UK/Irish finest

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1.
Peter Sellers
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 Air Force and served during World War II...
 
2.
Charles Chaplin
Writer, Modern Times
Considered to be one of the most pivotal stars of the early days of Hollywood, Charlie Chaplin lived an interesting life both in his films and behind the camera. He is most recognized as an icon of the silent film era, often associated with his popular character, the Little Tramp; the man with the toothbrush mustache, bowler hat, bamboo cane, and a funny walk...
 
3.
Alec Guinness
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 of Arabia (1962)...
 
4.
Richard Harris
A genuine star of cinema on screen and a fiery hell raiser off screen, Richard St John Harris was born on October 1, 1930 in Limerick, Ireland, to a farming family. He was the son of Mildred Josephine (Harty) and Ivan John Harris, and was an excellent rugby player, with a strong passion for literature...
 
5.
Michael Gough
Actor, Batman
Tony Award-winning English actor Michael Gough, best known for playing the butler Alfred Pennyworth in the first four of Batman's (1992) (1995) (1997) movies and for playing the arch-criminal Dr. Clement Armstrong in The Avengers episode "The Cybernauts", was an accomplished performer on both stage and screen...
 
6.
Michael Caine
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 War...
 
7.
Christopher Lee
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 be Francisco Scaramanga in the James Bond film...
 
8.
Jeremy Irons
British actor Jeremy Irons was born in Cowes, Isle of Wight, a small island off the south coast of England. He is the son of Barbara Anne Brereton (Sharpe) and Paul Dugan Irons, an accountant. Young Jeremy didn't prove very fond of figures. He visited mainland England only once a year. He wound up being grounded when his family settled down in Hertfordshire...
 
9.
Ben Kingsley
Ben Kingsley was born Krishna Bhanji on December 31, 1943 in Scarborough, Yorkshire, England. His father, Rahimtulla Harji Bhanji, was a Kenyan-born medical doctor, of Gujarati Indian descent, and his mother, Anna Lyna Mary (Goodman), was an English actress. Ben began to act in stage plays during the 1960s...
 
10.
Pete Postlethwaite
Actor, Inception
Classically-trained actor Pete Postlethwaite was born Peter William Postlethwaite in 1946 and was a distinguished character actor on stage, TV and film. Growing up in Warrington, Lancashire amid middle-class surroundings, he went to college and while completing his studies developed an interest in theatre...
 
11.
Anthony Hopkins
Actor, Hannibal
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, he moved to London and joined the National Theatre...
 
12.
Sean Connery
Actor, Dr. No
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. His film career also includes such films as Marnie, The Name of the Rose, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen...
 
13.
John Cleese
John Cleese was born on October 27, 1939, in Weston-Super-Mare, England, to Muriel Evelyn (Cross) and Reginald Francis Cleese. He was born into a family of modest means, his father being an insurance salesman; but he was nonetheless sent off to private schools to obtain a good education. Here he was often tormented for his height...
 
14.
Kate Winslet
Actress, Titanic
Ask Kate Winslet what she likes about any of her characters, and the word "ballsy" is bound to pop up at least once. The British actress has made a point of eschewing straightforward pretty-girl parts in favor of more devilish damsels; as a result, she's built an eclectic resume that runs the gamut from Shakespearean tragedy to modern-day mysticism and erotica...
 
15.
Rowan Atkinson
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 in electrical engineering...
 
16.
Ewan McGregor
Ewan Gordon McGregor was born on March 31, 1971 in Perth, Perthshire, Scotland, to Carol Diane (Lawson) and James Charles McGregor, both teachers. His uncle is actor Denis Lawson. He was raised in Crieff. At age 16, he left Morrison Academy to join the Perth Repertory Theatre. His parents encouraged him to leave school and pursue his acting goals rather than be unhappy...
 
17.
Liam Neeson
Liam Neeson was born on June 7, 1952 in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, UK, to Katherine (Brown), a cook, and Bernard Neeson, a school caretaker. Liam worked as a forklift operator for Guinness, truck driver, assistant architect and an amateur boxer. He had originally sought a career as a teacher by attending St...
 
18.
Pierce Brosnan
Actor, GoldenEye
Pierce Brendan Brosnan was born in Drogheda, County Louth, Ireland, to May (Smith), a nurse, and Thomas Brosnan, a carpenter. He lived in Navan, County Meath, until he moved to England, UK, at an early age (thus explaining his ability to play men from both backgrounds convincingly). His father left the household when Pierce was a child and although reunited later in life...
 
