Scotland is home to some of Hollywood’s most popular and loved celebrities. Entertainism enlists the top 20 Scottish actors and actresses in Hollywood.
» Before turning to acting, Kevin McKidd was an engineering student at the University of Edinburgh.
» Laura Fraser’s fake American accent on ‘Breaking Bad’ was so convincing, that many of her co-stars had no idea that she wasn’t an American.
» Actress Kelly Macdonald was working as a barmaid, when she saw a leaflet for an open casting call, and bagged the role of Diane in Trainspotting.
Scotland is surely a land of hotties! Be it Sean Connery as the James Bond, Gerard Butler as the very charming Mike Chadway in The Ugly Truth, or the very bubbly Isla Fisher in Definitely, Maybe, we love them all, and we admire them all. In this article, we have enlisted our favorite and the most famous Scottish actors and actresses who have not only made a huge name in Scotland but have also made their mark in Hollywood. From the very sensuous Sheena Easton, to the very adorable Richard Madden, this list has them all.
Born: August 25, 1930 (Edinburgh, Scotland, UK)
The ever-charming James Bond, Sean Connery, had to be on the top of our list. With almost 75 films to his credit, Connery is undoubtedly the most famous Scottish actor in Hollywood. Born in Edinburgh in 1930, Sir Thomas Sean Connery was working as a milkman before he joined the Royal Navy. As an attempt to make some extra money, Connery started helping out backstage at the King’s Theater in Edinburgh in late 1951.
That is when he developed an interest for acting. He then appeared in a number of small productions in the King’s Theater. He got his breakthrough when he bagged James Bond’s role in 1962. During his career, he appeared in seven Bond films between 1962 and 1983. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and gave an Oscar-winning performance in The Untouchables. Some of his most notable films include Marnie, The Name of the Rose, The Hill, The Offense, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Hunt for Red October, Murder on the Orient Express, Dragonheart, and The Rock. After giving a number of hits, he is now focusing on writing. He published his autobiography in 2008, and is now working on a history book.
Born: June 24, 1961 (Edinburgh, Scotland, UK)
Glen, who is gaining immense popularity for portraying the role of Ser Jorah Mormont in Game of Thrones, debuted with Taggart in 1986. After struggling for many years, he was first acknowledged for his role in Silent Scream in 1990, for which he also won the Silver Bear for Best Actor at the 40th Berlin International Film Festival.
He has also appeared on the small screen in The Time of Angels, Downton Abbey, Prisoners’ Wives, City of Vice, Law and Order, and Breathless. His films also include Frankie’s House, Painted Lady, The Wyvern Mystery, and Resident Evil: Apocalypse.
Born: January 27, 1965 (Aberfeldy, Perthshire, Scotland, UK)
Alan Cumming debuted with Prague, which got him an award for Best Actor at the Atlantic Film Festival and a nomination for a Scottish Bafta. He was first introduced to the US audience as Sean Walsh in Circle of Friends in 1995. Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion was his first film in the US, and ever since he has acted in a number of movies like The Anniversary Party, Suffering Man’s Charity, Ghost Writer, Spy Kids, Investigating Sex, Josie and the Pussycats, Emma, Get Carter, Plunkett and Macleane, Son of the Mask, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, Full Grown Men, Spice World, Burlesque, The Tempest, and Boogie Woogie. He has played key roles in the animated movies Jackboots on Whitehall, Garfield and The Smurfs. He has also appeared on the small screen in shows like Sex and The City and Frasier. In 2009, Cumming received the National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA’s ‘Great Scott’ award.
Born: November 25, 1965 (Glenrothes, Scotland, UK)
Scott, who won our hearts with Mission Impossible II, began his acting career with the television series, Soldier Soldier. He was studying drama in Wales, before he moved to London to pursue his acting career. He made his film debut with Twin Town, and became popular as Prince Henry in Ever After. He was also the first choice for the roles of Wolverine in X-Men and James Bond in Casino Royale. Among his other hits are Love’s Kitchen, Enigma, Ripley’s Game, My Week with Marilyn and United. He has also starred in TV series like Desperate Housewives and Sinbad.
