Famous People From Wales

walesThousands of Welsh men and women have shaped history. Many are famous for their roles in science, art, sport and politics. Here is a list of some inspirational men and women from Wales who are admired worldwide.

This list is clearly open to debate as several names from history are not included. The list is in alphabetical order by family name and not popularity:

  • Shirley Bassey (born 1937) The singer’s voice has captivated millions, celebrating Wales as a multicultural country on the world stage.
  • Aneurin Bevan (1897-1960) The Labour icon fought for the creation of the NHS with passion and tactical genius, breaking the link between illness and poverty.
  • Richard Burton (1925-1984) At one time probably one of the world’s most famous Welshman thanks to his tempestuous marriages to Elizabeth Taylor, Burton possessed a rare genius as an actor.
  • Tommy Cooper (1921-1984) The fez-wearing comedian who fused the musical hall tradition with absurdities with inspired results
  • Roald Dahl (1916-1990) A Cardiff-born author who reinvented children’s literature and blended the marvellous, macabre and the magical with humour.
  • Donald Davies (1924-2000) Born in Treorchy, this computer pioneer developed packet-switched networking, paving the way for the internet.
  • Gareth Edwards (born 1947) Arguably the greatest rugby player of all time, a tactical genius combined with athletic prowess.
  • Sir Martin Evans (born 1941) The Nobel Prize-winning Cardiff University professor has made breakthroughs in stem cell research.
  • Roy Jenkins (1920-2003) As a Labour Home Secretary he spear-headed the liberalisation of Britain and as an SDP founder he redrew the political landscape.
  • Augustus John (1878-1961) Born in Tenby, Augustus John was an acknowledged master of post-impressionism painting.
  • David Lloyd George (1863-1945) The last UK Liberal prime minister, Lloyd George was a wartime leader and champion of social reform.
  • Megan Lloyd George (1902-1966) In 1929 Megan became Wales’ first female MP, campaigning for a Welsh parliament and a Secretary of State for Wales.
  • Ryan Giggs (Born 1973) – Cardiff-born Giggs’ made 960 appearances for Manchester United as a midfielder before becoming assistant manager at the club until the arrival of Mourinho in 2016. Giggs became the most successful footballer of his era.
  • Tanni Grey-Thompson (born 1969) A Paralympian who changed the public perception of disabled athletes forever.
  • George Herbert (1593-1633) The Powys-born writer ranks is one of the greatest metaphysical poets.
  • Anthony Hopkins (born 1937) A great theatre actor, he is best known for his Oscar winning role as psychopath Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs (1991).
  • TE Lawrence (1888-1935) Born in Tremadog “Lawrence of Arabia” played a key role in the World War I Arab revolt and demonstrated the power of guerilla operations to change the course of a war.
  • Rhodri Morgan (born 1939) Devolution in Wales was approved by a small majority, yet Rhodri won support for a much more powerful Assembly and embedded self-government at the heart of national life.
  • Jan Morris (1926) who covered the first successful Everest expedition and shaped the idea of travel writing.
  • Robert Recorde (1512-1558) The 16th century mathematician introduced the “equals” sign (“=”) to the world and pioneered algebra in the English-speaking world.
  • Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) One of the most important philosophers of the 20th century and a well known anti-nuclear campaigner.
  • Ralph Steadman(1936) The Hogarth of the 20th century.
  • Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) The poet’s work continues to reach new fans more than a century after his birth.
  • RS Thomas (1913-2000) Arguably the greatest spiritual poet of modern times.
  • Catherine Zeta Jones (1969) an Oscar-winning actress who displays a comedic and dramatic range few of her generation can match