Richard O'Brien photo

Richard O'Brien

Birth name:
Richard Timothy Smith
Date of Birth:
25 March 1942 Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England, UK
Height:
5' 8" (1.73 m)
Born in Cheltenham, England, Richard Smith's family moved to Tauranga, New Zealand, in 1951 when his father, an accountant, decided to become a sheep farmer. Watching horror and science-fiction double features in nearby Hamilton, Smith added an interest in acting to his love of rock and roll. He moved back to England in 1964, tried singing, then became a movie stuntman and fringe theater actor. He changed his name to O'Brien (his beloved maternal grandmother's name) one day while on the phone to British Actors Equity, to avoid confusion with another Richard Smith. He met director Jim Sharman in 1972, when Sharman cast him in the dual roles of Apostle and Leper for the London stage production (transferred from Sharman's native Australia) of "Jesus Christ Superstar". Working again with Sharman on a production of Sam Shepard's "The Unseen Hand", O'Brien mentioned a new rock musical he'd been writing called "Rock Horroar." The play went into rehearsals as "They Came from Denton High," and at Sharman's suggestion, was retitled "The Rocky Horror Show" before opening in June 1973.
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