Famous 20th Century British Actresses

Find out more about the greatest 20th Century British Actresses, including Cara Delevingne, Rachel Weisz, Julianne Moore, Keira Knightley and Emma Watson.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn.
22
Famous As: Film actress
Birthdate: May 4, 1929
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Ixelles, Belgium
Died: January 20, 1993

British actress Audrey Hepburn is counted among the greatest female screen legends in Golden Age Hollywood. Rising to prominence in the 1950s, she became one of the few people to win Academy, Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Awards. She devoted much of her time in her later life to UNICEF and was actively involved in humanitarian work.

 2 Kate Winslet

Kate Winslet.
22
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 5, 1975
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Reading, England

Actress Kate Winslet’s most enduring character remains that of the protagonist in the 1997 blockbuster film Titanic, which made her an international star. She’s also known for doing period roles in films like Sense and Sensibility, Jude and Hamlet. Some of her other notable films are Iris, Little Children, Steve Jobs and The Reader. She won an Oscar for her performance in The Reader

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 3 Helena Bonham Carter

Helena Bonham Carter.
27
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 26, 1966
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Islington, London, England

Helena Bonham Carter is an English actress who is known for her performances in independent films and huge blockbusters. Some of her notable films are The Wings of the Dove, The King's Speech, Hamlet, Howards End, Fight Club, Les Misérables . She was also part of the Harry Potter series. She was bestowed with the Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2012.

 4 Julie Andrews

Julie Andrews.
19
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 1, 1935
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Walton-on-Thames, United Kingdom

A distinguished films, television and Broadway actress, Julie Andrews is best known for her performances in films like Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Victor/Victoria. She has also done voiceovers for animation movie like Despicable Me and Enchanted. The legendary actress has also released multiple albums and authored numerous children’s books as well as her autobiography.

 5 Helen Mirren

Helen Mirren.
12
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: July 26, 1945
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Chiswick, London

Helen Mirren is one of the most respected and decorated actresses from England. She has won several prestigious awards, including the Triple Crown of Acting. Before achieving greatness, Mirren fought drug addiction during her 20s. She has also said that she is a naturist at heart and was named by British Naturism as Naturist of the Year in 2004.

 6 Angela Lansbury

Angela Lansbury.
18
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 16, 1925
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Regent's Park, London, England

Angela Lansbury played a key role in shaping the Golden Age of Hollywood. Recognized as one of the few stars still alive from the Golden Age of Hollywood cinema, Angela Lansbury has received accolades, such as an Honorary Oscar. In 2014, Queen Elizabeth II appointed her a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

 7 Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor.
9
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 27, 1932
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hampstead, London, England
Died: March 23, 2011

Considered an incandescent beauty, Elizabeth Taylor was a very popular and successful actor and her legacy is an everlasting one. She shone in movies like A Place in the Sun, Giant, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Cleopatra, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Butterfield 8 in the 1950s and 60s. Recipient of two Oscars, she married eight times.

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 8 Olivia de Havilland

Olivia de Havilland.
8
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: July 1, 1916
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan
Died: July 26, 2020

The veteran actress of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Olivia de Havilland shot to fame with Gone With the Wind and later established her cinematic career with movies like To Each His Own and The Heiress. Her rivalry with her sister and the court battle against a powerful studio also made headlines.

 9 Vivien Leigh

Vivien Leigh.
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 5, 1913
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Darjeeling, Bengal Presidency, British India
Died: July 8, 1967

British actress Vivien Leigh gained popularity with her award winning performance in films Gone with the Wind and A Street Car named Desire and her Musical Broadway Tovarich. The beautiful actress, who went on to feature in films like That Hamilton Woman and Ship of Fools, had a troubled personal life and suffered from physical and mental health issues.

 10 Kate Beckinsale

Kate Beckinsale.
13
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: July 26, 1973
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London, England

Kate Beckinsale is an English actress and model and has worked in films such as Pearl Harbor, Serendipity, The Aviator, Contraband and Total Recall and received critical acclaim for her performance in the film Love and Friendship. She has also worked in various stage and radio productions. The British Heart Foundation is one of the charities that she promotes.

