50 Amazing Actors from Britain

View:
Log in to copy items to your own lists.
1.
Richard Attenborough
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. Attenborough...
 
2.
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...
 
3.
Orlando Bloom
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 who fought for civil rights in South Africa...
 
4.
Jamie Bell
Jamie Bell was born in 1986 in Billingham, England, UK, to Eileen (Matfin) and John Bell, a toolmaker. He comes from a family of dancers including his grandmother, mother, aunt, and sister. It was at his sister's dance practices that he would stand outside the door and imitate the movements of the dancers inside...
 
5.
Jim Broadbent
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 place at an art school...
 
6.
Brian Blessed
Actor, Tarzan
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 miner who wanted a better life for his son; Brian lost three uncles in the pit...
 
7.
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 15 and took a series of working-class jobs before joining the British army and serving in Korea during the Korean War, where he saw combat...
 
8.
Sean Connery
Actor, Dr. No
Connery's breakthrough came in the role of secret agent James Bond. He was reluctant to commit to a film series, but understood that if the films succeeded his career would greatly benefit. He played the character in the first five Bond films: Dr. No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball...
 
9.
Daniel Craig
Actor, Skyfall
Daniel Craig is an English actor. Craig trained at the National Youth Theatre and graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1991, before beginning his career on stage. His film debut was in the drama The Power of One (1992). Other early appearances were in the Disney family film A Kid in King Arthur's Court (1995) and the biographical film Elizabeth (1998)...
 
10.
Peter Cushing
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 attracted to acting...
 
11.
Colin Firth
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 College) in Winchester...
 
12.
Hugh Grant
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, with Andie MacDowell, Notting Hill, opposite Julia Roberts, and Music and Lyrics, opposite Drew Barrymore, among his other works...
 
13.
Alec Guinness
Alec Guinness de Cuffe was born on April 2, 1914 in Marylebone, London, England, and was raised by his mother, Agnes Cuffe. While working in advertising, he studied at the Fay Compton Studio of Dramatic Art, debuting on stage in 1934 and played classic theater with the Old Vic from 1936. In 1941...
 
14.
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...
 
15.
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...
 
16.
Tom Hiddleston
Tom Hiddleston is best known for his role as Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, appearing in Thor (2011), The Avengers (2012), and Thor: The Dark World (2013). He has also appeared in Steven Spielberg's War Horse (2011), The Deep Blue Sea (2011), Woody Allen's romantic comedy Midnight in Paris (2011)...
 
17.
Benedict Cumberbatch
Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch was born and raised in London, England. His parents, Wanda Ventham and Timothy Carlton (Timothy Carlton Congdon Cumberbatch), are both actors. He is a grandson of submarine commander Henry Carlton Cumberbatch, and a great-grandson of diplomat Henry Arnold Cumberbatch CMG...
 
18.
Martin Freeman
Martin Freeman is an English actor, best known for portraying Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit film trilogy, Tim Canterbury in the original UK version of sitcom mockumentary The Office, Dr. John Watson in the British crime drama Sherlock and Lester Nygaard in the dark comedy-crime drama TV series Fargo...
 
19.
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...
 
20.
Nick Frost
Nick Frost is an English actor, screenwriter and comedian. He is known for his work in the series of British comedic genre films The Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, Shaun of the Dead (2004), Hot Fuzz (2007), and The World's End (2013). He also co-starred in Paul (2011), with frequent collaborator and friend Simon Pegg...
 
21.
Bill Nighy
Bill Nighy is an award-winning British character actor. He was born on December 12, 1949 in Caterham, Surrey, England, to Catherine Josephine (Whittaker), a psychiatric nurse from Glasgow, and Alfred Martin Nighy, who was English-born and managed a garage in Croydon. At school, he gained 'O'-levels in English Language and English Literature and enjoyed reading...
 
22.
Jude Law
Jude Law is a talented and versatile 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 and The Talented Mr. Ripley to more recent turns as Dr. John Watson in Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, as Hugo's father in Hugo and in the titular role in Dom Hemingway...
 
23.
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...
 
24.
Ian McKellen
Ian Murray McKellen was born on May 25, 1939 in Burnley, Lancashire, England, to Margery Lois (Sutcliffe) and Denis Murray McKellen, a civil engineer. He is of Scottish, Northern Irish, and English descent. During his early childhood, his parents moved with Ian and his sister Jean to the mill town of Wigan...
 
25.
Daniel Radcliffe
Daniel Jacob Radcliffe was born on July 23, 1989 in Fulham, London, England, to casting agent Marcia Gresham (née Jacobson) and literary agent Alan Radcliffe. His father is from a Northern Irish Protestant background, while his mother was born in South Africa, to a Jewish family (from Lithuania, Poland...
 
