100 Great British Actors

by glyntreharne-1 | created - 20 Nov 2010 | updated - 29 Dec 2013 | Public

100 British actors from the last 100 years

1. George Arliss

Actor | Disraeli

One of the oldest actors on the screen in the 1920s and 1930s, George Arliss starred on the London stage from an early age. He came to the United States and starred in several films, but it was his role as British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli in Disraeli (1929) that brought him his greatest ...

2. Arthur Askey

Actor | The Love Match

Arthur Askey was a diminutive British comedian, born in 1900. He began his professional career as a music hall performer in 1924, but it wasn't until 1938's Band Waggon (1940) (which lasted a full five seasons), that he became a household name in England. His film debut was in the 1937 British ...

3. Rowan Atkinson

Actor | Johnny English

Rowan Sebastian Atkinson was born on 6 January, 1955, in Consett, Co. Durham, UK, to Ella May (Bainbridge) and Eric Atkinson. His father owned a farm, where Rowan grew up with his two older brothers, Rupert and Rodney. He attended Newcastle University and Oxford University where he earned degrees ...

4. Richard Attenborough

Actor | Jurassic Park

Lord Richard Attenborough was born in Cambridge, England, the son of Mary (née Clegg), a founding member of the Marriage Guidance Council, and Frederick Levi Attenborough, a scholar and academic administrator who was a don at Emmanuel College and wrote a standard text on Anglo-Saxon law. ...

5. Felix Aylmer

Actor | Ivanhoe

British character actor Felix Aylmer was educated at Oxford and later studied drama, making his stage debut at the London Coliseum in 1911. During World War I he served in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and resumed his stage career after the war ended. He entered films in 1930 and stayed in them...

6. Stanley Baker

Actor | Zulu

Stanley Baker was unusual star material to emerge during the Fifties - when impossibly handsome and engagingly romantic leading men were almost de rigueur. Baker was forged from a rougher mould. His was good-looking, but his features were angular, taut, austere and unwelcoming. His screen persona ...

7. Christian Bale

Actor | The Dark Knight

Christian Charles Philip Bale was born in Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK on January 30, 1974, to English parents Jennifer "Jenny" (James) and David Charles Howard Bale. His mother was a circus performer and his father, who was born in South Africa, was a commercial pilot. The family lived in different ...

8. Leslie Banks

Actor | The Man Who Knew Too Much

Leslie Banks was born on June 9, 1890 in West Derby, England as Leslie James Banks. He was an actor, known for The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), The Most Dangerous Game (1932) and Haunted Honeymoon (1940). He was married to Gwendoline Haldane Unwin. He died on April 21, 1952 in London, England.

9. Ronnie Barker

Actor | The Two Ronnies

Ronnie Barker's remarkable versatility as a performer can be traced back to his time in repertory theatre, where he was able to play a wide range of roles and develop his talent for accents, voices and verbal dexterity. It was during this time that he met Glenn Melvyn, who taught him how to stammer ...

10. Alan Bates

Actor | Gosford Park

Alan Bates decided to be an actor at age 11. After grammar school in Derbyshire, he earned a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. Following two years in the Royal Air Force, he joined the new English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre. His West End debut in 1956, at 22...

11. Brian Blessed

Actor | Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

Boisterous British actor Brian Blessed is known for his hearty, king-sized portrayals on film and television. A giant of a man accompanied by an eloquent wit and booming, operatic voice, Brian was born in 1936 and grew up in the mining village of Goldthorpe in South Yorkshire. His father was a ...

12. Orlando Bloom

Actor | The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Orlando Jonathan Blanchard Bloom was born in Canterbury, Kent, England on January 13, 1977. His mother, Sonia Constance Josephine (Copeland), was born in Kolkata, India, to an English family then-resident there. The man he briefly knew as his father, Harry Bloom, was a legendary political activist ...

13. Dirk Bogarde

Actor | The Servant

Sir Dirk Bogarde, distinguished film actor and writer, was born Derek Jules Gaspard Ulric Niven van den Bogaerde on March 28, 1921, to Ulric van den Bogaerde, the art editor of "The Times" (London) newspaper, and actress Margaret Niven in the London suburb of Hampstead. He was one of three children...

