On this date in 1957, Stephen Fry was born in London, England. He grew up in Norfolk. At age 17, after leaving school, he was convicted of credit card fraud. After serving time in prison, Fry studied at City College Norfolk with the intention of sitting entrance exams for Cambridge, where he received a scholarship. At Cambridge, he performed in the Cambridge Footlights Review with Emma Thompson and Hugh Laurie. Fry and Laurie continued their comedic collaboration outside of school, including the sketch comedy show “A Bit of Fry and Laurie,” for the BBC, which had six seasons between 1986 and 1995. From 1990 to 1993, Fry and Laurie also starred in “Jeeves and Wooster” (Fry played Jeeves). Fry has had a wide-ranging career in acting, comedy and writing.
He is very active in social media, preferring to speak directly to his fans whenever he can, such as through Twitter and on his personal website. In 2003, Fry began hosting the BBC television panel comedy game show “QI.” The ninth season broadcasts in fall of 2011. Fry has been openly gay for his entire active professional life, and at times advocates for various causes, including gay rights. He grew up in an atheist home, but according to his website, http://www.stephenfry.com, he had a brief flirtation with Christianity as a teenager after reading C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters and was also influenced by G.K. Chesterton. However, as an adult, Fry returned to atheism and is very open about his nonbelief, describing the Christian God as “utterly evil, capricious and monstrous,” in an interview with the Gaurdian in Feb., 2015. In 2011, he was awarded the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard’s Lifetime Award in Cultural Humanism.
“I love how when people watch I don’t know, David Attenborough or Discovery Planet type thing you know where you see the absolute phenomenal majesty and complexity and bewildering beauty of nature and you stare at it and then … somebody next to you goes, ‘And how can you say there is no God? Look at that.’ And then five minutes later you’re looking at the lifecycle of a parasitic worm whose job is to bury itself in the eyeball of a little lamb and eat the eyeball from inside while the lamb dies in horrible agony and then you turn to them and say, ‘Yeah, where is your God now?’ ”
—Stephen Fry in an interview by bigthink.com, Dec. 17, 2009