Portsmouth Famous Figures R to Z

Welcome to the Prestigious Portsmouth Hall of Fame, a digital collection celebrating the exceptional individuals who have left an indelible mark on the city. Our collection proudly showcases the diverse and remarkable stories of Portsmouth's famous residents. Among them are those native to Portsmouth, their roots intertwined with the city's very essence, as well as those who were drawn by its charm, choosing to live and work within its vibrant embrace.

Portsmouth, a city steeped in history, boasts a multitude of renowned figures spanning various fields. From influential writers whose words have inspired generations, to astute politicians who have shaped policies, from sports luminaries who have brought glory to the city, to musicians whose melodies have resonated through time our Hall of Fame is a testament to Portsmouth's cultural richness and talent.

We believe in the power of community participation. If you are acquainted with someone whose achievements deserve recognition in Portsmouth's Hall of Fame, we invite you to share their details. Your contributions matter. Please reach out via email at info@welcometoportsmouth.co.uk, and together, let's ensure every deserving individual finds their rightful place, enriching the legacy of Portsmouth's greatness.

Suzi Ruffell

Suzi Ruffell

Comedian, writer and actor Suzi Ruffell was born in Portsmouth 18th January 1986 and attended St Edmunds School, Chichester College and drama school at the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts.
Suzi regularly appears on BBC Radio 4, appearing on The Now Show and The News Quiz, she was nominated for Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year 2011. On TV Suzi Ruffell has appeared on many shows including Live at the Apollo, The Last Leg and Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled. She has also supported Alan Carr, Josh Widdicombe, Joe Lycett, Kevin Bridges and Romesh Ranganathan on National Tours.
Suzi has had great success at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival having five sell out runs. Her 2021 show Dance Like Everyone's Watching was nominated for the National Comedy Awards, Best Stand Up Show category.

Peter Sellers

Where was Peter Sellers born

Goon, Peter Sellers was born Richard Henry Sellers on September 8, 1925 in Southsea. Sellers' parents were vaudeville entertainers, and at two days old, Sellers was carried onto the stage at King's Theatre, Southsea. He was born in a flat at the corner of Castle Road in Southsea, above the Mayfair Chinese restaurant, he attended Miss Whitney's School of Dancing in Southsea.
During the 1940's he played the drums with a variety of jazz bands he also played the banjo and ukulele. Aged 18 he was drafted into the Royal Airforce and became an RAF concert entertainer. Following the war Sellers appeared in the BBC radio program, Show Time. Appearing in another BBC radio show, Crazy People which was later renamed The Goon Show Sellers used his impressionist skills playing the characters Major Bloodnok, Bluebottle and Henry Crun.
He acjieved film success in The Mouse That Roared (1959)in the following year he co starred with Sophia Loren in The Millionairess. His best known character was Inspector Clouseau the bumbling policeman in the Pink Panther series of films.
After appearing in over 60 films as well as on numerous radio and television shows throughout his career, Sellers died of a heart attack on July 24, 1980. Displaying his unending sense of humor, the comic said good-bye with one last joke. At Sellers' request, the song "In The Mood" was played at his funeral, a tune that he hated.

Katy Sexton MBE

Famous people from Portsmouth

Katy Sexton was born 21 July 1982 in Portsmouth, she attended Springfield School where she learned to swim.
One of her most significant achievements was becoming the first British female swimmer to win gold at the 2003 World Championships in the 200m backstroke.
She also competed in the 100m and 200m backstroke at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens for Team GB, and has represented England at the Commonwealth Games in 1998, 2002 and 2006.
Katy founded the Katy Sexton Swim Academy in 2010 in Havant, to teach the next generation of swimmers. She is also patron to Off The Record, the counseling service for 11- to 25-year-olds.

Nevil Shute

Portsmouth author Neville Shute

British-born Australian novelist, Nevil Shute, an accomplished storyteller, whose best-known work, On the Beach (1957), was adapted for the screen in 1959. The picture became one of the most celebrated anti-bomb films, and attracted much attention in Moscow because it was the first full-length American feature to have a premiere in the Soviet Union.
Shute was educated as an aeronautical engineer and he used his expertise on technical issues and knowledge of aviation in his books. His novels Pied Piper (1942) and A Town Like Alice (1959) have also been made into major films.
In 1922 Shute joined the de Havilland Aircraft Company. He worked as an aeronautical engineer, specializing in Zeppelins. He was a deputy chief on the Rigid Airship R100 project, one of the last of the British airships. He flew twice to America aboard it. The project ended after the 1930 R101 disaster. Next year Shute founded Airspeed Ltd at Portsmouth Airport. Shute lived for many years at 14 Helena Road in Southsea where a blue plaque is displayed in his honour.

