A man of intense intelligence and great coolness, Stephen John Fry (born 24 August 1957) has just stood down, after fifteen years, as the host of QI and starred in Kingdom, about the life of a rural lawyer. He has also written and contributed to several books, namely The Liar, The Stars' Tennis Balls.,The Hippopotamus. and Making History (a time travel story about erasing Hitler from existence), as well as three autobiographies Moab Is My Washpot, The Fry Chronicles and More Fool Me, and The Book of General Ignorance. He is very much the modern day Oscar Wilde (though he's English, and played the man himself in a biopic) and is generally considered a British national treasure.
A Cambridge graduate and a personal friend of J. K. Rowling (he won a Talkie for his reading of the Harry Potter unabridged audio-books)note , he has appeared as several Melchetts in Blackadder, played Jeeves in Jeeves and Wooster, portrayed Oscar Wilde in Wilde, and starred as Fry in A Bit of Fry and Laurie. He reads the Harry Potter audiobooks. Not only is his voice acting superb, the sheer breadth and convincingness of the accents he puts on for the various characters is stunning. Excellent accents are a particular quality of his.
He is openly gay (or as he says, "90%") - which might surprise some people - and open about having bipolar disorder. His early life resulted in him doing three months in prison for credit card fraud. On his release, he got a scholarship to Cambridge and joined the Cambridge Footlights, where he met Hugh Laurie through a mutual friend.
It is a sign of how well liked he is that when he vanished from a stage production he was a part of, literally missing his cue, and couldn't be found in the building, the British Tabloids published concerned articles asking him to come home, rather than the usual cruel mockery an actor would have got for such highly advanced stage fright. He only got a token mocking when he turned up in Belgium.
He also has a recurring role in Bones. He appeared in V for Vendetta (as Gordon Deitrich, a closeted comedy television show host), as the title character in the satirical series This Is David Lander, as the Guide in the film version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (mostly as a favor to the family of his late friend Douglas Adams) in which he also displayed his awesome musical talents in the soundtrack with the bonus techno-rap song "Reasons to Be Miserable", is the narrator of the LittleBigPlanet video game series (reprising the role in Play Station All Stars Battle Royale), and voiced the narrator in Pocoyo, Hedonistic Sociopathic Hero Reaver in the Fable games, and played the main character of Absolute Power. He made his directorial debut in 2003 with the film Bright Young Things, for which he also wrote the screenplay, adapted from Evelyn Waugh's 1930 novel Vile Bodies.
He's produced and hosted three very personal documentaries, HIV and Me, The Secret Life of the Manic-Depressive, and Wagner & Me which concern the result of the aforementioned disappearance to Belgium, eventual diagnosis of bipolar disorder and his difficulties dealing with being a Jew who lost family in the Holocaust and a fan of Richard Wagner, a notorious anti-Semite who inspired Hitler. note He was scheduled to write an episode of Doctor Who, but the idea fell through due to time constraints on his part, though he ended up married to River Song. (Or so the Doctor claims)
In addition, he has a lovely, comforting voice.
He has featured on Top Gear (UK) as the "Star in a Reasonably Priced Car", having lost about seven stone before the episode, as he went on a diet, prompting Jeremy Clarkson to ask where the rest of him was.
He also played Mycroft Holmes (Sherlock's older, cleverer, but indolent brother) in Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes sequel. This was something of a Promoted Fanboy moment for him, as he says in his autobiography Moab Is My Washpot that he's been a fan of Sherlock Holmes since he was a small boy. This promotion was taken to its logical conclusion when, in 2017, he was commissioned by Audible to narrate the entire Holmes literary canon.
As of January 2017 he is starring in American TV sitcom The Great Indoors, playing a retired explorer and adventurer trying to get to grips with the fact the magazine he founded is about to die as a print edition, but lives on as a website.
He's claimed that Douglas Adams once told him in confidence "exactly why 42." Apparently, "The answer is fascinating, extraordinary and, when you think hard about it, completely obvious." However, he has vowed to take the secret with him to the grave.
A self-confessed techie, averaging about a dozen Tweets per day, he is also a vocal supporter of Free Software while still being a diehard Apple fanboy, famously purchasing the third Mac sold in the UK after Douglas Adams bought the first two (Adams always insisted it was the other way round but appears to have lost the argument by dint of dying first). He's also been known to use an Android phone as well, and is generally quite adept at social media.
He now has his own theme song, courtesy of the good people known as Weebl & co. As you may have surmised from this page, he has a very devoted fan base, some of whom are just mildly creepy, in a nerdily sweet sort of way.
