130 Great British Actresses

by glyntreharne-1 | created - 20 Nov 2010 | updated - 18 Oct 2014 | Public

British actresses who started their careers in the 20th Century

1. Dawn Addams

Actress | The Hour of 13

Maybe because her beauty was too smooth or because her acting talents were limited or both, Dawn Addams, the daughter of an R.A.F. officer, had an undistinguished film career, in which second-rate pictures far outnumber quality ones. Among the latter: Otto Preminger's risqué (for its time) The Moon...

2. Jill Adams

Actress | Death Over My Shoulder

Jill Adams was born on July 22, 1930 in London, England as Jillian M. M. Siggins. She was an actress, known for Death Over My Shoulder (1958), Carry on, Constable (1960) and One Way Out (1955). She was married to Peter Haigh and James Adams. She died on May 13, 2008 in Clareance, Portugal.

3. Jenny Agutter

Actress | The Avengers

Jenny Agutter was born on December 20, 1952, in Taunton, Somerset, England, UK. The daughter of an army officer, she spent her childhood traveling and living in different countries. Her film career began at the age of 12 in East of Sudan (1964), which was quickly followed by Walt Disney's Wonderful...

4. Jean Anderson

Actress | Solomon and Sheba

Gaunt Sussex-born actress of Scottish descent whose dignified manner and plain, but expressive features qualified her for a wide range of character parts, from austere nurses and long-suffering mothers to overbearing dowagers and nosy gossips; from meddlesome chaperones to authoritarian aunts and ...

5. Julie Andrews

Actress | The Sound of Music

Julia Elizabeth Wells was born on October 1, 1935, in England. Her mother, Barbara Ward (Morris), and stepfather, both vaudeville performers, discovered her freakish but undeniably lovely four-octave singing voice and immediately got her a singing career. She performed in music halls throughout her...

also known for "Mary Poppins"

6. Peggy Ashcroft

Actress | A Passage to India

Academy Award-winning, legendary English actress - who maintained her status in the British acting elite for decades. Made a Dame of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 1956. Almost always on stage, she appeared rarely in film, her first being The Wandering Jew (1933). On stage she was cast...

7. Jane Asher

Actress | Death at a Funeral

Jane Asher (born 5 April 1946) is an English actress, author and entrepreneur, who achieved early fame as a child actress, and has worked extensively in film and TV throughout her career.

She has appeared in TV shows and films such as The Masque of the Red Death (1964), Alfie (1966), Deep End (1970)...

8. Eileen Atkins

Actress | Gosford Park

Eileen Atkins was born in a Salvation Army Women's Hostel in north London. Her father was a gas meter reader; her mother, a seamstress and barmaid. A drama teacher taught her how to drop her Cockney accent, and she studied Shakespeare and Greek tragedies. Her breakthrough role in "The Killing of ...

9. Angela Baddeley

Actress | Upstairs, Downstairs

Angela Baddeley was born on July 4, 1904 in West Ham, London, England as Madeline Angela Clinton-Baddeley. She was an actress, known for Upstairs, Downstairs (1971), The Speckled Band (1931) and The Ghost Train (1931). She was married to Glen Byam Shaw and Stephen Thomas. She died on February 22, ...

10. Hermione Baddeley

Actress | The Secret of NIMH

A brash character actress who specialized in cinema, television, and theater, Hermione Youlanda Ruby Clinton-Baddeley was born on November 13, 1906 in Broseley, Shropshire. She was the youngest of four sisters - including Angela Baddeley, also an actress - and her half-brother, Very Rev William ...

11. Betty Balfour

Actress | Champagne

Betty Balfour was born on March 27, 1903 in London, England. She was an actress, known for Champagne (1928), Squibs (1935) and Squibs' Honeymoon (1923). She was married to Jimmy Campbell. She died on November 4, 1977 in Weybridge, Surrey, England.

12. Amanda Barrie

Actress | Carry on Cleo

This feisty and very funny British comedienne and musical revue vet with the trademark 60s brunet page-boy haircut, pronounced jaw, and arguably the largest, Bette Davis-like eyes in London was born Shirley Anne Broadbent in Ashton-under-Lyne, Cheshire on September 14, 1935. The daughter of Hubert ...

