Welsh

What is that common thread that ties the rich and the famous like Anthony Hopkins, Richard Burton, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Courteney Cox, Dylan Thomas, George Herbert, and Christian Bale together? Well, it is their nationality. True that! From celebrated crooners and iconic movie stars to cutting-edge comedians and fine poets, Wales has produced abundant talent in course of its history. And if you think that is all, read further. You will be surprised to know that eminent personalities like Tom Jones, Roald Dahl, King Arthur and Bertrand Russell too called Wales their home. With such an awe-inspiring lot of talent to its credit, it is surprising how Wales has managed to understate its greatness on the face of the world all along. Let us pay tribute to the greatest Welshmen of all times in their biographies below. Read all about their timeline discover interesting trivia and dig some lesser-known facts about these famous Welsh people here.

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 

Catherine Zeta-Jones
44
Birthdate: September 25, 1969
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Swansea, Wales

Catherine Zeta-Jones is one of the most popular and successful actresses from Wales. Starting out as a child actress, Catherine went on to cement her place in the American film industry with roles that accentuated her sex appeal. She is the recipient of several awards. Also a well-known humanitarian, she was appointed CBE for her humanitarian and film endeavors.

 2 

Anthony Hopkins
36
Birthdate: December 31, 1937
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Margam, 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.

 3 
Gareth Bale
(Footballer)

Gareth Bale
29
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: July 16, 1989
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cardiff, Wales

The charismatic Welsh footballer player, Gareth Frank Bale played for Southampton football club and Tottenham Hotspur extensively before joining Real Madrid in 2013 for a fees that exceeded Christiano Ronaldo’s earlier record fee. Known for his speed and accuracy, Gareth Bales is also the captain of Wales national team and plays for Tottenham Hotspur, on loan from Real Madrid.

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 4 
Tom Jones
(Singer)

Tom Jones
10
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: June 7, 1940
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Treforest, Pontypridd, Glamorgan, Wales

Tom Jones is a Welsh singer who has sold more than 100 million records worldwide. His life and work inspired the 2016 musical, Tom: A Story of Tom Jones. In 2005, for his services to music, Tom Jones was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

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 5 
Ryan Giggs
(Football Player, Football Manager)

Ryan Giggs
11
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: November 29, 1973
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Canton, Cardiff, Wales
Welsh midfielder Ryan Giggs has had a successful 24-year stint with Manchester United as a senior player and has also served as their interim coach. He has won 13 Premier League titles with the club and was the first player with two consecutive PFA Young Player of the Year awards.

 6 

Richard Burton
13
Birthdate: November 10, 1925
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Pontrhydyfen, Wales
Died: August 5, 1984
Richard Burton is remembered for his tumultuous affair with Elizabeth Taylor, whom he married and divorced twice. The Burton-Taylor duo is also known for their hits Cleopatra and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? A seasoned Shakespearean actor, Burton was known for his baritone voice. He became an alcoholic later.

 7 
Bertrand Russell
(Philosopher)

Bertrand Russell
20
Birthdate: May 18, 1872
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Trellech, Monmouthshire, Wales
Died: February 2, 1970

Bertrand Russell was a British polymath and Nobel laureate. His work, which is spread across various fields, has had a considerable influence on philosophy, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, mathematics, linguistics, and logic. Russell is also credited with leading the revolt against idealism in Britain and is regarded as one of the founders of analytic philosophy.

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 8 

Taron Egerton
13
Birthdate: November 10, 1989
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Birkenhead, Merseyside, England

An award-winning actor, Taron Egerton is popular for playing real-life icons in biopics, such as Eddie the Eagle and Rocketman. Also known for his singing abilities, Egerton has appeared in a couple of music videos as well. Taron Egerton does not shy away from voicing his opinion on sensitive topics like misogyny and is a supporter of the LGBT community.

 9 

Michael Sheen
17
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.

 10 
Tom Ellis
(Actor)

Tom Ellis
19
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.

 11 

Shirley Bassey
13
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: January 8, 1937
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Tiger Bay, Cardiff, Wales

Shirley Bassey is one of the most popular Welsh singers of all time. Blessed with an expressive voice, Shirley Bassey is renowned for recording the theme songs of popular James Bond movies, such as Moonraker, Diamonds Are Forever, and Goldfinger. In 2000, she was appointed a DBE for services to performing arts.

