Famous people from Portsmouth R-Z

The Portsmouth Hall of Fame displays the details of some of Portsmouth's famous residents, some of who were born in Portsmouth and others who lived and worked in the City.

Portsmouth has a wealth of famous people both past and present, these include writers, politicians, sports personalties and muscians.

If you know of someone who you feel should be included on these pages, but is missing, then please send us an email to info@welcometoportsmouth.co.uk and let us know the details.


    Comedian Suzi Ruffel born in Portsmouth

    Comedian, writer and actor Suzi Ruffel was born in Portsmouth 18th January 1986 and attended St Edmunds School.

    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.
    She has supported Alan Carr, Josh Widdicombe, Joe Lycett, Kevin Bridges and Romesh Ranganathan on National Tours.


    Comic actor Peter Sellers born in Portsmouth

    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 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.


    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.


    Composer 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.


    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.


    Portrait of a Naval Surgeon by Richard 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, author, born Portsmouth 1876

    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.