8 famous actors from Weston-super-Mare you should know about
PUBLISHED: 18:36 25 July 2017 | UPDATED: 18:41 25 July 2017
Award-winning actress Michelle Terry has been announced as Shakespeare’s Globe’s new artistic director this week. But she is not the only acting talent to emerge from Weston-super-Mare. Here are some other famous names with links to the town...
Award-winning actor, screenwriter and comedian Cleese has not always been complimentary about his hometown but he has certainly had a lot of success.
His breakout roles came in Monty Python and Fawlty Towers, which are still shown regularly on TV today. He was writer and executive producer for A Fish Called Wanda, for which he was nominated for BAFTAs and Golden Globes.
Critically acclaimed performances in shows at Shakespeare’s Globe have led to Terry being chosen as the world-renowned theatre’s new artistic director.
She was born in Weston and attended Priory Community School and Broadoak Sixth Form Centre before joining the National Youth Theatre. While her theatre career has propelled her to her latest job, she also co-wrote The Café with Ralf Little – a Sky One sitcom set in Weston.
Former Wyvern Community School student Graves has been performing ever since he left Weston aged 15 and joined the circus.
He first came to prominence in adaptations of EM Forster’s novels A Room With A View and Maurice, and his part in Intimate Relations brought him the best actor award at the 1996 Montreal World Film Festival. In recent years, he is best-known for his part as Greg Lestrade in the BBC’s Sherlock.
Scottish-born Kerr made her acting debut on Weston’s Knightstone Pavilion stage in 1937, having moved to the town a few years previously. Her big break came just two years later when she was spotted by a talent scout at an open air theatre in Regent’s Park, London. She was cast in George Bernard Shaw’s Major Barbara and she became a star of British cinema before Hollywood came calling.
In 1957, she was named ‘the world’s most famous actress’ by Photoplay magazine and she secured six Academy Award nominations throughout her career.
Leslie Townes Hope, as he was born, moved to Weston with his family when he was a child. He lived in Orchard Street and Lindley Terrace before moving to Bristol. When he was four years old, the family emigrated to America.
For a number of years, he was one of the most popular stars in the world, and during the Korean and Vietnam Wars, he spent a lot of time entertaining the troops. Although he was never nominated for an Academy Award, he was given five honorary awards for his services to film.
Child actress Miller, who was born in Weston, is probably best-known for her recording of Nellie the Elephant in 1956. She had a small role in The Man In The White Suit alongside Alec Guinness and Raising A Riot with Kenneth More before taking on even greater roles and becoming a child star.
Despite her early success, she quit acting when she was 18.
O’Neill, who was born in Weston to Irish parents, received critical acclaim for his performance in Willy Russell’s musical Blood Brothers. He collected both a Laurence Oliver Theatre Award and Tony Award for his performances in 1988 and 1993 respectively.
More recently, he appeared in Sky Atlantic’s drama The Tunnel alongside Stephen Dillane and Clémence Poésy, and the BBC crime drama Happy Valley.
D-Day veteran Haines was born in Weston and educated in Bristol. He spent four years in the Royal Navy during World War Two, and later appeared in many West End shows and touring productions.
He had roles in the wartime sitcom Dad’s Army and detective series Van der Valk and appeared in two notable films – Dad’s Army and The Man In The White Suit. He died in 2011, aged 87.