14. Kenneth Branagh

Actor | Henry V

Kenneth Charles Branagh was born on December 10, 1960, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, to parents William Branagh, a plumber and carpenter, and Frances (Harper), both born in 1930. He has two siblings, William Branagh, Jr. (born 1955) and Joyce Branagh (born 1970). When he was nine, his family ...

15. Richard Briers

Actor | Peter Pan

Richard Briers was born on January 14, 1934 in Merton, Surrey, England as Richard David Briers. He was an actor, known for Peter Pan (2003), Watership Down (1978) and Much Ado About Nothing (1993). He was married to Ann Davies. He died on February 17, 2013 in London, England.

16. Jim Broadbent

Actor | Moulin Rouge!

One of England's most versatile character actors, Jim Broadbent was born on May 24, 1949, in Lincolnshire, the youngest son of furniture maker Roy Laverick Broadbent and sculptress Doreen "Dee" (Findlay) Broadbent. Jim attended a Quaker boarding school in Reading before successfully applying for a ...

17. Jack Buchanan

Actor | As Long as They're Happy

Born in Scotland, Jack Buchanan made his stage acting debut in Britain in 1912, and on Broadway in 1924. Though he made his film debut in 1917 during the silent film era, Buchanan is probably best remembered for The Band Wagon (1953), co-starring with Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, Nanette Fabray, ...

18. Michael Caine

Actor | The Dark Knight

Michael Caine was born Maurice Joseph Micklewhite in London, to Ellen Frances Marie (Burchell), a charlady, and Maurice Joseph Micklewhite, a fish-market porter. He left school at age 15 and took a series of working-class jobs before joining the British army and serving in Korea during the Korean ...

19. George Cole

Actor | Scrooge

George Cole OBE was a veteran British film, television and stage actor whose impressive career spanned over 60 years. For many, he will perhaps be best remembered for playing one of the most endearing characters of recent times on British television, "Arthur Daley", the shifty but very likable "...

20. Ronald Colman

Actor | Random Harvest

British leading man of primarily American films, one of the great stars of the Golden Age. Raised in Ealing, the son of a successful silk merchant, he attended boarding school in Sussex, where he first discovered amateur theatre. He intended to attend Cambridge and become an engineer, but his ...

21. Sean Connery

Actor | The Rock

Sean Connery is best known for portraying the character James Bond, starring in seven Bond films between 1962 and 1983. In 1988, Connery won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Untouchables (1987). His film career also includes such films as Marnie (1964), The Name of ...

22. Tom Courtenay

Actor | Doctor Zhivago

Acting chameleon Sir Tom Courtenay, along with Sirs Alan Bates and Albert Finney, became front-runners in an up-and-coming company of rebel upstarts who created quite a stir in British "kitchen sink" cinema during the early 60s. An undying love for the theatre, however, had Courtenay channeling a ...

23. Daniel Craig

Actor | Casino Royale

One of the British theatre's most famous faces, Daniel Craig, who waited tables as a struggling teenage actor with the National Youth Theatre, went on to star as James Bond in Casino Royale (2006), Quantum of Solace (2008), Skyfall (2012) and Spectre (2015).

He was born Daniel Wroughton Craig on ...

24. Michael Craig

Actor | G.P.

A veritable everyman of stage and screen, both big and small, but relatively unfamiliar to American audiences, Michael Craig is of Scots heritage, born in India to a father on military assignment. When he was three, the family returned to England, but by his eleventh year, they moved on to Canada -...

25. Peter Cushing

Actor | Star Wars

Peter Wilton Cushing was born on May 26, 1913 in Kenley, Surrey, England, to Nellie Maria (King) and George Edward Cushing, a quantity surveyor. He and his older brother David were raised first in Dulwich Village, a south London suburb, and then later back in Surrey. At an early age, Cushing was ...

