Famous Scottish Men

When you think of Scotland, too many things come to the mind. From bagpipes and kilts to its rosy-cheeked women and cappuccinos and from its world-class distilleries and finest booze to its exemplary highland hospitality and a weather to die for, the land of Scots hold unlimited appeal for many and for pretty awesome reasons. Then there is this remarkable lot of extraordinarily great and accomplished people — actors, artistes, engineers, explorers, philosophers, politicians, scientists and sportsmen — who have stamped their greatness by the way they think, act, write, or do. They are the Scotsmen the world absolutely digs for (Think Robert Burns, Andy Murray or Sean Connery!). Since as long as one can remember, Scotland has produced a world of pioneers who have carved a niche for themselves in world map with their raw talent and versatility. They are the men, who today, stand synonymous to Scotland. Join us as we trail down the biography, timeline, trivia and engaging facts about some really famous Scottish men. Rest assured, these famous and influential men will leave your jaws hanging!

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 Gordon Ramsay

Gordon Ramsay.
20
Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: November 8, 1966
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Johnstone, Scotland

A celebrated chef and restaurateur, British national Gordon Ramsay is also a writer and television personality. His TV shows about competitive cookery and food is quite popular. The Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, in Chelsea, is his signature restaurant. Known for his bluntness, short temper and strict manner, Ramsay has historically expressed a dislike for vegetarianism and veganism.

 2 Sean Connery

Sean Connery.
24
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 25, 1930
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Fountainbridge, Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: October 31, 2020

The first person to play James Bond on screen, Scottish actor Sean Connery went on to star in seven films of the franchise. The role catapulted him to international fame, but this charismatic actor was not restricted to his iconic role. He also tasted critical and commercial success in other productions including Murder on the Orient Express and The Untouchables

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 3 Ewan McGregor

Ewan McGregor.
6
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 31, 1971
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Perth, Scotland

A critically acclaimed actor, known for working in many small independent films, Ewan McGregor’s first notable film was Shallow Grave, followed by Trainspotting which propelled him to stardom. Films like Emma, A Life Less Ordinary and Moulin Rouge and the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi in the three Star Wars prequels, plus the television series Fargo are his other notable works.

 4 Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell.
2
Famous As: Inventor of Telephone
Birthdate: March 3, 1847
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Edinburgh
Died: August 2, 1922

Alexander Graham Bell was a scientist, inventor, and engineer. He is credited with inventing the first functional telephone. He is also credited with co-founding America's major telephone company AT&T, which has been going strong since 1885. Bell's later life was marked by his groundbreaking work in aeronautics, hydrofoils, and optical telecommunications. He was also an ardent supporter of compulsory sterilization.

 5 Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie.
4
Famous As: Industrialist, Businessman, Entrepreneur and a major Philanthropist.
Birthdate: November 25, 1835
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dunfermline
Died: August 11, 1919
Andrew Carnegie revolutionized the 19th-century steel industry by investing in railroads, bridges, and other projects. He donated most of his wealth to philanthropic causes, and built significant establishments, such as the Carnegie Hall and the Carnegie Mellon University. In the Gospel of Wealth, he urged the wealthy to donate.

 6 Andy Murray

Andy Murray.
18
Famous As: Tennis player
Birthdate: May 5, 1987
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland

One of the best British professional tennis players of all time, Andy Murray is popularly known as the Great Scot since he was born in Scotland. He is the only tennis player to have won two Olympic gold medals in singles competition. Also known for his charitable work, Andy Murray has played key roles in raising money for many charity organizations.

