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Famous Faces

What links Stephen Hawking with Ali G?

They both appear in our eclectic A-Z of famous (and not quite so famous) locals. Let us know if we fell for a vicious rumour or missed anyone out.

  • Musician Rod Argent (b. 1945) was born here and sang in the cathedral choir before forming two pop bands; The Zombies and Argent.
  • St Albans School pupil Nicholas Breakspear (c.1100-1159) became Pope Adrian IV. He is the only Englishman to have occupied the papal chair.
  • The philosopher, scientist and '1st Viscount St Alban' Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) lived at Old Gorhambury House.
  • Actress Cheryl Campbell (b.1949) was a pupil of Frances Bacon School before starring in every classic detective TV series from Z Cars to Marple, Morse, Frost and Spooks.
  • Crazy comedian Sacha Baron Cohen (b. 1971) studied at St Columba's College in St Albans before finding global fame as Ali G and Borat.
  • Paul Cattermole (b. 1977), first S Club 7 departee was born here. Check out his piercings and some of his 'friends' on his MySpace page.
  • Electronic musician Chris Clark (now just 'Clark') went to St Albans School. His first album Clarence Park includes the weird and wonderful tracks Caveman Lament, Fossil Paste and Nostalgic Oblong.
  • St Albans boys Rou, Chris, Rory and Rob, aka post-hardcore/trance band Enter Shikari, receive a warm police welcome when they come home to gig at the Alban Arena…
  • David Essex (nee David Albert Cook, b. 1947), cheeky singer, motorbike enthusiast and Gypsy Council patron lives here (apparently).
  • Former St Albans School pupils Ed Macfarlane, Jack Savidge and Edd Gibson, now better known as Friendly Fires, have been shortlisted for the Mercury Prize 2009. More
  • Theoretical physicist Professor Stephen Hawking CBE (b. 1942) was a pupil at St Albans School before moving on to Oxford, Cambridge, 12 honorary degrees and worldwide renown for his pioneering research into the laws governing the universe.
  • Comedian Matthew Holness, better known as Garth Marenghi, lives here (allegedly).
  • Film director Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999), lived at Childwickbury Manor, to the north-west of St Albans, from 1978. His widow, artist Christiane Kubrick organises the Childwickbury Arts Fair each July and runs regular oil and watercolour painting courses with daughter Katharina.
  • Sir Stephen Lander (b. 1947), former head of MI5, has lived in St Albans for many years (so our sources tell us).
  • Actor Philip Madoc (b. 1934) lives locally and is patron of Best Theatre Arts and The Abbey Theatre.
  • Prolific prize-winning author and former children's Laureate Michael Morpurgo (b. 1943) was born here.
  • Film director Mike Newell (b.1942), born and educated here, sung in the cathedral choir and was a member of the Abbey Theatre's Company of Ten. He holds an honorary degree from the University of Hertfordshire and is a big fan of St Albans (really).
  • Maddy Prior MBE, 'the first lady of folk' and former member of Steeleye Span grew up here and is a patron of St Albans Arts.
  • Former lawyer, cricket fanatic and lyricist Tim Rice (b. 1944) is an alumni of St Albans School.
  • Seed Merchant and Verulam Golf Club member Samuel Ryder (1858-1936) came to St Albans in 1895, built Ryder House (now the Comfort Hotel) on Holywell Hill in 1911 and co-founded the Ryder Cup in 1927.
  • John Sessions (b. 1953), actor and comedian, went to St Albans Boys' Grammar School (now Verulam School) and is a patron of St Albans Arts.
  • Bestselling Bartimaeus Trilogy author Jonathan Stroud (b. 1970) grew up in St Albans and apparently still lives here…or thereabouts…