 12 
Luke Evans
(Actor)

Luke Evans
19
Birthdate: April 15, 1979
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Pontypool, Wales

Luke Evans is one of the most successful and popular actors from Wales. Also a decent singer, he released his debut studio album, At Last, in 2019; he studied music under the tutelage of an established singing coach named Louise Ryan. Since he is openly gay, Luke Evans serves as an inspiration to the gay community around the world.

 13 

Timothy Dalton
11
Birthdate: March 21, 1946
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Colwyn Bay, Denbighshire, Wales

While he began his career as a Shakespearean stage actor, Timothy Dalton later gained fame with his iconic role as James Bond in the movies The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill. Known for his deep voice, he was often offered brooding characters. He also appeared as Rochester in the series Jane Eyre.

 14 

Terry Jones
8
Birthdate: February 1, 1942
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Colwyn Bay, Denbighshire, Wales
Died: January 21, 2020
Starting his career as a comedy writer, actor-director Terry Jones later soared to fame as part of the Monty Python comedy team. An avid historian, too, he wrote several books and presented TV documentaries on the topic. In his later years, the BAFTA Cymru award winner struggled with dementia. 

 15 

John Rhys-Davies
9
Birthdate: May 5, 1944
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Salisbury, Wiltshire, England

John Rhys-Davies is best known as Gimli and the voice of Treebeard from The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He is also known for voicing Cassim in Aladdin and the King of Thieves. His other notable projects include Shōgun, Sliders, and the James Bond film The Living Daylights.

 16 
Dylan Thomas
(Poet & Writer)

Dylan Thomas
6
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: October 27, 1914
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Swansea
Died: November 9, 1953

Dylan Thomas was a Welsh writer and poet who published popular poems, such as Do not go gentle into that good night, which was popularized in the 2014 movie, Interstellar, where Michael Caine's character recites the poem throughout the film. Dylan Thomas achieved tremendous popularity during his lifetime and remains popular after his untimely death at the age of 39.

 17 

Jonathan Pryce
4
Birthdate: June 1, 1947
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Carmel, Flintshire

Jonathan Pryce is one of the most popular Welsh actors of all time. Renowned for his versatility, Pryce has contributed immensely across all the three major acting mediums: movies, television and theatre. Best known for his work in theatre, Pryce is a two-time winner of the prestigious Tony Award. In the 2009 Birthday Honours, Jonathan Pryce was appointed a CBE for services to drama.

 18 

Ioan Gruffudd
15
Birthdate: October 6, 1973
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Llwydcoed, Aberdare, Wales

Ioan Gruffudd is a Welsh actor known for playing important roles in popular American films, such as 102 Dalmatians, Black Hawk Down, and San Andreas. An accomplished oboist and singer during his teenage years, Ioan Gruffudd gave up music in order to focus on his career as an actor.

 19 
Aaron Ramsey
(Footballer)

Aaron Ramsey
9
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: December 26, 1990
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Caerphilly, Gwent, Wales

 20 

Joe Calzaghe
6
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: March 23, 1972
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Hammersmith, London, England

Welsh boxer Joe Calzaghe scripted history as the longest-reigning champion ever in boxing, having defended the WBO title for more than a decade. Excelling in both super-middleweight and light-heavyweight categories, he had registered 46 wins in 46 fights by the time he retired. He now owns a boxing promotion company.

 21 

Andy Whitfield
4
Birthdate: October 17, 1971
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Amlwch, Anglesey, Wales
Died: September 11, 2011

Welsh actor, Andy Whitfield, gained international fame for his leading role in the Starz television series Spartacus: Blood and Sand. A qualified engineer, he quit his corporate job to act in TV shows. He became popular within a few years and began acting in films as well. Tragically, he became ill with cancer and died at the age of 39. 

 22 
David Lloyd George
(Former Chancellor of the Exchequer)

David Lloyd George
13
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: January 17, 1863
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chorlton-on-Medlock
Died: March 26, 1945
David Lloyd George, or the 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, was the British prime minister from 1916 to 1922 and the first Welsh to hold the position. Though he was a Liberal, he was initially supported by the Conservatives. He was a key figure in the Paris Peace Conference.

 23 
Bonnie Tyler
(Singer)

Bonnie Tyler
6
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: June 8, 1951
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Skewen, Neath, Wales

Known for her signature raspy voice and blonde locks, Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler soared to fame with her Billboard-charting track It's a Heartache. The 3-time Grammy-nominated singer has previously also sung for the UK at Eurovision. She is also a philanthropist and invests in property, too.

