Sunetra Sastry is a British make-up artist, born on 5 September 1957, in Newcastle, England. She’s known for her work in the show “Black Adder”, and for being the former wife of actor and comedian Rowan Atkinson.
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Early Life and Education
Sunetra was born in an ethnically mixed family, as her father was Indian and her mother was British – when her mother married Sunetra’s father, she was disowned by her family. Sunetra’s early life was peaceful, even though she faced some racism in 1960s English society, for being a child of mixed ethnicity. There’s no more information about Sunetra’s early life, and information about her early education is unknown.
It’s known that Sunetra’s parents wanted her to pursue a career as a nurse. However, Sunetra’s true passion led her to study in Beauty College in London, from where she graduated with a degree in Make-Up Artistry.
In the early 1980s Sunetra started with the BBC – she started working in “Blackadder” in 1986, on which she became Stephen Fry’s make-up artist. Fry, who is an openly gay actor, revealed that despite his sexual preferences he was attracted to Sunetra. He expressed his feelings about this in his book “The Fry Chronicles: An Autobiography” of 2010, in which he described Sunetra as ‘bright, funny and as captivatingly alluring as any girl I had met for years’. He said that he had the intention of asking Sunetra out, however he never did because he also found out that his friend Rowan Atkinson was attracted to her.
Rowan Atkinson who starred the series, asked Fry to change make-up artists with him.
At first Fry thought that Atkinson was displeased with his actual make-up artist, however he later realized that Atkinson was trying to know Sunetra better and his intention was to ask her out too.
In 1988, she worked in the BBC TV Movie “Smack & Thistle”. In 1995 she worked on “Blackadder II”, but she soon quit her job and stopped her career as a make-up artist altogether, to focus on her family.
Relationship and Marriage – Rowan Atkinson
After Atkinson and Sastry met in 1986, they started a relationship. In 1989 Atkinson proposed to Sunetra and they married in 1990. Stephen Fry was Atkinson’s best man.
In 1995, Sunetra and Rowan welcomed their first child, a son who they named Benjamin. Two years after that in 1995, they welcomed their second child, this time a girl who they named Lily.
Who’s Rowan Atkinson?
Rowan Sebastian Atkinson is a primarily a comic actor and writer, born on 6 January 1955, in Consett, County Durham England. Atkinson is known internationally for his appearances in the comedy series “Blackadder”, from 1983 to 1989, and his most memorable role in “Mr. Bean”, from 1990 to 1995.
Atkinson’s early years weren’t spent as a comedian though. He matriculated from Cathedral Chorister School in Durham, graduated with a degree in Electronic and Electricle Engineering from Newcastle University, and continued on to obtain an MSc from Queen’s College, Oxford. His passion for comedy came second to his enthusiasm for engineering, and he only made his incursion into comedy because he wanted overcome a stutter.
The story goes back to 1976, when he went to a meeting with Richard Curtis, where a group of students reunited to discuss sketches in the summer. Atkinson remained silent during this series of meetings, and it wasn’t until the last one that he was finally able to speak. He performed a monologue about driving, in a way so impressive that there was no trace of any stutter or doubt in his voice.
Richard Curtis, who would also become a writer and comedian, described the situation: ‘He did a monologue about driving followed by the thing he still does now, where he mimes and talks at the same time. It was unlike anything else I had ever seen. It was pure genius.’
Atkinson succeed in overcoming not only his stutter, but he also left behind the awkwardness and shyness that formed part of the young and timid Rowan.
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Three years after this, Atkinson landed his first roles as a comedian. His first major appearance came in 1979, in “Canned Laughter”, a movie he wrote and appeared in, starring in three roles, as Robert Box, Dave Perry and Mr. Marshall. The same year he formed part of the cast in the BBC comedy show “Not the Nine O’Clock News” that was aired from 1979 to 1982, that in 1981 would win Atkinson the BAFTA Award for Best Entertainment Performance. Rowan appeared in 28 episodes in total, acting in various roles.
In 1980 Rowan appeared in several roles in the movie “Peter Cook & Co.”, and landed another major role as Bernard Fripp in 1983’s short film “Dead on Time”.
In 1982, however, Rowan starred as “Blackadder”, a TV Series that put him on the spotlight and increased his exposure in the UK.
The series was a pseudo-historical comedy centered in the Middle Ages, with Prince Edmund constantly trying to take hold of the crown from his father. In this production, Atkinson played not only the principal role of Prince Edmund, but he also several other roles, such as Edmund, Duke of Edinburgh; The Flat Adder; The Great Grumbledook; Edmund, Archbishop of Canterbury and others. The series lasted from 1982 to 1983 and was a total success.
In 1986 “Blackadder II” which was a sequel to the first series, was aired. In 1987, the third part of the series entitled “Blackadder the Third” was aired, and in 1988 a TV-short entitled “Blackadder: The Cavalier Years” was released, followed by a TV-Movie entitled “Blackadder’s Christmas Carol”, also in 1988.