13. Stephanie Beacham

Actress | Love and Other Disasters

Stephanie Beacham was born on February 28, 1947 in Barnet, Hertfordshire, England. She is an actress, known for Love and Other Disasters (2006), Dynasty (1981) and Sister Kate (1989). She was previously married to John McEnery.

14. Edna Best

Actress | The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

Genteel, ladylike British actress who was a much respected theatrical star in the 1920s and '30s, both in her own country and in the United States. Born in March 1900 in Hove, Sussex, she took to the stage at the age of seventeen as Ela Delahay in 'Charley's Aunt'. She played Peter Pan three years ...

15. Jacqueline Bisset

Actress | Bullitt

Jacqueline Bisset has been an international film star since the late 1960s. She received her first roles mainly because of her stunning beauty, but over time she has become a fine actress respected by fans and critics alike. Bisset has worked with directors John Huston, François Truffaut, George ...

16. Honor Blackman

Actress | Goldfinger

Comparing this sultry-eyed blonde to Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich may seem a bit overzealous, but Honor Blackman's stylish allure over the years cannot be denied.

One of four children, Blackman was born in London's East End to a statistician father employed with the civil service and a homemaker ...

17. Brenda Blethyn

Actress | Pride & Prejudice

After twenty years of hard work on stage and both television and film, there are not many other actresses who deserved the success, recognition and stardom which Brenda Blethyn has now achieved.

Born in 1946 in Ramsgate, Kent, England, she started her career at British Rail in the 1960s. Saving ...

18. Claire Bloom

Actress | Limelight

Age has not taken the flower off this Bloom. The well-known and respected stage, screen and television actress Claire Bloom, originally named Patricia Claire Blume, continues to be in demand as a septuagenarian actress and looks as beautiful as ever.

She was born Patricia Claire Blume on February 15...

19. Helena Bonham Carter

Actress | Les Misérables

Helena Bonham Carter is an actress of great versatility, one of the UK's finest and most successful.

Bonham Carter was born May 26, 1966 in Golders Green, London, England, the youngest of three children of Elena (née Propper de Callejón), a psychotherapist, and Raymond Bonham Carter, a merchant ...

Best known for: "A Room with a View"

20. Dora Bryan

Actress | A Taste of Honey

Dora Bryan was born on February 7, 1923 in Parbold, Lancashire, England as Dora May Broadbent. She was an actress, known for A Taste of Honey (1961), The Fallen Idol (1948) and Last of the Summer Wine (1973). She was married to Bill Lawton. She died on July 23, 2014 in Hove, East Sussex, England.

21. Phyllis Calvert

Actress | Mandy

Phyllis Hannah Bickle was born in Chelsea in 1915 and studied dancing at the Margaret Morris school of dance, until an injury forced her to give up dancing and turn instead to acting. Her 70 year film career began with a bit part in The Arcadians (1927) when she was just 12 years old. Along with ...

Best Known for "Madonna of the Seven Moons", "Mandy".

22. Madeleine Carroll

Actress | The 39 Steps

The original ash-blonde "iceberg maiden", Madeleine Carroll was a knowing beauty with a confident air, the epitome of poise and "breeding". Not only did she have looks and allure in abundance, but she had intellectual heft to go with them, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from Birmingham ...

Best Known for: "The 39 Steps", "The Prisoner of Zenda".

23. Julie Christie

Actress | Doctor Zhivago

Julie Christie, the British movie legend whom Al Pacino called "the most poetic of all actresses," was born in Chukua, Assam, India, on April 14, 1941, the daughter of a tea planter and his Welsh wife Rosemary, who was a painter. The young Christie grew up on her father's tea plantation before ...

Best known for: "Darling", "Doctor Zhivago".

24. Belle Chrystall

Actress | The Frightened Lady

Belle Chrystall was born on April 25, 1910 in Fulwood, Lancashire, England. She was an actress, known for Criminal at Large (1932), Hobson's Choice (1931) and Hindle Wakes (1931). She was married to Charles William Roy Procter. She died on June 7, 2003 in Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, England.

25. Petula Clark

Soundtrack | Goodbye, Mr. Chips

Petula Clark was a star at the age of 11. She starred in British concert halls and on BBC radio singing for the troops during WWII. She was a child star in a series of British films from the end of WWII through to the early 1950s,and by 1954 was having hit records. After a move to France in 1960, ...