Born: November 13, 1969 (Paisley, Scotland, UK)
The heart-throb, the most charming, the most loved, and the most admired … he is every girl’s McDreamy and adjectives just fail us when we try to describe our love for Gerard Butler. He is another Scottish actor who has certainly made his mark in Hollywood. You might be surprised to know that he was a trainee lawyer at an Edinburgh law firm before turning to acting. He moved to London to become an actor in 1994. During his struggling period, he worked in a variety of jobs as a waiter, a telemarketer, and a demonstrator at toy fairs. That is when he met an old friend, who bagged him an audition for Steven Berkoff’s play of Coriolanus. Early in his acting career, he appeared in Mrs. Brown with Billy Connolly in 1997, and then in Reign of Fire starring Matthew McConaughey in 2002. He soon rose to fame with lead roles in The Phantom of the Opera and 300. Among his other hits are P. S. I Love You, Nim’s Island, The Ugly Truth, Law Abiding Citizen, and The Bounty Hunter. Needless to say, he has won numerous awards during his film career.
Born: March 31, 1971 (Perth, Scotland, UK)
McGregor started his acting career in 1993 with the TV series Lipstick on Your Collar. The same year, he also made his film debut with Being Human. He soon rose to fame in 1994 with Shallow Grave, and became a member of the A-list actors with Trainspotting in 1996, and there was no stopping him after that. He gave one hit after the other with A Life Less Ordinary, Moulin Rouge, Big Fish, Angels and Demons, and the Star Wars prequel trilogy. He has also done some notable supporting roles in movies like Little Voice and Black Hawk Down. He has been nominated for and won several awards, including the most recent Best Actor Award for The Ghost Writer at the 23rd European Film Awards.
Born: August 9, 1973 (Elgin, Scotland, UK)
Best known for his role as Owen Hunt in the medical drama series Grey’s Anatomy, Hunt started his acting career with the Scottish film Trainspotting as “Tommy”. Before turning to acting, Kevin McKidd was an engineering student at the University of Edinburgh. He then dropped out to pursue his acting career, and enrolled in Queen Margaret College to study drama. His movies include Turvy, The Mikado, Kingdom of Heaven, and Dog Soldiers. He has acted in television series like Father Ted, North Square, The Virgin Queen and Journeyman. He has also lent his voice for the video games Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. He recently played the roles of Lord MacGuffin and Young MacGuffin in Disney’s Brave. He is currently filming Anthony Burns’ upcoming comedy drama North of Hell.
Born: April 21, 1979 (Port Glasgow, Scotland, UK)
James McAvoy made his debut in acting with The Near Room in 1995, at the age of 15. He then graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in 2000. Throughout that year, he made guest appearances on various TV shows. He became famous on TV with Band of Brothers, State of Play, Frank Herbert’s Children of Dune, and Shameless. He soon established a name in the movie industry by playing a young Scottish actor in The Last King of Scotland. His other notable films include The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Atonement, The Conspirator, X-Men: First Class and Trance.
Born: 15 March 1983 (Glasgow, Scotland, UK)
Biggerstaff started his acting career at the age of 10 at the Tron Theater in Glasgow. After that, he joined the Scottish Youth Theater, with which he stayed for the next six years. At the age of 13, he bagged the role of Young Darren in The Crow Road. In 1997, he was cast in The Winter Guest by fellow actor Alan Rickman, who later recommended him to the London acting agency International Creative Management and Paul Lyon-Maris. This is when he was cast in the Harry Potter series. His other notable films include Cashback, X on a Map, Voices, Hippie Hippie Shake, and Mary Queen of Scots. Among his TV appearances are Bright Sparks, Consenting Adults, and Garrow’s Law.
Born: June 18, 1986 in Elderslie, Renfrewshire, Scotland, UK
Richard Madden, the Game of Thrones heart-throb, started acting at the age of 11, to overcome shyness. He got his first role as Young Adam, in Complicity in 2000, after which he bagged the lead role as Sebastian Simpkins in the TV series Barmy Aunt Boomerang in 1999. He graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in 2007. Madden was spotted by a team from Globe Theater when he moved to London for Franz Xavier Kroetz’s play Tom Fool. It was then that he was cast as Romeo in Globe Theater’s Romeo and Juliet. In 2009, he portrayed the role of Dean McKenzie in 2009 in Hope Springs, Ripley in Chatroom in 2010, and Ludwig in A Promise in 2013. His TV appearances apart from Game of Thrones include Worried About The Boy, Sirens, Birdsong, and Klondike. His latest film, Cinderella, where he plays the role of Prince Charming is post-production.
