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.IMDb Mini Biography By: Jim Whittaker
|Jane Moss||(1983 - 2006) (divorced) 2 children|
|Kimi Wong||(1973 - ?) (divorced) 1 child|
Son, with Kimi Wong, Linus (b. May 1, 1972).
Emigrated with his parents to New Zealand, went to school in Tauranga on the North Island's east coast, and moved to Hamilton for a while for work when he left school, before returning to the UK.
Wrote The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) in six months.
Son, with Jane Moss, Joshua (b. 1983). Daughter, with Jane Moss, Amelia (b. 1989).
Took the last name O'Brien after his grandmother.
Still makes up songs on the spur of the moment, to entertain his friends.
When writing The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), he based the character Frank-N-Furter on Alice Cooper. In his original handwritten notes (published in the 1979 play book The Rocky Horror Scrapbook), he described Frank-N-Furter as an "Alice Cooper type Frankenstein." (The "Dr." was added for the film.)
On November 25, 2004, a life-size bronze statue of Richard O'Brien in his Riff Raff space suit was unveiled in Hamilton, New Zealand, where O'Brien grew up after moving from England. Commissioned jointly by a local theatre group and the Hamilton City Council, the statue stands on the site of the old Embassy Cinema, where O'Brien once watched science-fiction double features.
Met his close friend, Patricia Quinn in 1972.
When you do something like Rocky, which is undefinable somehow, it always becomes difficult to lose that. Not that I have any interest in saying goodbye to Rocky. I absolutely adore being involved and a part of something that is really a phenomenon. And I have no problems with that at all. If it overshadows anything else, I can understand completely why and again it doesn't worry me.
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