26. Timothy Dalton

Actor | The Living Daylights

At a consistently lean 6' 2", green-eyed Timothy Dalton may very well be one of the last of the dying breed of swashbuckling, classically trained Shakespearean actors who have forged simultaneous successful careers in theater, television and film. He has been comparison-shopped roundly for stepping...

27. Daniel Day-Lewis

Actor | There Will Be Blood

Born in London, England, Daniel Michael Blake Day-Lewis is the second child of Nicholas Blake, Poet Laureate of the U.K., and his second wife, actress Jill Balcon. His maternal grandfather was Sir Michael Balcon, an important figure in the history of British cinema and head of the famous Ealing ...

28. Denholm Elliott

Actor | A Room with a View

Much-loved character actor who specialised in playing slightly sleazy/slightly eccentric and often flawed upper middle class English gentlemen. His career spanned nearly 40 years, becoming a well-known face both in Britain and in the States.

29. Rupert Everett

Actor | My Best Friend's Wedding

Rupert James Hector Everett was born in Burnham Deepdale, Norfolk, to Sara (Maclean) and Anthony Michael Everett, a Major in the British Army, who later worked in business. He is of mostly English, Scottish, and Irish ancestry.

Everett grew up in privileged circumstances, but the wry, sometimes ...

30. David Farrar

Actor | The Small Back Room

London-born David Farrar dropped out of school at 14 and became a writer for the Morning Advertiser newspaper; but it wasn't long before he decided to change careers and become an actor. He started out on the stage in 1932, and five years later made his film debut. Appearing at first in low-budget ...

31. Peter Finch

Actor | Network

Despite being one of the finest actors of his generation, Peter Finch will be remembered as much for his reputation as a hard-drinking, hell-raising womanizer as for his performances on the screen. He was born in London in 1916 and went to live in Sydney, Australia, at the age of ten. There, he ...

32. Colin Firth

Actor | A Single Man

Colin Andrew Firth was born into an academic family in Grayshott, Hampshire, England. His mother, Shirley Jean (Rolles), was a comparative religion lecturer at the Open University, and his father, David Norman Lewis Firth, lectured on history at Winchester University College (formerly King Alfred's...

33. John Gielgud

Actor | Arthur

Born in London, England, John Gielgud trained at Lady Benson's Acting School and RADA, London. Best known for his Shakespearean roles in the theater, he first played Hamlet at the age of 26. He worked under the tutelage of Lilian Bayliss with friend and fellow performer Laurence Olivier and other ...

34. Stewart Granger

Actor | Scaramouche

Stewart Granger was born James Leblanche Stewart in London, the grandson of the actor "Luigi Lablache". He attended Epsom College but left after deciding not to pursue a medical degree. He decided to try acting and attended Webber-Douglas School of Dramatic Art, London. By 1935, he made his stage ...

35. Cary Grant

Actor | North by Northwest

Once told by an interviewer, "Everybody would like to be Cary Grant", Grant is said to have replied, "So would I."

Cary Grant was born Archibald Alexander Leach on January 18, 1904 in Horfield, Bristol, England, to Elsie Maria (Kingdon) and Elias James Leach, who worked in a factory. His early years...

36. Hugh Grant

Actor | Love Actually

Hugh Grant, one of Britain's best known faces, has been equally entertaining on-screen as well as in real life, and has had enough sense of humor to survive a media frenzy. He is known for his roles in Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), with Andie MacDowell, Notting Hill (1999), opposite Julia ...

37. John Gregson

Actor | The Battle of the River Plate

A former telephone engineer who dabbled in amateur dramatics, John Gregson served aboard a minesweeper with the Royal Navy during World War II. After demobilisation, he joined the Liverpool Old Vic, making his stage debut in 'The Knight of the Burning Pestle'. Freshly married, he moved to London ...

38. Alec Guinness

Actor | Star Wars

Alec Guinness was an English actor. He is known for his six collaborations with David Lean: Herbert Pocket in Great Expectations (1946), Fagin in Oliver Twist (1948), Col. Nicholson in The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor), Prince Faisal in Lawrence ...

