From Boris Johnson to Rita Ora: The famous faces who were born in surprising places REVEALED

Singer Rita Ora was born in Pristina, SFR Yugoslavia (modern-day Kosovo)


While you might think that Boris Johnson was born and raised in the UK, what many people don’t realise is that the Prime Minister was actually born in New York City. 

A new interactive map hit the headlines this week after revealing the most notable people from different towns around the world – with many viewers shocked at the results. 

The map shows that Johnson is one of the most notable people to have been born in New York, while Barack Obama is the most notable person to hail from Honolulu. 

Meanwhile, Rita Ora, who was born in Pristina, SFR Yugoslavia (modern-day Kosovo), posted a screenshot of MailOnline’s article to her Instagram Stories, along with a shot of the map showing she is one of the most notable people from her hometown. 

Here, MailOnline reveals some of the other famous faces who were born in surprising places, including Mel Gibson, Freddie Mercury and Nicole Kidman. 

Singer Rita Ora was born in Pristina, SFR Yugoslavia (modern-day Kosovo) Rita Ora posted a screenshot of MailOnline's story to her Instagram Story

Meanwhile, Rita Ora, who was born in Pristina, SFR Yugoslavia (modern-day Kosovo), posted a screenshot of MailOnline’s story to her Instagram Story, showing her as one of the most notable people from her hometown

Most notable people in UK cities 

  • London – Charlie Chaplin
  • Cardiff – Roald Dahl
  • Birmingham – Ozzy Osbourne
  • Manchester – J.J. Thomson 
  • Liverpool – John Lennon
  • Sheffield – Joe Cocker
  • Leeds – Mel B
  • York – Judi Dench 
  • Newcastle – Sting
  • Middlesbrough – James Cook
  • Edinburgh – Sean Connery
  • Glasgow – Mark Knopfler 

Rita Ora

Rita Ora was born Rita Sahatçiu on 26 November 1990, in Pristina, SFR Yugoslavia, which is now Kosovo. 

When she turned one, her Albanian parents, Vera and Besnik Sahatçiu, fled Kosovo and moved to the UK at a time when Albanians were being oppressed by Dictator Slobodan Milosevic. 

Boris Johnson

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was born Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson in New York on 19 June 1964.  

As a child, he spent time in New York, London and Brussels, before attending boarding school at Eton College.  

Keanu Reeves

Keanu Charles Reeves was born on 2 September 1964, in Beirut, Lebanon. 

Of Chinese-Hawaiian heritage on his father’s side, Keanu translates from Hawaiian to English as ‘cool breeze over the mountains.’  

Upon his parents’ split, Keanu moved with his mother and sister to New York and then Toronto. 

Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman, born Natalie Hershlag, was born on 9 June 1981 in Jerusalem, Israel. 

Her mother was American and her father was Israeli. 

In 1984 the family moved to the United States, eventually settling in Syosset, Long Island, New York.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson was born Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson in New York on 19 June 1964 As a child, Johnson spent time in New York, London and Brussels, before attending boarding school at Eton College

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was born Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson in New York on 19 June 1964. As a child, he spent time in New York, London and Brussels, before attending boarding school at Eton College.

Mel Gibson

While Mel Gibson is an Australian actor, what many people don’t realise is that he was American born. 

Gibson was born on 3 January 1956 in Peekskill, New York, before moving with his family Australia when he was twelve years old. 

Emma Watson

Emma Watson famously played Belle in the 2017 adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, which is set in Riquewihr, a small village located in the Alsace region of France. 

And it seems that Emma was born for the role, having been born in France herself. 

Watson was born on 15 April 1990 in Paris, before moving to Oxfordshire with her mother after her parents split. 

Of Chinese-Hawaiian heritage on his father's side, Keanu translates from Hawaiian to English as 'cool breeze over the mountains' Keanu Charles Reeves was born on 2 September 1964, in Beirut, Lebanon.

Keanu Charles Reeves was born on 2 September 1964, in Beirut, Lebanon. Of Chinese-Hawaiian heritage on his father’s side, Keanu translates from Hawaiian to English as ‘cool breeze over the mountains’

The Queen front-man's parents are both of British-Indian descent, and the family relocated to Zanzibar for his father¿s government job Freddie Mercury was born Farrokh Bulsara on 5 Sepetmber 1946 in Stone Town, Zanzibar (now Tanzania)

Freddie Mercury was born Farrokh Bulsara on 5 Sepetmber 1946 in Stone Town, Zanzibar (now Tanzania). The Queen front-man’s parents are both of British-Indian descent, and the family relocated to Zanzibar for his father’s government job

Nicole Kidman

Like Mel Gibson, Nicole Kidman is known as an Australian actor.

However, Kidman was actually born in Honolulu, Hawaii on 20 June 1967.

Her parents are both Australian, but were living in Honolulu at the time of her birth due to an extended assignment by her father at the National Institute of Mental Health.

Her family moved back to Sydney when Nicole was four years old, where she spent the rest of her youth. She still has dual American and Australian citizenship.

Freddie Mercury

Freddie Mercury was born Farrokh Bulsara on 5 Sepetmber 1946 in Stone Town, Zanzibar (now Tanzania). 

