Famous Sunderland People

Famous Sunderland People 01

To begin with, are you aware that Kate Adie was brought up in Sunderland? Then again, did you know that the leading male actor in the film ‘Born Free’ was born here? Well read on because here we take a look at many other famous Sunderland people.

Obviously this includes people from across the city, But, we also have some famous residents such as LS Lowery. Just to point out that there are 5 pages on this subject. So, let us crack on:

The Arts:

James Baxter

James Baxter - Sunderland Actor
James Baxter was born in Sunderland on 3rd August 1990. He plays the part of Leroy in ‘Still Open All Hours’ alongside David Jason. He also played Jesus in ‘Red Dwarf’. For 2 years he also played the part of Jake Doland, in ITV’ soap opera ‘Emmerdale’.

James Bolam

James Bolam Sunderland Actor
James Bolam was born in Sunderland on 16th June 1938. After attending Bede Grammar School, Sunderland, Bolam attended Bemrose School in Derby. However, he trained formally at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London.

James Bolam first appeared on screens in the early 1960s, initially in popular TV shows such as Z-Cars. He also appeared in the gritty northern films, ‘A Kind of Loving’ and ‘The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner’. He appeared along with John Thaw in the 1967 Granada TV serial ‘Inheritance’.

James Bolam Famous Sunderland Actor
James Bolam most famous role, of course, was Terry alongside Rodney Bewes in the hit series, ‘The Likely Lads’ between 1964 and 1966. There was also a follow up, ‘Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads’ in 1973.
He has appeared in many other hit television series including ‘When the Boat Comes In’, ‘The Beiderbecke Tapes’ and ‘Second Thoughts’. But his career spans the lot and is indeed one of Sunderland’s most accomplished actors.

Alan Browning

Alan Browning - Sunderland Actor
Alan Browning was born in Sunderland on the 23rd March 1926. Originally, his name was Alan Brown, but took up Browning as a professional name. He starred in Coronation Street and his screen wife was Elsie Tanner, of course.

Terry Deary

Terry Deary Sunderland Author
Terry Deary was born in Sunderland in 1946, he is the author of 120 books in the United Kingdom and over 250 more worldwide. Most of his books are for the interest of children or teenagers.
Works include: Point Non-Fiction, Shivers and Classified. Also popular non fiction series, Horrible Histories, Spark Files and Time Detectives. His books are also available in 29 languages.

Mike Elliott

Mike Elliot - The Mouth From Sunderland
Mike Elliott also had the nickname, Mike the Mouth. He was a stand-up comedian, actor, television presenter and also a radio personality. However, his radio shows often got him in trouble as he swore and regularly talked people down.
He was also the boxing coach, George Watson, in ‘Billy Elliot’. Mike Elliott (17 July 1946 – 23 December 2014).

Russell Enoch

William Russell Enoch - Sunderland Actor Doctor Who
Russell Enoch born in Sunderland (1924) found national fame as Sir Lancelot in the 1950’s after changing his name to William Russell. Most people would now know him better as Rita’s dead husband in Coronation Street, he played Ted Sullivan.
However, he was also the first male companion for the Doctor in Doctor Who in 1963.

James Herriot

James Herriot Sunderland - veterinary surgeon and writer
James Herriot, born James Alfred Wight in Sunderland on the 3rd October 1916 became very famous indeed. However, at just a few weeks old, his parents moved to Glasgow.
It was after he had completed his veterinary studies, James moved to Yorkshire, where he later became famous for his books and then TV programme, ‘All Creatures Great and Small’. On the 23rd February 1995, James Herriot died of cancer at his home in Yorkshire.

Melanie Hill

Melanie Hill Sunderland actress and fan of SAFC
Melanie Hill from Sunderland was born on 11th January 1962 and she attended Monkwearmouth School. She is most famous for her role as Aveline Boswell in the television series ‘Bread’.
Melanie Hill Famous Actress From Sunderland
However, she has appeared in the drama ‘Playing the Field’. Melanie married actor Sean Bean, best known for his role as Sharpe, but they divorced in 1997. Melanie, like most famous local people, always hold on to her roots.

Indeed, Melanie loves Sunderland and is a massive SAFC fan, supporting the football team whenever possible. Hats off to Melanie, in short, we love you to bits here on Wearside.

Nat Jackley

Nat Jackley - Sunderland Actor
Nat Jackley was born in Sunderland on 16th July 1909. He was a comic actor starring in variety, pantomime (usually a dame) but also films too. His trademark was his rubber-neck dance complete with his skeletal frame.
Together with his strange speech impediment he was a formidable comedian. Nat died on 17th September 1988.