 24 
Perdita Weeks
(Actress)

Perdita Weeks
10
Birthdate: December 25, 1985
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Cardiff, United Kingdom

British actress Perdita Weeks is known for her role in the CBS reboot series Magnum P.I. An alumnus of the Courtauld Institute of Art, she always knew she wanted to be an actress. She began acting as a child and her passion for the profession only intensified with time. She primarily acts on TV and a done a few films.

 25 
Rhys Ifans
(Actor Who Played the Role of the Sly Lizard Villain Dr. Curt Connors in the 'Amazing Spider-Man')

Rhys Ifans
8
Birthdate: July 22, 1967
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, Wales

 26 

Charlotte Church
9
Birthdate: February 21, 1986
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Llandaff, Cardiff, Wales

Charlotte Church is a Welsh actress, singer-songwriter, political activist, and television presenter. She achieved popularity after hosting her own chat show for Channel 4, The Charlotte Church Show. As a recording artist, Church has won many awards, including a Hollywood Reporters Young Star Award and Classical BRIT Award. She has also published an autobiography named Voice of an Angel.  

 27 
Marina Diamandis
(Singer-songwriter)

Marina Diamandis
2
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: October 10, 1985
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Brynmawr, Wales
Welsh singer Marina Diamandis initially soared to fame as Marina and the Diamonds. Though she studied classic composition in university, she dropped out later to create her own music. She created the character Electra Heart to promote her album of the same name. She claims she is synesthetic.

 28 
John Cale
(Singer-songwriter, Record producer, Actor, Lyricist, Musician, Autobiographer, Model, Film actor, Television actor, Music arranger, Experimental musician, Pianist, Film score composer)

John Cale
4
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: March 9, 1942
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Garnant

Experimental musician John Cale is best known as the co-founder of the rock band The Velvet Underground. The son of a coal miner father, he later developed a love for music that earned him a scholarship to the University of London. Prescribed opiates for his bronchial issues, he later struggled with addiction.

 29 
Tom Cullen
(Actor)

Tom Cullen
4
Birthdate: July 17, 1985
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Aberystwyth, Wales
Thomas Cullen soared to fame with his role in the series Downton Abbey. Fans also loved him as Sir Landry in the series Knightfall. He delivered an award-winning debut performance in the film Weekend. He co-founded the company Undeb Theatre and has also directed the film Pink Wall.

 30 
Mark Hughes
(Football manager)

Mark Hughes
5
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: November 1, 1963
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Wrexham, Wales

 31 

Aneurin Barnard
5
Birthdate: May 8, 1987
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Ogwr, Mid Glamorgan, Wales
Born to a factory worker and a coal miner, Aneurin Barnard began gaining recognition with roles in series such as Jacob's Ladder. His performance as Melchior Gabor in the musical Spring Awakening won him the Laurence Olivier Award. His portrayal of Richard III in The White Queen was also appreciated.

 32 

Katherine Jenkins
2
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: June 29, 1980
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Neath, Glamorgan, Wales, UK

While Classic FM named her The Biggest Selling Classical Artist of the Century, Welsh mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins released 13 number-1 albums by age 23. Initially a singing teacher, Jenkins had also worked as a tour guide and a model. Her $10 million record deal with Warner Bros. was the biggest-ever in classical music.

 33 
Richey Edwards
(Lyricist and Rhythm Guitarist of the Alternative Rock Band Manic Street Preachers)

Richey Edwards
1
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: December 22, 1967
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Blackwood, Wales
Died: February 1, 1995

 34 

Ray Milland
3
Birthdate: January 3, 1907
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Neath, Glamorgan, Wales
Died: March 10, 1986

Welsh-American actor-director Ray Milland is best remembered for his Oscar-winning role of Don Birnam in The Lost Weekend. Fans also loved him in films such as Dial M for Murder and The Jungle Princess. He was previously part of the British Army’s Household Cavalry, as a marksman, pilot, and horseman.