39. Tony Hancock

Actor | The Rebel

Tony Hancock was born in Birmingham, England, the son of John and Lillian Hancock. He was educated at Durlston Court, Swanage, and Bradfield College, Reading. He served in the R.A.F. (ground crew) during the war. In 1942 he was in the R.A.F. Gang Show. He was de-mobbed in 1946. He appeared at the ...

40. Cedric Hardwicke

Actor | The Ten Commandments

Sir Cedric Hardwicke, one of the great character actors in the first decades of the talking picture, was born in Lye, England on February 19, 1893. Hardwicke attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and made his stage debut in 1912. His career was interrupted by military service in World War I, ...

41. Robertson Hare

Actor | So This Is London

Robertson Hare was born on December 17, 1891 in London, England as John Robertson Hare. He was an actor, known for So This Is London (1939), One Wild Oat (1951) and Tons of Money (1930). He was married to Irene Mewton (Alice). He died on January 25, 1979 in London.

42. Gordon Harker

Actor | The Farmer's Wife

Gordon Harker born in 1885 in London into a well-known family of theatrical artists, he first appeared on stage in 1903. Lugubrious, shifty cockney character who starred and supported in over 60 films his first film role as Major Kent in Harold M. Shaw 'General John Regan' starring Milton Rosmer ...

43. Rex Harrison

Actor | My Fair Lady

Rex Harrison was born Reginald Carey Harrison in Huyton, Lancashire, England, to Edith Mary (Carey) and William Reginald Harrison, a cotton broker. He changed his name to Rex as a young boy, knowing it was the Latin word for "King". Starting out on his theater career at age 18, his first job at the ...

44. William Hartnell

Actor | Carry On Sergeant

William Hartnell was born on 8 January 1908, just south of St. Pancras station in London. In press materials in the 1940s he claimed that his father was a farmer and later a stockbroker; it turns out that he had actually been born out of wedlock, as his biography "Who's There?" states. At age 16 he...

45. Jack Hawkins

Actor | Lawrence of Arabia

In Britain, special Christmas plays called pantomimes are produced for children. Jack Hawkins made his London theatrical debut at age 12, playing the elf king in "Where The Rainbow Ends". At 17, he got the lead role of St. George in the same play. At 18, he made his debut on Broadway in "Journey's ...

46. Will Hay

Actor | Oh, Mr. Porter!

William Thompson Hay was probably one of the most versatile of entertainers. He was not only a character comedian of the first rank, but was also an astronomer of high repute - he discovered the spot on the planet Saturn in 1933 - and a fully qualified air pilot; he was once an engineer. Born at ...

47. Stanley Holloway

Actor | My Fair Lady

Stanley Holloway was born on October 1, 1890 in Manor Park, London, England as Stanley Augustus Holloway. He was an actor, known for My Fair Lady (1964), Brief Encounter (1945) and Ten Little Indians (1965). He was married to Violet Lane and Alice Mary Laure Foran. He died on January 30, 1982 in ...

48. Anthony Hopkins

Actor | The Silence of the Lambs

Anthony Hopkins was born on December 31, 1937, in Margam, Wales, to Muriel Anne (Yeats) and Richard Arthur Hopkins, a baker. His parents were both of half Welsh and half English descent. Influenced by Richard Burton, he decided to study at College of Music and Drama and graduated in 1957. In 1965, ...

49. Leslie Howard

Actor | Pygmalion

Leslie Howard Stainer was born in London, to Lilian (Blumberg) and Ferdinand "Frank" Steiner. His father was a Hungarian Jewish immigrant, and his English mother was of German Jewish, and mostly English, descent. Leslie went to Dulwich College. After school, he worked as a bank clerk until the ...

50. Trevor Howard

Actor | The Third Man

The son of an insurance underwriter, who represented Lloyd's of London in Ceylon, Trevor Wallace Howard-Smith was born in Margate, Kent. He spent his early childhood globetrotting with his mother, frequently left in the care of strangers. After attending private school, he subsequently trained at ...