 11 Keira Knightley

Keira Knightley.
14
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: March 26, 1985
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Teddington

British actress Keira Knightley’s career took a huge turn, when she appeared in Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace and Bend It Like Beckham, while she was still in her teens. Since then, she has displayed her talent in numerous period and big budget movie including Pirates of the Caribbean film series, Pride and Prejudice and Imitation Game.

 12 Rachel Weisz

Rachel Weisz.
20
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: March 7, 1970
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: London, England

One of the most popular and decorated British-American actresses, Rachel Weisz is the recipient of many awards, such as the Academy Award. One of the most beautiful actresses, she has been featured on several magazine covers. In 2010, Rachel Weisz was named the global ambassador for L'Oréal. She has also served as fashion designer Narciso Rodriguez's muse.

 13 Lena Headey

Lena Headey
12
Famous As: Actor, Voice actor
Birthdate: October 3, 1973
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bermuda

 14 Lily Collins

Lily Collins.
29
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: March 18, 1989
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Guildford, England

Born to a famous musician Phil Collins, Lily Collins first faced the camera at the age of two. As an adult, she gained recognition with Mirror Mirror and then followed it up with The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones and Rules Don't Apply. The British-American actress, who has become extremely successful, is also a model and a published author.

 15 Naomi Watts

Naomi Watts.
19
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 28, 1968
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Shoreham

One of the most beautiful actresses of her generation, Naomi Watts has been featured in the world's most beautiful women lists by magazines like Maxim and People. Also a well-known philanthropist, Watts is associated with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) as its goodwill ambassador. She uses her fame to help people suffering from AIDS.

 16 Emma Thompson

Emma Thompson.
24
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: April 15, 1959
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paddington, London, United Kingdom

One of the most celebrated British actresses, Emma Thompson has received plaudits for her work in films, television and stage. Her film credits include Howards End, The Remains of the Day as well as Sense and Sensibility which she also wrote. Her television appearances include miniseries Angels in America. The award winning actress is also an author, activist and comedian.

 17 Florence Pugh

Florence Pugh
10
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 3, 1996
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UK

 18 Natalie Dormer

Natalie Dormer.
8
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 11, 1982
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Reading, Berkshire, United Kingdom

Natalie Dormer is a popular English actress who received international recognition after playing Margaery Tyrell in one of the most popular TV series of all time, Game of Thrones. Also known for her charity work and advocacy, Natalie traveled to Tanzania in 2017 along with a humanitarian organization called Plan International to ban child marriage in the East African country.

 19 Tilda Swinton

Tilda Swinton.
13
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 5, 1960
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London

One of the most popular Scottish actresses of her generation, Tilda Swinton is known for portraying negative roles in both blockbusters and independent arthouse films. An Academy Award-winning actress, Tilda is also known for her impressive fashion sense; she was named by The Guardian as one of the fifty best-dressed over 50 in 2013.

 20 Christina Hendricks

Christina Hendricks
7
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 3, 1975
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Christina Hendricks is an actress and producer. She began her career as a model and enjoyed international success for several years before transitioning into acting. As an actress, she was able to replicate her success and appeared in films like Drive and Lost River. She is the recipient of several awards, including two Screen Actors Guild Awards. 

 21 Judi Dench

Judi Dench.
10
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: December 9, 1934
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Heworth, York, United Kingdom

Judi Dench is one of the most respected and decorated English actresses of all time. Counted among the most influential people in the United Kingdom, Dame Judi Dench is a patron of more than 180 charities, such as York Against Cancer. Since 1985, she has been serving as the president of Questors Theatre.