 7 Alex Ferguson

Alex Ferguson.
7
Famous As: Former Manager of Manchester United
Birthdate: December 31, 1941
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland
Alex Ferguson is known for his 26-year tenure as the manager of the football club Manchester United, from 1986 to 2013. He won 38 trophies with the club, including 13 Premier League titles. The first English Football Hall of Fame inductee, Ferguson has also received the knighthood
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 8 Angus Young

Angus Young.
8
Famous As: Co-founder & Lead Guitarist of the Hard Rock Band, AC/DC
Birthdate: March 31, 1955
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Glasgow
Angus Young, AC/DC co-founder, lead guitarist, and songwriter, migrated to Australia at 13. After dropping out of school at 15, he started playing instruments. Named the Best Australian Guitarist of All Time by Australian Guitar magazine, he is known for his uniform outfits and for reviving Chuck Berry's "duck walk."

 9 Adam Smith

Adam Smith.
6
Famous As: Economist and Philosopher
Birthdate: June 16, 1723
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kirkcaldy, Scotland
Died: July 17, 1790

Widely considered The Father of Economics, Adam Smith was a Scottish philosopher and economist. A pioneer of political economy, Adam Smith played a major role during the Scottish Enlightenment. His book The Wealth of Nations is regarded as the first modern work of economics and a forerunner of today's academic discipline of economics.

 10 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
5
Famous As: Writer & Physician
Birthdate: May 22, 1859
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Scotland
Died: July 7, 1930
Physician-turned-author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is remembered for creating the iconic character Sherlock Holmes. He wrote four novels and 56 short stories on Holmes’s detective adventures and also created the characters Professor Challenger and Brigadier Gerard. A sports lover, he had dabbled in cricket, football, and bodybuilding, too.

 11 Bon Scott

Bon Scott.
9
Famous As: Singer & Musician
Birthdate: July 9, 1946
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Forfar, Scotland
Died: February 19, 1980
Bon Scott worked with bands such as The Spektors, Valentines, and Fraternity before joining the Australian hard rock band AC/DC, replacing lead singer Dave Evans in 1974. He was one of Classic Rock’s 100 Greatest Frontmen of All Time. Following his death, AC/DC released a best-selling album as a tribute.

 12 Billy Connolly

Billy Connolly.
6
Famous As: Stand-up Comedian
Birthdate: November 24, 1942
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland

Billy Connolly is a retired stand-up comedian, actor, and musician. Known for his observational and idiosyncratic comedy, Connolly is widely considered one of the most influential and greatest stand-up comedians of all time. He has also worked with the British charity, Comic Relief and has appeared in a documentary and a live stage show for the charity.

 13 David Byrne

David Byrne.
2
Famous As: American-Scottish musician
Birthdate: May 14, 1952
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dumbarton, Scotland
Talking Heads lead vocalist and avant-garde musician David Byrne has won several awards, including the Grammy, Oscar, and Golden Globe. He has spoken at TED Talks, launched his own record label, and held visual arts exhibitions. He advocates for cycling and has mostly used a bike throughout his life.

 14 James McAvoy

James McAvoy.
9
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 21, 1979
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Glasgow, United Kingdom

A frequent performer in West End productions, James McAvoy has also showcased his acting skills in popular Hollywood movies, such as the X-Men series and Split. Although not an adventurer, he did a BASE jump to help raise money for a charity named Retrak, which helps Ugandan children.

 15 Alexander Fleming

Alexander Fleming.
2
Famous As: Biologist, Pharmacologist, Discovered Penicillin
Birthdate: August 6, 1881
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lochfield, Ayrshire, Scotland
Died: March 11, 1955

Alexander Fleming was a Scottish microbiologist and physician. He is credited with discovering penicillin, the world's first effective antibiotic substance; a discovery that changed the course of history. He also discovered lysozyme, an antimicrobial enzyme which forms part of the innate immune system. In 1999, Fleming was named in Time magazine's 100 Most Important People of the 20th century list.

 16 Lewis Capaldi

Lewis Capaldi.
6
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: October 7, 1996
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bathgate, West Lothian, Scotland

Lewis Capaldi's success story is one of the greatest testimonies to the fact that magical things can happen when talent meets opportunity. From being just another aspiring singer, he quickly became a popular singer-songwriter in the UK and the US after Ryan Walter stumbled upon his iPhone recording on his SoundCloud account. Subsequently, he was signed to Universal Music Group.

