Assam - Famous People

Article from North East Today - click here

Julie Christie


Julie Christie is famous for her role as Diana Scott in the film Darling, as Lara in Doctor Zhivago, and as Fiona Anderson in Away From Her. But little did we know that the Academy Award winning actress was born on 14 April 1940 at Singlijan Tea Estate, Chabua, Dibrugarh, Assam, British India. The older child of Rosemary, and Francis “Frank” St. John Christie who ran the tea plantation where she was raised, Christie also had a half-sister (now deceased) from her father’s relationship with an Indian woman, who worked as a tea picker on his plantation. Her father was the manager of Jamirah Tea Estate, situated about 12 kilometers from Dibrugarh Town, Assam. Christie, however, moved to England becoming one of the most popular actresses Hollywood has produced.

Julie Christie article on Assam Birds - click here

Julie has a step sister from another wife of her Father's - a plucker. There was a lot of discord on this.  The Father loved them both.  She was taken to the UK too.


Famous author and playwright, Sir Tom Stoppard

- (screenwriter of "Shakespeare in Love," and "Empire of the Sun") started his first school at Mount Hermon, where he learnt English. He and his mother were Czech refugees, and his mother worked in the Bata shoe shop in Darjeeling. An account of his childhood in Darjeeling is given on my website'_most_famous.htm

Article on Tom Stoppard - click here


Vivien Leigh

The famous Vivien Leigh was born Vivian Mary Hartley on November 5, 1913, in Darjeeling, British India on the campus of St. Paul’s School, Darjeeling.

She was the only child of Ernest Richard Hartley, an English broker, and his wife, Gertrude Mary Frances who is believed to be of Irish and Parsi Indian ancestry. She lived in the country for the next six years where she studied at Loreto Convent School, Darjeeling. Vivien Leigh is most famous for her role as Southern belle Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939) which won her an Academy Award for Best Actress.

Today the name Vivien Leigh is synonymous with Hollywood’s Golden Age. Born in 1913 in Darjeeling, Leigh was born on the campus of the famous St. Paul’s school. Quite fittingly, a number of movies have been shot on campus. Leigh’s portrayal of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind has become iconic and upon its release set the yardstick for future actresses. Film lovers across the world are still bowled over by her considerable beauty and natural charm in her performances. The American Film Institute recently ranked Leigh as the 16th greatest actress ever to appear on-screen.





Colin Cowdrey

The legendary English cricketer Colin Cowdrey was born in the small hill town of Ooty in 1932. Cowdrey’s father, Ernest Cowdrey, was a cricketer himself, and played for the second XI of the Surrey County Cricket Club. Colin was born when his father was running a tea plantation in the hills of Ooty. He moved to England at the age of five to attend Homefield Preparatory School, where he had his first brush with cricket. He then went on to study at Brasenose College, Oxford and represented Oxford before playing for England for over two decades. He retired having broken the record for the maximum number of runs and matches for England, both records having long been held by Sir Wally Hammond.


Other famous people born in India - click here



Erick Avari


Erick Avari was born on April 13, 1952 in Darjeeling, India. His credits include leading roles in films from Kevin Reynolds’ cult classic The Beast of War to commercial megahits such as Stargate, Flight of the Living Dead (2007), The Mummy, Daredevil, Home Alone 4, Planet of the Apes, and Mr. Deeds.



Helen Haye


British actress Helen Haye was born on 28 August 1874 in Assam. Popularly known as Helen Hay, she began acting on the stage in 1898 and debuted in London in 1911 as Gertrude in Hamlet. Her film career began in 1917. She was an actress, known for The 39 Steps (1935), The Skin Game (1931) and Hobson’s Choice (1954).  Her final appearance was in a Laurence Olivier’s Richard III as the Duchess of York. Believed to be Britain’s oldest working actress, Haye died on 1 September 1957 at the age of 83.



Joni Flynn


Joni Flynn was born on December 18, 1949 in Assam, India. She has starred in movies like Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), Octopussy (1983) and Felicity (1978).



Karen David


Karen David was born in Shillong, Meghalaya, to a Khasi mother and South-Indian father. She collaborated with A.R. Rahman on the Broadway musical Bombay Dreams. Known for her role in The Scorpion King 2: Rise of Warrior, she also recently played Princess Isabella, who seeks out and engages a once-gallant prince in order to save her people from an evil king in the ABC comedy extravaganza “Galavant”.


Tim Waterstone - Founder of Waterstones Bookstores

Tim Waterstone grew up in Assam.  His father was a tea planter - click here

He talks of his childhood scars and a poor relationship with his father - click here