Born: September 30, 1921 (Glasgow, Scotland, UK)
Died: 16 October 2007 (Botesdale, Suffolk, England, UK)
When it comes to the ladies, Kerr surely tops our list of the most famous Scottish names in Hollywood. Popularly known as “The English Rose”, this beauty first appeared on screen in George Bernard Shaw’s Major Barbara and Love on the Dole. She soon became famous in the British cinema, and played a variety of roles in movies like The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp and Black Narcissus. Soon after, she turned to Hollywood, and made enormous success with movies like The Hucksters, Edward, My Son and Quo Vadis. Kerr received an Oscar nomination for playing the role of an adulteress in From Here to Eternity. In 1956, she played one of her best-remembered roles of “Mrs. Anna” in The King and I. Among her other notable films are Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison, An Affair to Remember, Separate Tables, The Sundowners, The Innocents and The Night of the Iguana.
Born: April 27, 1959 (Bellshill, Scotland, UK)
The 1980’s music sensation Sheena Easton, first came into limelight when she participated in the first British reality television program The Big Time: Pop Singer. The show bagged her a record contract with the EMI records. Her debut single “9 to 5” made to the UK top ten list twice. It also topped the US Hot 100, making her only the third female solo artist to do so. Her other hits include the James Bond theme “For Your Eyes Only”, “Strut”, “U Got the Look” , “The Lover in Me” and “What Comes Naturally”. Easton made her first acting appearance on TV with Miami Vice in 1987. She has also acted in Broadway revivals of Man of La Mancha and Grease. Her TV appearances include the ones on Body Bag, Highlander, Gargoyles, Jack’s Place, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., etc. Among her notable films are All Dogs Go to Heaven 2, Indecent Proposal, and Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield.
Born: November 5, 1960 (London, England, UK)
Although she was born in London, Swinton has always cherished her Scottish roots. Her acting career, like Connery, began in Edinburgh. This immensely talented actress became famous in the mid-80s when she portrayed various roles in Egomania, Caravaggio, Aria, Friendship’s Death, The Last of England, Cycling the Frame, etc. Initially in her acting career, she did more art house work which included War Requiem, Edward II,and Orlando. In recent years, Swinton shifted her focus to mainstream cinema which led to her roles in The Deep End, The Beach, Vanilla Sky, and Constantine. Swinton has also appeared in the British films The Statement and Young Adam. She was nominated for a Golden Globe for her lead performances in The Deep End and We Need to Talk About Kevin. She has also won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as lawyer Karen Crowder in Michael Clayton in 2007.
Born: February 3, 1976 (Muscat, Oman)
The very lovely Isla Fisher, who we all loved in Definitely, Maybe is also of the Scottish origin. A lot of you might not be aware of the fact that she is both, an actress and a writer. As a writer, she has 2 books to her credit, which she had published as a teenager. Fisher also had a flair for acting since she was very young. She had already appeared on numerous Australian commercials by the time she was 10. She then landed the roles in popular children TV shows Bay City and Paradise Beach. Among her most notable films are Wedding Crashers, The Lookout, Hot Rod, Confessions of a Shopaholic, Now You See Me, and Definitely, Maybe. In 1997, she was chosen by the readers of FHM magazine as number 35 on the list of the 100 Sexiest Women in the World, and in 2003, she placed 26th.
Born: February 23, 1976 (Glasgow, Scotland, UK)
The very beautiful Kelly Macdonald, used to act in a theatrical club as a hobby. While working as a barmaid, she auditioned for an open casting audition and bagged a role in the 1996 film Trainspotting. She was nominated for a BAFTA Scotland Award for the role, and got huge success in her career. Among her notable films are Stella Does Tricks, Elizabeth, Gosford Park, The Decoy Bride, Anna Karenina, Nanny McPhee, and No Country for Old Men. She won an Emmy for her role in The Girl in the Cafe. Apart from that, she has also appeared as Helena Ravenclaw in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. In 2010, she also won the role of Margaret Schroeder in Boardwalk Empire.
