Famous 20th Century British Film & Theater Personalities

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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
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 1 
Rowan Atkinson
(Actor & Comedian Best Known for His Role in the Sitcom 'Mr Bean')
Rowan Atkinson
45
Birthdate: January 6, 1955
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: County Durham, England, United Kingdom

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
(British Actress Who was Famous as a Film and Fashion Icon)
Audrey Hepburn
36
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.

 3 
Alan Rickman
(Actor and Director)
Alan Rickman
17
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.

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 4 
Daniel Craig
(English Actor Who Became Popular for Portraying the Secret Agent James Bond)
Daniel Craig
9
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.

 5 
Charlie Chaplin
(The Greatest Comic Artist Ever & One of the Most Important Figures in Motion-Picture History)
Charlie Chaplin
17
Birthdate: April 16, 1889
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Walworth, London, England
Died: December 25, 1977

Cinema lovers around the world hold Charlie Chaplin in high esteem. One of the biggest stars of the silent film era and an icon, he left the audience in splits with his comedic performances. Even today, his performances in movies like Modern Times and The Gold Rush are considered classic. The legendary actor was also a writer, director and producer.

 6 
Christian Bale
(British Actor Best Known for His Versatility and Recurring Physical Transformations for His Roles)
Christian Bale
16
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 
Rachel Weisz
(British Actress Known for Her Films: 'The Mummy', 'The Constant Gardener' and 'The Favourite')
Rachel Weisz
24
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.

 8 
Elizabeth Taylor
(One of the Best Actresses of Classic Hollywood Cinema)
Elizabeth Taylor
14
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.

 9 
Julie Andrews
(English Actress, Singer and Author)
Julie Andrews
24
Birthdate: October 1, 1935
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Walton-on-Thames, England

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.

 10 
Gary Oldman
(Actor, Comedian & Singer)
Gary Oldman
10
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.

 11 
Patrick Stewart
8
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

 12 
Maggie Smith
(One of Britain's Most Recognizable & Prolific Actresses)
Maggie Smith
16
Birthdate: December 28, 1934
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ilford, Essex, England

Veteran English actress, Maggie Smith, has an extensive career spanning almost seven decades. One of Britain's most recognizable actresses, she has appeared in more than 60 films and over 70 plays. Making her debut as a stage actress in the 1950s, she quickly moved on to TV and cinema. She has been honored with the Stratford Shakespeare Festival's Legacy Award.

 13 
Ralph Fiennes
(English Actor Best Known for His Films: 'Schindler's List', and 'The English Patient' )
Ralph Fiennes
10
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.

 14 
Naomi Watts
(Actress)
Naomi Watts
24
Birthdate: September 28, 1968
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Shoreham, England

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.

 15 
Helen Mirren
(The Only Performer to Have Achieved the 'Triple Crown of Acting' in Both the US and the UK)
Helen Mirren
19
Birthdate: July 26, 1945
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London, England, United Kingdom

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.

 16 
Christopher Nolan
(Film Director - Known for His Ambitious & Visually Impressive Films)
Christopher Nolan
5
Birthdate: July 30, 1970
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Westminster, London, England

British-American writer and director, Christopher Nolan is known for his distinctive kind of films which are often intelligent, deep and nonlinear. He gained international recognition with Memento and further reached greater heights with big budget movies like The Dark Knight film series, Inception, Interstellar and Dunkirk. The multiple award winning director began shooting short films at the age of seven.

 17 
Angela Lansbury
(Actress and Singer Whose Career Spanned Over 80 Years)
Angela Lansbury
23
Birthdate: October 16, 1925
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: 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.

 18 
Cary Grant
(One of the Leading Men of Classic Hollywood Cinema)
Cary Grant
8
Birthdate: January 18, 1904
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Horfield, Bristol, England
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.

 19 
Roger Moore
(Famous for His Portrayal as the Fictional British Secret Agent 'James Bond' in Seven Films)
Roger Moore
6
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.

 20 
Colin Firth
(Actor, Producer and Screenwriter)
Colin Firth
8
Birthdate: September 10, 1960
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Grayshott, England, United Kingdom

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.

 21 
Kiefer Sutherland
(Actor Best Known for His Role in the Fox Drama Series '24;)
Kiefer Sutherland
8
Birthdate: December 21, 1966
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: London, England

The son of famous Canadian actors, Shirley Douglas and Donald Sutherland, Kiefer Sutherland followed in his parents' footsteps to become a famous actor. Apart from being a respected and decorated actor, Kiefer is also one of the controversy's favorite children, having been on the wrong side of the law several times.

 22 
Daniel Day-Lewis
(British Actor and Only Person to Have Won Three 'Academy Awards for Best Actor')
Daniel Day-Lewis
10
Birthdate: April 29, 1957
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kensington, London, England

Retired English actor, Daniel Day-Lewis, is widely regarded as one of the best cinema actors. Known for his dedication to method acting, he has entertained audience with both positive and negative roles. His work in movies like My Left Foot, There Will Be Blood, Lincoln and Gangs of New York have won him fame, critical acclaim and numerous prestigious awards.

 23 
Christopher Lee
(Actor and Singer Known for His Role as ‘Count Dracula’ in ‘Hammer Horror’ Films)
Christopher Lee
8
Birthdate: May 27, 1922
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Belgravia, London, 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.

 24 
Sean Bean
(Actor)
Sean Bean
7
Birthdate: April 17, 1959
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Handsworth, Sheffield, England

Sean Bean is an English actor known for his Yorkshire accent. Often described as surprisingly shy and a man of few words, Sean Bean is a down to earth person. Since he often portrays villainous characters that are killed violently, Sean has gained notoriety on the internet and is a subject of many internet memes.

 25 
Alfred Hitchcock
(One of the Most Influential Filmmakers of All Time)
Alfred Hitchcock
4
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.

 26 
Olivia de Havilland
(One of the Leading Actresses of Golden Age of Hollywood )
Olivia de Havilland
12
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.

 27 
Vivien Leigh
(British Actress Known for Her Roles in the Films: ‘Gone with the Wind’ and ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’)
Vivien Leigh
6
Birthdate: November 5, 1913
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Darjeeling, 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.

 28 
Ben Kingsley
(English Actor Known for His Portrayal of ‘Mahatma Gandhi’ in the Film ‘Gandhi’)
Ben Kingsley
6
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. 

 29 
Richard Attenborough
(English Actor & Filmmaker)
Richard Attenborough
5
Birthdate: August 29, 1923
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
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.

 30 
Jeremy Irons
(English Actor and Activist Known for His TV Series ‘Brideshead Revisited’)
Jeremy Irons
8
Birthdate: September 19, 1948
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Isle of Wight, England, United Kingdom

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.

 31 
Idris Elba
(Known for His Roles in the Series 'The Wire' and 'Luther')
Idris Elba
19
Birthdate: September 6, 1972
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England, United Kingdom

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.

 32 
Peter Sellers
(English Actor and Comedian Known for His Role as ‘Inspector Jacques Clouseau’ in ‘The Pink Panther’ Film Series)
Peter Sellers
5
Birthdate: September 8, 1925
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Portsmouth, England
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 
Keira Knightley
(English Actress Known for Her Work in Independent Films and Period Dramas)
Keira Knightley
20
Birthdate: March 26, 1985
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Teddington, England

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.

 34 
Kate Beckinsale
(Actress and Model)
Kate Beckinsale
20
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.

 35 
Laurence Olivier
(English Actor and Director Known for His Film ‘Hamlet’)
Laurence Olivier
6
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.
 36 
Alec Guinness
5
Birthdate: April 2, 1914
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London, England, United Kingdom
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.

 37 
Peter O'Toole
(Stage and Film Actor)
Peter O'Toole
4
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.

 38 
Emma Thompson
(British Actress, Screenwriter and the Only Person to Win Academy Awards for Both Acting & Writing)
Emma Thompson
28
Birthdate: April 15, 1959
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paddington, London, England

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.

 39 
Gerard Butler
(Scottish Actor and Film Producer)
Gerard Butler
9
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!

 40 
Ridley Scott
(Film Producer, Director)
Ridley Scott
4
Birthdate: November 30, 1937
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: South Shields, England

British film director, Ridley Scott,is hailed as a master of his craft and his movies are known for their visual style and intricate details. Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma & Louise, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, American Gangster, Prometheus, Alien: Covenant and The Martian are some of his acclaimed and successful films. He was knighted in 2003.

 41 
Lena Headey
(Portrayed Cersei Lannister in HBO Series 'Game of Thrones' )
Lena Headey
19
Birthdate: October 3, 1973
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Hamilton, Bermuda
 42 
Charlie Hunnam
9
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.

 43 
Michael Sheen
10
Birthdate: February 5, 1969
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Newport, Monmouthshire, Wales

Michael Sheen is a Welsh actor and started his career as a theatre artist. He rose to fame in the 2000s as a screen actor after working in various biographical films. He starred in television films like The Deal, The Queen and The Special Relationship. Some of his notable films are The Twilight Saga: New Moon and Midnight in Paris.

 44 
Jodie Comer
(Best Known for Her Role in TV Series 'Killing Eve')
Jodie Comer
11
Birthdate: March 11, 1993
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Liverpool, Merseyside, England, UK
 45 
Ian McKellen
8
Birthdate: May 25, 1939
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lancashire, England, United Kingdom

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.

 46 
Paul Bettany
7
Birthdate: May 27, 1971
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England

Paul Bettany is the voice behind Marvel films' one of the most iconic characters - J.A.R.V.I.S., an artificial intelligence. He is also known for his acting roles in movies like A Knight's Tale and Creation. One of the most envied men in Hollywood, Paul Bettany is married to the beautiful actress, Jennifer Connelly.

 47 
David Tennant
8
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.

 48 
Jude Law
(Actor)
Jude Law
9
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.

 49 
Hugh Grant
(English Actor Best Known for His Leading Roles in Romantic Comedies)
Hugh Grant
14
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.

 50 
Tim Curry
(Actor)
Tim Curry
8
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.