Famous 20th Century British Film & Theater Personalities

Find out more about the greatest 20th Century British Film & Theater Personalities, including Cara Delevingne, Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Tom Hardy and Thomas Brodie-Sangster

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 Rowan Atkinson

Rowan Atkinson.
27
Famous As: Actor & Comedian
Birthdate: January 6, 1955
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Consett, County Durham, England

British comedian and actor Rowan Atkinson has entertained audience globally with his brilliant performance as the eponymous character in the Mr. Bean series and its film adaptations. Earlier, he established himself as a fine comedy actor with Blackadder and then went on to work in movies like Never Say Never Again, The Witches and Four Weddings and a Funeral.

 2 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.

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 3 Alan Rickman

Alan Rickman.
10
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 21, 1946
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hammersmith, London, England
Died: January 14, 2016

One of the most admired British actors, Alan Rickman gained global recognition for his work on stage and screen. The late actor excelled at portraying villainous characters especially in movies like Die Hard, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny. Other notable works of the versatile actor include Harry Potter film series and Truly, Madly, Deeply.

 4 Kate Winslet

Kate Winslet.
23
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

 5 Helena Bonham Carter

Helena Bonham Carter.
31
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.

 6 Christian Bale

Christian Bale.
11
Birthdate: January 30, 1974
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, Wales

After bagging his first starring role when he was just 13, actor Christian Bale proceeded to become one of the finest actors of his generation in the ensuing years. Known for his commitment to his craft, he is considered one of the most versatile and talented actors today. He is also popularly regarded as a male sex symbol.

 7 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.

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 8 Gary Oldman

Gary Oldman.
7
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 21, 1958
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New Cross, London, England

Gary Oldman is an English actor who can be best described as a chameleon, for his remarkable ability to imbibe the traits and mannerisms of the character he portrays. Whether playing a Cold War spy or a Sci-fi villain or Winston Churchill, this acting genius has earned the praise of millions of fans around the world.

 9 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.

 10 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.

 11 Ralph Fiennes

Ralph Fiennes.
8
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: December 22, 1962
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ipswich, England

A Tony Award recipient, Ralph Fiennes is one of the most respected English actors of the current generation. He is known for playing important roles in notable films, such as the Harry Potter and James Bond film series. A Stanislavsky Award recipient, he is also known for his work behind the camera.

 12 Anthony Hopkins

Anthony Hopkins.
12
Birthdate: December 31, 1937
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Port Talbot, Glamorgan, Wales

Highly renowned Welsh actor, Anthony Hopkins is best known for his portrayal of a cannibalistic serial killer in the movie The Silence of the Lambs. The portrayal earned him prestigious awards and also a place in the list of best villains of all time. Other notable films of the celebrated character actor include Remains of the Day, Nixon and Amistad.

 13 Ian McKellen

Ian McKellen.
7
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 25, 1939
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Burnley, Lancashire, England

Considered a British cultural icon, Ian McKellen is one of the most respected and decorated actors of all time. An openly gay actor, his work as an LGBT activist has been as impressive as his illustrious acting career. At the 1991 New Year Honours, he was knighted for services to performing arts.

 14 Colin Firth

Colin Firth.
8
Birthdate: September 10, 1960
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Grayshott

One of the most decorated English actors of his generation, Colin Firth has had a major impact in both British and American film industries. Also one of the most bankable actors, his movies have grossed over $3 billion worldwide. Also renowned for his activism, Colin was named in Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world list in 2011.

 15 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.

 16 Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock.
4
Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: August 13, 1899
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Leytonstone, London, England
Died: April 29, 1980

Popularly known as the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock pioneered the Hitchcockian style of filmmaking. One of the most studied filmmakers in the world, Hitchcock is also one of the most influential in the history of cinema. In his career, that spanned six decades, he directed some of the greatest films of all time, such as Psycho and Vertigo.

 17 Jeremy Irons

Jeremy Irons.
7
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 19, 1948
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cowes, Isle of Wight, England

Jeremy Irons is a popular English actor. In the US, Irons is best known as one of the few actors to have achieved the famous Triple Crown of Acting. Also an activist known for his charity work, Jeremy Irons works closely with the United Nations. He also supports charities, such as The Prison Phoenix Trust.

 18 Olivia de Havilland

Olivia de Havilland.
10
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.

 19 Christopher Lee

Christopher Lee.
7
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 27, 1922
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Belgravia, Westminster, London, England, United Kingdom
Died: June 7, 2015

Christopher Lee was one of the most respected actors of his generation. Such was his impact on the British and American film industries that David Cameron described him as a titan of the golden age of cinema following his death in 2015. Famous for his deep, strong voice, Christopher Lee was also a popular singer who worked with several metal bands.