Born: July 24, 1976 (Glasgow, Scotland, UK)
Laura Fraser rose to fame with BBC’s dark fantasy series Neverwhere in 1996. So far, she has starred in several movies including The Tribe, Titus, Knight’s Tale, and Vanilla Sky. She has also appeared on He Knew He Was Right, Casanova, and Reichenbach Falls. In 2006, she portrayed the role of Lisa MacKinlay in the British comedy film Nina’s Heavenly Delights. She played Claire Bellington in the ITV series Talk to Me in 2007. Fraser’s other TV appearances include Casualty, Conviction, The Passion, Single Father, Lip Service, Breaking Bad, and Black Box. She recently played the role of Margaret in Castles in the Sky.
Born: November 18, 1986 in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Georgia King, was working at a cheese shop when she got her first acting job at the age of 18. She made her debut in the television adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s 1847 novel, Jane Eyre. She is best known for her roles as Goldie, in the American sitcom, The New Normal, Harriet Bentley in Wild Child, and Sophie in Tormented. She has also portrayed the lead role in One Night in November at the Belgrade Theater in Coventry from October to November 2010. Among her other notable roles are the ones in Little Dorrit, Free Agents, The Duchess, Tanner Hall, Burke and Hare, Chalet Girl, One Day, Cockneys vs Zombies, and Austenland. The release of her latest film Kill Your Friends is due in 2015.
Born: February 9, 1987 (Aberdeen, Scotland, UK)
Another one from the Game of Thrones on our list, is our very own Ygritte aka Rose Leslie. Leslie made her debut in New Town, for which she was widely appreciated. She also won the Scottish BAFTA for Best Acting Performance – New Talent Award for the role. In 2010, she appeared in Globe Theatre’s Bedlam. That same year, she also appeared on the ITV television drama Downton Abbey. Her movies include Now is Good, Honeymoon, and The Last Witch Hunter. Her upcoming dramas are Utopia and The Great Fire.
Born: August 8, 1987 (Motherwell, Scotland, UK)
How could we leave out the very talented, Katie Leung from our list! She is very well-known for portraying the role of Cho Chang, Harry Potter’s love interest in the Harry Potter series. After her father saw an advertisement for the casting call in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, he suggested Leung to give it a shot. She was in fact cast in the movie for her Scottish accent, beating over 3,000 other girls, who had auditioned. Her kiss with Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix received world-wide attention, and made her famous overnight. Apart from that, she has also acted in Agatha Christie’s Poirot, Wild Swans, Run, The World of Extreme Happiness, and Father Brown. She has also lent her voice in the video games Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. So far she has won Outstanding Newcomer Award, Asian Excellence Awards (Top 4), and been nominated for Young Scots Award in 2006, Scotland’s Most Stylish Female and No. 80 on the Cosmogirl’s Hot 100 List in 2007, and been the Best Kiss Nominee for MTV Movie Awards US in 2008.
Born: November 28, 1987 (Inverness, Scotland, UK)
The charming sensation Karen Gillan, always had a love for acting. As a child, she was a member of several youth theater groups, and also took part in several of Charleston Academy’s production. She decided that she wanted to pursue a career in acting at the age of 16. She therefore, studied under Scott Johnston at the Performing Arts Studio Scotland, and later the Italia Conti Academy in London. That is when she landed a role in Rebus, followed by Stacked , The Kevin Bishop Show, and Outcast . She also appeared in The Well , in 2009. After acting in Outcast, Not Another Happy Ending, and Oculus between 2010 and 2013, she was cast for the role of Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy . In February 2014, she bagged the lead role in Selfie , followed by the role in In a Valley of Violence in June 2014. In May 2009, she was cast for the role of Amy Pond on the British sci-fi series, Doctor Who . She was ranked 42nd in FHM’s list of 100 Sexiest Women 2011, and 26th in 2012. Apart from acting, Gillan has also lent her voice for advertisements of eHarmony and The Royal Bank of Scotland.
So there you have it, our top 20 Scottish actors and actresses who have made their mark in Hollywood with their charming looks and very adorable accents. Love them, admire them, and cherish them, for they are here to stay, and they are here to rule our hearts.