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Top 10 Celebrities Who Changed Their British Citizenship

VO: Richard Bush
Written by Aaron Cameron From the UK to the U S of A. Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 celebrities who changed their British citizenship. For this list, we're focussing on famous faces who traded the Union Jack for the Stars and Stripes, by swapping, converting or altering their British citizenship to become a full or dual American citizen. Special thanks to our user RichardFB for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Celebrities Who Changed Their British Citizenship


From the UK to the U S of A. Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 celebrities who changed their British citizenship.

For this list, we're focussing on famous faces who traded the Union Jack for the Stars and Stripes, by swapping, converting or altering their British citizenship to become a full or dual American citizen.

#10: Dame Angela Lansbury

Many celebrities relocate to America for work, or for the fairer climate. For Angela Lansbury, it was mostly about escaping German bombs. The Lansbury family left Blighty in 1940, as the Blitz threatened London. The move worked out well for Angela though, who soon found herself in Hollywood, working for MGM and appearing in Academy Award nominated movies. She became a naturalized US citizen in 1951, but relocated to Ireland later in her career, becoming a British/Irish/American triple-citizen of the world!

#9: Bob Hope

Dubbed “America's most honoured citizen” by Nancy Reagan, Bob Hope was actually born to an English father and Welsh mother, in London in 1903. He and his family moved to Ohio in 1908, when Bob was 4, and Hope was a full US citizen by 17. Although he did mention his English heritage on stage from time to time, he became an all-American public figure, and was awarded a host of high-ranking civilian and military awards. Of course, he was also given an honorary knighthood in 1998, so we Brits didn’t forget all about him!

#8: Emily Blunt

Star of “Sicario”, wife to John Krasinski, and neighbour to Jimmy Kimmel, Emily Blunt's shift from English rose to globe-trotting dual-citizen mostly came down to practicality. Five years and one child into her marriage with Krasinski, Blunt became a US citizen in 2015 to simplify tax and ease visa issues. Perhaps because of these motivations, the actress has stated she isn't “entirely thrilled” about the process. And her mood hasn’t softened with time, given that she’s reportedly not a fan of President Trump, either.

#7: Slash

With a plaid shirt, leather trousers and a low-slung Les Paul, it's hard to picture Slash as anything other than a born and bred LA rocker. But he was actually born in Hampstead, London. Saul “Slash” Hudson’s English father raised him in Stoke-on-Trent, before leaving for Los Angeles to rejoin Slash’s mother - who worked as a costume designer - when Saul was just 5. Despite living Stateside since then, Slash has always maintained that he “feels British”, and the rockstar didn’t acquire dual US citizenship until as late as 1996.

#6: Liam Neeson

Hailing from County Antrim in Northern Ireland, this former forklift driver turned Hollywood action hero lived and worked in the United States for over 20 years before he became an actual American citizen, in 2009. His late wife, English actress Natasha Richardson, took US citizenship shortly after they married, in 1994. But it was her death that led Neeson to follow suit - becoming a permanent American specifically due to the love and support shown to him by US friends and fans.

#5: Rachel Weisz

The child of Hungarian and Austrian parents, Weisz's relocation was a much more pleasant experience then that of her mother and father – both of whom had fled Nazi controlled Europe, in 1938. Trading London for New York in 2002 while dating Darren Aronofsky, Rachel Weisz became a naturalized citizen in 2011, the same year she married “James Bond” actor Daniel Craig. Weisz was reportedly motivated by fears she'd lose her green card if she returned to England, but has confessed she prefers “being American” and was excited by the prospect of voting for a president.

#4: Dame Elizabeth Taylor

Liz Taylor’s citizenship was an especially complicated issue. Raised in London by American parents, she was actually born a dual-citizen of Britain and America. However, Taylor ditched her American papers in 1966, becoming a British citizen exclusively... until 1977. By then Taylor had married John Warner – who was on the verge of becoming a US Senator – and so she applied to be reinstated as a US citizen, on the basis that she was American for good this time. But this act of re-patriotism didn’t stop her from accepting a damehood from the Queen, in 2000.

#3: Sir Anthony Hopkins

Hopkins' career led him from Wales to America in the 1970's, only to relocate back to Britain by the late 1980s. However, following the success of “The Silence of the Lambs” in the early ‘90s, his rising stock in Hollywood prompted Hopkins to permanently settle in California in 2000 - with John Travolta and Steven Spielberg in attendance for his ceremony. Those developments weren’t exactly celebrated in Wales though, where there were suggestions that Hopkins should lose the Freedom of the Borough of Port Talbot, and that his knighthood should be nullified.

#2: Sir Alfred Hitchcock

By the 1930's, the film director Alfred Hitchcock was already well on his way to achieving his now-legendary status - and so was promptly plucked from the British cinema scene, and given a seven-year Hollywood contract in 1939. Hitchcock felt uncomfortable about being removed from his country’s war effort at the time, despite being too old and too unfit to serve, so he contributed by making a pair of films for the British Government in 1943. After that he was America-bound, and became a dual US citizen in 1955.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honourable mentions.

Craig Ferguson

Alan Cumming

Mischa Barton

#1: Cary Grant

1942 was a big year for Archibald Leach – he became an American citizen, and he legally changed his name to Cary Grant[1]. Born in Bristol, Grant made waves in America throughout the '20s and '30s, when his American-British blended accent meant he was often mistaken as Australian. His voice eventually settled on its now-recognisable tone, as Grant teamed up with fellow ex-pat Hitchcock for some of his most successful films in the ‘40s and ‘50s. He retired in ‘66, but remained a Hollywood stalwart - and American icon.
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