comedy partnerships in British television, writing and performing in 11 seasons of Smith & Jones, Alas Smith & Jones, and The World According to Smith & Jones. The duo also co-wrote and appeared in four series of the hit comedy sketch show, Not The Nine O'Clock News (BBC2) and completed three live stand-up tours of the UK including Alas The Tour with which they also toured Australia.

Smith's additional British television credits include Small Doses, a collection of short films by directors including Mike Newell (Four Weddings and A Funeral), Collin's Sandwich, and Filthy Rich & Catflap, with Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson. He was also the voice of Father Christmas for Raymond Briggs' classic animation short of the same name.

Smith is no stranger to the West End stage, having starred in and directed Big In Brazil, Summer With Monica, The Gambler, which he also wrote, and Not In Front Of The Audience. He began his career directing for the theatre, including director at the Royal Court, Bristol Old Vic and Liverpool Everyman and assistant director at The Young Vic and Sheffield Crucible.

As well as writing for stage and screen, Smith has written a number of books with Rhys-Jones including Janet Lives With Mel and Griff, Smith & Jones Head to Head, The Laviously Tooled Smith & Jones and The Smith & Jones World Atlas.

Turning to music, Smith also enjoyed success on the pop charts with his number one Christmas hit, Rocking Around The Christmas Tree with Kim Wilde.

With such a varied and successful career, it comes as no surprise that Smith has received a number of awards in recognition of his talents. Alas Smith & Jones won both an Emmy Award and The British Comedy Award for Top Entertainment Series (1991) where, alongside Rhys-Jones, he was also named Top Entertainment Performer.


Note: This profile was written in or before 2000.

Mel Smith Facts

OccupationDirector, Actor
BirthdayDecember 3, 1952 (64)
SignSagittarius
BirthplaceLondon, England, United Kingdom

Selected Filmography

Running on the Sun: The Badwater 135 (2000)
The Patriot (2000)
Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)
Twelfth Night (1996)
Maverick (1994)
Radioland Murders (1994)
Brain Donors (1992)
Dream On (1990)
Lethal Weapon (1987)
The Princess Bride (1987)
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