Famous People From Essex

List of famous people from Essex, including photos when available. The people below are listed by their popularity, so the most recognizable names are at the top of the list. Some of the people below are celebrities born in Essex, while others are simply notable locals. If you're from Essex you might already know that these prominent figures are also from your hometown, but some of the names below may really surprise you. This list includes people who were born and raised in Essex, as well as those who were born there but moved away at a young age.

This list contains people like Ron Fogg and Vicki Michelle.

If you want to answer the questions, "Which famous people are from Essex?" or "Which celebrities were born in Essex?" then this list is a great resource for you.
Ranked by
    • Birthplace: Essex, England
    Russell Edward Brand (born 4 June 1975) is an English comedian, actor, radio host and YouTuber. After beginning his career as a comedian and later becoming an MTV presenter, Brand first achieved renown in 2004 as the host of Big Brother's Big Mouth, a Big Brother spin-off. In 2007, he had his first major film role in St Trinian's, and the following year he landed a major role in the romantic comedy-drama Forgetting Sarah Marshall; the film led to him starring in a spin off, the rock comedy Get Him to the Greek, alongside Jonah Hill in 2010. He also worked as a voice actor in the animated films Despicable Me in 2010, Hop in 2011, and Despicable Me 2 in 2013, and played the title character of the 2011 remake of the romantic comedy Arthur. In 2013, he released the successful stand-up special Messiah Complex.
    • Birthplace: Ilford, Essex, England, UK
    Dame Margaret Natalie Smith (born 28 December 1934) is an English actress. She has had an extensive, varied career on stage, film, and television, spanning over 67 years. Smith has appeared in more than 50 films, and is one of Britain's most recognisable actresses. She was made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II in 1990 for contributions to the performing arts, and received the Companion of Honour from the Queen in 2014 for services to drama.Smith began her career on stage as a student, performing at the Oxford Playhouse in 1952, and made her professional debut on Broadway in New Faces of '56. For her work on the London stage, she has won a record five Best Actress Evening Standard Awards: for The Private Ear, and The Public Eye (both 1962), Hedda Gabler (1970), Virginia (1981), The Way of the World (1984), and Three Tall Women (1994). She received Tony Award nominations for Private Lives (1975) and Night and Day (1979), before winning the 1990 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for Lettice and Lovage. She appeared in Stratford Shakespeare Festival productions of Antony and Cleopatra (1976) and Macbeth (1978), and West End productions of A Delicate Balance (1997) and The Breath of Life (2002). She received the Society of London Theatre Special Award in 2010. On screen, Smith first drew praise for the crime film Nowhere to Go (1958), for which she received her first British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Award nomination. She has won two Academy Awards, winning Best Actress for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969) and Best Supporting Actress for California Suite (1978). She is one of only six actresses to have won in both categories. She has won a record four BAFTA Awards for Best Actress, including for A Private Function (1984) and The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (1988), a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress for Tea with Mussolini (1999), and three Golden Globe Awards. A six-time Oscar nominee, her other nominations were for Othello (1965), Travels with My Aunt (1972), A Room with a View (1986), and Gosford Park (2001).Smith played Professor Minerva McGonagall in the Harry Potter film series (2001–2011). Other notable films include Love and Pain and the Whole Damn Thing (1973), Death on the Nile (1978), Clash of the Titans (1981), Evil Under the Sun (1982), Hook (1991), Sister Act (1992), The Secret Garden (1993), The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012), and The Lady in the Van (2015). She won an Emmy Award in 2003 for My House in Umbria, to become one of the few actresses to have achieved the Triple Crown of Acting, and starred as Lady Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, on Downton Abbey (2010–2015), for which she won three Emmys, her first non-ensemble Screen Actors Guild Award, and her third Golden Globe. Her honorary film awards include the BAFTA Special Award in 1993 and the BAFTA Fellowship in 1996. She received the Stratford Shakespeare Festival's Legacy Award in 2012, and the Bodley Medal by the University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries in 2016.
    • Birthplace: Clavering, Essex, England, UK