 35 
Joanna Page
(Actress who appeared as Stacey Shipman in the BAFTA-winning television series Gavin & Stacey)

Joanna Page
2
Birthdate: March 23, 1977
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Treboeth, Swansea, Wales

 36 

Paul Whitehouse
2
Birthdate: May 17, 1958
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Stanleytown, Wales

 37 
Alex Jones
(Television presenter)

Alex Jones
5
Birthdate: March 18, 1977
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ammanford, Carmarthen, Wales, UK

 38 
Craig Bellamy
(Association football player)

Craig Bellamy
1
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: July 13, 1979
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cardiff

 39 
Ian Whyte
(actor)

Ian Whyte
2
Birthdate: September 17, 1971
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bangor

 40 

Owain Yeoman
4
Birthdate: July 2, 1978
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chepstow, Monmouthshire, Wales
Welsh actor Owain Yeoman is best known as Wayne Rigsby from The Mentalist, as Steven Daedalus from Kitchen Confidential, and as Lucas Dalton from The Nine. He has also appeared in films such as Troy and American Sniper. He is a supporter of PETA’s campaign for vegetarianism.

 41 
Roger Rees
(Actor)

Roger Rees
1
Birthdate: May 5, 1944
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Aberystwyth, Wales, UK
Died: July 10, 2015

 42 

Matthew Rhys
8
Birthdate: November 8, 1974
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cardiff, Wales
His work in two television dramas—as a KGB sleeper agent, Philip Jennings in The Americans and a gay lawyer, Kevin Walker in Brothers & Sisters—turned Welsh actor, Matthew Rhys Evans into a well-known name. Earlier, the Primetime Emmy Award winner actor studied at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and gained recognition with the movie, Titus.

 43 
Sian Phillips
(Actress)

Sian Phillips
5
Birthdate: May 14, 1933
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen, United Kingdom

Sian Phillips is a respected Welsh actress whose achievements over the course of her career spanning over seven decades were honored with a Radio Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2018 BBC Audio Drama Awards. Sian Phillips, who has won prestigious awards, such as BAFTA TV Award, was appointed DBE during the New Year Honours in 2016.

 44 
Jessica Sula
(Actress)

Jessica Sula
4
Birthdate: May 3, 1994
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Gorseinon, Swansea, Wales

 45 
Erin Richards
(Actress)

Erin Richards
3
Birthdate: May 17, 1986
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Penarth, Wales, UK

Welsh actor-director Erin Richards is best known to audiences for her roles in the series Gotham and Breaking In. She has also appeared in films such as The Quiet Ones and That Good Night. She likes doing her own stunts and is fond of low-budget productions with good storylines.

 46 

Desmond Llewelyn
1
Birthdate: September 12, 1914
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Newport, Wales Newport, Wales
Died: December 19, 1999

Welsh actor, Desmond Llewelyn, is best known for his role as Q in many James Bond films over a span of four decades. Even though he originally wanted to be a minister, his interest shifted to acting while in high school. He served in the army during World War II and resumed his acting career afterward. 

 47 
Ruth Jones
(Actress)

Ruth Jones
4
Birthdate: September 22, 1966
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bridgend, Wales, UK

Welsh actor Ruth Jones apparently wasn’t too confident of her being accepted into a drama school and thus had only applied to one, the Welsh College of Music and Drama, where she ended up being accepted. The fine comedian is known for appearing in and co-writing the BBC sitcom Gavin & Stacey.  

 48 

Henry Morton Stanley
2
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: January 28, 1841
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Denbigh, Wales
Died: May 10, 1904

Henry Morton Stanley was a Welsh-American explorer, journalist, colonial administrator, soldier, politician, and author. He is remembered for his exploration of central Africa and his search for the source of the River Nile. Stanley received an honorary title of knighthood in 1899. His life and career inspired the 1939 movie Stanley and Livingstone, where Stanley was played by Spencer Tracy.

 49 

Aimee-Ffion Edwards
5
Birthdate: November 21, 1987
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Newport, Monmouthshire, Wales

Initially aspiring to be a classical singer, Aimee-Ffion Edwards had her first stint with showbiz on the show Wawffactor. As a teenager, she was the only girl in a rugby team. She is equally at ease playing a working-class mother in The Left Behind and a gypsy in Peaky Blinders.

 50 
Geraint Thomas
(Sport Cyclist Who Won Two Olympic Gold Medals (2008 and 2012))

Geraint Thomas
1
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: May 25, 1986
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Cardiff, Wales

Welsh racing cyclist Geraint Thomas is a 2-time Olympic gold medal winner, apart from being a 3-time world champion and the 2018 Tour de France winner. Starting cycling at age 10, he is now an OBE and has also bagged numerous endorsement deals, such as the one with Continental Tyres.