 17 Gerard Butler

Gerard Butler.
6
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!

 18 Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson.
2
Famous As: Novelist, Poet
Birthdate: November 13, 1850
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: December 3, 1894

Robert Louis Stevenson was a Scottish travel writer, poet, and novelist. A popular writer in his lifetime, Stevenson went about traveling widely and writing prolifically even as he suffered from bronchial trouble; his will power and love for writing won the hearts of many other writers. In 2018, he was ranked as the world's 26th-most-translated author.

 19 David Hume

David Hume.
4
Famous As: Philosopher & Historian
Birthdate: April 26, 1711
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: August 25, 1776

Scottish Enlightenment philosopher, historian, and economist, David Hume, is considered one of the most important philosophers to write in English. His book, A Treatise of Human Nature, is counted among the most influential works in the history of philosophy. His works have influenced numerous thinkers, including German philosopher Immanuel Kant and Christian philosopher Joseph Butler.

 20 William Wallace

William Wallace.
1
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: 1270 AD
Birthplace: Elderslie, Renfrewshire, Scotland
Died: August 23, 1305

William Wallace was a Scottish knight who played an important role in the First War of Scottish Independence. Since his death, Wallace has been viewed as an iconic figure whose story of bravery and valor has inspired several works of art, including the Academy Award-winning film Braveheart. Wallace has also inspired video games and brewery companies, such is his popularity.

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 21 Robert Carlyle

Robert Carlyle
0
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 14, 1961
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Maryhill

 22 Robert the Bruce

Robert the Bruce.
0
Famous As: King of Scotland
Birthdate: July 11, 1274
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Turnberry Castle, Scotland
Died: June 7, 1329
King of Scots Robert I, better known as Robert the Bruce, is revered as a Scottish national hero. He successfully led his country against England in the First War of Scottish Independence. Legends state he was inspired by a spider’s relentless effort to spin a web, to ultimately defeat England.

 23 Calvin Harris

Calvin Harris.
1
Famous As: Disc Jockey, Record Producer, Singer, Songwriter
Birthdate: January 17, 1984
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Dumfries, Scotland
Grammy-winning DJ Calvin Harris soared to fame with his album I Created Disco. His track We Found Love, a collaboration with Rihanna, charted on the US Billboard Hot 100. He owns a record label and topped Forbes's list of the highest-paid DJs of the world for 6 years.

 24 Robert Burns

Robert Burns.
5
Famous As: Poet and Lyricist
Birthdate: January 25, 1759
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Ayrshire, Scotland, United Kingdom
Died: July 21, 1796
Scottish poet Robert Burns, also known as the National Bard and the Bard of Ayrshire, is considered a pioneer of the Romantic movement in English literature. He often drew inspiration from Scottish folk songs. Some of his most notable works include the poems Auld Lang Syne and Scots Wha Hae.

 25 Sam Heughan

Sam Heughan.
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 30, 1980
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New Galloway, Dumfriesshire, Scotland, United Kingdom

 26 James Maxwell

James Maxwell.
1
Famous As: Mathematician & Physicist
Birthdate: June 13, 1831
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: November 5, 1879

Scottish physicist James Maxwell’s contributions included the formulation of the classical theory of electromagnetic radiation and the production of the first light-fast color photograph. His Maxwell–Boltzmann distribution explored the kinetic theory of gases. He has also written poems and was an Elder of the Church of Scotland.

 27 James Watt

James Watt.
0
Famous As: Inventor of Steam Engine
Birthdate: January 19, 1736
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Greenock, Renfrewshire, Scotland
Died: August 25, 1819
Eighteenth-century Scottish inventor James Watt developed the Newcomen steam engine, by inventing the Watt steam engine, which brough about the Industrial Revolution in Britain and the world. He also co-owned the firm Boulton and Watt and laid down concepts such as horsepower and the watt, the SI unit of power.

