Stefán Karl Stefánsson

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Stefán Karl Stefánsson
Born(1975-07-10)10 July 1975
Died21 August 2018(2018-08-21) (aged 43)
Cause of deathCancer
EducationIceland Academy of the Arts
Occupation(s)Actor, singer
Years active1994–2018

Stefán Karl Stefánsson (/ˈstɛfən ˈstɛfənsən/; Icelandic: [ˈstɛːfaun ˈkʰartl̥ ˈstɛːfaunsɔn]; 10 July 1975 – 21 August 2018)[2] was an Icelandic actor and singer. He was best known for playing antagonist Robbie Rotten on the children's television series LazyTown.

Career[change | change source]

Stefán Karl's career started in 1994. At the age of 19, he worked as a puppeteer for television.[3] During his years as a puppeteer, he had also been studying at the Drama Academy of Iceland. However, he was not satisfied with how Iceland views their drama standards. He remembered that his principal at his high school said that "acting is not about making faces and changing your face". He did not agree with his high school principal.[4]

Later, Stefán Karl had been invited by Magnús Scheving, an Icelandic gymnast, to portray one of the characters in the second LazyTown play.[5] Scheving created the plays because he was concerned that Iceland's younger generation is not doing enough exercise. Stefán Karl explained that "[Scheving] wanted the kids to get healthier, so he created this musical called LazyTown. He played Sportacus, the fitness fanatic, and I was Robbie Rotten, the guy who liked to stay indoors and sleep". After initial success with the musical, Nickelodeon eventually made a deal with the creators of LazyTown to air the first 40 episodes of LazyTown along with a special studio built in Iceland. During the first few years of LazyTown in the early 2000s, Stefán Karl initially knew no English, but soon became fluent.[4]

Personal life[change | change source]

Stefán Karl lived in Los Angeles with his wife Steinunn Ólína Þorsteinsdóttir, three daughters, and one son.[6][7] In June 2018, he was awarded the Order of the Falcon.[8] He had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder[9] and Tourette syndrome.[10]

Illness and death[change | change source]

Stefán Karl announced in October 2016 that he had been diagnosed with bile duct cancer.[11][12][13][14] On the same month, GoFundMe campaign was subsequently created by LazyTown head writer Mark Valenti to pay his living costs when he became too ill to work. The campaign was popularized by various YouTube users uploading parodies of Stefán Karl's work. This eventually made the songs "We Are Number One" and "The Mine Song" from LazyTown become Internet memes.[15] In August 2017, Stefán Karl stated he was in remission.[16][17] He clarified on his GoFundMe campaign that while his metastases had been removed after successful liver surgery in June 2017, he still had the disease and had refused further adjuvant therapy.[18]

In March 2018, Stefán Karl was diagnosed with inoperable bile duct cancer, and said that he was undergoing chemotherapy to increase the length of his life.[19] In April 2018, he announced that he personally chose to stop his chemotherapy,[20] and then began to shut down all his social media accounts.[21]

He died on 21 August 2018 at the age of 43.[22][23] His wife stated that Stefansson didn't want to a funeral when he died. Instead, she had said that his body will be secretly scattered into a distant ocean. [24][25]

Legacy[change | change source]

It was announced by his manager, Cheryl Edison, that the Stefán Karl Academy & Center for the Performing Arts will be opened in Switzerland in the year 2019 as a memorial to his career.[26]

Filmography[change | change source]

Stefán Karl has been credited in various works including plays, television series, films, and games.[27]

Theater[change | change source]

Year Title Role Notes
1997–99 The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
1998–99 Palace of Crows by Einar Örn Gunnarsson
1998–99 Ivanov by Anton Chekhov
1999–2000 1000 Island Dressing by Hallgrímur Helgason
1999–2000 Little Shop of Horrors Orin Scrivello, D.D.S.
1999–2000 A Midsummer Night's Dream
1999–2000 Glanni Glæpur í Latabæ by Magnús Scheving and Sigurdur Sigurjónsson Glanni Glæpur (Robbie Rotten) Primary antagonist
2000–01 Stones in His Pockets by Marie Jones
2000–01 Singin' in the Rain by Comden, Green, Freed and Brown Cosmo Brown
2000–02 The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov
2001–02 Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand
2002–03 Noises Off by Michael Frayn
2002–03 Life x 3 by Yasmina Reza
2008–15 Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical The Grinch Baltimore and Boston (2008)
Los Angeles (2009)
North American tour (2010–14)
Worcester, Massachusetts and Appleton, Wisconsin (2015)[28]

Films[change | change source]

According to IMDb:[29]

Year Title Role Notes
1994 Áramótaskaup New Reporter, many others Debut film
TV film
1995 Privacy Student First feature film
1999 Skaupið: 1999 Robbie Williams, many others TV film
2001 Regina Manni – Police Officer
2001 Áramótaskaup TV film
2002 Stella for Office Ingimundur
2002 Litla lirfan ljóta The Worm
2002 Áramótaskaup Many roles TV film
2006 Night at the Museum Miscellaneous crew
2007 Anna and the Moods Voiceover
2009 Jóhannes Diddi
2011 Thor Miscellaneous crew
2011 Polite People Lárus Skjaldarson Lead actor
2014 Harry Og Heimir Símon