51. Jack Hulbert

Actor | Jack of All Trades

Jack Hulbert--the brother of actor Claude Hulbert--began his acting career at Cambridge, where he worked in various plays and variety revues. He later had a very successful career on the stage in comedies and musicals. His film debut was in Elstree Calling (1930), in which he appeared with his wife,...

52. Sidney James

Actor | Carry on Again Doctor

The star of the Carry On series of films, Sid James originally came to prominence as sidekick to the ground breaking British comedy actor Tony Hancock, on both radio and then television. Born in Johannesburg, South Africa and named Solomon Joel Cohen, James arrived in England in 1946, second wife ...

53. David Jason

Actor | Only Fools and Horses....

David Jason was born in Edmonton, London, in 1940. He has become one of Britain's most famous, versatile and respected actors, who is most famous for his role in Only Fools and Horses.... (1981) as Del Boy. He made his debut in the series in 1981 and was still playing the same role up to the ...

54. Mervyn Johns

Actor | Dead of Night

Mervyn Johns was born on February 18, 1899 in Pembroke, Wales as David Mervyn Johns. He was an actor, known for Dead of Night (1945), A Christmas Carol (1951) and The Master of Ballantrae (1953). He was married to Diana Churchill and Alice Maud Steele Wareham. He died on September 6, 1992 in ...

55. James Robertson Justice

Actor | The Guns of Navarone

James Robertson Justice was always a noticeable presence in a film with his large stature, bushy beard and booming voice. A Ph.D., a journalist, a naturalist, an expert falconer, a racing car driver, JRJ was certainly a man of many talents.

He entered the film industry quite late in life (37) after ...

56. Hugh Laurie

Actor | House M.D.

Hugh was born in Oxford, England on June 11, 1959, to Patricia (Laidlaw) and William George Ranald Mundell "Ran" Laurie, a doctor, both of Scottish descent. He was educated at Eton and Cambridge. Son of an Olympic gold medalist in the sport, he rowed for the England youth team (1977) and for ...

57. Jude Law

Actor | The Talented Mr. Ripley

Jude Law is an English actor. Law has been nominated for two Academy Awards and continues to build a prolific body of work that spans from early successes such as Gattaca (1997) and The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) to more recent turns as Dr. John Watson in Sherlock Holmes (2009) and Sherlock Holmes:...

58. Christopher Lee

Actor | Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee was perhaps the only actor of his generation to have starred in so many films and cult saga. Although most notable for personifying bloodsucking vampire, Dracula, on screen, he portrayed other varied characters on screen, most of which were villains, whether it ...

59. Arthur Lucan

Actor | Mother Riley Meets the Vampire

Arthur Towle was in show business from 1900 when he left school until his dying day. He started as an "Irish" character comedian in British music halls; touring Ireland with this act in 1913, he met and married Kitty McShane (she was 15, he 26). They gradually evolved the act of "Old Mother Riley ...

60. David McCallum

Actor | The Great Escape

Since David McCallum's father, David McCallum Sr., was first violinist for the London Philharmonic and his mother, Dorothy Dorman, was a cellist, it's not surprising that David was originally headed for a career in music, playing oboe. He studied briefly at the Royal Academy of Music. He left that,...

61. Patrick McGoohan

Actor | The Prisoner

Though born in America, Irish actor Patrick McGoohan rose to become the number-one British TV star in the 1950s to 1960s era. His parents moved to Ireland when he was very young and McGoohan acquired a neutral accent that sounds at home in British or American dialogue. He was an avid stage actor ...

62. Ian McKellen

Actor | The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Widely regarded as one of greatest stage and screen actors, both in his native Great Britain and internationally, twice nominated for the Oscar and recipient of every major theatrical award in UK and US, Ian Murray McKellen was born on May 25, 1939 in Burnley, Lancashire, England, to Margery Lois (...

