Known to legions of obsessed fans for writing, directing, and playing hunchbacked butler Riff Raff in the legendary cult movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show, British-born Richard O'Brien grew up in New Zealand. His father, an accountant, decided to switch career paths and become a sheep farmer when O'Brien was just nine, possibly planting in the young tyke the idea to make a movie about square people shaking off the strictures of modern life.
He became interested in science fiction movies and rock & roll at a young age, and in 1964, he moved back to England to pursue a singing and acting career. Working in the theater, he met director Jim Sharman while appearing in a production of Jesus Christ Superstar. He would come to work with Sharman on his own musical, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which opened on-stage in 1973. By 1975, O'Brien was adapting the play for the screen, unknowingly creating a massive cultural phenomenon.
The film went on to become perhaps the most quintessential cult hit, and O'Brien's legacy was sealed. Nonetheless, he continued to work constantly, appearing in everything from Spice World to Dungeons & Dragons, as well as writing and recording his own music.