Bobby Knoxall

Bobby Knoxall - Sunderland Comedian
Bobby Knoxall was born in Sunderland’s East End in 1933 with the birth name of Robert McKenna. Expelled from two schools by the age of 12, he was pretty much illiterate.
Then he got a job as a barrow boy selling fruit. However, over time he became a very successful comedian. But he also became a cabaret star appearing alongside many of the bis stars, such as Johnny Mathis, Roy Orbison and Louis Armstrong.

SAFC fans should note that it was Bobby Knoxall who recorded the FA Cup song, ‘Sunderland All The Way’ when the lads went to Wembley in 1973. Alas, Bobby died in Sunderland General Hospital in July 2009.

Ernie Lotinga

Ernie Lotinga - Sunderland Actor
Ernie Lotinga, born in 1876 in Sunderland started out with the stage name of Dan Roe, a comic vocalist in 1898. He later appeared on the West End and in many films. He died 28 October 1951 in London, England.

Georgina McKee

Georgina McKee - Sunderland Actress
Georgina McKee was born in Peterlee on the 14th April 1964 and grew up there and in nearby Easington and Sunderland. She is a very successful actress starring in many dramas such as, ‘Our Friends in the North’ (1996), ‘The Lost Prince’ (2003) and ‘The Street’ (2007).
In short, Gina McKee won many awards including BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress (1997).

Gibb McLaughlin

Gibb McLaughlin - Sunderland Actor Born In Hendon
Gibb McLaughlin was born George Gibb McLaughlin in Hendon, Sunderland on 19th July 1884. Between 1920 and 1957 he became one of Sunderland’s most fruitful actors appearing in some of the best British films of the time.
These included, ‘The Scarlet Pimpernel’ (1934), ‘Oliver Twist’ (1948), and ‘Hobson’s Choice’ (1954). He died in Los Angeles, California in 1960.

Christine Norden

Christine Norden Sunderland Actress
Christine Norden was born on the 25th December 1924 in Sunderland. Originally called, Mary Lydia Thornton, she was the daughter of a bus driver. All of her friends at Havelock School knew her as Molly.
At the age of 14, she left Sunderland to sing and dance on the London stage.

She also became the first female performer to land on Normandy beaches to entertain the troops in 1944. In 1945, film mogul Alexander Korda, gave her a new name (Christine Norden) and she became a film star in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Then she had to move to Hollywood for convenience.

It was in October 1967 she was to become the first woman to appear topless on Broadway. When she returned to England in 1978 for a visit, she told a reporter for the Northern Echo, “Sunderland is my favourite place and I would love to come back. I want to go straight to Notarianni’s for some ice-cream, and see the beaches and the people I used to know.” Christine died of pneumonia following a heart by-pass operation on 21st September 1988.

Maurice Roeves

Maurice Roeves - Sunderland Actor
Maurice Roeves was born in Sunderland on 19th March 1937 where he attended Bede school. He has been in many films and had many TV roles. He played Colonel Edmund Munro in ‘Last of the Mohicans’, and the Warden Miller in ‘Judge Dredd’.
In ‘Grafters’ the TV series, he played Lennie and the list goes on.

Bobby Thompson

Bobby Thompson - Sunderland Comedian
Bobby Thompson was born in Penshaw, Sunderland on the 18th November 1911. The comedian had a very broad Pitmatic accent as still exists in County Durham pit villages. His nickname of ‘The Little Waster’ came from his short stature.

He would always wear a stripey wooly jumper and flat cap with some ill-fitting trousers. He would also have a Woodbine cigarette stub and smoke it during his shows. Bobby would poke fun at his family life, in particular his mother-in-law. But his humour didn’t travel further than the North East. Bobby died on the 16th April 1988.

Bill Travers

William Inge Lindon-Travers - Sunderland Actor
Bill Travers was born William Inge Lindon-Travers in Sunderland on the 3rd January 1922. He became a Special Forces Army officer, actor, screenwriter, director and animal rights activist. Professionally known as Bill Travers, he had many minor roles in many films.
But without doubt, his most famous role was as conservationist George Adamson in the highly successful film, Born Free in 1966.

Indeed, we have 5 pages of people, click the relevant one:

01) Famous Sunderland People – The Arts
02) Famous Sunderland People – Music
03) Famous Sunderland People – Industry
04) Famous Sunderland People – Others
05) Famous Sunderland People – Lived Here

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