19.
Gemma Arterton
Gemma Christina Arterton was born in Gravesend, Kent, England, where she was raised. She is the daughter of Sally-Anne (Heap), a cleaner, and Barry J. Arterton, a welder. Her mother's cousin is singer-songwriter Eric Goulden. Her parents divorced when she was age five, and Gemma subsequently lived with her younger sister and her mother...
 
20.
Sean Bean
Sean Bean's 20 year career spans theater, radio, television and movies. Bean was born in Handsworth, Sheffield, West Riding of Yorkshire, to Rita (Tuckwood) and Brian Bean. He worked for his father's welding firm before he decided to become an actor. He attended RADA in London and appeared in a number of West End stage productions including RSC's "Fair Maid of the West" (Spencer)...
 
21.
Michael Fassbender
Michael Fassbender was born in Heidelberg, Germany, to a German father, Josef, and an Irish mother, Adele (originally from Larne, County Antrim, in Northern Ireland). Michael was raised in the town of Killarney, Co. Kerry, in south-west Ireland, where his family moved to when he was two years old. His parents ran a restaurant (his father is a chef)...
 
22.
Jason O'Mara
Jason was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland. Soon after graduating from Trinity College Dublin with a BA in Drama and Theatre he moved to London, England, to further pursue his acting career. Time spent in British repertory theater led to major roles in some of Britain and Ireland's great theaters...
 
23.
Gary Oldman
Gary Oldman is a talented British born movie actor who played Sid Vicious in Sid & Nancy, Drexl in True Romance, and George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. He starred in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and the remake of RoboCop. He is also an English filmmaker, musician and author. Renowned for his "big" acting style...
 
24.
Danny Dyer
Actor, EastEnders
Danny Dyer was born in Canning Town, east London, UK on 24th July 1977. Danny was spotted at his local Sunday School, by an agent who auditioned him for the part of Martin Fletcher in the Granada Television series Prime Suspect 3. At the age of 14 he was given the part and found himself working alongside Helen Mirren...
 
25.
Rhys Ifans
Rhys Ifans was born and raised in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, Wales, the son of teacher parents, Beti Wyn (Davies) and Eirwyn Evans. He was educated in two Welsh language schools - Ysgol Pentrecelyn, where his mother taught, and Ysgol Maes Garmon. During his childhood, Ifans showed an interest in performing and attended youth acting school...
 
26.
Clive Owen
British actor Clive Owen is one of a handful of stars who, though he is best known for his art house films, can handle more mainstream films with equal measures of grace and skill. Owen is typically cast as characters whose primary traits are a balance of physical strength, intellect, conflicting soul but forceful will...
 
27.
Rachel Weisz
Actress, The Mummy
Rachel Hannah Weisz was born on 7 March, 1970, in London, U.K., to Edith Ruth (Teich), a psychoanalyst, and George Weisz, an inventor. Her parents both came to England around 1938. Her father is a Hungarian Jewish immigrant, and her mother, from Vienna, is of Italian and Austrian Jewish heritage. Rachel has a sister, Minnie, a curator and photographer...
 
28.
Tommy Flanagan
Actor, Gladiator
Tommy Flanagan was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland. In his twenties, Tommy made his living as a DJ for local dance clubs until a violent attack nearly ended his life. In hospital, his friend Robert Carlyle persuaded Tommy to give acting a try. Mr. Flanagan joined Carlyle's Raindog Theatre Company where he made his stage debut in such productions as 'Wasted I and II'...
 
29.
Catherine Zeta-Jones
Actress, Chicago
Catherine Zeta-Jones was born September 25, 1969 in Swansea, West Glamorgan, Wales, UK. She is the daughter of Patricia (Fair) and David James "Dai" Jones, who formerly owned a candy factory. Her father is of Welsh descent and her mother is of English, Irish, and Welsh ancestry. Her brothers are David Jones (born 1967)...
 
30.
Patrick Stewart
Sir Patrick Stewart was born in Mirfield, Yorkshire, England, to Gladys (Barrowclough), a textile worker and weaver, and Alfred Stewart, who was in the army. He was a member of various local drama groups from about age 12. He left school at age 15 to work as a junior reporter on a local paper; he quit when his editor told him he was spending too much time at the theatre and not enough working...
 
