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Last Updated: Monday, 1 March, 2004, 17:29 GMT
Robbins basking in Oscar glory
Tim Robbins
Tim Robbins accepts his Academy Award for Mystic River
Tim Robbins' Academy Award for Mystic River is an overdue honour for this actor, director and political activist.

What's more, it shows the Academy has finally forgiven him for his notorious outburst at the 1993 awards ceremony.

While presenting an award, Robbins and his partner Susan Sarandon criticised the US government for its internment of HIV positive Haitian refugees in Cuba.

Last year the couple were at it again, flashing peace signs to express their opposition to the war in Iraq.

"Here comes Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon," joked Oscars host David Letterman at the 1995 event. "They're bound to be annoyed about something."

But Robbins' left-wing politics do not seem to have halted his steady ascent up the Hollywood ladder.

Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon
Robbins and longtime partner Susan Sarandon often speak out
Born Timothy Francis Robbins in October 1958, the young Tim studied drama at UCLA, graduating in 1981.

The same year he formed the Actors Gang, a radical theatre ensemble with a strong political sensibility.

Robbins' first big break came in the baseball comedy Bull Durham, in which he starred alongside Kevin Costner and future partner Sarandon.

But it was the combination of Robert Altman's The Player and his directorial debut Bob Roberts in 1992 that cemented his status as one of Hollywood's most promising polymaths.

In the former he played a venal studio executive who, quite literally, gets away with murder. The latter cast him as a folk-singing right-wing political candidate.

He directed Sarandon to a best actress Oscar in the Death Row drama Dead Man Walking, while his next film, Broadway-based period piece Cradle Will Rock, reunited him with many of his Actors Gang cronies.

As an actor, meanwhile, he showed his range playing a small-town simpleton in The Hudsucker Proxy and a wrongly imprisoned convict in The Shawshank Redemption.

Tim Robbins in Mystic River
Robbins plays a victim of child sex abuse in Mystic River
But controversy was never far away. In 2000 Robbins publicly attacked actress Elizabeth Hurley for breaking a Screen Actors Guild strike, while last year the Baseball Hall of Fame cancelled a 15th anniversary screening of Bull Durham over his opposition to the Iraqi conflict.

Before this year's Oscars, Robbins promised not to talk politics if he won the best supporting actor award for his role as a victim of child sex abuse in Clint Eastwood's Mystic River.

He was true to his word, limiting himself to a plea to all victims of abuse to come forward and seek counselling.

Robbins will next be seen alongside British Oscar nominee Samantha Morton in futuristic romance Code 46.


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