26. Joan Collins

Actress | Dynasty

Joan Collins was born on May 23, 1933 in Paddington, London, England as Joan Henrietta Collins. She is an actress and producer, known for Dynasty (1981), Empire of the Ants (1977) and Land of the Pharaohs (1955). She has been married to Percy Gibson since February 17, 2002. She was previously ...

Best known for "The Bitch", "Dynasty" (tv series).

27. Pauline Collins

Actress | Shirley Valentine

Pauline Collins, OBE, came to prominence with portraying Sarah Moffat in BBC's Upstairs, Downstairs (1971) and its spin-off Thomas and Sarah (1979) during the 1970s. After having played the title-role in the play "Shirley Valentine" for which she earned Laurence Olivier, Tony, and Drama Desk awards...

28. Fay Compton

Actress | The Haunting

Fay Compton was born on September 18, 1894 in West Kensington, London, England as Virginia Lilian Emmeline Mackenzie. She was an actress, known for The Haunting (1963), Laughter in Paradise (1951) and Wrath of Jealousy (1936). She was married to Ralph Michael, Leon Quartermaine, Lauri de Frece and ...

29. Gladys Cooper

Actress | My Fair Lady

Gladys Cooper was the daughter of journalist William Frederick Cooper and his wife Mabel Barnett. As a child she was very striking and was used as a photographic model beginning at six years old. She wanted to become an actress and started on that road in 1905 after being discovered by Seymour ...

30. Wendy Craig

Actress | The Servant

Wendy Craig was born on June 20, 1934 in Sacriston, Durham, England. She is an actress and writer, known for The Servant (1963), Not in Front of the Children (1967) and The Nanny (1965). She was previously married to John Alexander (Jack) Bentley.

31. Rosalie Crutchley

Actress | The Haunting

Acclaimed actress Rosalie Crutchley originally trained at the Royal Academy of Music. She made her acting debut in repertory in 1938 at the Liverpool Playhouse. She made her Broadway debut in 1950. The Guild of Television named her best actress of the year in 1956 for Armchair Theatre: Black ...

32. Peggy Cummins

Actress | Gun Crazy

Peggy Cummins was born on December 18, 1925 in Prestatyn, Denbighshire, Wales as Augusta Margaret Diane Fuller. She was an actress, known for Gun Crazy (1950), Curse of the Demon (1957) and The Late George Apley (1947). She was married to William Herbert Derek Dunnett. She died on December 29, 2017...

33. Brenda de Banzie

Actress | Hobson's Choice

The daughter of a musical conductor, fair-haired, matronly Brenda de Banzie appeared in just a handful of films. As the result of two outstanding performances she became an unexpected star when well into her middle age. Brenda first came to public notice as a sixteen year old chorine on the London ...

34. Judi Dench

Actress | Skyfall

Dame Judi Dench was born Judith Olivia Dench in York, England, to Eleanora Olive (Jones), who was from Dublin, Ireland, and Reginald Arthur Dench, a doctor from Dorset, England. She attended Mount School in York, and studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama. She has performed with the ...

35. Diana Dors

Actress | The Long Haul

Diana Dors was born Diana Mary Fluck on October 23, 1931 in Swindon, Wiltshire, England. She and her mother both nearly died from the traumatic birth. Because of the trauma, her mother lavished on Diana anything and everything she wanted--clothes, toys and dance lessons were the order of the day. ...

36. Betty Driver

Actress | Coronation Street

Elizabeth Mary "Betty" Driver, MBE was a British actress and singer, best known for her role as Betty Williams (previously Betty Turpin) on the British soap opera, Coronation Street (1960) from 1969 to 2011, appearing in more than 2,800 episodes.

She had previously appeared as Mrs Edgley in ...

37. Shirley Eaton

Actress | Goldfinger

Long before Bea Arthur, Estelle Getty and company showed up in 80s TV households, Hollywood had, in effect, its own original "Golden Girl"...literally...in the form of stunning British actress Shirley Eaton. Although she found definitive cult stardom in 1964 with her final golden moment in a ...