The Queen front-man’s parents are both of British-Indian descent, and the family relocated to Zanzibar for his father’s government job. 

They moved to India for most of the singer’s youth, and then back to Zanzibar shortly before the revolution, after which they settled in London in 1964. 

In Texas, Selena Gomez, Tommy Lee Jones and Beyonce are some of the most notable people, while in Florida, Ariana Grande, Jim Morrison and Tomy Petty top the list

In Texas, Selena Gomez, Tommy Lee Jones and Beyonce are some of the most notable people, while in Florida, Ariana Grande, Jim Morrison and Tomy Petty top the list

The map is the brainchild of Mapbox researcher and geographer Topi Tjukanov and is based on a study published in June this year. 

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In the study, researchers from the University of Paris set out to calculate a person’s notability based on information scraped from Wikipedia and Wikidata. 

‘A new strand of literature aims at building the most comprehensive and accurate database of notable individuals,’ the research team, led by Morgane Laouénan wrote.

‘We collect a massive amount of data from various editions of Wikipedia and Wikidata.’ 

The data takes into account a number of factors, including the number of Wikipedia entries, the length of entries, the average number of views for each person from 2015-2018, and the total number of external links. 

‘Using data from Morgane Laouenan et al, the map is showing birthplaces of the most ‘notable people’ around the world,’ Mr Tjukanov explained. 

‘Data has been processed to show only one person for each unique geographic location with the highest notability rank.’

The map is the brainchild of Mapbox researcher and geographer Topi Tjukanov and is based on a study published in June this year

The map is the brainchild of Mapbox researcher and geographer Topi Tjukanov and is based on a study published in June this year 

How was the map made? 

The map is the brainchild of Mapbox researcher and geographer Topi Tjukanov and is based on a study published in June this year. 

In the study, researchers from the University of Paris set out to calculate a person’s notability based on information scraped from Wikipedia and Wikidata. 

The data takes into account a number of factors, including the number of Wikipedia editions, the length of entries, the average number of views for each person from 2015-2018, and the total number of external links. 

Users can view the most notable person in their hometown across four categories – Culture, Discovery & Science, Leadership, or Sports & Games.

Alternatively, you can select ‘All’ to see the overall most notable person.  

While you might think that one of the members of the royal family would be the most notable person born in London, the map suggests that Charlie Chaplin is actually the UK capital’s most notable person. 

Meanwhile, in other cities across the UK, Roald Dahl is the most notable person from Cardiff, J.J. Thomson from Manchester, Mel B from Leeds, and Sean Connery from Edinburgh, according to the map. 

Across the pond in the United States, several famous names top the list. 

In Texas, Selena Gomez, Tommy Lee Jones and Beyonce are some of the most notable people, while in Florida, Ariana Grande, Jim Morrison and Tomy Petty top the list. 

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And in California, it’s Marilyn Monroe, Cameron Diaz, and Cher who take the titles as the most notable people. 

Mr Tjukanov posted a link to the map on Twitter, writing: ‘Did you know Freddie Mercury was born in Zanzibar and Barack Obama in Honolulu? 

‘Who is the most famous person from your home town?’

Many users have responded to discuss the unexpected famous faces from their hometowns. 

One user said: ‘My small hometown of Linlithgow (pop. 15k) is birthplace to Mary Queen of Scots, Prof Charles Wyville Thomson (who led the Challenger expedition of 1872), John West (tinned fish) and in 2222 *will* be the birth place of Cmdr Montgomery Scott of the USS Enterprise!’

Another added: ‘Sharing a birthplace with Frank Oz will never stop pleasing me. 

‘I like to tell people that means both Yoda and Fozzie Bear were born in the same hospital as me.’

And one joked: ‘This is just such silly fun. I’m enjoying discovering all the folks I didn’t know were Yinzers: Jeff Goldblum? Coach Cal? Never knew about them!’ 

Robert Pattinson is the most handsome man in the world according to the ‘Golden Ratio’ equation 

The British Twilight actor (pictured), 33, was found to be 92.15 per cent 'accurate' to the Golden Ratio of Beauty Phi - which measures physical perfection

The British Twilight actor (pictured), 33, was found to be 92.15 per cent ‘accurate’ to the Golden Ratio of Beauty Phi – which measures physical perfection

Robert Pattinson has been declared the most handsome man in the world following science research into what constitutes the ‘perfect face’.

The British Batman actor, 33, was found to be 92.15 per cent ‘accurate’ to the Golden Ratio of Beauty Phi, which is said to measure physical perfection.

His eyes, eyebrows, nose, lips, chin, jaw and facial shape were measured against other celebrities and came closest to the ancient Greeks’ idea of perfection.

The list was compiled using the latest computerised mapping techniques by Harley Street facial cosmetic surgeon Dr Julian De Silva, who utilises the technology in his work. 

Dr De Silva, who runs the Centre For Advanced Facial Cosmetic And Plastic Surgery, in London, said: ‘Robert Pattinson was the clear winner when all elements of the face were measured for physical perfection.

‘These brand new computer mapping techniques allow us to solve some of the mysteries of what it is that makes someone physically beautiful and the technology is useful when planning patients’ surgery.’ 



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