Freda Mary Swain

Composer and Pianist, Freda Swain was born in Portsmouth in 1902, she studied the piano with Dora Matthay and then at the Royal College of Music with Arthur Alexander, whom she married in 1921.
She formed the British Music Movement in 1926 to promote the works of young composers and artists.During her career she wrote over 100 songs, a one-act opera Second Chance, a second unfinished opera The Shadowy Waters, a Suite for Six Trumpets, orchestral pieces, two string quartets and many other works.
Freda died on the 29th January 1985 at the age of 82.

Peter Taylor

Born on 28th February 1922 in Portsmouth Peter Taylor was a film editor from the 1950's to 1980's, he worked on several of the David Lean directed films including Hobson's Choice, Summertime and The Bridge Over The River Kwai. He won an Academy Award for Best Film Editing for his work on The Bridge Over The River Kwai.
In 1966 Taylor moved to Rome and worked on three Franco Zeffirelli directed films, The Taming of the Shrew, La Traviata and Otello.
Peter Taylor died in Rome in 1997 aged 75.

Richard Henry Clements Ubsdell

Richard Ubsdell (1812 - 1887) was a Portsmouth artist who specialised in painting portraits, miniatures and photography. His earliest surviving work is believed to be a watercolour of the jail on Portsmouth High Street, 1830 part of the Portsmouth Record Office Collection.
Ubsdell and his brother Daniel exhibited at the Royal Academy 5 times and a number of his works are part of the National Maritime Museum collection, two of his watercolours from 1863 are in the Royal Collection. Ubsdell ran a photographic studio at 1 Green Row between 1857 and 1878. Ubsdell died on 4th June 1887 at 57 Brompton Road, Landport.

Percy F Westerman

Writer Percy F Westerman was born in Portsmouth in 1876, was educated at Portsmouth Grammar School and went on to a clerical job at Portsmouth Dockyard.
Westerman sold an estimated 1.6 million copies, mostly stories of high military adventure for boys. His first being A Lad Of Grit written in 1908. Many of his stories were in series and his characters included Standish of the Air Police and Cadet Alan Carr of the Merchant Navy. During the First World War Westerman was employed on coastal duties and as a navigation instructor.
At the age of 80 Westerman reluctantly left his houseboat to live on dry land, his final book Mistaken Identity was published in 1959 after his death, he had published over 170 books.

Marc Wootton

Portsmouth born Marc Wootton

Marc Wootton actor, comedian and writer, probably best known for playing the teaching assistant Mr Poppy in the film Nativity, was born in Portsmouth 8th February 1975.

He has appeared in many films including Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel (2009), Arthur Christmas (2011) and High Spirits with Shirley Ghostman (2005). His TV series Home and Dry was broadcast on Channel 4 in 2018.

Marc attended Horndean Community School and Southdowns College.

Marc has won the following awards for his work, the Rose D'or Golden Rose Award Best Gameshow for 2004 My New Best Friend (2004), British Comedy Award Best New TV Comedy My New Best Friend (2003) and BBC Two Greenlight Award .

Mike Wozniak

Mike Wozniak cmoedian from Portsmouth

Michael James Wozniak was born 8 November 1979 in Oxford, is a British comedian, writer and actor, he was brought up in Portsmouth where he attended Portsmouth Grammar.

He studied Medicine at St George's, University of London and worked as a doctor for several years before pursuing comedy, Mike's father was also a doctor. Mike starred in all 4 seasons of the Channel 4 series Man Down, becoming co-writer for the last two series.

Mike's credits include: World's Most Dangerous Roads' 2024, The Great Stand Up To Cancer Bake Off 2023 We Are Not Alone 2022, Would I Lie To You 2022, The Witchfinder 2022 The Last Leg 2022, The Weakest Link 2022, Taskmaster S11 2021, Never Mind The Buzzcocks 2021

Mike has won a number of awards including Time Out's New Act of The Year 2008, Best Show at the Leicester Comedy Festival 2010, and was nominated for The Best Show at The Edinburgh Festival 2013.