63. Patrick Macnee

Actor | A View to a Kill

British actor Patrick Macnee was born on February 6, 1922 in London, England into a wealthy and eccentric family. His father, Daniel Macnee, was a race horse trainer, who drank and gambled away the family fortune, leaving young Patrick to be raised by his gay mother, Dorothea Mary, and her lover. ...

64. Miles Malleson

Actor | Kind Hearts and Coronets

Actor, playwright and screenwriter Miles Malleson's list of credits reads like a history of British cinema in the first half of the 20th century. Born in Croydon in Surrey, he attended Brighton College in Sussex before studying at Cambridge University with the intention of becoming a schoolmaster. ...

65. Garry Marsh

Actor | Department Store

Garry Marsh was the younger brother of Digby George Gerahty who as Robert Standish wrote the novel Elephant Walk adapted to film starring Elizabeth Taylor. Gerahty is the correct spelling of the family name according to a nephew of Garry and Digby. Digby was the prolific writer of some 80 novels, ...

66. James Mason

Actor | Lolita

James Mason was a great English actor of British and American films. He was born in Yorkshire, and attended Marlborough and Cambridge, where he discovered acting on a lark, and abandoned a planned career as an architect. Following work in stock companies, he joined the Old Vic under the guidance of...

67. Bernard Miles

Actor | The Man Who Knew Too Much

The British character actor Bernard Miles was born in Uxbridge, Middlesex, England, in 1907; his father was a farm laborer and his mother was a cook. After graduation from Pembroke College, Oxford, he was a teacher for a while and then joined the New Theatre in London. In 1937, he worked in Herbert...

68. Roger Moore

Actor | Moonraker

Roger Moore will perhaps always be remembered as the man who replaced Sean Connery in the James Bond series, arguably something he never lived down.

Roger George Moore was born on October 14, 1927 in Stockwell, London, England, the son of Lillian (Pope) and George Alfred Moore, a policeman. His ...

69. Kenneth More

Actor | The Longest Day

Affable, bright and breezy Kenneth More epitomised the traditional English virtues of fortitude and fun. At the height of his fame in the 1950s he was Britain's most popular film star and had appeared in a string of box office hits including Genevieve (1953), Doctor in the House (1954), Reach for ...

70. Robert Morley

Actor | Marie Antoinette

English character actor Robert Morley was educated in England, Germany, France and Italy. His family planned for him to go into the diplomatic service but he liked the idea of acting more. After studying at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London he appeared on the London stage in 1929 ...

71. David Niven

Actor | Murder by Death

David Niven was named after the Saint's Day on which he was born, St. David, patron Saint of Wales. He attended Stowe School and Sandhurst Military Academy and served for two years in Malta with the Highland Light Infantry. At the outbreak of World War II, although a top-line star, he re-joined the...

72. Ivor Novello

Writer | Downhill

While his special gifts seemed to lie in music and composing, the dapper, multi-talented Welsh actor Ivor Novello (ne David Ivor Davies), with his leading-man good looks, had a strong affinity for the camera.

Born in Cardiff, Wales, in 1893, he was the son of a tax-collector father and a well-known ...

73. Laurence Olivier

Actor | Rebecca

Laurence Olivier could speak William Shakespeare's lines as naturally as if he were "actually thinking them", said English playwright Charles Bennett, who met Olivier in 1927.

Laurence Kerr Olivier was born in Dorking, Surrey, England, to Agnes Louise (Crookenden) and Gerard Kerr Olivier, a High ...

74. Bill Owen

Actor | Last of the Summer Wine

This English actor was born of humble, working class beginnings and became well-known for playing the same kind of blokes on both film and TV. Born William Rowbotham, he was the son of a tram driver and laundress. He knew early on that entertaining was the life for him. He worked in odd jobs as a ...

75. Cecil Parker

Actor | The Lady Vanishes

An air of almost smug disdain would hang over his characters like a grey cloud. Yet he could end up being a ray of sunshine with that cloud. Stage or screen, comedy or drama, playing butler or Lord Commander, Englishman Cecil Parker was born in 1897 and took an avid interest in performing following...