Television[change | change source]

Year Title Role Notes
1998 Baking Trouble Channel 1 program
1999 God Exists... And Love Channel 1
Drama Academy of Iceland
2000 Angel No. 5503288 Channel 1 program
2000 Car Mechanic Sketches for Eurovision Channel 1 program
2000 Cars Can Fly Channel 1 program
2004–2007; 2013–2014 LazyTown Robbie Rotten Main villain
2015 Titch and Ted Do Maths

Video games[change | change source]

Year Title Role Notes
2017 For Honor Viking Soldier [30]

References[change | change source]

  1. Stone, Natalie (26 August 2018). "LazyTown Star Stefán Karl Stefánsson's Wife Remembers the Late Actor: 'For His Life to Be Cut So Short Was a Blow to Us All'". Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  2. Karl, Stefán (27 November 2018). "Stefan Karl Stefansson – Last public performance in December 2017". YouTube. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  3. Barnes, Tom (22 August 2018). "Star of Lazy Town Stefan Karl Stefansson has died aged 43". The Independent. Retrieved 22 August 2018.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Ouzounian, Richard (24 December 2010). "The Grinch who came from Iceland". Toronto Star. Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  5. Baker, Neal (22 August 2018). "Who was Stefan Karl Stefansson and when did the Lazytown actor die?". The Sun. Retrieved 22 August 2018.
  6. O'Sullivan, Kyle (21 August 2018). "LazyTown actor Stefan Karl Stefansson dies aged 43 after battle with cancer". mirror. Retrieved 22 August 2018.
  7. The Sun (22 August 2018). "Lazytown Robbie Rotten actor dies". News Pty Limited. Retrieved 22 August 2018.
  8. "Fálkaorðan". Forseti Íslands (in Icelandic). Skrifstofa forseta Íslands. 17 June 2018. Archived from the original on 21 June 2018. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  9. "Var að gefast upp á því hvernig mér leið". ADHD samtökin (in Icelandic). 20 January 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2023.
  10. "„Pabbi, þú ert ekki með túrett"". Morgunblaðið (in Icelandic). 2 September 2018. Retrieved 1 May 2023.
  11. "Stefán Karl alvarlega veikur". (in Icelandic). 22 September 2016. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
  12. "Stefán Karl lagður inn á sjúkrahús um helgina". DV (in Icelandic). 22 September 2016. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
  13. "Actor de Lazy Town padece de cáncer y pide ayuda". La República (in Spanish). 19 October 2016. Archived from the original on 21 October 2016. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  14. Sandwell, Ians (16 March 2018). "LazyTown actor Stefan Karl Stefansson reveals his cancer is back and it's 'inoperable'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  15. Asarch, Steven (17 December 2016). "'We Are Number One' Meme: Why Do People Keep Remixing A Children's Show Song?". Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  16. ""Lífið er núna"". RÚV (in Icelandic). 11 August 2017. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  17. Moore, Sam (16 August 2017). "Robbie Rotten actor reveals good news about his cancer diagnosis". Metro. Retrieved 22 August 2018.
  18. Anderton, Joe (14 August 2017). ""Stefan Karl Stefansson Is Free of Cancer"". Digital Spy. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  19. Kelly, Emma (16 March 2018). "LazyTown's Stefan Karl Stefansson confirms 'inoperable' cancer has returned". Metro. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  20. McManus, Samuel (21 August 2018). "Stefan Karl Stefansson dead: LazyTown actor dies of cancer at the age of 43". OK!. Retrieved 22 August 2018.
  21. Akingbade, Toby (5 April 2018). "LazyTown's Stefan Karl Stefansson deletes social media as he confirms return of 'inoperable' cancer". Metro. Retrieved 22 August 2018.
  22. Þórarinn Þórarinsson (21 August 2018). "Stefán Karl Stefánsson er látinn". Fréttablaðið (in Icelandic). Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  23. Baillie, Katie (21 August 2018). "LazyTown actor Stefan Karl Stefansson dies of cancer aged 43". Metro. Retrieved 22 August 2018.
  24. Yeung, Jessie (22 August 2018). "Stefan Karl Stefansson, LazyTown's Robbie Rotten actor, dies aged 43". CNN. Retrieved 22 August 2018.
  25. Kelly, Emma (22 August 2018). "Stefan Karl Stefansson's wife confirms no funeral will be held for LazyTown star". Metro. Retrieved 22 August 2018.
  26. Masters, Samantha (21 August 2018). "Stefan Karl Stefansson dead: LazyTown actor dies aged 43 following battle with cancer". Retrieved 22 August 2018.
  27. "The Meme That Is Helping Cure Cancer". The Odyssey Online. 17 January 2017. Retrieved 22 August 2018.
  28. Valenti, Mark (24 June 2017). "I am Stefan Karl (Robbie Rotten from LazyTown) and I am in the fight of my life against cancer! AMA!". Reddit. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
  29. "Stefán Karl Stefánsson". IMDb. Retrieved 22 August 2018.
  30. O'Connor, Rory (21 August 2018). "LazyTown: Robbie Rotten actor Stefan Karl Stefansson dead - best TV moments revealed". Sunday Express. Retrieved 12 September 2018.

Other websites[change | change source]