Colin Firth

Adept at playing diffident roles, Colin Firth -- born Sept. 10, 1960, in Grayshott, England -- lived in Nigeria with his parents until he was 4 years old. He also lived in St. Louis briefly during his teens.

Firth's show business career began with a job in the wardrobe department of Britain's National Theatre. He studied acting at London's Drama Centre, where he was discovered while performing an amateur production of "Hamlet." In 1984, Firth made his big-screen bow in Another Country.

But it took knee breeches, a waistcoat and the part of Mr. Darcy in the 1995 BBC miniseries "Pride and Prejudice" to make Firth a worldwide star. His other notable films include Valmont (1989), The English Patient (1996) and Bridget Jones's Diary (2001). In 2009, Firth snagged Golden Globe and Oscar nods, along with a BAFTA win, for his role in A Single Man. His impressive résumé grew in 2011 with a Golden Globe Award and his first Oscar for The King's Speech.