76. Nigel Patrick

Actor | Raintree County

This droll, dry-witted London-born gent came from a family of actors. He made his stage debut in 1932 and established his reputation in stylish plays. He progressed to films in 1939 but his career was immediately interrupted after only one movie appearance by WWII, serving as a lieutenant colonel ...

77. Leslie Phillips

Actor | Venus

A much-loved comic actor who has specialized in playing plummy, quintessentially English stereotypes, Leslie Phillips' heart was in acting from a very young age. He received elocution lessons as a child in order to lose his natural cockney accent (at that time a regional British accent was a major ...

78. Donald Pleasence

Actor | Halloween

Balding, quietly-spoken, of slight build and possessed of piercing blue eyes -- often peering out from behind round, steel-rimmed glasses -- Donald Pleasence had the necessary physical attributes which make a great screen villain. In the course of his lengthy career, he relished playing the ...

79. Dennis Price

Actor | Kind Hearts and Coronets

This urbane, sourly handsome British actor was born to privilege and most of his roles would follow suit. Born Dennistoun John Franklyn Rose-Price in Berkshire in 1915, Dennis Price, the son of a brigadier-general, was expected to abide by his family wishes and make a career for himself in the army...

80. Anthony Quayle

Actor | Lawrence of Arabia

Anthony Quayle was born in Ainsdale in September 1913, the son of a Lancashire lawyer. He completed his education at Rugby School and had a brief spell at RADA, before treading the boards for the first time as the straight man in a music hall comedy act in 1931. Tall, burly, round-faced and ...

81. Basil Radford

Actor | The Lady Vanishes

Though thoroughly British, actor Basil Radford actually began his film career in a couple of US films. Born in Chester, England, he made his stage debut in 1922 and continued to focus on the theatre until director Alfred Hitchcock memorably teamed Radford with actor Naunton Wayne in one of his ...

82. Oliver Reed

Actor | Gladiator

Oliver Reed was born on February 13, 1938 in Wimbledon, London, England as Robert Oliver Reed. He was an actor, known for Gladiator (2000), Oliver! (1968) and Dr. Heckyl and Mr. Hype (1980). He was married to Josephine Burge and Kate Byrne. He died on May 2, 1999 in Valletta, Malta.

83. Michael Rennie

Actor | The Day the Earth Stood Still

The British actor Michael Rennie worked as a car salesman and factory manager before he turned to acting. A meeting with a Gaumont-British Studios casting director led to Rennie's first acting job - that of stand-in for Robert Young in Secret Agent (1936) directed by Alfred Hitchcock. He put his ...

84. Cliff Richard

Soundtrack | Grown Ups

Cliff Richard burst onto the rock'n'roll world in 1958 with his hit single Move It. He was then known as Britain's answer to Elvis Presley. His first film was Serious Charge (1959) followed by Expresso Bongo (1959), Wonderful to Be Young! (1961) and Summer Holiday (1963). Wonderful to Be Young! (...

85. Ralph Richardson

Actor | Doctor Zhivago

Sir Ralph Richardson was one of the greatest actors of the 20th Century English-language theater, ascending to the height of his profession in the mid-1930s when he became a star in London's West End. He became the first actor of his generation to be knighted. He became Sir Ralph in 1947, and was ...

86. Peter Sellers

Actor | Being There

Often credited as the greatest comedian of all time, Peter Sellers was born to a well-off English acting family in 1925. His mother and father worked in an acting company run by his grandmother. As a child, Sellers was spoiled, as his parents' first child had died at birth. He enlisted in the Royal...

87. Robert Shaw

Actor | Jaws

Robert Archibald Shaw was born on August 9, 1927 in Westhoughton, Lancashire, England, the eldest son of Doreen Nora (Avery), a nurse, and Thomas Archibald Shaw, a doctor. His paternal grandfather was Scottish, from Argyll. Shaw's mother, who was born in Piggs Peak, Swaziland, met his father while ...

88. Alastair Sim

Actor | Scrooge

The son of Alexander Sim JP and Isabella McIntyre, Alastair Sim was educated in Edinburgh. Always interested in language (especially the spoken word) he became the Fulton Lecturer in Elocution at New College, Edinburgh University from 1925 until 1930. He was invited back and became the Rector of ...

