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
Mary, Queen of Scots was the ruler of Scotland till 24 July 1567. After an uprising against her, Mary sought protection from her first cousin, Queen Elizabeth I of England. However, the Queen perceived her as a threat and kept Mary in confinement for eighteen and a half years. Ultimately Mary was beheaded for plotting to assassinate the Queen.
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.
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.
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.
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.
10 Adam Smith
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.
12 Bon Scott
13 James McAvoy
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.
14 Karen Gillan
Karen Gillan is one of the most popular and successful actresses from Scotland. She is best known for playing Nebula and Ruby Roundhouse in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films and Jumanji film series respectively. Also a filmmaker, she wrote and directed The Party's Just Beginning, apart from acting in the film. She is also a philanthropist.
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!
16 David Byrne
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.
18 Annie Lennox
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.
Scottish actor Richard Madden is famous worldwide as Robb Stark from the hugely successful HBO series, Game of Thrones. The series has a cult following and Madden starred in it from 2011 to 2013. He also received critical acclaim for his acting in the series Bodyguard. He has also acted in films like Cinderella, Bastille Day and 1917.
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.
Emmy-nominated and BAFTA-winning Australian actor Robert Carlyle is best known for his performances in films such as Trainspotting and The Full Monty. Raised singlehandedly by his father after his mother left them, he had initially quit school to become a painter like his father. He deviated to drama at age 21.
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.
24 David Hume
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.
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.
26 Sam Heughan
Best known to audiences as James Fraser from the historical drama series Outlander, Sam Heughan was born to hippie parents from the Gandalf's Garden community in London. He supports Scottish independence and has been associated with cancer charity. He has also been the face of the British luxury brand Barbour.
27 Rose Leslie
Rose Leslie is a popular Scottish actress who gained international fame after portraying Ygritte in one of the most popular TV series of all time, Game of Thrones. Thanks to her popularity, she serves as an icon and inspiration to several aspiring Scottish actresses and models.
28 Robert Burns
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.
Donovan is a Scottish guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He is best known for developing and popularizing a distinctive and eclectic style that blended many genres, such as folk, jazz, pop, calypso, and psychedelic rock. Donovan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, in 2012 and 2014, respectively.
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.
Kelly Macdonald is a Scottish actress known for playing Diane Coulston in the 1996 black comedy-drama film, Trainspotting. Kelly Macdonald received critical appreciation for portraying Gina in the made-for-television drama film, The Girl in the Café, for which she won the Primetime Emmy Award. Eastwood High School, where she studied, has a theatre and drama studio named in her honor.
34 James Watt
35 Alan Cumming
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.
Robbie Coltrane is a Scottish actor, writer, and comedian best known for playing Rubeus Hagrid in the popular Harry Potter movie series. Coltrane has also played important roles in other popular movies like GoldenEye and The World Is Not Enough. Over the years, Robbie Coltrane has won several prestigious awards, such as the British Academy Television Awards.
37 Susan Boyle
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.
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.
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.
41 Dan Crenshaw
Former US Navy Seal officer Dan Crenshaw is now a Republican politician and a US Representative from Texas’s 2nd District. The Harvard alumnus now wears an eye patch, having lost his right eye in an explosion in Afghanistan. In late 2021, he came under fire for stating his party had liars.
42 Iain Glen
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.
45 John Knox
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.
46 David Moyes
47 Rory McCann
Best known for his role of The Hound in Game of Thrones and his Scottish BAFTA-winning performance as Kenny McLeod in The Book Group, Rory McCann often puts his towering 6’6” frame to good use in his acting projects. He is also a talented musician and once worked as a carpenter and gardener.
48 John Muir
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.