    James Trevor Oliver (born 27 May 1975) is a British chef and restaurateur. He is known for his approachable cuisine, which has led him to front numerous television shows and open many restaurants. Born and raised in Clavering, Essex, he was educated in London before joining Antonio Carluccio's Neal Street restaurant as a pastry chef. While serving as a sous-chef at the River Café, he was noticed by Patricia Llewellyn of Optomen; and in 1999 the BBC aired his television show, The Naked Chef. This was followed by a first cook book, which became a No. 1 UK bestseller. His television work included a documentary, Jamie's Kitchen, which gained him an invitation from Prime Minister Tony Blair to visit 10 Downing Street. In June 2003 Oliver was awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire. In 2005 he opened a campaign, Feed Me Better, to introduce schoolchildren to healthier foods, which was later backed by the government. He was the owner of a restaurant chain, Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group, which opened its first restaurant, Jamie's Italian, in Oxford in 2008. The chain went into administration in May 2019. His TED Talk won him the 2010 TED Prize.
  • Sarah Kane
    Dec. at 28 (1971-1999)
    • Birthplace: Brentwood, United Kingdom
    Sarah Kane (3 February 1971 – 20 February 1999) was an English playwright who is known for her plays that deal with themes of redemptive love, sexual desire, pain, torture—both physical and psychological—and death. They are characterised by a poetic intensity, pared-down language, exploration of theatrical form and, in her earlier work, the use of extreme and violent stage action. Kane herself, as well as scholars of her work, such as Graham Saunders, identify some of her inspirations as expressionist theatre and Jacobean tragedy. The critic Aleks Sierz has seen her work as part of what he has termed In-Yer-Face theatre, a form of drama which broke away from the conventions of naturalist theatre. Kane's published work consists of five plays, one short film (Skin), and two newspaper articles for The Guardian.
    • Birthplace: Ilford, England, UK
    Jane Elizabeth Leeves (born 18 April 1961) is an English actress, model, producer, comedian, singer, and dancer. She played Daphne Moon on the television sitcom Frasier from 1993 until 2004, for which she was nominated for Emmy Awards and Golden Globe Awards. She is also known for her role as Joy Scroggs on TV Land's sitcom Hot in Cleveland.Leeves made her screen debut with a small role in 1983 on the British comedy television show The Benny Hill Show, and appeared as a dancer in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life. She moved to the United States, where she performed in small roles. From 1986 to 1988, she had her first leading role in the short-lived sitcom Throb, and then secured a recurring part in the television sitcom Murphy Brown. She received further recognition for roles in films such as Miracle on 34th Street (1994), James and the Giant Peach (1996), Music of the Heart (1999), and The Event (2003).
  • Olly Murs
    Age: 39
    • Birthplace: Witham, United Kingdom
    Oliver Stanley Murs (born 14 May 1984) is an English singer, songwriter and presenter. He first came to national attention for coming second in the sixth series of The X Factor in 2009. He is currently signed to RCA Records and Sony Music UK in the United Kingdom, and Columbia Records in the United States. In 2010, Murs released his debut single "Please Don't Let Me Go", which debuted at number one on the UK Singles Charts and received a Gold certification by the BPI. It was Murs' first number one single after "You Are Not Alone" with the other series 6 finalists. His second single from his debut album, "Thinking of Me" charted at number four on the UK Singles Charts and received a Silver certification by the BPI. "Heart Skips a Beat" was his second number-one single. Murs' second single from his next album, "Dance with Me Tonight", became his third to reach number one. In November 2010, Murs released his self-titled debut album, Olly Murs, which entered the UK Albums Chart at number two, with the biggest week one album sales for a debut album in 2010, with over 108,000 albums sold. The album went on to sell over 600,000 copies, and was certified double platinum by the BPI. In November 2011, Murs' released his second album, In Case You Didn't Know, which entered the charts at number one and resulted in two number-one singles. As of December 2014, Murs has sold over 10 million records worldwide. In May 2011, it was announced that Murs would return to The X Factor to co-present the spin-off show The Xtra Factor with Caroline Flack. His autobiography, Happy Days, was published in October 2012. In November 2012, Murs released his third album Right Place Right Time, and released 6 singles from it; the first, "Troublemaker", was his fourth number one. On 16 November 2014, Murs released the single, "Wrapped Up" featuring Gym Class Heroes' Travie McCoy, which peaked at number 3. This was to be the first song to be released from his new album Never Been Better which entered the charts at number 1 on 24 September 2014, followed by a second single, "Up" featuring American actress Demi Lovato which peaked within the top 4. Murs also announced that he would tour the UK in spring 2015. On 15 June, Murs released his fourth single "Beautiful to Me" in which the music video included Game of Thrones actress Charlotte Hope. On 16 April 2015, it was announced that Murs would be reunited with Flack to replace Dermot O'Leary as co-presenters of The X Factor from series 12. Murs later released his fifth studio album, 24 Hrs, which debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart.