While Christian Bale, Idris Elba, Daniel Craig, and Benedict Cumberbatch might be the hottest British actors in the contemporary era, Britain has the honor of producing world class actors from the past several decades. Britain had a vibrant tradition of theatre since the Renaissance which peaked during the times of playwright William Shakespeare. Christopher Beeston, William Rowley, and Thomas Heywood were prominent stage actors in the 16th and 17th centuries. Actors like Robert Wilks, William Smith, and Barton Booth were among the most celebrated actors of the 18th century. British theatre evolved over time and many other talented actors like Harry Randall, John Bannister, and Benjamin Plim Bellamy emerged in the 19th century. With the advent of cinema in the 20th century, several prominent theatre stars like John Kefford, James Neville Mason, and David Tree ventured into films as well. Coming to more recent times, Daniel Day-Lewis is one of the most acclaimed actors of his generation with three Academy Awards for Best Actor while Ian McKellen is another respected actor whose work spans genres ranging from Shakespearean and modern theatre to popular fantasy and science fiction. This section provides you information about the life and works of famous British actors.