 22 Hayley Atwell

Hayley Atwell
11
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: April 5, 1982
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London, England, UK

 23 Jodie Comer

Jodie Comer
10
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: March 11, 1993
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Liverpool, Merseyside, England, UK

 24 Jenna Coleman

Jenna Coleman.
5
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: April 27, 1986
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Blackpool, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom

Jenna Coleman is an English actress who played Queen Victoria in the historical TV drama series Victoria. Also known for her charity work, Jenna Coleman serves as an ambassador for a charity organization called Place2Be, which provides therapeutic and emotional services in schools. She also serves as an ambassador for One To One Children's Fund, which raises awareness of HIV.

 25 Olivia Colman

Olivia Colman
16
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 30, 1974
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Norwich, Norfolk, England, UK

 26 Sienna Rose Miller

Sienna Rose Miller.
8
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: December 28, 1981
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York City

Sienna Rose Miller is a British-American actress. From being a photography model, who posed topless for Pirelli calendar, to becoming a prominent actress in the American film and TV industry, Miller's journey has been quite inspirational so far. Also known for her charity work, Miller touched the lives of many when she traveled to Haiti after the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

 27 Rebecca Hall

Rebecca Hall
5
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 3, 1982
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England, UK

 28 Lauren Cohan

Lauren Cohan.
6
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 7, 1982
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Cherry Hill, New Jersey, United States

British-American actress Lauren Cohan is the quintessential action heroine of the present-day American television with leading roles in series like The Walking Dead, Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, Chuck, and Whiskey Cavalier. Characterized by her distinctive Mid-Atlantic accent, Cohan has also played important roles in popular films, such as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

 29 Thandie Newton

Thandie Newton.
7
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 6, 1972
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Westminster, London, England, United Kingdom

A critically acclaimed and award-winning actress, Thandie Newton is also an activist—she led a flash mob in 2013 for gender equality and justice. An actress with an affinity for Buddhism, Thandie was named Sexiest Vegan of 2014 by PETA. During the 2019 New Year Honours, she was appointed OBE for services to charity and film.

 30 Naomi Campbell

Naomi Campbell.
9
Famous As: Model
Birthdate: May 22, 1970
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Streatham
Naomi Campbell is one of the “Big Six” supermodels of the 1980s and the 1990s, who has graced both the ramp and print. She has also released a music album, been part of a fashion reality show, started a web series, and founded charitable organizations such as Fashion for Relief.

 31 Kim Cattrall

Kim Cattrall.
5
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 21, 1956
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Mossley Hill

Popular as Samantha Jones from the hit series Sex and the City, Golden Globe-winning actor Kim Cattrall found it difficult to recreate the same magic on screen, barring her performance in the 2014 comedy Sensitive Skin. Her comeback with the Fox series Filthy Rich in 2020 was commendable.

 32 Elizabeth Hurley

Elizabeth Hurley.
11
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 10, 1965
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Basingstoke, Hampshire, England

Best known for her roles in the Austin Powers franchise, Bedazzled, and The Royals, Elizabeth Hurley began her career as an Estee Lauder model. A trained ballerina, she has also been in the news for her relationship with Hugh Grant and her marriage to textile magnate Arun Nayar.

 33 Jessica Tandy

Jessica Tandy.
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 7, 1909
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London
Died: September 11, 1994

Jessica Tandy was an English-American actress who completed the triple crown of acting in 1990 after winning Tony Awards, an Academy Award, and Primetime Emmy Award. She is also the oldest actress to win an Oscar. Also known for her good looks, Tandy was named in People magazine's list of 50 Most Beautiful People at the peak of her career.

 34 Minnie Driver

Minnie Driver.
6
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 31, 1970
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Marylebone, United Kingdom
Minnie Driver is best known for her Academy Award-nominated role of Skylar in Good Will Hunting. She is also known for her supporting roles in the films Circle of Friends and Take and the series Speechless, About a Boy, and Will & Grace. She is a jazz musician, too. 