26.
Norman Wisdom
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 died and his father disowned him...
 
27.
Stan Laurel
Stan Laurel came from a theatrical family, his father was an actor and theatre manager, and he made his stage debut at the age of 16 at Pickard's Museum, Glasgow. He traveled with Fred Karno's vaudeville company to the United States in 1910 and again in 1913. While with that company he was Charles Chaplin's understudy...
 
28.
Alan Rickman
Alan Rickman was born on a council estate in Acton, West London, to Margaret Doreen Rose (Bartlett) and Bernard Rickman, who worked at a factory. He had English, Irish, and Welsh ancestry. Alan had an older brother David, a younger brother Michael and a younger sister Sheila. When Alan was 8 years old...
 
29.
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"...
 
30.
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...
 
31.
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...
 
32.
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...
 
33.
Timothy Spall
Timothy Leonard Spall was born in Battersea, London, to Sylvia R. (Leonard), a hairdresser, and Joseph L. Spall, a postal worker. He was raised in London. Spall auditioned and earned a spot with the National Youth Theatre and later showed great promise at RADA where he portrayed the title roles in "Macbeth"...
 
34.
Michael Gambon
Sir Michael Gambon was born in Cabra, Dublin, Ireland, to Mary (Hoare), a seamstress, and Edward Gambon, an engineer. After joining the National Theatre, under the Artistic Directorship of Sir Laurence Olivier, Gambon went on to appear in a number of leading roles in plays written by Alan Ayckbourn...
 
35.
Tom Hardy
Tom Hardy made his debut in Ridley Scott's 2001 war film Black Hawk Down. Hardy's other notable films include the science fiction film Star Trek: Nemesis (2002), the crime film RocknRolla (2008), biographical psychological drama Bronson (2008), science fiction thriller Inception (2010), sports drama Warrior (2011)...
 
36.
Roger Moore
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. He first wanted to be an artist...
 
37.
Mackenzie Crook
Mackenzie Crook, one of British comedy's best-known faces, who collected Star Wars figurines as a child, is now immortalized in plastic as a six-inch-high pirate action figure. He was born Paul Mackenzie Crook on September 29, 1971, in Maidstone, Kent, England, UK. His father worked for British Airways...
 
38.
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 Cambridge (1980)...
 
39.
Ben Kingsley
Ben Kingsley is an English actor. In a career spanning over 40 years, he has won an Oscar, Grammy, BAFTA, two Golden Globes and a Screen Actors Guild Award. He is known for his starring role as Mohandas Gandhi in the 1982 film Gandhi, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. He is also known for his performances in the films Schindler's List (1993)...
 
40.
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...
 
41.
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 Anglican priest. His surname came from a great-great-grandfather who was of French Huguenot origin...
 
42.
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...
 
43.
Denholm Elliott
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.
 
44.
Rupert Graves
Born in a seaside resort town, Britain's Rupert Graves was born a rebel, resisting authority and breaking rules at an early age. In his teens he became a punk rocker and even found work as a circus clown and in traveling comedy troupes. In 1983 he made his professional stage debut in "The Killing of Mr...
 
45.
Tom Felton
Tom Felton was born in Epsom, Surrey, to Sharon and Peter Felton. He has been acting since he was 8 years old at the suggestion of an actress friend of his family who recognized Felton's theatrical qualities. Felton met with an agent, and two weeks later, after auditioning with over 400 other children, he landed an international commercial campaign and went abroad to work...
 
46.
Mark Strong
British actor Mark Strong, who played Jim Prideaux in the 2011 remake of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, is often cast as cold, calculating villains. But before he became a famous actor, he intended to pursue a career in law. Strong was born Marco Giuseppe Salussolia in London, England, to an Austrian mother and an Italian father...
 
47.
John Hurt
This transatlantic talent was born John Vincent Hurt on January 22, 1940 in Shirebrook, a coal mining village near the busy market town of Chesterfield, in Derbyshire, England. He is the son of Phyllis (Massey), an engineer and one-time actress, and Arnould Herbert Hurt, an Anglican clergyman and mathematician...
 
48.
Toby Jones
Distinguished stage, television, and film actor Toby Edward Heslewood Jones was born on September 7, 1966 in Hammersmith, London. His parents, Freddie Jones and Jennie Heslewood, are actors as well. Toby has two brothers: Rupert, a director, and Casper, a fellow actor. He studied Drama at the University of Manchester from 1986 to 1989...
 
49.
Peter O'Toole
O'Toole was one of several actors to be Oscar-nominated for playing the same role in two different films: he played King Henry II in both Becket (1964) and The Lion in Winter (1968). O'Toole played Hamlet under Laurence Olivier's direction in the premiere production of the Royal National Theatre in 1963...