38. Samantha Eggar

Actress | The Molly Maguires

Samantha Eggar was born on March 5, 1939 in Hampstead, London, England as Victoria Louise Samantha Marie Elizabeth Therese Eggar. She is an actress, known for The Molly Maguires (1970), Walk Don't Run (1966) and Doctor Dolittle (1967). She was previously married to Tom Stern.

39. Edith Evans

Actress | The Whisperers

Edith Evans was the greatest actress on the English stage in the 20th century, treading the boards for over half-a-century. She made her professional stage debut in 1912 and excelled in both classic and modern roles in the West End of London and on Broadway, as well as the Shakespeare Memorial ...

Best Known for "The Importance of Being Ernest", "The Whisperers".

40. Shirley Anne Field

Actress | Peeping Tom

Shirley Anne Field is one of Britain's most highly respected actresses. She has starred opposite Laurence Olivier, Albert Finney, Steve McQueen, Michael Caine, Daniel Day-Lewis and Ned Beatty in such classic films as: The Entertainer, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, The War Lover, Alfie, My ...

41. Fenella Fielding

Actress | Carry on Screaming!

Fenella Fielding was born on November 17, 1927 in Hackney, London, England as Fenella Marion Feldman. She was an actress and writer, known for Carry on Screaming! (1966), Guest House Paradiso (1999) and The Avengers (1961). She died on September 11, 2018 in London.

42. Gracie Fields

Actress | Holy Matrimony

A comedienne and singer in the British Music Halls, she was the top box-office draw and the highest paid actress in Britain in the 1930's. Her Northern, working-class girl character was a favourite during the inter-war years.

Best known for "Sally in Our Alley", "Sing As We Go", "Shipyard Sally", "The Old Lady Shows Her Medals" (tv). The first actress to portray Agatha Christie's Miss Marple.

43. Greer Garson

Actress | Mrs. Miniver

Eileen Evelyn Greer Garson was born on September 29, 1904 in London, England, to Nancy Sophia (Greer) and George Garson, a commercial clerk. She was of Scottish and Ulster-Scots descent. Her childhood was a normal if not non-descript life. Greer showed no early signs of interest in becoming an ...

Best known for "Mrs Miniver".

44. Judy Geeson

Actress | 10 Rillington Place

Born in Arundel, Sussex, in 1948, Judy's father moved the family to London when she was 10 years old and enrolled her and sister Sally Geeson into the Corona Academy, Chiswick. Judy initially wanted to be a ballet dancer but had to change course when she suffered from terrible headaches as a result...

45. Hermione Gingold

Actress | Gigi

One of stage, screen, radio and TV's most delightful, inimitable eccentrics, Hermione Ferdinanda Gingold was born the daughter of an upscale Austrian financier and English homemaker. She made her stage debut in 1908, thus beginning a long, commanding presence in London playing everything from ...

46. Dulcie Gray

Actress | The Franchise Affair

Veteran British actress Dulcie Gray's career is often linked with that of her late actor/husband Michael Denison, with whom she appeared frequently on stage, TV and in films. Dulcie was born in Malaya, where her father was a lawyer and sent her to boarding school in England at quite an early age. ...

47. Sally Gray

Actress | The Saint's Vacation

Lovely, statuesque actress Sally Gray, complete with husky voice and dumb blonde persona was born Constance Vera Stevens in London, England on February 14, 1915. In a career instigated by her ballerina mother, Sally began performing at age 10 in minstrel shows and was initially trained in dance and...

48. Joan Greenwood

Actress | Kind Hearts and Coronets

Joan Greenwood, of the plummy feline voice, was born in the well-to-do London section of Chelsea, the daughter of renowned portrait painter Sydney Earnshaw Greenwood (1887-1949). Dancing from the age of eight, she took ballet lessons and later enrolled at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). ...

49. Joyce Grenfell

Actress | Stage Fright

Toothy Britisher Joyce Grenfell with her stark, equine features charmed and humored audiences both here and abroad on radio, stage, revues, film and TV for nearly four decades. Lovingly remembered as a delightfully witty monologist and raconteur, she inherited her bold talents from her eccentric ...

