Scotland has given rise to many famous people that have become notable in arts, literature, sciences or architecture, but little know that such a small country is home to a bunch of great actors known for their notoriety. And just to narrow things down, how about knowing which famous actors have something to do with Edinburgh.
Sir Thomas Sean Connery
Considered by many to be the “greatest living Scot”, Sir Sean Connery (knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in July 2000) is probably the most famous actor Scotland ever got. Born in 1930 in Fountainbridge, Edinburgh, Connery’s first job was as a milkman in the city. He also served in the Royal Navy (but got discharged for medical issues), and was a lorry driver, a labourer, a coffin polisher and a bodybuilder.
But the real call was as an actor. Connery found fame and fortune as the suave, sophisticated British secret agent, James Bond, where he starred in nothing less than seven Bond movies. But other than the Bond image, Connery also starred in many more other films that brought him lots of Oscars, Golden Globes or BAFTA Awards. Some of these are Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), The Hunt for Red October (1990), The Rock (1996), Entrapment (1999) or Finding Forrester (2000).
Sean Connery retired in 2006 and that was because of the “idiots now in Hollywood” that came up with roles he never “understood”. [Images via Wiki]
Renowned for his portrayal of Machiavellian chief whip Francis Urquhart in 1990 political thriller, House of Cards, Ian Richardson has been a versatile actor born in Edinburgh. A great appearance on Broadway, musicals in the West End and best known for the American public as the guy in a Rolls Royce to ask “Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon?” in a Dijon mustard ad, Ian Richardson had great roles in Dark City (1998), as Martin Landau’s butler in B*A*P*S (1997), Cruella de Vil’s solicitor, Mr. Torte, in 102 Dalmatians (2000) and From Hell (2001). His latest role was as Judge Langlois in Becoming Jane. He died age 72 due to a heart attack. [images courtesy of BBC]
It’s not easy to cope with having a famous sibling and to follow their great career. Eight years younger than his more-famous brother Sean Connery, Neil Connery was born in 1938 in Edinburgh. Looking a lot like his brother, Neil starred in a few minor films down the years; The Body Stealers with George Sanders and Patrick Allen and the James Bond satire, OK Connery. [image courtesy of thepaisleysnail]
Used with Hollywood, Ernest Torrence had a passion for playing cold-eyed, imposing, bad-guy characters. Born in 1878 in Edinburgh, the brutish, slack-jawed Torrence excelled as a pianist and a baritone, to later learn that he could be a great actor. He has made his mark in cinema with the role of moronic, twitch-eyed thief in Tol’able David (1921). Other great roles for Torrence where as Captain Hook in the 1924 version of Peter Pan and as the unspeakable Professor Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes (1932). [image via blindman.be]
Born Edinburgh, Morag Siller is a successful TV, film and theater actress, voice-over artist and radio presenter. Adopted at the age of three, Siller tried to become a pianist and a policewomen before realizing that she’s great at acting. That’s why after moving to London at the age of 18 and after attending the Sylvia Young Theatre School, she managed to get a role in BBC’s production Doctors and to play Marilyn Dingle in British Soap Opera Emmerdale (until 1989). [image via MoragSiller]
Born and raised in Edinburgh, Ian Charleson (1949) initially studied architecture to later find out that he had a real passion for acting, especially drama and thriller movies. After a lengthy sojourn with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Ian had a distinguished stage career. He won an Oscar with his performance in Chariots of Fire (1981) as the Olympic hopeful Eric Lidell who refused to compete on the Sabbath. Ian died of AIDS in 1990. [image from Britannica]
Although born in Edinburgh, Anthony Dawson loved to star in British films as an Englishman. Born in 1916 in Edinburgh, Dawson began his career in 1943 with They Met in the Dark and after starring for a few years in England, he moved to America. Renowned for his roles in Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder (1954), The Curse of the Werewolf (1961), or as Professor Dent in the first James Bond film, Dr. No (1962). [image courtesy of mptvimages.com]
Son of two teachers, Ewen Bremner’s (born 1972) first passion was to become a circus clown. But things went on a different direction when television director, Richard D. Brooks, offered him a leading role in Charles Gormley’s Heavenly Pursuits in 1985. Ewen is best known for his roles as Spud in Trainspotting, the wimpish street thug in Guy Ritchie’s Snatch or blockbusters Pearl Harbor and Black Hawk Down where he plays with star Ewan McGregor. [image courtesy of eiff]
Lindsay Vere Duncan
Famous stage and television actress born in Edinburgh, Lindsay Duncan was trained at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama for later to star in On Approval (1982), Dead Head (1985) and Traffik (1989). She also starred as Servilia Caepionis in the 2005 HBO TV series Rome and for 2010 she’s expected to play Alice’s mother in Alice in Wonderland. [image courtesy of phnk]
Renowned for his many television roles in the UK, the black-haired, dark-eyed Kenneth Campbell Stott was born in Edinburgh in 1955. A great ballet dancer until 15, Ken Stott took the long way to becoming a star. He first graduated the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London and then pursued a theater career. But recognition was extremely slow and his earnings from acting on stage were minimal. Hence why he became a double glazing salesmen to support himself.
By 1985 Stott became a great actor at the National Theater but it was in 1996/97 that he got the credit he deserves. And today he’s finally a star, renowned for his parts in Shallow Grave, King Arthur, Plunkett and Macleane and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. [image courtesy of RadioTimes]
Born in America in 1965, Rebecca Pidgeon moved to Edinburgh with her family at the age of five. She graduated drama at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, became the lead singer of folk/pop band Ruby Blue and then in 1988 started her acting career where is mostly known for her roles in The Spanish Prisoner (1997), The Winslow Boy (1999) and Heist (2001). [image from wiki]
Born in Edinburgh in 1900, Alastair Sim was son to prosperous businessman Alexander Sim. An eccentric character that never gave autographs, Sim starred in 61 films and 46 West End productions. His theater debut in London started as a Messenger in Othello (1930), but with a great dome of a head and bulging eyes it wasn’t hard to foresee a great career to come. Alastair Sim is best remembered for his role as Ebenezer Scrooge the Scrooge film in 1951. [image from wiki]
Born in 1961, film and stage actor Iain Glen also comes from Edinburgh. Educated at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Iain got his prestige after staring as a hypnotic gang leader in The Fear (1988). Also known for his excellent role as John Procter in the RSC version of the Crucible, as Manfred Powell in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and as a village priest in Pope Joan (2009), Iain Glen is a charismatic actor that makes Edinburgh proud. [image from IainGlen]
John Stuart (John Alfred Louden Croall)
Born in Edinburgh on July 18th in 1898, John Stuart is a very famous actor that starred in British 1920s silent movies and two films directed by Alfred Hitchcock. His first feature-length movie with sound was Kitty in 1929 where he played “Alex St. George” and the last was Superman in 1979 where he played the 10th Elder. John Stuart died at 81. [image via isdky]
Edinburgh-based Finlay Currie took 54 years to make his first movie, The Old Man (1932). A monumental character renowned for terrifying a generation of schoolchildren with his role as Magwitch in David Lean’s Great Expectations (1946), the craggy, white-haired Currie also starred in multi-Oscar winning Ben-Hur (1959), as Balthazar. [image via foulaheritage.org.uk]