31.
Ross McCall
After many years on the West End stage and with the BBC on various productions, he landed the role of Liebgott in Band of Brothers for HBO. This led to him coming to the US to work once more with Tom Hanks in the Robert Zemeckis film, The Polar Express. He began to star in various U.S. television shows...
 
32.
Emilia Clarke
British actress Emilia Clarke was born in London and grew up in Berkshire, England. Her father is a theatre sound engineer and her mother is a businesswoman. Her father was working on a theatre production of "Show Boat" and her mother took her along to the performance. This is when, at the age of 3...
 
33.
Matthew Macfadyen
David Matthew Macfadyen was born in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, to Meinir (Owen), a drama teacher and actress, and Martin Macfadyen, an oil executive. He is of Scottish and Welsh descent. Because of his father's career, he spent at least part of his childhood in Indonesia, before finishing his education back in England and winning a place at RADA in 1992...
 
34.
Ewen Bremner
Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Ewen Bremner has worked with many of the most respected directors in world cinema, including Danny Boyle, Mike Leigh, Ridley Scott, Joon-Ho Bong, Werner Herzog and Woody Allen. Ewen has established himself by creating unique characters in critically acclaimed films, as well as going toe to toe with many of Hollywood's biggest stars...
 
35.
Cillian Murphy
Actor, Inception
Striking Irish actor Cillian Murphy was born in Douglas, the oldest child of Brendan Murphy, who works for the Irish Department of Education, and a mother who is a teacher of French. He has three younger siblings. Murphy was educated at Presentation Brothers College, Cork. He went on to study law at University College Cork...
 
36.
Simon Pegg
English actor, writer and comedian Simon Pegg was born Simon John Beckingham in Brockworth, Gloucestershire, to Gillian Rosemary (Smith), a civil servant, and John Henry Beckingham, a jazz musician. His parents divorced when Pegg was seven. He later took his stepfather's surname, "Pegg". He was educated...
 
37.
Anthony Daniels
Initially not a science fiction fan, theatre actor Anthony Daniels was persuaded by his agent to meet George Lucas for the casting of C-3PO in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. He went on to perform the character, both his voice and body in the suit, for all the episodic Star Wars films produced. Additionally, he...
 
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39.
Aidan Gillen
Aidan Gillen is an Irish actor. He is best known for portraying Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish in the HBO series Game of Thrones, CIA operative Bill Wilson in The Dark Knight Rises, Stuart Alan Jones in the Channel 4 series Queer as Folk, John Boy in the RTÉ Television series Love/Hate, and Tommy Carcetti in the HBO series The Wire...
 
41.
Peter Vollebregt
Actor, EastEnders
Born in Dublin of Dutch parents and now living in London, Peter Vollebregt is a highly versatile actor who trained in drama at Trinity College Dublin. His theatre experience includes lead roles in all the major theatres in Ireland as well as productions from Sydney, Australia to London's West-End. His versatility with accents has been used in radio drama...
 
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43.
Gabriel Byrne
Byrne was the first of six children, born in Dublin, Ireland. His father was a cooper and his mother a hospital worker. He was raised Catholic and educated by the Irish Christian Brothers. He spent five years of his childhood in a seminary training to be a Catholic priest. He later said, "I spent five years in the seminary and I suppose it was assumed that you had a vocation...
 
44.
Stephen Rea
Stephen Rea was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He attended Belfast High School and the Queen's University, where he studied English. He later trained at the Abbey Theatre School in Dublin. In 1970s, he acted in the Focus Company in Dublin with the talented Gabriel Byrne and Colm Meaney. After several stage...
 
45.
Brendan Gleeson
Brendan Gleeson was born in Dublin, Ireland, to Pat and Frank Gleeson. From a very young age, he loved to learn, especially reading classical text in and outside the classroom. He took great attention to Irish play writers such as Samuel Beckett, which eventually led to him performing in his high school play production of "Waiting for Godot"...
 
46.
Daniel Day-Lewis
Born in London, England, Daniel Michael Blake Day-Lewis is the second child of Cecil Day-Lewis (aka Nicholas Blake) (Poet Laureate of England) and his second wife, Jill Balcon. His maternal grandfather was Sir Michael Balcon, an important figure in the history of British cinema and head of the famous Ealing Studios...
 
47.
Kenneth Branagh
Actor, Valkyrie
Kenneth Charles Branagh was born on December 10, 1960, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, to parents William Branagh, a plumber and carpenter born in 1930, and Frances (Harper) Branagh, also born in 1930. His brother, William Branagh Jr., was born in 1955 and sister, Joyce Branagh, was born in 1970...
 