In early 2018 he revealed he'd undergone surgery for prostate cancer. Fortunately the surgery seems to have gone well and hope for a positive outcome is good.
Oh, and, apparently, BRIAN BLESSED calls him "Spunkbubble".
He is also very much Vitriolic Best Buds with Emma Thompson, who, according to QI, likes to torture him by coming to his house, locking all his doors so he can't get out, and then following him around the house shaking her breasts at him!
Tropes demonstrated by Stephen Fry:
- Berserk Button: Willful ignorance and lack of curiosity drive him up the walls. Johnny Vegas and Lee Mack have made good money finding this button and jumping up and down on it.
- The Big Guy: He's officially 6' 4 1/2" and even after losing quite a bit of weight, he still has a husky frame.
- Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Whenever he's paired with anyone in a comedy sketch, it will usually be this, with him obviously playing the tsukkomi. Namely Hugh Laurie, though he does it to a certain extent with Alan Davies on QI as well.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Despite his genteel demeanor, he holds the UK record for most uses of the F-word in a live broadcast — about 70 within a minute and a half.
- Cool Old Guy
- Eagleland: For the BBC documentary series Stephen Fry in America, he toured all fifty U.S. states— driving a black London cab.
- Gentleman Snarker: Many of the characters he plays are this, and he can be quite a good one in real life too.
- Large Ham: He's a pretty accomplished Thespian when he wants to be, but when the mood takes him he can give BRIAN BLESSED a run for his money. See his performance as Wellington and as General Melchett (both from the Black Adder franchise) as proof.
- Luvvies: The Trope Namer, at least according to the OED.
- Man of a Thousand Voices: As mentioned above, he can imitate almost any accent flawlessly, even within the same country. For example, name any American state you can think of, and he'll probably be able to give you an excellent impression of the accent of said state. Having actually been to every state in America probably helped with that, though he could do it pretty well before he made that TV program too.
- Mundane Made Awesome: He sometimes does this in his writing, usually through Description Porn. For instance, in The Fry Chronicles, he devotes the better part of three pages to the preparation, lighting, and use of a Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe.
- Persona Non Grata: Was once thrown out of Salt Lake City because of sarcasm.
- Platonic Life-Partners: With Hugh Laurie, even serving as both Laurie's best man and godfather of his three children.
- Precision F-Strike: He doesn't resort to swearing that often (though he has no problem with it), so when he does drop one of these it has quite an impact. One notable example happened on his podcast when he went off on a rant on the BBC Compliance officers (Compliance with what, with being an arsehole?). It ended with:
- In QI, when getting into an argument with Rich Hall over why no there were no classic romantic songs dedicated to the Second Moon, he shouted, "BECAUSE IT WAS DISCOVERED IN NINETEEN-NINETY-FUCKING-FOUR!"
- Utters a heart-breaking one in Who Do You Think You Are? upon finding out that relatives perished in the Holocaust.
- In fact, Fry holds the UK record for most uses of the word "fuck" in a live broadcast (about seventy times in a minute and a half), while making a point about censorship. He remarks, "It didn't get a single complaint, I think, because of my voice and manner."
- Sad Clown: Has been quite open about his struggles with depression and the effect its had on him, from the aforementioned disappearance to drug addiction to suicide attempts.
- The Smart Guy: Often plays these characters. Quite understandable, as he is very clever himself.
- Sequel Hook: His second autobiography The Fry Chronicles ends in 1987 with what is effectively a stinger referring to his first experience of taking cocaine.
- Sophisticated as Hell: He can sound posh even when dropping an f-bomb. He's fluent in Latin and has an accent the Royal Family would envy. Really, you could be forgiven for thinking the man was a lord.
- Spell My Name with an "S": His name is Stephen, not Steven. Fans of his will correct you if you get it wrong.
- He once did a comedy video set in the future where he lampshaded this by pronouncing his name "Step-hen Free"
- Take That!: Was on the receiving end of a playful one from J. K. Rowling. When Fry was recording the audiobook for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, he had trouble pronouncing the phrase "Harry pocketed it." Finally he phoned Rowling to ask if she could revise the book to say "Harry put it in his pocket." Rowling considered a moment and replied "No"— and then included the phrase "Harry pocketed it" word for word in each of the next four books of the series.
- Verbal Tic: "Baah!" (sometimes written as "M'aaah!") - actually General Melchett's, but it's used in impressions of Stephen himself so often that you'd be forgiven for thinking it was his, and Stephen frequently makes reference to it.
Now go back and reread this entire page in Stephen's voice, if you haven't been doing so already. Cheerio!