British Damesby Sylviastel | created - 05 Oct 2012 | updated - 7 months ago | Public
Actress | The Prince and the Showgirl
This distinguished theatrical tragedienne will be remembered forever if only for the fact George Bernard Shaw wrote his classic "Saint Joan" work specifically for her. Her over six-decade career allowed for a gallery of sterling, masterful portrayals, both classic and contemporary, performing all ...
2. Ellen Terry
Actress | Pillars of Society
Legendary British stage actress who made a few silent film appearances. The daughter of strolling players, she was born in Coventry into an almost exclusively theatrical family. Her grandparents were actors, as were all six of her siblings. But only her son, Edward Gordon Craig, would in any way ...
3. Edith Evans
Actress | Tom Jones
Edith Evans was the greatest actress on the English stage in the 20th century, treading the boards for over half-a-century. She made her professional stage debut in 1912 and excelled in both classic and modern roles in the West End of London and on Broadway, as well as the Shakespeare Memorial ...
Actress | My Fair Lady
Gladys Cooper was the daughter of journalist William Frederick Cooper and his wife Mabel Barnett. As a child she was very striking and was used as a photographic model beginning at six years old. She wanted to become an actress and started on that road in 1905 after being discovered by Seymour ...
Actress | Things Are Looking Up
Cicely Courtneidge was born on April 1, 1893 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia as Esmerelda Cicely Courtneidge. She was an actress, known for Things Are Looking Up (1935), Along Came Sally (1934) and The Ghost Train (1931). She was married to Jack Hulbert. She died on April 26, 1980 in Putney, ...
Writer | Duel of Hearts
Barbara Cartland was born on July 9, 1901 in Edgbaston, Birmingham, England as Mary Barbara Hamilton Cartland. She was a writer, known for Duel of Hearts (1991), A Hazard of Hearts (1987) and The Lady and the Highwayman (1989). She was married to Hugh Rowley McCorquodale and Alexander George ...
Writer | Witness for the Prosecution
Agatha was born as "Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller" in 1890 to Frederick Alvah Miller and Clara Boehmer. Agatha was of American and British descent, her father being American and her mother British. Her father was a relatively affluent stockbroker. Agatha received home education from early childhood ...
8. Judi Dench
Actress | Skyfall
Dame Judi Dench was born Judith Olivia Dench in York, England, to Eleanora Olive (Jones), who was from Dublin, Ireland, and Reginald Arthur Dench, a doctor from Dorset, England. She attended Mount School in York, and studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama. She has performed with the ...
9. Maggie Smith
Actress | Gosford Park
One of the world's most famous and distinguished actresses, Dame Maggie Smith was born Margaret Natalie Smith in Essex. Her Scottish mother, Margaret (Hutton), worked as a secretary, and her English father, Nathaniel Smith, was a teacher at Oxford University. Smith has been married twice: to actor ...
11. A.S. Byatt
Writer | Possession
A.S. Byatt was born on August 24, 1936 in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England as Antonia Susan Drabble. She is a writer, known for Possession (2002), Angels and Insects (1995) and Medusa's Ankles (2018). She has been married to Peter John Duffy since 1969. She was previously married to Ian Charles ...
12. Margaret Drabble
Writer | A Touch of Love
Margaret Drabble was born on June 5, 1939 in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England. She is a writer, known for A Touch of Love (1969), Isadora (1968) and It's a Woman's World (1964). She has been married to Michael Holroyd since 1982. She was previously married to Clive Swift.
13. Joan Plowright
Actress | Dennis the Menace
Dame Joan Ann Plowright, the Baroness Olivier, is one of the most distinguished actors of her generation. She may be best remembered as the third wife and widow of Laurence Olivier, generally considered the greatest anglophone actor of the 20th Century, but she had a distinguished career of her own...
14. Diana Rigg
Actress | On Her Majesty's Secret Service
British actress Dame Diana Rigg was born on July 20, 1938 in Doncaster, Yorkshire, England. She has had an extensive career in film and theatre, including playing the title role in "Medea", both in London and New York, for which she won the 1994 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play.
Rigg made her ...
15. Helen Mirren
Actress | RED
Dame Helen Mirren was born in Queen Charlotte's Hospital in West London. Her mother, Kathleen Alexandrina Eva Matilda (Rogers), was from a working-class English family, and her father, Vasiliy Petrovich Mironov, was a Russian-born civil servant, from Kuryanovo, whose own father was a diplomat. ...