 20 Richard Attenborough

Richard Attenborough.
4
Famous As: British Politician
Birthdate: August 29, 1923
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cambridge, England
Died: August 24, 2014

Richard Attenborough is credited with making one of the greatest films of all time - Gandhi. Also an actor, Richard served as the president of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Apart from being honored by the British royalty, he was also honored with India's third-highest civilian award, The Padma Bhushan.

 21 Michael Caine

Michael Caine.
7
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 14, 1933
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Rotherhithe, London, England

A British film icon, Michael Caine is one of the highest grossing box office stars. His filmography is extensive with numerous acclaimed performances. This includes Ipcress File, Hannah and Her Sisters, Educating Rita, Sleuth, The Quiet American and Inception. The esteemed actor, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, is also a bestselling author with eleven published books.

 22 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.

 23 Jason Statham

Jason Statham.
11
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: July 26, 1967
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Shirebrook. England

One of Hollywood's most important action heroes, Jason Statham debuted with Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and later starred in more action film series like The Transporter, The Expendables and The Fast and the Furious. The martial artist, known for performing most of his own stunts himself, was once a world class diver, fashion model and black-market salesman.

 24 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.

 25 Idris Elba

Idris Elba.
17
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 6, 1972
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England

Idris Elba is a successful actor both on the small and the big screen and is mainly known for the television series The Wire and Luther and also for films, such as Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and Beasts of No Nation. He has also acted in blockbuster films of Marvel Comics universe like Avengers: Age of Ultron and Avengers: Infinity War.

 26 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.

 27 Tom Hiddleston

Tom Hiddleston.
9
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 9, 1981
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Westminster, London, England, United Kingdom

Best known for playing the menacing Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, English actor Tom Hiddleston is far from being menacing in real life. In fact, he is often described as the nicest person on earth, an image which he lives up to by supporting several charities and donating items for auction. He is also a UK ambassador of UNICEF.

 28 Daniel Craig

Daniel Craig.
7
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 2, 1968
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Chester, Cheshire, England

An English actor who achieved international fame when he began starring as the title character in the James Bond film series, Daniel Craig is known for his rugged good looks and raw sex appeal. Beginning his career in the early 1990s as a theater actor, he soon ventured into cinema as well. He has been nominated for many awards.

 29 Daniel Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe.
13
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: July 23, 1989
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London, England

Gaining international fame as a child actor in the Harry Potter movie series, English actor and producer Daniel Radcliffe has been active in the entertainment industry for over 20 years. After playing Harry Potter, he became one of the highest-paid actors in the world. He supports LGBTQA+ rights and contributes to various charities.

 30 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.

 31 Ben Kingsley

Ben Kingsley.
6
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: December 31, 1943
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Snainton, North Riding of Yorkshire, England

Ben Kingsley is one of the most respected and decorated English actors of his generation. In a career spanning more than 50 years, Kingsley has played iconic characters in popular films, such as Gandhi. In 2002, he was appointed Knight Bachelor for services to the film industry. 

 32 Peter Sellers

Peter Sellers.
5
Famous As: Film actor
Birthdate: September 8, 1925
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Died: July 24, 1980
Best known for his Academy Award-nominated roles in Dr. Strangelove and Being There, and as Clouseau from the Pink Panther series, Peter Sellers was admired for his impeccable comic skills. He initially toured around Europe as a drummer and also participated in radio shows such as The Goon Show

 33 Peter O'Toole

Peter O'Toole.
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 2, 1932
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Leeds, England
Died: December 14, 2013

Peter O'Toole was a British actor who became popular as a Shakespearean actor with the English Stage Company and at the Bristol Old Vic. O'Toole, who holds the record for receiving the most number of Oscar nominations for acting without a win, has appeared on several greatest actors list in England and Ireland.

 34 Lena Headey

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

 35 Patrick Stewart

Patrick Stewart.
7
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: July 13, 1940
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Mirfield, Yorkshire, England

Eminent British actor, Patrick Stewart, is best known for his work in television series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and four films associated with it. Another project that brought him immense recognition was the X-Men film series. A passionate stage artist, he has devoted considerable time to stage and delivered strong performances in Anthony and Cleopatra and A Christmas Carol

 36 Laurence Olivier

Laurence Olivier.
5
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 22, 1907
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dorking, Surrey, England
Died: July 11, 1989
Four-time Academy Award-winning actor Laurence Olivier began his career with stage, mostly playing Shakespearean characters. He founded London’s National Theatre. Some of his noteworthy films were Wuthering Heights, Rebecca, and the movie version of Hamlet. He had received the knighthood, the Order of Merit, and a life peerage.