50. Susan Hampshire

Actress | The Forsyte Saga

Susan Hampshire, the English actress who has won three Emmy Awards, was born in Kensington, London on May 12, 1937. Her original ambition was to be a nurse, but she could not pass her O-Level exam in Latin. (She found out when she was 30 years old that she was dyslexic, and her work on dyslexia ...

51. Sheila Hancock

Actress | The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

Sheila Hancock was born February 22, 1933. on the Isle of Wight. She later moved to King's Cross in London, where her mother and father ran a pub. Sheila went to Dartford Grammar School, and then with a grant she went to RADA. She then went into nine years of weekly repertory around the country. ...

52. Kathleen Harrison

Actress | Scrooge

Although British actress Kathleen Harrison was born in 1892 in the Lancashire town of Blackburn, she was fondly known for her cockney characters throughout her career. Trained for the stage at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art she first married and lived overseas in Argentina for nearly eight years...

53. Anne Heywood

Actress | The Fox

Befitting her original name (Violet Pretty), the knockout English brunette Anne Heywood won the coveted "Miss Great Britain" beauty title in 1950 at the young age of 17. Born on December 11, 1932, the daughter of a violinist, she originally trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. ...

54. Joan Hickson

Actress | Miss Marple: Nemesis

Joan Hickson was born in 1906 at Kingsthorpe, Northampton. Her stage career began with provincial theater in 1927, going on to a long series of West End comedies, usually playing the part of a confused or eccentric middle-age woman. She performed at the Regent's Park Open Air Theater, at the time ...

55. Wendy Hiller

Actress | Murder on the Orient Express

Wendy Hiller, daughter of Frank and Marie Hiller, was born on 15th August 1912 in Bramhall, near Stockport, Cheshire, England. She was educated at Winceby House School, Bexhill then moved on to Manchester Repertory Theatre. She appeared on stage in Sir John Barry's tour of Evensong, then as Sally ...

56. Thora Hird

Actress | Lost for Words

In a career than spanned eight decades, Thora Hird was widely-regarded as one of Britain's finest character actresses. She made over 100 films as well as starring in a host of TV comedies and, as a straight actress, excelled in the works of playwright Alan Bennett. Even in her 90s, she was working ...

57. Valerie Hobson

Actress | Bride of Frankenstein

Elegant, quintessentially English (although born in Northern Ireland) Valerie Hobson was the daughter of a British army officer. She studied dancing at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) and appeared on the stage for the first time at age 16, but she contracted a case of scarlet fever and ...

58. Freda Jackson

Actress | Clash of the Titans

Freda Jackson was born in Nottingham, England in 1908, the daughter of a railway porter. After studying at High Pavement School and the University College there, she became a schoolteacher but gave up her career to study acting at the Royal College of Art, in London. Her first professional stage ...

59. Glenda Jackson

Actress | A Touch of Class

Few in modern British history have come as far or achieved as much from humble beginnings as Glenda Jackson has. From acclaimed actress to respected MP (Member of Parliament), she is known for her high intelligence and meticulous approach to her work. She was born to a working-class household in ...

Best known for "Women in Love"

60. Hattie Jacques

Actress | Carry on Again Doctor

Best known for playing Matron - as in "ooh, Matron!" - in four films: Carry on Nurse (1959), Carry on Doctor (1967), Carry on Again Doctor (1969) and, of course Carry on Matron (1972). Key roles included: Grace Short in Carry on Teacher (1959), Sophie Bliss in Carry on Loving (1970) and Peggy ...

61. Barbara Jefford

Actress | Philomena

Barbara Jefford was born on July 26, 1930 in Plymstock, Devon, England as Barbara Mary Jefford. She is known for her work on Philomena (2013), The Ninth Gate (1999) and The Shoes of the Fisherman (1968). She has been married to John Turner since May 13, 1967. She was previously married to Terence ...

62. Megs Jenkins

Actress | Oliver!

An engineer's daughter, she had first planned on becoming a ballerina, using her original Christian name Muguette, but abandoned those plans by the age of 17 when she realized that her physique was more in keeping with her other first name, Megs. She trained in Liverpool at the School of Dancing ...

63. Glynis Johns

Actress | Mary Poppins

Husky voiced Glynis is the daughter of actor Mervyn Johns. Best known for her light comedy roles and often playful flirtation, Glynis was born in South Africa while her parents were on tour there (her mother was a concert pianist) but was always proud of her Welsh roots and took delight in playing ...

