Watchworthy

Popular Film Actors from South Africa

Reference
Updated June 14, 2019 27.5k views 436 items

List of famous film actors and actresses from South Africa, listed by their popularity with photos when available. South Africa has given birth to some great movie actors and actresses over the years, many of who have gone on to star in comedies, dramas, horror movies and more. These are some of the best South African screen actors in the history of the world, so if you're a native of South Africa and an aspiring actor/actress then these are people you should look up to.

You can rank all of these film actors, from Joe Vaz to Todd Gitlin.

This list answers the questions, "Who are the best South African actors?" and "Which movies stars are from South Africa?"

You can click on the names of these legendary movie stars of South Africa in order to get more information about each one. If you're a film buff use this list of talented South African film actors to find some new movies you haven't already seen.
Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
1
Charlize Theron is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Popular Film Actors from South Africa
Age 43, Credits: Prometheus, The Italian Job & Snow White and the Huntsman

Birthplace: Benoni, Gauteng, South Africa

Nationality: United States of America, South Africa

Charlize Theron ( shar-LEEZ THERR-ən; Afrikaans: [ʃarˈlis trɔn]; born 7 August 1975) is a South African and American actress and producer. She is the recipient of several accolades, including an ...more

More Charlize Theron 

#138 of 269 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #37 of 853 The Best Actresses in Film History #113 of 114 The Worst Oscar-Winning Actors Ever

2
Sid James is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Popular Film Actors from South Africa
Dec. at 63 (1913-1976), Credits: The Lavender Hill Mob, The 39 Steps & Carry On Cleo

Birthplace: South Africa

Nationality: United Kingdom, South Africa

Sidney "Sid" James (born Solomon Joel Cohen; 8 May 1913 – 26 April 1976) was a British character and comic actor born into a middle-class Jewish family in South Africa.Appearing in ...more

More Sid James 

#46 of 173 The Funniest British and Irish Comedians of all Time #20 of 30 Everyone Who Has Played Henry VIII, Ranked

3
Basil Rathbone is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Popular Film Actors from South Africa
Dec. at 75 (1892-1967), Credits: The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Great Mouse Detective & The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad

Birthplace: Johannesburg, South Africa

Nationality: United Kingdom

Philip St. John Basil Rathbone MC (13 June 1892 – 21 July 1967) was an English actor. He rose to prominence in the United Kingdom as a Shakespearean stage actor and went on to appear in more ...more

More Basil Rathbone 

#208 of 301 The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting) #617 of 1,030 The Best Actors in Film History #88 of 240 The Greatest British Actors of All Time

4
Laurence Harvey is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Popular Film Actors from South Africa
Age Died at 45 (1928-1973), Credits: The Manchurian Candidate, Cinema Paradiso & The Alamo

Birthplace: Joniškis District Municipality, Europe, Joniškis, Šiauliai County, Lithuania, + more

Nationality: Lithuania, United Kingdom, South Africa

Laurence Harvey (born Laruschka Mischa Skikne; 1 October 1928 – 25 November 1973) was a Lithuanian-born British Jewish actor. In a career that spanned a quarter of a century, Harvey appeared in ...more

More Laurence Harvey 

#628 of 1,030 The Best Actors in Film History #64 of 75 Famous Actors Who Were Almost James Bond #92 of 113 The Best English Actors of All Time

5
Alice Krige is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Popular Film Actors from South Africa
Age 64, Credits: Chariots of Fire, Star Trek: First Contact & Reign of Fire

Birthplace: Upington, South Africa

Nationality: South Africa

Alice Maud Krige (; born 28 June 1954) is a South African actress and producer. Her first feature film role was in Chariots of Fire (1981) as the Gilbert and Sullivan singer Sybil Gordon. She is ...more
6
Cyril Cusack is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Popular Film Actors from South Africa
Dec. at 83 (1910-1993), Credits: Harold and Maude, My Left Foot & The Day of the Jackal