 37 Cary Grant

Cary Grant.
7
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 18, 1904
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Horfield, Bristol, United Kingdom
Died: November 29, 1986

Considered one of the greatest actors ever, Cary Grant’s good looks, popular appeal and a knack for romantic comedy made him an enduring Hollywood star from the 1930s to the 1960s. Penny Serenade, An Affair to Remember, To Catch a Thief, North by Northwest and Charade are some of his classic films. He was bestowed an honorary Oscar in 1970.

 38 Gerard Butler

Gerard Butler.
7
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 13, 1969
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland

Gerard Butler is one of the most popular and successful actors from Scotland. He came into prominence with the portrayal of King Leonidas in the fantasy war film 300. Apart from acting, he participates in fundraising events and charity programs. Interestingly, Butler tried his hand at acting only after being fired a week before becoming a qualified lawyer!

 39 Lily Collins

Lily Collins.
38
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.

 40 Alec Guinness

Alec Guinness.
5
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 2, 1914
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Maida Vale, London, England
Died: August 5, 2000

Alec Guinness went from being an ad copywriter, to a Shakespearean stage actor, to delivering an Academy Award-winning performance as Colonel Nicholson in The Bridge on the River Kwai. He was part of the Royal Naval Reserve during World War II and received the knighthood for his contribution to arts.

 41 Charlie Hunnam

Charlie Hunnam.
8
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 10, 1980
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Newcastle upon Tyne, England

Charles Hunnam is an English actor. Some of his well-known works on television are the drama Queer as Folk, comedy series Undeclared and drama series Sons of Anarchy. His notable films are Nicholas Nickleby, Green Street, Pacific Rim, The Lost City of Z, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Crimson Peak and The Gentlemen. He is also a screenplay writer.

 42 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.

 43 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.

 44 David Tennant

David Tennant.
6
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 18, 1971
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bathgate, Scotland

A celebrated son of Scotland, David Tennant is best known for his lead role in the BBC series, Doctor Who, from 2005-10. The show made him a household name and a sex symbol. His career continues to flourish with lead roles in films and television. He’s also a prolific theater actor having played Shakespearean characters like Hamlet and Richard II.

 45 Edgar Wright

Edgar Wright.
4
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: April 18, 1974
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Poole
Director Edgar Wright is best known for the film Shaun of the Dead, part of “The Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy." He also directed Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and co-wrote Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin and the Marvel film Ant-Man. His signature style includes tracking shots and zooms. 

 46 Tim Curry

Tim Curry.
7
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 19, 1946
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Grappenhall, Cheshire, England

Tim Curry, who idolized the Rolling Stones and the Beatles as a teenager, went on to become an actor and singer. He serves as an inspiration to many as he continues to contribute to the film and TV industry even after suffering a major stroke, which has left him wheelchair-bound since 2012.

 47 Jude Law

Jude Law.
7
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: December 29, 1972
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England

British actor Jude Law is hailed as one of the most respected and talented artists of his generation. The movie Shopping in 1994 was his breakthrough moment and he has not looked back since then. He has worked across continents, with some of his prominent films being Gattaca, The Talented Mr Ripley, Cold Mountain, Alfie, Road to Perdition, Captain Marvel and Sherlock Holmes.

 48 Hugh Grant

Hugh Grant.
13
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 9, 1960
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hammersmith, London, England

The quintessential lover boy of British and American cinema, Hugh Grant is widely regarded as a meticulous performer who works hard on his acting and comic skills. One of the few celebrities to express disdain for celebrity culture, Grant's personal life has overshadowed his on-screen achievements. Also known for his charity work, Grant is a patron of Pancreatic Cancer Action.

 49 Tom Ellis

Tom Ellis.
5
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 17, 1978
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cardiff, Wales

Tom Ellis is a Welsh actor, who gained international prominence after he started playing Lucifer Morningstar in the American DC Comics-based series LuciferAn alumnus of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, he began his career with a role in a BBC TV show. He eventually began appearing in American TV shows and films as well.

 50 Roger Moore

Roger Moore.
5
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 14, 1927
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Stockwell, London, England
Died: May 23, 2017

Widely regarded as one of the most popular actors to play the iconic secret agent James Bond in films, Roger Moore was more than just an actor. He was also well-known for his humanitarian work, so much so that he was knighted in 2003 by Queen Elizabeth II for services to charity.