despite the health woes, the 69-year-old was in good spirits as he was honored with The Actors Fund Lifetime Achievement Award on Sunday at the Tony Awards Viewing Party in Los Angeles. Speaking to Los Angeles magazine, he said that he has been ‘doing well’ and was ‘looking forward’ to receiving the honor.
‘I’ve done a few benefits for the Actors Fund and I think it’s a marvelous organization. I hope not to have to use it,’ the acclaimed character actor quipped. The Actors Fund provides assistance with the cost and arrangements of funerals and burials. It’s the Legend star’s sense of humor that has helped helped him to remain optimistic since his July 2012 stroke when he collapsed at his Los Angeles home.
‘It’s not tough to maintain,’ he explained. ‘It is just part of my DNA.’ The magazine noted that his ‘speech is slowed a bit.’ In December last year, he made an appearance for a Christmas Eve dinner at Ago restaurant in Los Angeles with a friend, who pushed the It actor in a wheelchair. Tim is best known for his role as the brilliantly mad transvestite scientist Dr Frank N Furter in the The Rocky Horror Show.
He first starred in the original 1973 London production, and continued to play the part on Broadway before playing the same character in the 1975 film. On the role that catapulted him to stardom, he told Los Angeles magazine that he looks at the film’s success ‘with a sort of bemused tolerance.’ He continued: ‘It’s neither a blessing nor a curse. I was lucky to get it.’ For many years he rarely discussed the movie, fearing he would be typecast.
Tim recalled opening night during his Broadway debut in The Rocky Horror Picture Show as ‘very exciting’ but found its critics to be far too harsh. ‘I had to go on the Today Show the next day and they read the reviews – which were appalling,’ he explained. ‘That brought me down. It was very cruel.’ The reviews described his performance as ‘a mixture of Joan Crawford and Burt Lancaster’ and ‘Mick Jagger, David Bowie and Marc Bolan all in one.’
However, he won over the Broadway community in 1981 when he was nominated for a Tony Award for the lead role in the play Amadeus. ‘It was a brilliant play and a terrific production. And a wonderful part,’ he said of portraying Mozart. ‘The big problem is not to make him as loony as he is, but to make him sympathetic as well.’
Between 2004 and 2007 he played King Arthur in the Monty Python musical Spamalot on stage in Chicago, Broadway and the West End.
Some of his stage credits include What About Dick? My Favorite Year and Travesties, among others. In 2011 he was scheduled to appear in Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead, however he withdrew from the production at the last minute citing ill health. Meanwhile, at the viewing party, the veteran actor arrived in a black suit and was seated in a wheelchair. He joins Theodore Bikel, Alfred Molina and Joe Morton as recipients of the same lifetime achievement award.
‘It means that it just sort of solidifies the kind of work the American acting community has given me for years now,’ he said of the honor. ‘It’s very gracious of them, I think. I was thrilled when they told me and I am thrilled now.’ When asked what life would be like for him if it reflected the theater, he said: ‘Scary. Well the theater is scary. And the longer the time in between the periods in the theater, the scarier it gets. Adding: ‘Life isn’t meant to be scary. It’s to be celebratory. In which case, it would be like the theater. I think of that as a celebration of life.’
Read more on Tim Curry:
Curtain Call: Tim Curry Discusses His Broadway Career – Los Angeles Magazine