 28 David McCallum

David McCallum.
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 19, 1933
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland

David McCallum is a Scottish musician and actor who gained recognition for portraying Illya Kuryakin in the popular spy fiction TV series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. He gained international recognition for playing Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard in the action police procedural TV series NCIS. David McCallum has also contributed as a writer, publishing a novel titled Once a Crooked Man.

 29 David Livingstone

David Livingstone.
1
Famous As: Explorer, Missionary
Birthdate: March 19, 1813
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Blantyre, South Lanarkshire, Scotland, UK
Died: May 1, 1873

David Livingstone was a Scottish physician who played a major role at the London Missionary Society, where he was a pioneer Christian missionary. He is also remembered for his work as a missionary in Africa. Widely considered one of the most famous British heroes of the late Victorian era, Livingstone was mentioned in the 100 Greatest Britons list in 2002.

 30 Peter Capaldi

Peter Capaldi.
2
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 14, 1958
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Glasgow

Peter Capaldi is a Scottish filmmaker and actor. He is best known for playing Malcolm Tucker in the British comedy TV series The Thick of It. Also known for his charity work, Capaldi joined hands with other celebrities to help raise awareness about the ill-effects of the global refugee crisis. He is also a patron of the Aberlour Child Care Trust.

 31 Alan Cumming

Alan Cumming.
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 27, 1965
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Aberfeldy

Alan Cumming is a Scottish-American actor, filmmaker, comedian, and singer. A Tony Award winner, Cumming has contributed immensely to the development of the Scottish Youth Theatre, of which he is a patron. An openly bisexual actor, Cumming's work as an LGBT rights activist has earned him several awards, including the Vito Russo Award and HRC's Humanitarian Award.

 32 Donovan

Donovan
0
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Guitarist, Composer, Autobiographer, Writer, Poet, Record producer, Film score composer
Birthdate: May 10, 1946
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland

 33 Dan Crenshaw

Dan Crenshaw
5
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: March 14, 1984
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Aberdeen, Scotland

 34 Thomas Doherty

Thomas Doherty.
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 21, 1995
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Scotland
Scottish actor Thomas Doherty is best known as Sean Matthews from the Disney series The Lodge and as Harry Hook from the Descendants movie franchise. He will appear in the upcoming the HBO Max remake of Gossip Girl. Vogue named him one of the world’s 50 fittest boys in 2017.

 35 John Logie Baird

John Logie Baird.
0
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: August 13, 1888
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Helensburgh
Died: June 14, 1946

Scottish inventor, electrical engineer, and innovator, John Logie Baird, is best known for demonstrating a working TV system in 1926. He then went on to invent the first viable purely electronic color TV picture tube and founded the Baird Television Development Company. He was inducted into the Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame in 2015.

 36 Robbie Coltrane

Robbie Coltrane
0
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 30, 1950
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Rutherglen, Scotland

 37 Sir James Matthew Barrie

Sir James Matthew Barrie.
2
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: May 9, 1860
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kirriemuir, Angus, Scotland
Died: June 19, 1937

Sir James Matthew Barrie was a Scottish playwright and novelist. He is credited and remembered for creating the famous fictional character, Peter Pan. In the 1922 New Year Honours, Barrie was made a member of the Order of Merit. Before his death, he gifted the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children with the rights of his Peter Pan works.

 38 John Knox

John Knox.
0
Famous As: Protestant Leader
Birthdate: 1514 AD
Birthplace: Giffordgate, Haddington, Scotland
Died: November 24, 1572

John Knox was a Scottish minister, writer, and theologian. Knox, who played a major role in the Scottish Reformation, is also credited with founding the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. Considered a major contributor to the field of theology, John Knox's statue stands tall at New College in the University of Edinburgh, UK.