48.
Richard Burton
Probably more frequently remembered for his turbulent personal life and multiple marriages, Richard Burton was nonetheless regarded as one of the great British actors of the post-WWII period. Burton was born Richard Walter Jenkins in Pontrhydyfen, Wales, to Edith Maude (Thomas) and Richard Walter Jenkins...
 
49.
David Jason
Sir David Jason was born in Edmonton, London, in 1940. He has become one of Britain's most famous and respected actors. He is a versatile actor who is most famously known for his role in Only Fools and Horses.... as Del Boy. He made his debut as DelBoy back in 1981 and was still playing the same role up to the Christmas special in 2002...
 
50.
Billy Connolly
Actor, Brave
Billy Connolly was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland. He left school to work in the shipyards becoming a welder and joined the Territorial Army (in the parachute regiment) at around the same time. He developed an interest in folk music, eventually becoming an accomplished banjo player and a member of the band Humblebums with Gerry Rafferty (later of Baker Street fame)...
 
51.
Liam Cunningham
Irish actor Liam Cunningham was an electrician in the mid 80's. He saw an ad for an acting school and he decided to give acting a try. His first film role was as a policeman in "Into the West." Since then, he has been involved in many films and theater productions on both sides of the Atlantic.
 
52.
Sean Pertwee
Sean Pertwee was born into a theatrical dynasty of actors. After training at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Sean began his acting career with the Royal Shakespeare Company, most notably starring in Titus Andronicus directed by Deborah Warner. After touring for three years, Sean continued his...
 
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54.
Roddy McDowall
Roderick McDowall was born in London, the son of a Merchant Mariner father and a mother who had always wanted to be in movies. He was enrolled in elocution courses at age five and by ten had appeared in his first film, Murder in the Family, playing Peter Osborne, the younger brother of sisters played by Jessica Tandy and Glynis Johns...
 
55.
Christian Bale
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 countries throughout Bale's childhood...
 
56.
John Hannah
Actor, The Mummy
John Hannah is the youngest child of his family, having two older sisters. Before he decided on a career as an actor, John was an apprentice electrician for four years. He gave up his work as an electrician after being accepted to the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow. After years of struggling...
 
57.
Charlie Hunnam
Charles Matthew Hunnam was born in Newcastle, England on April 10, 1980, to Jane (Bell), a business owner, and William Hunnam, a scrap metal merchant. At 18 years of age, he made a guest appearances in the popular TV series Byker Grove. He gained fame in Britain thanks to his television role as the love-smitten Nathan Maloney in Queer as Folk...
 
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59.
Kevin McKidd
Kevin McKidd was born and raised in Elgin, Scotland, the son of Kathleen, a secretary, and Neil McKidd, a plumber. He was a member of the Moray Youth Theatre, before going on to study Engineering at the University of Edinburgh. While at the university, Kevin became involved with Bedlam Theatre, the university's student theatre company...
 
60.
Ray Stevenson
Actor, Divergent
Tall, dark, but somewhat gentle-looking actor Ray Stevenson was born in Lisburn, Northern Ireland on 25 May 1964, on a British army base. His father was a British pilot in the Royal Air Force, and his mother is Irish. He moved with his family to Lemington, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England in 1972 at the age of eight, and later to Cramlington, Northumberland, where he was raised...
 
61.
James Purefoy
Actor, Rome
James Brian Mark Purefoy was born and brought up in Taunton, Somerset, England, the son of Shirley (Taylor), who ran an employment agency, and Anthony Chetwynd Purefoy. After leaving school at the age of sixteen, he took a succession of different jobs, including working on a pig farm and as a porter at Yeovil District Hospital...
 
62.
Kerry Condon
Actress, Rome
 
63.
Martin Clunes
Martin Clunes was born the son of the noted Shakespearean actor Alec Clunes. He was educated at the Royal Russell School in Surrey and the Arts Educational School in Chiswick, London. He made his television debut playing an alien prince opposite Peter Davison in Snakedance: Part One (director Fiona Cumming...
 
64.
David Tennant
David Tennant was born David John McDonald in West Lothian, Scotland, to Essdale Helen (McLeod) and Sandy McDonald, who was a Presbyterian minister. He is of Scottish and Ulster-Scots descent. When he was about 3 or 4 years old, he decided to become an actor, inspired by his love of Doctor Who...