Source : BernardCornwell.net
Bernard Cornwell was born in London in 1944 - a 'warbaby' - whose father was a Canadian airman and mother in Britain's Women's Auxiliary Air Force.
He was adopted by a family in Essex who belonged to a religious sect called the Peculiar People (and they were), but escaped to London University and, after a stint as a teacher, he joined BBC Television where he worked for the next 10 years.
He began as a researcher on the Nationwide programme and ended as Head of Current Affairs Television for the BBC in Northern Ireland. It was while working in Belfast that he met Judy, a visiting American, and fell in love.
Judy was unable to move to Britain for family reasons so Bernard went to the States where he was refused a Green Card. He decided to earn a living by writing, a job that did not need a permit from the US government - and for some years he had been wanting to write the adventures of a British soldier in the Napoleonic wars - and so the Sharpe series was born.
Bernard and Judy married in 1980, are still married, still live in the States and he is still writing Sharpe.
Born in the slums of London, his mother was a prostitute, he grew up in an orphanage and he thieved and generally led a life of crime before entering the army at 15 yrs old.
He joined the 33rd Foot which later became the Duke of Wellington's regiment and fought through a few skirmishes until he ended up in India where after saving General Wellesley's life at the battle of Assaye, he was promoted from the ranks to an Ensign.
From Ensign with the 74th Highlanders he fought his way through India and the battle for Gawilghur fort before being transferred to the 95th Rifle Brigade and becoming a 2nd Lieutenant in 1805.
From that day Sharpe rose through the ranks ending up as a Major generally with the Light Company of the South Essex (a fictitious regiment) although Wellington was not averse to using Sharpe's soldiering talents when it suited him for other less desirable tasks!
After Waterloo in 1815, Sharpe retired with his mistress, Lucille, back to their chateau in Normandy until he was asked by an old friend, to go to Chile for a final military adventure and incidentally where he meets Napoleon for the very first time, and of course who should go with him on his last adventure - Patrick Harper - information on whom can be found further on!
Sean Bean was not the first choice to play Sharpe, but when he walked out onto the set, everyone was impressed - most of the cast and crew agreed - he WAS Sharpe!
Sean was not the Sharpe of the books, he should have been dark haired, far less good looking and with a London accent. Instead he was blonde, good looking, and blessed with a pronounced Sheffield accent! The only thing Sharpe and Sean had in common were the scars!
Sean was born in Sheffield in 1959, he left school in 1975 with a couple of O levels and no great ideas as to what he wanted to do in the future. His first great love was football, and even today he listens to Sheffield United's matches over the radio or via telephone link with his family if he's away filming. Fans of Sean will have spotted his favourite team's logo on his left shoulder - "100% Blades" !
However he couldn't play football professionally due to an accident earlier in his life, so he drifted in and out of jobs before he came across an arts class in his local college and enrolled, from there he found drama and something clicked!
From Rotherham College, Sean applied for RADA and won a scholarship where he began training. It was only a matter of time before the athletic and good looking Mr Bean was spotted by various producers and directors for a series of small but important film roles. It was whilst Sean co-starring alongside Harrison Ford, in the thriller, "Patriot Games" that he acquired the scar above his eye which co-incidentally was supposed to be there for his alter ego, Sharpe. And then, along came the role of Sharpe! And what a role - it was made for Sean, a fine swordsman in real life and always ready to take on stunts himself, he made the role his in a way no one else could - fans of Sharpe are agreed, Sean IS Sharpe and if any more films are made - Sean has to return in the title role!
Bernard Cornwell, the author of Sharpe, agrees. "When I write Sharpe these days, I hear Sean's voice", says Bernard.
Since Sharpe, Sean has rarely had any time off, professionally he has hit the Hollywood heights with roles in 'Lord of the Rings' 'Don't Say a Word', and most recently, "Troy". But we all hope that he will agree to come back and play Richard Sharpe - just one more time! Sean is currently divorced from Abigail Cruttenden who played Jane in the Sharpe films. He has three daughters, Lorna and Molly by actress Melanie Hill and Evie with Abigail.