89. Donald Sinden

Actor | The Day of the Jackal

The son of a country chemist, the British actor Donald Sinden intended to pursue a career in architecture but was spotted in an amateur theatrical production and asked to join a company that entertained the troops during World War II (Sinden was rejected for naval service because of asthma). ...

90. Terence Stamp

Actor | The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Terence Henry Stamp was born and lived in Canal Road, Bow, until German bombers forced his family to move to Plaistow. An icon of the 1960s, he dated the likes of Julie Christie, Brigitte Bardot and Jean Shrimpton. After an extremely successful early career, starring in Modesty Blaise (1966), Poor ...

91. Terry-Thomas

Actor | It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

One of Britain's most beloved eccentric comedians, the irrepressible, gap-toothed Terry-Thomas was born Thomas Terry Hoar Stevens in Lichfield Grove, Finchley. He was the son of Ellen Elizabeth (Hoar) and Ernest Frederick Stevens, a fairly well-to-do London businessman. He was afforded a private ...

92. Richard Todd

Actor | The Hasty Heart

British leading man who achieved some success in American films, as well. Born in Ireland as the son of a British officer, Todd grew up in Devon and attended Shrewsbury Public School. His interest in theatre led him to small roles in stock in England and Scotland, following which he helped found ...

93. Bill Travers

Actor | Ring of Bright Water

Bill Travers was born on January 3, 1922 in Sunderland, England as William Inglis Lindon Travers. He was an actor and producer, known for Ring of Bright Water (1969), Born Free (1966) and Gorgo (1961). He was married to Virginia McKenna and Patt Rains. He died on March 29, 1994 in Dorking, Surrey, ...

94. Tommy Trinder

Actor | Sailors Three

An amiable, beloved Cockney cut-up from the 1930s on, London-born Tommy Trinder, the son of a tram driver, quit school and sought the stage, milking laughs at the tender age of 13 in a musical revue that was touring South Africa. Following that he became a boy vocalist at Collins' Music-Hall. The ...

95. Tom Walls

Actor | A Cup of Kindness

Comedy farceur Tom Walls is indelibly associated with the popular Aldwych Theatre farces of the 1920s and 1930s. Born in 1883, this English gent was a former constable and jockey before making his stage debut in 1905. As the star and producer of a succession of witty spoofs typically denigrating ...

96. Jack Warner

Actor | Scrooge

Jack Warner started acting with the Sutton Amateur Dramatics Club after the end of World War I. From 1935, performed in cabaret at the London West End as half of the double act of Warner & Darnell. In addition to starring as Dixon of Dock Green (1955), which ran for over 20 years, he achieved ...

97. Naunton Wayne

Actor | The Lady Vanishes

Linked inextricably with actor Basil Radford, Welsh-born character actor Naunton Wayne, together with Radford, struck such a major chord with film audiences as an inept, uppercrust pair of cricket-obsessed British gents, that the two were invariably teamed up time and time again in a host of "veddy...

98. Michael Wilding

Actor | Stage Fright

Born in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, England on July 23, 1912, Wilding became a commercial artist after leaving school. He gained employment in the art department of a film studio in London in 1933, and he was soon approached by producers to become a movie star-in-training due to his dashing good looks. ...

99. Emlyn Williams

Actor | Ivanhoe

Born George Emlyn Williams in Pen-y-Ffordd, Mostyn, Flintshire in northeast Wales on November 1905, he lived in a rural village in which Welsh was spoken until he was 12-years-old, when his family moved to an English-speaking town, Connah's Quay. It changed the course of his life as it was there ...

100. Norman Wisdom

Actor | Trouble in Store

Norman Wisdom has become the great British clown very much in the mould of Charles Chaplin with his "little man" in the ill fitting suit and cloth cap. His character is "everyman", much put upon but struggling through to a (usually) happy ending. He was brought up in an orphanage after his mother ...