Birthplace: Durban, South Africa

Nationality: Ireland

Cyril James Cusack (26 November 1910 – 7 October 1993) was an Irish actor, who appeared in numerous films and television productions in a career lasting more than 70 years.
7
Embeth Davidtz is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Popular Film Actors from South Africa
Age 53, Credits: Schindler's List, The Amazing Spider-Man & Army of Darkness

Birthplace: Lafayette, Fairfield Township, Indiana, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America, South Africa

Embeth Jean Davidtz (born August 11, 1965) is a South African-American actress. Her screen roles include movies such as Army of Darkness, Schindler's List, Matilda, Junebug, Mansfield Park, ...more
8
Glynis Johns is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Popular Film Actors from South Africa
Age 95, Credits: Mary Poppins, While You Were Sleeping & The Ref

Birthplace: Pretoria, South Africa

Nationality: Wales, South Africa

Glynis Johns (born 5 October 1923) is a retired Welsh stage, television and film actress, dancer, pianist, and singer. Born in Pretoria, South Africa while her parents were on tour, she is best ...more
9
Cecil Kellaway is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Popular Film Actors from South Africa
Dec. at 83 (1890-1973), Credits: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Wuthering Heights & Harvey

Birthplace: Cape Town, South Africa

Nationality: South Africa

Cecil Lauriston Kellaway (22 August 1890 – 28 February 1973) was a British/South African character actor. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for both The Luck of ...more
10
Dave Matthews is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Popular Film Actors from South Africa
Age 52, Credits: Just Go With It, You Don't Mess with the Zohan & Because of Winn-Dixie

Birthplace: Gauteng, Johannesburg, Africa, South Africa

Nationality: United States of America, South Africa

David John Matthews (born January 9, 1967) is a South African-born American singer, songwriter, musician, actor and record label owner, best known as the lead vocalist, songwriter, and guitarist ...more

More Dave Matthews 

The Best Dave Matthews Band Songs #203 of 316 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #122 of 298 The Best Frontmen in Rock

11
Ian Hunter is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Popular Film Actors from South Africa
Dec. at 75 (1900-1975), Credits: The Adventures of Robin Hood, A Midsummer Night's Dream & Strange Cargo

Birthplace: Kenilworth, Cape Town

Nationality: United Kingdom, South Africa

Ian Hunter (13 June 1900 – 22 September 1975) was an English character actor.
12
Bijou Phillips is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Popular Film Actors from South Africa
Age 38, Credits: Almost Famous, Bully & Hostel: Part II

Birthplace: Greenwich, Connecticut, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

Bijou Lilly Phillips (born April 1, 1980) is an American actress, model, socialite, and singer. The daughter of musician John Phillips and Geneviève Waïte, she began her career as a ...more

More Bijou Phillips 

#76 of 80 Kids of Dead Musicians: How Are They Doing Today? #21 of 77 Celebrities Who Live in Los Feliz #43 of 51 Female Celebrities Who Are 5’5"

13
Arnold Vosloo is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Popular Film Actors from South Africa
Age 56, Credits: The Mummy, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra & G.I. Joe: Retaliation

Birthplace: Pretoria, South Africa

Nationality: United States of America, South Africa

Arnold Vosloo (born 16 June 1962) is a South African actor. He is known for his roles as Imhotep in The Mummy and The Mummy Returns, Colonel Coetzee in Blood Diamond, Pik van Cleef in Hard ...more
14
Ross Kettle is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Popular Film Actors from South Africa
Age 57, Credits: Playing God, Diamond Hunters & Lethal Ninja

Birthplace: Durban, Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Nationality: South Africa, New Zealand

Ross Kettle is a South African actor, known for directing the play Soweto's Burning, and best known as Jeffrey Conrad in the NBC American television soap opera Santa Barbara. In 1988, he was ...more
15
Peter Gabriel is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Popular Film Actors from South Africa
Age 69, Credits: New York Stories, Secret World Live & Taken By Storm: The Art Of Storm Thorgerson And Hipgnosis