In 1989, the sixth part of the “Blackadder” series was aired, entitled “Blackadder Goes Forth”, and lasted six episodes.
Later in 1999, ten years after the sixth part of “Blackadder”, a short film entitled “Blackadder Back & Forth” was released, showcasing every Blackadder character of the entire series.
Besides his role in “Blackadder”, Atkinson created Mr. Bean, the character which would become one of his most memorable and iconic roles ever. In 1990 “Mr. Bean” appeared for the first time in the series that lasted to 1995. During the years the series was aired, Atkinson also played the role of Mr. Bean in several TV-shorts such as “The Library” in 1990, “Police Station”, “Hale & Pace: The Stonk” and “The Bus Stop” in 1991. In 1992, he appeared in the short video “Mr. Bean & Smear Campaign Feat. Bruce Dickinson: (I Want to Be) Elected”, and in another short-film entitled “Blind Date”. In 1994, he repeated his role of Mr. Bean in the TV-Series “Schmidteinander” and in the video “The Best Bits of Mr. Bean” in 1995, when the series finished.
Other times he played this role were in the movie “Bean” in 1997, in the short “Boyzone: Picture of You” and in the series “Ohh, Nooo! Mr. Bill Presents”. Years later in 2002, the animated series entitled “Mr. Bean: The Animated Series” started, and aired during 17 years, with a total of 105 episodes.
In 2007, a TV-short entitled “Mr. Bean’s Wedding” was aired, followed by “The Dame Edna Treatment”. This same year, the movie “Mr. Bean’s Holiday” was released, along with another video short entitled “Matt Willis: Crash”. In 2012, Atkinson appeared in the TV special entitled “London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony: Isles of Wonder”.
Besides his long work with Mr. Bean, Atkinson also appeared in several other productions.
Official date!Tune in to see the premiere of Maigret in Montmartre on sunday, December 24th at 8:30pm on @ITV, starring @Rowan Atkinson as Jules Maigret!
In 1983 he acted as Small-Fawcett, in “Never Say Never Again”. In 1988, he played the role of Dr. Schooner in the short film “The Appointments of Dennis Jennings”.
The next year he played the role of Ron Anderson in the movie “The Tall Guy”, then appeared as Mr. Stringer in the movie “The Witches” in 1990, and the same year as Nigel Havers in the sixth episode of the second season of the series “A Bit of Fry and Laurie”. In 1991 he was Charles Pinkworth in the TV movie “Bernard and the Genie”, and in 1993 Dexter Hayman in the movie “Hot Shots! Part Deux”. In 1994 he played one of his most stellar roles in the movie “Four Weddings and a Funeral” as Father Gerald, and voiced Zazu’s character in the animated movie “The Lion King” and video game “Animated StoryBook: The Lion King”.
In 1995 he appeared in another TV movie, “Full Throttle” as Sir Henry ‘Tim’ Birkin, and in the TV series “The Thin Blue Line” as Inspector Raymond Fowler.
In 2003 was Johnny English in the movie of the same name., then in the same year was Rufus, in “Love Actually”. Other movies he’s acted in have been “Keeping Mum” in 2005; as Chief Inspector Maigret in the TV movie series “Maigret in Montmartre”, and reprising in “Johnny English Strikes Again”.
Divorce – 2014
Rowan and Sunetra’s marriage lasted for almost 25 years, however, in 2014 they announced their separation. Sunetra filed for divorce that year, and it was granted by the Judge after Atkinson didn’t present himself in court, describing Atkinson’s behavior as ‘unreasonable’. At first, the reason of the divorce was unknown, but right after their separation, Atkinson started dating the young actress Louise Ford.
Ford and Atkinson met during the production of “Quartermaine’s Terms”, a play by Simon Gray premiered at Wyndham’s Theatre in 2013. However Ford and Atkinson didn’t start their relationship until a year later.
The separation and rumors that circulated afterwards affected Atkinson’s reputation. Besides the public critique about his actions, his family also criticized him. His daughter Lily described his behavior as ‘a dick move’, referring to the fact that her father started publicly showing his new relationship right after the divorce.
In 2017, Lily expressed her desire to stop using her father’s name, using her mother’s maiden name instead. She is now known as Lily Sastry.
Sunetra hasn’t married again since the divorce. Atkinson still maintains a romantic relationship with Louise Ford, and they welcomed their first child in 2017.
— Read It Now Online (@ReadItNowOnline) June 11, 2020
Sunetra Sastry has an estimated net worth of $15 million, which is a result of her work as a make-up artist, and from the divorce settlement. Atkinson’s reputed wealth is over $130 million, as of early 2020.
Sunetra is a woman of mixed ethnicity. She has brown eyes and hair, and is 5ft 4ins (1.63m) tall. Her weight is unknown.
Sunetra has donated to organizations such as The Brain Cancer Foundation of Great Britain.
Sunetra’s daughter Lily is also an actress.
Sunetra is a very private person, hence she prefers to stay away from media’s spotlight.