64. Celia Johnson

Actress | Brief Encounter

Celia Johnson was born on December 18, 1908 in Ellerker Gate, Richmond, Surrey, England as Celia Elizabeth Johnson. She was an actress, known for Brief Encounter (1945), This Happy Breed (1944) and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969). She was married to Peter Fleming. She died on April 26, 1982 in...

65. Kay Kendall

Actress | Les Girls

Kay Kendall was born on May 21, 1926 in Withernsea, Yorkshire, England as Justine Kay Kendall-McCarthy. She was an actress, known for Les Girls (1957), The Reluctant Debutante (1958) and Simon and Laura (1955). She was married to Rex Harrison. She died on September 6, 1959 in London, England.

66. Penelope Keith

Actress | The Good Life

Penelope Keith was born on April 2, 1940 in Sutton, Surrey, England as Penelope Anne Constance Hatfield. She is an actress, known for Good Neighbors (1975), To the Manor Born (1979) and Private Lives (1976). She has been married to Rodney Timson since February 6, 1978. They have two children.

67. Jean Kent

Actress | Sleeping Car to Trieste

Vivacious, hazel-eyed, strawberry-haired Jean Kent was a popular star of British films in the 1940's and early 50's. The daughter of variety performers Norman Field and Nina Norre, she was convent-educated. By the age of ten, she accompanied her mother on tour, then spent several years in the ...

Best known for "The Browning Version"

68. Deborah Kerr

Actress | The King and I

Deborah Kerr was born on 30 September 1921 in Helensburgh, Scotland, the daughter of Captain Arthur Kerr-Trimmer. She was educated at Northumberland House, Clifton, Bristol. She first performed at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park, London. She subsequently performed with the Oxford Repertory ...

69. Angela Lansbury

Actress | The Manchurian Candidate

British character actress, long in the United States. The daughter of an actress and the granddaughter of a high-ranking politician, Lansbury studied acting from her youth, departing for the United States as the Second World War began. She was contracted by MGM while still a teenager and nominated ...

70. Belinda Lee

Actress | La lunga notte del '43

Green-eyed blonde bombshell Belinda Lee was born in Devon, England to a hotel owner (Robert Esmond Lee) and florist (Stella Mary Graham) on June 15, 1935. Nicknamed Billie, she was an incredible beauty while still in her early teens, attending the Rookesbury Park Prep School at Hampshire and St. ...

71. Vivien Leigh

Actress | A Streetcar Named Desire

If a film were made of the life of Vivien Leigh, it would open in India just before World War I, where a successful British businessman could live like a prince. In the mountains above Calcutta, a little princess is born. Because of the outbreak of World War I, she is six years old the first time ...

72. Margaret Leighton

Actress | The Go-Between

British theatre actress Margaret Leighton made her classical stage debut at age 16. The daughter of a businessman, she joined the Old Vic Company under the direction of Laurence Olivier and Ralph Richardson and in the late 40s and 50s earned kudos for her theatrical endeavors on both the London and...

73. Margaret Lockwood

Actress | The Lady Vanishes

Karachi-born Margaret Lockwood, daughter of a British colonial railway clerk, was educated in London and studied to be an actress at the Italia Conti Drama School. Her first moment on stage came at the age of 12, when she played a fairy in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in 1928. She had a bit part in ...

Best known for "The Lady Vanishes", "Love Story" (1944),"The Wicked Lady" (1945), "Cast a Dark Shadow", "Justice" (tv series)

74. Joanna Lumley

Actress | Absolutely Fabulous

Joanna Lumley was born on 1 May, 1946 in Kashmir, India, to British parents, Thya Beatrice Rose (Weir) and James Rutherford Lumley. Her father was a major in the Gurkha Rifles, and she spent most of her early childhood in the Far East where her father was posted.

An aspiring actress, she first came ...

75. Kelly Macdonald

Actress | No Country for Old Men

Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald was born and raised in Glasgow. Her parents divorced when she was young, and she was raised by her mother, a sales executive in the garment industry. She has one brother, David. As a hobby, she acted in an amateur theatrical club, which she enjoyed a great deal. ...

