Richard OBrien (Writer/Actor) - The Rocky Horror Picture Show
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Updated: 7/17/14

Name: Richard OBrien

Birth Name: Richard Timothy Smith

Born: March 25, 1942, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England

Claim To Fame: He is best known for writing the cult musical The Rocky Horror Show. He also co-wrote the screenplay of the 1975 film adaptation The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and appeared in the film as the character Riff Raff.

Family Life: O'Brien has currently been married to Sabrina Graf since 2013. He was previously married to actress Kimi Wong, and they have a son named Linus (b. 1972). His second marriage to Jane Moss produced two children: Joshua (b. 1983) and Amelia (b. 1989).

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Info: O'Brien moved to New Zealand in 1952 after his father purchased a sheep farm, and got his start as a stuntman in Carry on Cowboy. He returned to England in 1964 and launched his acting career, changing his name to O'Brien since there was already an actor named Richard Smith.

He appeared in London stage productions of Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar in the early 1970s. Director Jim Sharman helped O'Brien turn his idea for a gothic-themed, comic-book fantasy show into reality, and The Rocky Horror Show opened at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs in June 1973. It quickly became the show to see in London theatre.

O'Brien continued writing musicals with arranger Richard Hartley, including: T.Zee (1976), Disaster (1978), The Stripper (1982? based on the Carter Brown novel and produced in Australia), and Top People (1984). He became the presenter of UK Channel 4's popular game show The Crystal Maze in 1990 and left in 1993 after the fourth series.

He has also played the role of the Child Catcher in the West End theatre production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and has done cabaret-style music and comedy performances on stages around the world.

Trivia: Took the last name O'Brien after his grandmother.

Wrote The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) in six months.

Based the character Frank-N-Furter on Alice Cooper.

Is a patron of the Five Stars Scanner Appeal, which benefits the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital.

In 2004, his contributions to the arts were honored with the erection of a statue of Riff Raff at a theater in Hamilton, New Zealand.

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Where Are They Now: In late 2008, his script for Pig in Boots was converted into an audio pantomime by the Wireless Theatre Company. It was recorded live at the Headliners Comedy Club in front of a studio audience with live FX and music.

In 2012, he judged "Stage Fright" with the Wireless Theatre Company as part of the London Horror Festival and performed an acoustic set of Rocky Horror songs.

Also in 2012, he performed "It's Party Time with Richard O'Brien" at the Hamilton Founders Theatre to celebrate his 70th birthday, and appeared on stage as Fagin with the Hamilton Operatic Society's production of Oliver! at the Founders Theatre.

O'Brien is also the voice of Lawrence Fletcher, the title characters' father in the animated kids TV series Phineas and Ferb.

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