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Top 10 Celebrities You Thought Were British But Aren't

VO: Ashley Bowman
Written by Sean Harris From prime-time personalities to Hollywood hotshots. Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 celebrities you thought were British but aren’t! For this list, we’ve gathered a smattering of celebs who are often mistaken for being British, usually thanks to family connections, sprawling second homes or certain big budget film roles. Special thanks to our user WordToTheWes for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Celebrities You Thought Were British But Aren’t


From prime-time personalities to Hollywood hotshots. Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 celebrities you thought were British but aren’t!

For this list, we’ve gathered a smattering of celebs who are often mistaken for being British, usually thanks to family connections, sprawling second homes or certain big budget film roles.

#10: Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks

In the early days, Fleetwood Mac was an all-British effort, founded by Mick Fleetwood, Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer. But the band chopped and changed their personnel throughout the late-‘60s and ‘70s, before bringing Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks into the fray in ’74. Of course, Mac fans know that Nicks and Buckingham are American, but casual listeners have been known to inadvertently anglicise them from time to time.

#9: Anne Hathaway

After a breakout role opposite Julie Andrews in “The Princess Diaries” and a supporting part in a 2002 adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “Nicholas Nickleby”, Anne Hathaway carried quite a well-to-do reputation for much of her early career. This led some to see her as stereotypically British, despite her New York upbringing. And the misconceptions mounted when she took the title role as Jane Austen, in “Becoming Jane”. While Anne’s American-ness is less in doubt nowadays, she does share her name with a famous figure in British history - William Shakespeare’s wife.

#8: Cate Blanchett

She’s one of the most talented and versatile performers of her generation, but some fans still fumble over her heritage. An Australian actress, Cate’s big break came in ‘98, with the Queen of England title role in “Elizabeth”. She’s since starred in the “Golden Age” sequel, plus she’s played Lady Marian in Ridley Scott’s “Robin Hood”, and Galadriel in Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings”. She’s also scored some iconic American roles, leading some to place her stateside. But while Blanchett lives in England, she was born just outside Melbourne, in Australia.

#7: Renée Zellweger

It’s not hard to see why Renée’s wrongly linked with the UK. With Bridget Jones, she brings to life one of Britain’s best-known characters, and unlike many American actors she mostly nails the accent. And then there’s her 2006 portrayal of Beatrix Potter – which wasn’t quite as well received, but was quintessentially English all the same. However, in real life, Renée’s a born and bred Texan with Swiss and Norwegian parents. She’s a cosmopolitan woman of the world.

#6: Peter Dinklage

While the “Game of Thrones” cast is almost entirely made up of Brits, Peter Dinklage is a rare example of an Iron Throne actor from elsewhere. With roots in New Jersey, he walks Westeros as Tyrion Lannister, and as one of few Americans given prominent roles in the series. Of course, Dinklage is also known for parts in “Elf”, “X-Men” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” – so unlike some others, his filmography isn’t especially British. But when Charles Dance plays your on-screen father, there’s bound to be some confusion.

#5: Bob Geldof

Though Geldof made his name as the lead singer of the Boomtown Rats, Band Aid is easily his biggest achievement. As a massive effort to fundraise for famine relief in Ethiopia, the Christmas charity single featured a mostly-British supergroup of leading ‘80s musicians. But Geldof himself, is Irish. And he’s by no means the only Irish celeb regularly referred to as British. Just ask Bono, Pierce Brosnan or Richard Harris. Yes, Ireland shares a border with Northern Ireland, but the national identities are quite different.

#4: Tim Burton

He’s an inventive, seemingly eccentric movie-maker who has lived large parts of his life in London, and has adapted some of the UK’s finest and most famous literary works - often with ex-partner Helena Bonham Carter in starring roles... Gotta be a Brit, right? But Tim Burton’s one of America’s most successful film directors, having graduated from the prestigious California Institute of the Arts. He has said that Britain feels like home, though, citing the unpredictable weather as a reason why he loves it so much. If there’s one thing we can promise, it’s rain in August.

#3: Gwyneth Paltrow

As another American actress who brought Jane Austen’s work to life for an early role, Gwyneth Paltrow also played a younger version of Maggie Smith’s Wendy in the 1991 Peter Pan adventure, “Hook”. In 1998, she starred in a contemporary Dickens adaptation, an Oscar-winning Shakespeare flick, and a movie which hinges entirely on chance events on the London Underground. So, by the time she met and married Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, the pair seemed a bona fide British power couple. But, they weren’t.

#2: Graham Norton

He’s hosted prime time tele since the late-‘90s, and he’s a regular presenter on BBC radio. There are few more well-connected celebs in the UK, and there aren’t many that are more recognisable. But Graham Norton was actually born in Dublin, and grew up in County Cork. The chat show specialist moved to England in the ‘80s, and has since scaled the headiest heights of British TV and entertainment – from musical talent shows to Eurovision commentary. He’s an all-out national treasure.

#1: Elijah Wood

He was born in Iowa. He lives in Texas. But we still know him best as that humble Hobbit from the Shire. Elijah Wood found global fame as Frodo Baggins, the brave ring bearer in Peter Jackson’s epic adaptation of Tolkien’s fantasy classic. With Olde English inspiration coursing through Middle Earth, Frodo felt as much a British hero as Harry Potter when the films were first released. And so did Samwise Gamgee, though Sean Astin’s American, too. At least Merry and Pippin can fly the flag – that’s something.
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