16. Thora Hird
Actress | Lost for Words
In a career than spanned eight decades, Thora Hird was widely-regarded as one of Britain's finest character actresses. She made over 100 films as well as starring in a host of TV comedies and, as a straight actress, excelled in the works of playwright Alan Bennett. Even in her 90s, she was working ...
19. Margot Fonteyn
Actress | Romeo and Juliet
Peggy Hookham was always destined to be a dancer. Her Brazilian/Irish mother groomed her for stardom from almost as soon as she could walk. When she was aged 8 her father's work took the family to Shanghai. Peggy and her Mother returned to the UK when she was 14. Her father stayed in Shanghai and ...
Actress | The Female Swindler
It has been rightly suggested that Dame Ninette de Valois is one of the most important women of the century. It was due to her drive and ambition that the modern English ballet was created. In that respect she changed history single handed. Born in Ireland, young Ninette (her stage name was her ...
21. Joan Sutherland
Soundtrack | Spectre
Joan Sutherland was born on November 7, 1926 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia as Joan Alston Sutherland. She was an actress, known for Spectre (2015), Carlito's Way (1993) and The Metropolitan Opera Presents (1977). She was married to Richard Bonynge. She died on October 10, 2010 in Montreux, ...
25. Ann Leslie
Actress | Don't Quote Me
Ann Leslie was born on June 28, 1941 in Rawalpindi, Punjab, Pakistan as Ann Elizabeth Mary Leslie. She is an actress, known for Don't Quote Me (1990), Call My Bluff (1965) and What the Papers Say (1956). She has been married to Michael Fletcher since February 15, 1969. They have one child.
29. Elizabeth Taylor
Actress | Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was considered one of the last, if not the last, major star to have come out of the old Hollywood studio system. She was known internationally for her beauty, especially for her violet eyes, with which she captured audiences early on in her youth and kept the world hooked ...
30. Julie Andrews
Actress | The Sound of Music
Julia Elizabeth Wells was born on October 1, 1935, in England. Her mother, Barbara Ward (Morris), and stepfather, both vaudeville performers, discovered her freakish but undeniably lovely four-octave singing voice and immediately got her a singing career. She performed in music halls throughout her...
32. Beryl Bainbridge
Actress | Rookery Nook
Beryl Bainbridge was born on November 21, 1932 in Liverpool, Merseyside, England as Beryl Margaret Bainbridge. She was an actress and writer, known for Rookery Nook (1953), Sweet William (1980) and Coronation Street (1960). She was married to Austin Davies and Alan Sharp. She died on July 2, 2010 ...
33. Iris Murdoch
Writer | Teatr telewizji
Iris Murdoch was born on July 15, 1919 in Dublin, Ireland as Jean Iris Murdoch. She was a writer and actress, known for Television Theater (1953), A Severed Head (1971) and Cierny princ (1990). She was married to John Bayley. She died on February 8, 1999 in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England.
34. Daphne Sheldrick
Daphne Sheldrick was born on June 4, 1934 in Kenya as Daphne Marjorie Jenkins. She is known for her work on The Flame Trees of Thika (1981), Bloody Ivory (1978) and For the Love of Elephants (2010). She was married to David Sheldrick and Bill Woodley. She died on April 12, 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya.
35. Shirley Bassey
Soundtrack | Moonraker
Shirley Bassey was born in Tiger Bay, Cardiff, Wales, and raised in the nearby working class neighborhood of Splott. Her mother was originally from Yorkshire, and her father was a Nigerian seaman who left the family when she was less than two. She later helped to support her family by working in an...
37. Peggy Ashcroft
Actress | A Passage to India
Academy Award-winning, legendary English actress - who maintained her status in the British acting elite for decades. Made a Dame of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 1956. Almost always on stage, she appeared rarely in film, her first being The Wandering Jew (1933). On stage she was cast...
38. Judith Anderson
Actress | Rebecca
Dame Judith Anderson was born Frances Margaret Anderson on February 10, 1897 in Adelaide, South Australia. She began her acting career in Australia before moving to New York in 1918. There she established herself as one of the greatest theatrical actresses and was a major star on Broadway ...