 35 Vanessa Redgrave

Vanessa Redgrave
6
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 30, 1937
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Greenwich

 36 Jane Seymour

Jane Seymour.
4
Birthdate: February 15, 1951
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hayes, Middlesex, England, UK

Jane Seymour is a British-American actress who was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for service to drama. Over the years, Seymour has also played a major role as a celebrity ambassador for a national non-profit organization called Childhelp, which works towards helping victims of child abuse and neglect.

 37 Catherine Bell

Catherine Bell
5
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 14, 1968
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London, England, UK

Catherine Bell is an actress, producer, and model. She is best known for her roles in the TV series JAG and Army Wives. As a young woman, she enrolled at UCLA but dropped out to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. She struggled for a few years but was eventually able to establish herself as a versatile actress. 

 38 Diana Rigg

Diana Rigg
9
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: July 20, 1938
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Doncaster, Yorkshire, England, UK

 39 Annabelle Wallis

Annabelle Wallis
9
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 5, 1984
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UK

 40 Geri Halliwell

Geri Halliwell.
6
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: August 6, 1972
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Watford

Geri Halliwell is a British singer-songwriter who achieved international fame as part of the popular girl group, The Spice Girls, which has sold more than 85 million records worldwide. Also a well-known philanthropist, Geri Halliwell has worked closely with the United Nations Population Fund, becoming its goodwill ambassador in 1998. She is widely regarded as a girl power icon.

 41 Claire Foy

Claire Foy
10
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: April 16, 1984
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Stockport, Greater Manchester, England

 42 Helen McCrory

Helen McCrory.
9
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 17, 1968
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Paddington, London, England
Died: April 16, 2021

Helen McCrory is a British actress known for playing real-life characters in films. In the 2017 New Year Honours, McCrory was appointed OBE for services to drama. Apart from being an actress, she also works closely with the London-based children's charity Scene & Heard, contributing as one of its honorary patrons.

 43 Amanda Holden

Amanda Holden.
9
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 16, 1971
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Portsmouth, Hampshire, England

Amanda Holden is an English actress, TV personality, author, and musician. Her autobiography book No Holding Back was ranked first on the Sunday Times bestseller list. Apart from being a media personality, Amanda Holden is also known for her charity work; in 2018, she posed as a mermaid underwater as part of a PETA awareness campaign against the SeaWorld.

 44 Sade Adu

Sade Adu
7
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: January 16, 1959
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ibadan, Nigeria

Nigerian-British singer Helen Folasade Adu, or Sade Adu, often blends Afro-Cuban tunes with soul and smooth jazz in her music. The Grammy Award winner had initially studied fashion designing and been a model. The founder of the band Sade, she has released iconic tracks such as No Ordinary Love.

 45 Olivia Cooke

Olivia Cooke
5
Famous As: Actress,Soundtrack,Producer
Birthdate: December 27, 1993
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Oldham, Greater Manchester, England, UK

 46 Gemma Chan

Gemma Chan
13
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 29, 1982
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: London, England, UK

 47 Nathalie Emmanuel

Nathalie Emmanuel
6
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: March 2, 1989
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Southend-on-Sea, Essex, England

 48 Michelle Dockery

Michelle Dockery
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: December 15, 1981
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Barking, Essex, England, UK

 49 Anna Friel

Anna Friel.
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: July 12, 1976
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Rochdale, Lancashire, England, UK

Anna Friel is a British actress who gained international recognition after portraying Charlotte "Chuck" Charles on the popular American fantasy mystery TV series Pushing Daisies. After starting her professional acting career at the age of 13, Friel went on to establish herself as a successful adult actress. Friel also serves as an ambassador for The World Wide Fund for Nature.

 50 Natasha Richardson

Natasha Richardson.
9
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 11, 1963
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Marylebone, London
Died: March 18, 2009

Natasha Richardson, the daughter of actress Vanessa Redgrave, came to prominence after her Broadway debut in the 1993 revival of Anna Christie. Some of the films that she acted in are Asylum, The Handmaid's Tale, The Parent Trap, Maid in Manhattan and The White Countess. She also worked in many television projects. She died after a skiing accident in Quebec.