76. Virginia McKenna

Actress | Born Free

Talented flaxen-blonde British star combined her deep loves for acting and for wildlife throughout most her adult life. Born in London, England on June 7, 1931, her family possessed a sturdy theatrical background. Mother Anne was a jazz pianist, composer and cabaret performer while father Terry, an...

77. Julia McKenzie

Actress | Notes on a Scandal

Julia McKenzie was born on February 17, 1941 in Enfield, Middlesex, England as Julia Kathleen Nancy McKenzie. She is known for her work on Notes on a Scandal (2006), Bright Young Things (2003) and Cranford (2007). She was previously married to Jerry Harte.

78. Jessie Matthews

Actress | It's Love Again

Born to a huge, poor family in Soho in London's West End, Jessie Matthews became a big stage star in the late 1920s and 1930s, enjoying some crossover success in musical films. Her career never quite relaunched after the war, though, but she staged a comeback when she replaced the lead actress in ...

79. Vivien Merchant

Actress | Frenzy

Vivien Merchant was born on July 22, 1929 in Manchester, England as Ada Thompson. She was an actress, known for Frenzy (1972), Alfie (1966) and The Offence (1973). She was married to Harold Pinter. She died on October 3, 1982 in London, England.

80. Sarah Miles

Actress | Ryan's Daughter

Sarah Miles is an English actress whose career flourished during the Swinging Sixties and in the early Seventies. The high point of her career came when her husband, screenwriter Robert Bolt, adapted "Madame Bovary" into a story set during the 1916 Easter Rebellion in Ireland. Directed by David Lean...

81. Hayley Mills

Actress | Pollyanna

Born Hayley Catherine Rose Vivien Mills in London, England, on Thursday, April 18th, 1946, she is the daughter of the great actor Sir John Mills and the well-known novelist-playwright Mary Hayley Bell. Her sister is the actress Juliet Mills. She grew up in her parents' home, an outgoing, funny ...

82. Helen Mirren

Actress | RED

Dame Helen Mirren was born in Queen Charlotte's Hospital in West London. Her mother, Kathleen Alexandrina Eva Matilda (Rogers), was from a working-class English family, and her father, Vasiliy Petrovich Mironov, was a Russian-born civil servant, from Kuryanovo, whose own father was a diplomat. ...

also known for "Prime Suspect" (tv series)

83. Yvonne Mitchell

Actress | Woman in a Dressing Gown

Britisher Yvonne Mitchell was first and foremost a stage actress who began her career quite early as a teen. By the time of her death, she had performed under the theatre lights for over four decades. Her output in films and TV paled in comparison, but the work she put out in those mediums were of ...

also known for "1984" (tv), "Yield to the Night",

84. Peggy Mount

Actress | Oliver!

Peggy Mount was born on May 2, 1915 in Southend-On-Sea, Essex, England as Margaret Rose Mount. She was an actress, known for Oliver! (1968), Panic in the Parlor (1956) and Inn for Trouble (1960). She died on November 13, 2001 in Northwood, London, England.

also known for "Sailor Beware", The Naked Truth", "The Larkins" (tv series)

85. Barbara Murray

Actress | Passport to Pimlico

A self-assured and stylish actress, Barbara Murray was born into a showbusiness family, the daughter of actors and granddaughter of professional ballroom dancers. She was first thrust into the limelight as a six year old, dancing in the family variety act. Barbara and her mother were evacuated to ...

86. Anna Neagle

Actress | Odette

Dame Anna Neagle, the endearingly popular British star during WWII, was born Florence Marjorie Robertson and began dancing as a professional in chorus lines at age 14. She starred with actor Jack Buchanan in the musical "Stand Up and Sing" in the West End and earned her big break when producer/...

also known for "Sixty Glorious Years", "Charlie Girl" (stage)

87. Merle Oberon

Actress | That Uncertain Feeling

Estelle Merle O'Brien Thompson was born in India on February 19, 1911. She was educated in that country until the age of 17, when she left for London. Merle began her career in British films with mostly forgettable roles or bit parts. She appeared in an uncredited role in Alf's Button (1930), a ...