39. Eileen Atkins
Actress | Gosford Park
Eileen Atkins was born in a Salvation Army Women's Hostel in north London. Her father was a gas meter reader; her mother, a seamstress and barmaid. A drama teacher taught her how to drop her Cockney accent, and she studied Shakespeare and Greek tragedies. Her breakthrough role in "The Killing of ...
40. Wendy Hiller
Actress | Murder on the Orient Express
Wendy Hiller, daughter of Frank and Marie Hiller, was born on 15th August 1912 in Bramhall, near Stockport, Cheshire, England. She was educated at Winceby House School, Bexhill then moved on to Manchester Repertory Theatre. She appeared on stage in Sir John Barry's tour of Evensong, then as Sally ...
42. Celia Johnson
Actress | Brief Encounter
Celia Johnson was an English actress, once nominated for an Academy Award. Johnson was born in the town of Richmond, Surrey in 1908. Richmond was incorporated into Greater London in 1965, as part of an administrative reform. Celia's parents were John Robert Johnson and Ethel Griffiths. Neither of ...
43. Janet Suzman
Actress | Nicholas and Alexandra
This alert and classy Britisher seemed poised for Hollywood stardom in the early 1970s. Although it wasn't meant to be, Janet Suzman has remained one of the more respected classical stage actresses of her time. Born in 1939, she was raised in a staunch, liberal family household in South Africa at a...
44. Harriet Walter
Actress | Sense and Sensibility
Harriet Walter was born on September 24, 1950 in London, England as Harriet Mary Walter. She is an actress, known for Sense and Sensibility (1995), The Young Victoria (2009) and Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015). She has been married to Guy Paul since May 21, 2011.
Writer | Rosamunde Pilcher
Rosamunde Pilcher was born on September 22, 1924 in Lelant, Cornwall, England as Rosamunde Scott. She is known for her work on Rosamunde Pilcher (1993), Another View (1995) and Der rote Vogel (1993). She was married to Graham Pilcher. She died on February 6, 2019 in Scotland.
Actress | The V.I.P.s
Rare is the reference to Margaret Rutherford that doesn't characterize her as either jut-chinned, eccentric, or both. The combination of those most mundane of attributes has led some to suggest that she was made for the role of Agatha Christie's indomitable sleuth, Jane Marple, whom Rutherford ...
47. Dorothy Tutin
Actress | The Importance of Being Earnest
Dame Dorothy Tutin's esteemed company of peers included other remarkable dames, including Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. Unlike these others, Dorothy had limited screen time over the years and would develop the respect but not the stardom afforded the other two outside the realm of the theatre. ...
48. May Whitty
Actress | Night Must Fall
Born Mary Whitty on June 19, 1865 to a Liverpool newspaper editor and his wife, she became known as May Whitty to the world.
She first stepped on the London stage in 1882. She worked as an understudy at the St. James Theatre, and then, began playing leading roles when she joined a traveling stock ...
49. Flora Robson
Actress | Clash of the Titans
Flora Robson knew she was no beauty, but her wise and sympathetic face would become a familiar - indeed, shining - ornament of the 1930s and 40s silver screen. Though not sure of acting as a career in her early years, she nevertheless appeared on stage for the first time at 5 years old. She was ...
50. Muriel Spark
Writer | The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Muriel Spark was born on February 1, 1918 in Edinburgh, Scotland as Muriel Sarah Camberg. She was a writer, known for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969), The Driver's Seat (1974) and Masterpiece Classic (1971). She was married to Sidney Oswald Spark. She died on April 13, 2006 in Florence, ...
52. Whina Cooper
Whina Cooper was born on December 9, 1895 in Te Karaka, New Zealand as Whina Josephine Te Wake. She was married to William Cooper and Richard Gilbert. She died on March 26, 1994 in Hokianga, New Zealand.
57. Evelyn Glennie
Soundtrack | Elle
Dame Evelyn Glennie, who was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2007 New Year Honours List, is one of the best-known figures in contemporary British music. An extraordinarily virtuosic percussionist as well as an engaging personality, she has long been subject to ...
Actress | Twenty Twelve
Tanni Grey-Thompson was born on July 26, 1969 in Cardiff, Wales as Tanni Carys Davina. She is an actress, known for Twenty Twelve (2011), Commonwealth Games (1954) and Paralympic Games (1960). She has been married to Ian Thompson since 1999. They have one child.