Birthplace: England, Chobham

Nationality: England, South Africa

Peter Brian Gabriel (born 13 February 1950) is an English singer, songwriter, record producer and activist who rose to fame as the original lead singer and frontman of the progressive rock band ...more

More Peter Gabriel 

The Best Peter Gabriel Albums of All Time #11 of 225 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters #236 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

16
Alf Kumalo is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Popular Film Actors from South Africa
Dec. at 82 (1930-2012), Credits: The Bang Bang Club and Nor the Moon by Night

Birthplace: Alexandra, Gauteng, South Africa

Nationality: South Africa

Alfred Khumalo (5 September 1930 – 21 October 2012), better known as Alf Kumalo, and with the surname sometimes spelled Khumalo, was a South African documentary photographer and photojournalist.
17
Hakeem Kae-Kazim is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Popular Film Actors from South Africa
Age 56, Credits: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, X-Men Origins: Wolverine & Hotel Rwanda

Birthplace: Lagos, Nigeria

Nationality: Nigeria, England, South Africa

Hakeem Kae-Kazim (born 1 October 1962) is a British-Nigerian actor best known for his work in the Starz television series Black Sails and his portrayal of Georges Rutaganda in the 2004 drama ...more
18
Justine Waddell is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Popular Film Actors from South Africa
Age 39, Credits: Dracula 2000, The Fall & Mansfield Park

Birthplace: Johannesburg, South Africa

Nationality: Scotland, United Kingdom, South Africa

Justine Waddell (born 4 November 1976) is a South African born British film and television actress. She played roles in the 2006 film The Fall and 2005 film Chaos as well as Tess in the 1998 LWT ...more
19
J. R. R. Tolkien is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Popular Film Actors from South Africa

Birthplace: Bloemfontein, South Africa

Nationality: United Kingdom

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (; 3 January 1892 – 2 September 1973) was an English writer, poet, philologist, and academic, who is best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The ...more

More J. R. R. Tolkien 

The Best Insults from The Lord of the Rings #10 of 1,173 The Best Writers of All Time #60 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive

20
Antony Sher is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Popular Film Actors from South Africa
Age 69, Credits: Shakespeare in Love, The Wolfman & Mrs Brown

Birthplace: Cape Town, South Africa

Nationality: United Kingdom, South Africa

Sir Antony Sher, KBE (born 14 June 1949) is a British actor of South African origin, a two-time Laurence Olivier Award winner and four-time nominee, who joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in ...more
21
Lee Brilleaux is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Popular Film Actors from South Africa

Birthplace: Durban, South Africa

Nationality: South Africa

Lee Brilleaux was a member of the musical group, Dr. Feelgood.
22
Marius Weyers is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Popular Film Actors from South Africa
Marius Weyers Age 74, Credits: Gandhi, Blood Diamond & The Gods Must Be Crazy

Birthplace: Johannesburg, South Africa

Nationality: South Africa

Marius Weyers (born 3 February 1945, in Johannesburg) is a South African actor. He lives with his wife Yvette, an artist in her own right, in Rooi-Els in the Western Cape. He received ...more
23
Harry DeRoy is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Popular Film Actors from South Africa
Harry DeRoy

Birthplace: South Africa

Nationality: South Africa

Harry DeRoy is an actor.
24
Dorothy Black is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Popular Film Actors from South Africa
Dorothy Black Dec. at 86 (1899-1985), Credits: The Night Has Eyes and The Admiral's Secret

Birthplace: Johannesburg, South Africa

Nationality: South Africa

Dorothy Black is an actress.
25
Nelson Mandela is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Popular Film Actors from South Africa
Dec. at 95 (1918-2013), Credits: Malcolm X

Birthplace: Mvezo, South Africa

Nationality: South Africa

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (; Xhosa: [xolíɬaɬa mandɛ̂ːla]; 18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013) was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader, and philanthropist who served ...more

More Nelson Mandela 

15 Fascinating Facts About The Brutal, Inspiring Life of Nelson Mandela #68 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive #70 of 438 Famous Men You'd Want to Have a Beer With