88. Tessie O'Shea

Actress | Bedknobs and Broomsticks

She was aptly and affectionately dubbed "Two Ton Tessie" not only for her plentiful girth but for the tons of talent she possessed as one of the British Isle's most beloved, unabashed music hall entertainers. Welsh star Tessie O'Shea was born Teresa O'Shea and was already showing off as a youngster...

89. Muriel Pavlow

Actress | Murder She Said

Lovely, delicate-looking actress Muriel Pavlow belongs firmly to the British cinema of the 1950s and often provided a nice counterbalance to the hectic goings-on in many comedies. Born in 1921 in Leigh, Kent, England, she was a dominant stage actress despite her petite frame and made her theatrical...

90. Nova Pilbeam

Actress | Young and Innocent

Nova Pilbeam was a famous child actress on stage and screen in the UK. Her biggest sucesses were her two movies directed by Alfred Hitchcock, "The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) and "Young and Innocent". She married director Pen Tennyson in 1939 and retired in the 40s.

91. Joan Plowright

Actress | Enchanted April

Dame Joan Ann Plowright, the Baroness Olivier, is one of the most distinguished actors of her generation. She may be best remembered as the third wife and widow of Laurence Olivier, generally considered the greatest anglophone actor of the 20th Century, but she had a distinguished career of her own...

92. Charlotte Rampling

Actress | 45 Years

Tessa Charlotte Rampling was born 5 February 1946 in Sturmer, England, to Isabel Anne (Gurteen), a painter, and Godfrey Lionel Rampling, an Olympic gold medalist, army officer, and colonel, who became a NATO commander. She was educated at Jeanne d'Arc Académie pour Jeunes Filles in Versailles, ...

93. Lynn Redgrave

Actress | Gods and Monsters

Actress of both the English and American stage and screen, Lynn Redgrave was born in Marylebone, London, England, into one of the world's most famous acting dynasties. As the daughter of Rachel Kempson and Sir Michael Redgrave, sister of Vanessa Redgrave and Corin Redgrave, and granddaughter of Roy...

94. Vanessa Redgrave

Actress | Atonement

On January 30, 1937, renowned theatre actor Michael Redgrave was performing in a production of Hamlet in London. During the curtain call, the show's lead, Laurence Olivier, announced to the audience: "tonight a great actress was born". This was in reference to his co-star's newborn daughter, ...

95. Beryl Reid

Actress | The Killing of Sister George

Beryl Reid was the daughter of Scottish parents and grew up in industrial Manchester, England. She left home at the age of 16 to go and work in a shop. She lasted 6 weeks. She applied for and was accepted in a revue in the Summer season in Bridlington. She had no formal training but joined the ...

96. Wendy Richard

Actress | Are You Being Served?

Wendy Richard was born on July 20, 1943 in Middlesbrough, Cleveland, England as Wendy Emerton. She was an actress, known for Are You Being Served? (1972), Are You Being Served? (1977) and Gumshoe (1971). She was married to John Burns, Paul Glorney, Will Thorpe and Len Black. She died on February 26...

97. Diana Rigg

Actress | On Her Majesty's Secret Service

British actress Dame Diana Rigg was born on July 20, 1938 in Doncaster, Yorkshire, England. She has had an extensive career in film and theatre, including playing the title role in "Medea", both in London and New York, for which she won the 1994 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play.

Rigg made her ...

98. Rachel Roberts

Actress | This Sporting Life

Beautiful, swift and tough-tongued British character actress Rachel Roberts gained notice for her roles on the English stage, before she hit it largely in films. Born in Wales and married to actor Rex Harrison in 1962, Roberts made her film debut in a key role in J. Lee Thompson's Young and Willing...

99. Flora Robson

Actress | Clash of the Titans

Flora Robson knew she was no beauty, but her wise and sympathetic face would become a familiar - indeed, shining - ornament of the 1930s and 40s silver screen. Though not sure of acting as a career in her early years, she nevertheless appeared on stage for the first time at 5 years old. She was ...

100. Patricia Roc

Actress | Canyon Passage

One of Britain's biggest female stars of the post-war years, she appeared at various positions (3rd being the highest) in the British and Motion Picture Herald popularity polls, between 1945-50. She was pretty, vivacious and charming, which was all most of her early roles called for. She appeared ...



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