More actors and actresses from Greater Manchester who made the big time

Last month we celebrated a host of Oscar winners and theatre legends who grew up in the region, like Sir Ian McKellen and Victoria Wood.

The response from M.E.N readers? Even more great actors we’d failed to mention.

So we thought we’d come up with another list of thespians from Greater Manchester, based on your suggestions.

Albert Finney takes to the sky in the film Charlie Bubbles
Albert Finney takes to the sky in the film Charlie Bubbles
(Image: Daily Mirror)

Albert Finney

Salfordian Finney has had a glittering career on stage and screen.

The 81-year-old, who grew up in Pendleton, started out as a theatre actor, making a name for himself in a host of Shakespeare plays.

He then made the transition to film and television, and has won a BAFTA, Golden Globe, Emmy and Screen Actors Guild for his work.

He’s been in some hugely popular movies, like Saturday Night, Sunday Morning, Erin Brockovich, The Bourne Ultimatum and Skyfall.

Finney was born in the Charlestown area of Pendleton, and went to Salford Grammar School, before getting a place at prestigious acting school RADA in London.

Ian McShane
Ian McShane
(Image: Mirrorpix)

Ian McShane

Another RADA graduate, McShane is probably best known for his role in Lovejoy, the comedy-drama mystery series which ran in the 80s and 90s.

He grew up in Davyhulme and attended Stretford Grammar School.

The heartthrob also starred in Dallas, Roots, Wuthering Heights as brooding anti-hero Heathcliff, and in Western series Deadwood.

He now lives in Venice Beach, California with his wife, actress Gwen Humble.

Pat Phoenix
Pat Phoenix
(Image: Daily Mirror)

Pat Phoenix

Arguably one of the most popular stars to ever come out of Coronation Street, Phoenix played larger-than-life Elsie Tanner, one of the original cast members.

Her character was bolshy and brash, and had numerous love affairs on the Cobbles.

The actress was born in Fallowfield, and was educated at Fallowfield Central School.

Her first big break came in 1948, when she played Sandy Powell’s wife in Mancunian film Cup-Tie Honeymoon.

It was when she joined Corrie in 1960 that she became a household name.

She was once famously described by former Prime Minister James Callaghan as ‘the sexiest thing on television’.

Phoenix died from lung cancer in 1986.

(Image: Daily Mirror)

John Thaw

Thaw made his name as a character actor in a host of television dramas.

He was born in Longsight to a working class family, and grew up in Gorton and Burnage, going to school at Ducie Technical High School for Boys.

He’s best remembered for his hugely popular police drama roles – tough Jack Regan in The Sweeney, and the cerebral Inspector Morse – and was married to Sheila Hancock for nearly thirty years.

Later in his career, he starred in a highly acclaimed TV adaptation of Goodnight Mister Tom, which won Most Popular Drama at the National Television Awards in 1999.

He died in 2002 at the age of 60, the day after he signed a new contract with ITV.

(Image: BBC)

Suranne Jones

Oldham lass Jones started off her career in Corrie, playing Karen McDonald between 2000 and 2004.

She then went on to feature in a number of TV dramas, until she gained credibility as a leading lady in gritty drama Unforgiven.

The 39-year-old, who grew up in Chadderton, was then cast as lead character Detective Rachel Bailey in cop drama Scott & Bailey,

Her recent portrayal of Gemma Foster, the vengeful GP in BBC drama Doctor Foster, has been critically acclaimed.

Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill
(Image: PA)

Bernard Hill

Born into a Catholic family of miners, Hill has starred in some of the biggest films ever made, like Titanic and Lord of the Rings.

The 73-year-old, who grew up in Blackley, got his first big role in seminal 80s TV drama Boys from the Blackstuff as Yosser Hughes.

Recently he appeared as Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk in the 2015 BBC’s adaption of Wolf Hall.

(Image: PA)

Caroline Aherne

The much-loved BAFTA winning comedian grew up in Wythenshawe, to the family of an Irish railway worker.

She studied at Hollies Convent Grammar School in West Didsbury before she went off to Liverpool for university.

The actress began her career on the Manchester comedy circuit, before developing her character Mrs Merton for Frank Sidebottom’s show on Piccadilly Radio.

Mrs Merton’s own TV chat-show followed in the 90s, during which she famously asked Debbie McGee, ‘So, what first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?’

She later went on to write and star in brilliant situational comedy The Royle Family, the sitcom based on a telly-obsessed working class family.

Aherne died of lung cancer in 2016 aged 52.

(Image: Getty Images North America)

Dominic Monaghan

Born in Berlin, but raised in Heaton Moor in Stockport, Monaghan was a regular in school plays at St Anne’s Roman Catholic High School in Heaton Chapel.

It was while he was in Manchester Youth Theatre that he was scouted for cosy crime drama Hetty Wainthropp Investigates.

The 41-year-old became an A-lister when he was chosen for the role of Meriadoc Brandybuck in The Lord of The Rings trilogy in 2001.

He has since starred in Lost and superhero film X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

(Image: Mirrorpix)

Robert Donat

Let’s step back in time a bit now to 1905, when a certain English film and stage actor named Robert Donat was born in Withington.

Donat is best known for his role as Goodbye, Mr Chips, the 1939 film for which he won best actor at the Oscars.

He studied at Manchester’s Central High School for Boys and made his first appearance on stage at the age of 16, when he played Lucius in Julius Caesar.

He became such a notable actor that he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

He died in 1958 aged 53 in London of cerebral thrombosis.

(Image: Mirrorpix)

Robert Powell

As far as roles go, they don’t come much bigger than Jesus Christ, who Powell played alongside the likes of Laurence Olivier and James Mason in Anthony Burgess’ 1977 miniseries Jesus of Nazareth.

The Salfordian first took to the stage as an aspiring undergraduate legal student at what was then the Royal College of Advanced Technology, now University of Salford.

He was nominated for a BAFTA for his turn as Jesus and won Best Actor at the Paris Film Festival for his title-role in the 1980 Australian thriller, Harlequin.

In recent years, Powell has done extensive voice-over work for documentary series including World War II in Colour and Hitler’s Bodyguard.

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