Friday, March 4, 2011

St. Louis' Very Own Oscar Winner

Posted By on Fri, Mar 4, 2011 at 2:38 PM

click to enlarge St. Louisan and Oscar winner Colin Firth in one of his most celebrated roles: Mr. Darcy in the BBC's Pride and Prejudice. - IMAGE VIA
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  • St. Louisan and Oscar winner Colin Firth in one of his most celebrated roles: Mr. Darcy in the BBC's Pride and Prejudice.

Unreal has learned the hard way that we should read our New Yorkers as soon as we get them, because if we had, OMG, we would have learned that Colin Firth, Oscar winner for his performance as King George VI in The King's Speech (though he will always be Mr. Darcy to us), is a St. Louisan!

It was right there, in a December 6 Talk of the Town piece. (We said we were behind, okay? We needed to get through that Scientology article first.)

Firth's father, a history professor, grew up in India, the fifth generation in a family of British colonists. He moved his family around, assuming teaching posts all over the world: Nigeria, St. Louis and various places in England -- "Billericay, Brentwood, Bath." Firth downplayed the trauma of his peripatetic childhood compared with the trials endured by George VI, who was forced to wear leg braces and was abused by his nanny. But, he said, it gave him an appreciation for the importance of speech. As an eighth grader in Missouri, he was teased about his accent: "I kept hearing this expression 'Pip pip cheerio!' " he said.

According to his website, "St. Louis was the 'most hideous memory' in Firth's childhood because 'I was a precocious brat with grass-stained knees who was too proud to be silent.'"

On behalf of the entire city of St. Louis, Unreal would like to say only this:

Colin, we're really, really sorry. We know (well, after consulting a colleague who did junior year abroad in England) that British people don't really say "Pip pip cheerio."

In our defense, we would like to point out that you were in junior high when you were here, and junior high kids are assholes to everyone, even future Oscar winners. Also, who knows if you would have achieved such impressive -- and Oscar-worthy! -- levels of anguish in your performance as George VI if you hadn't yourself been mocked for your accent? Or your Mr. Darcy, who, you no doubt remember, was mocked by Elizabeth Bennet for his social awkwardness?

Anyway, to show how sorry we are, we are going to claim you as an honorary St. Louisan! To natives, that's the greatest honor that can bestowed on anyone. We will even give you a high school, your true bona fide. So, congratulations, Colin Firth. Whenever anybody asks, you can say you went to SLU High! That's shorthand for smart, preppy and a future VIP, perfect for a man who plays kings and is line to get a knighthood.


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