 39 John Muir

John Muir.
1
Famous As: Naturalist
Birthdate: April 21, 1838
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dunbar
Died: December 24, 1914

John Muir was a Scottish-American naturalist, environmental philosopher, glaciologist, botanist, zoologist, and author. Nicknamed Father of the National Parks and John of the Mountains, Muir was an influential proponent of the preservation of wilderness in the US. He is credited with co-founding the American conservation organization, The Sierra Club. Muir is considered a hero by many environmentalists around the world.

 40 David Moyes

David Moyes.
1
Famous As: Football Coach
Birthdate: April 25, 1963
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Glasgow
Scottish footballer and coach David Moyes had a 19-year playing stint as a center-back for football teams such as Celtic, Preston North End, and Bristol City. He currently manages the Premier League club West Ham United and has been named the League Managers Association Manager of the Year thrice. 

 41 James V of Scotland

James V of Scotland.
1
Famous As: Former King of Scotland
Birthdate: April 10, 1512
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Linlithgow Palace, Linlithgow, United Kingdom
Died: December 14, 1542
James V was the son of Scottish King James IV and Margaret Tudor, Henry VII's daughter. He ruled Scotland from 1513 till his death following his loss at the Battle of Solway Moss. His daughter, Mary, Queen of Scots, succeeded him, supported by regents, when she was 6 days old.

 42 David Coulthard

David Coulthard.
3
Famous As: Racecar Driver
Birthdate: March 27, 1971
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Twynholm
Former race-car driver David Coulthard, also known as DC, gained fame for his 15-season stint with Formula One. He has 13 Grand Prix wins and 62 podium finishes to his credit. Following his retirement from F1, he worked a BBC commentator and later joined the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters series.

 43 Walter Scott

Walter Scott.
4
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: August 15, 1771
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: September 21, 1832

Walter Scott was a Scottish novelist, poet, historian, and playwright. Scott's ability as a writer and his knowledge of history made him a pioneering figure in the formation of the historical novel genre. An influential writer, many of his works remain classics of Scottish as well as English-language literature. Scott was admired by other prominent writers like Letitia Elizabeth Landon.

 44 Sawney Bean

Sawney Bean.
2
Famous As: Criminal
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: East Lothian

The legendary Alexander "Sawney" Bean led a 45-member Scottish clan in the 16th century. His group was infamous for killing and cannibalizing more than 1,000 people in about 25 years. He and his group were eventually caught by a search party of King James VI and executed.

 45 James Cosmo

James Cosmo.
2
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 27, 1947
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dumbarton, Dunbartonshire, Scotland

James Cosmo is a Scottish actor known for playing important roles in popular TV series, such as Game of Thrones. He has also appeared in several epic historical films like Braveheart, Troy, and Ben-Hur. Apart from being an actor, James Cosmo has also been serving as a patron of a charity named Chance for Childhood.

 46 Graham McTavish

Graham McTavish
1
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 4, 1961
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland, UK

 47 John A. Macdonald

John A. Macdonald.
3
Famous As: Former Prime Minister of Canada
Birthdate: January 11, 1815
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ramshorn parish in Glasgow, Scotland
Died: June 6, 1891

John A. Macdonald was the first prime minister of Canada. A dominant figure in Canadian politics for half a century, he was a lawyer by profession before venturing into politics. As a politician, he was influential in building Canada’s new government. To date, he remains one of the highest-rated prime ministers in Canadian history. 

 48 Denis Law

Denis Law
0
Famous As: Football player
Birthdate: February 24, 1940
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Aberdeen, Scotland

 49 Ewen Bremner

Ewen Bremner
0
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 23, 1972
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

 50 James IV of Scotland

James IV of Scotland.
0
Famous As: King
Birthdate: March 17, 1473
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Stirling Castle, Stirling,Scotland, United Kingdom
Died: September 9, 1513

James IV of Scotland reigned as the king of Scotland from 1488 until his death in 1513. Although his reign ended at the Battle of Flodden, where he was defeated, James is widely considered the most successful monarch of Scotland from the House of Stewart

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