59. Jenni Murray
Actress | W1A
Jenni Murray was born on May 12, 1950 in Barnsley, Yorkshire, England as Jennifer Susan Bailey. She is an actress, known for W1A (2014), Muse (2019) and University Challenge (1962). She is married to David Forgham-Bailey. They have two children. She was previously married to Brian Murray.
Costume_department | Leaving Las Vegas
Vivienne Westwood was born on April 8, 1941 in Glossop, Derbyshire, England as Vivienne Isabel Swire. She is known for her work on Leaving Las Vegas (1995), Shadowboxer (2005) and Live From Lincoln Center (1976). She has been married to Andreas Kronthaler since 1992. She was previously married to ...
61. Kiri Te Kanawa
Soundtrack | A Room with a View
Kiri Te Kanawa studied voice in New Zealand, where she was a popular singer as a teenager. She enrolled in the London Opera Center in 1966, and had her Covent Garden debut 1 December 1971. Although her acting ability is highly regarded on the operatic stage, she has made few theatrical films.
63. Marie Rambert
Actress | The Red Shoes
A pioneer figure in British ballet since the 1920's. Marie was recruited by Diaghilev to assist Nijinsky with his choreography for The Rite of Spring. She settled in London and formed her own company, The Ballet Rambert. Based at the tiny Mercury Theatre she managed to create many notable ballets ...
Plot: Rose, Cloister Walk B.
66. Mary Durack
Writer | Kings in Grass Castles
Mary Durack was born on February 20, 1913 in Adelaide, South Australia, Australia. She was a writer, known for Kings in Grass Castles (1998) and A Life (1992). She was married to H.C. Miller. She died on December 16, 1994 in Perth, Western Australia, Australia.
Actress | The Gay Lord Quex
Lilian Braithwaite was born on March 9, 1873 in Ramsgate, Kent, England. She was an actress, known for The Gay Lord Quex (1917), Because (1918) and The Woman Who Was Nothing (1917). She was married to Gerald Lawrence. She died on September 17, 1948 in London, England.
70. Marie Tempest
Actress | Mrs. Plum's Pudding
Marie Tempest was born on July 15, 1862 in London, England as Marie Susan Etherington. She was an actress, known for Mrs. Plum's Pudding (1915), Yellow Sands (1938) and English Nell (1900). She was married to W. Graham Brown, Cosmo Gordon Lennox and Alfred E. Izard. She died on October 15, 1942 in ...
71. P.D. James
Writer | Children of Men
P.D. James was born on August 3, 1920 in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England as Phyllis Dorothy James. She was a writer and producer, known for Children of Men (2006), Death in Holy Orders (2003) and Death Comes to Pemberley (2013). She was married to Ernest Connor Bantry White. She died on November 27, ...
73. Irene Vanbrugh
Actress | The Gay Lord Quex
Irene Vanbrugh was born on December 2, 1872 in Exeter, Devon, England as Irene Barnes. She was an actress, known for The Gay Lord Quex (1917), Knight Without Armor (1937) and Youthful Folly (1934). She was married to Dion Boucicault Jr.. She died on November 30, 1949 in London, England.
74. Anna Neagle
Actress | Odette
Dame Anna Neagle, the endearingly popular British star during WWII, was born Florence Marjorie Robertson and began dancing as a professional in chorus lines at age 14. She starred with actor Jack Buchanan in the musical "Stand Up and Sing" in the West End and earned her big break when producer/...
75. Rebecca West
Writer | They Forgot to Read the Directions
Rebecca West was born on December 21, 1892 in London, England as Cecily Isabel Fairfield. She was a writer and actress, known for They Forgot to Read the Directions (1924), The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1962) and Actor's Studio (1948). She was married to Henry Maxwell Andrews. She died on March 15, ...
Writer | The Birds
Daphne Du Maurier was one of the most popular English writers of the 20th Century, when middle-brow genre fiction was accorded a higher level of respect in a more broadly literate age. For her services to literature, she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1969, the ...
77. Antonia Fraser
Writer | Jemima Shore Investigates
Antonia Fraser was born on August 27, 1932 in London, England as Antonia Margaret Caroline Pakenham. She is a writer, known for Jemima Shore Investigates (1983), Tales of the Unexpected (1979) and Armchair Thriller (1978). She was previously married to Harold Pinter and Hugh Charles Patrick Joseph ...