Maltese Celebrities That Made It Big!

By August 3, 2017 August 8th, 2018 Intercontinental Malta
joseph calleia

Maltese Celebrities – you might or might not know

This is just a little snip on a handful of famous Maltesers throughout the ages.

We’re starting off from the 1920’s in Hollywood and will work our way through to the world of music, psychology and back again, to the present.

Joseph Calleia (1897-1975)

maltese celebrities hollywood joseph calleia

Calleia might not be that well known today, but take it from me he was big in the ‘20s and ‘30s, from stage and radio to television and film, he did it all. He served in the British Transport Service during World War I, and he travelled to the United States working first on stage. His notable roles included “Broadway”, “The Front Page”, “The Last Mile” and “Grand Hotel”. His appearance in “Small Miracle” made him a star and he excelled especially in the villain roles.

During World War II he led the Malta War Relief organization in the United States. In 1948 he starred in the London stage premiere of Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons” and then Orson Welles 1958 “Touch of Evil”.

It is interesting to note that the role of the lead in “The Godfather” was actually written with him in mind, but he refused to play the part due to health reasons as he had already retired to Malta by 1963.


  • Pietro (1920)
  • The Broken Wing (1922)
  • Small Miracle (1935)

TV & Filmography

  • My Sin (1931)
  • Public Hero No. 1 (1935)
  • Deadline at Dawn (1946)
  • Hot Blood (1956)
  • The Alamo (1960)

Harry Holcombe (1906-1987)

You must know this guy! His work ranges from drama, action to fantasy in movies and television series.

Holcombe was a prominent actor of the 1960s and ‘70s who made his film debut with a small part in the 1943 war drama “The Purple V”, as a Nazi pilot. It was 10 years later that he landed the lead role in the drama series “The Wonderful John Acton” – it failed to catch on but because of it he became a familiar face on television as he stared in one-off roles throughout the ‘60s. You might remember him from the Miami-set cop drama “Surfside 6”, or “My Favourite Martian” and of course, “Bewitched”, “Rawhide” and “Bonanza”.

maltese celebrities hollywood

Holcombe’s sitcom roles included the Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau “The Fortune Cookie” and the Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda comedy “Yours, Mine and Ours”.

By the time he retired he had appeared in more than 80 films and television productions.

TV & Filmography 

  • Road of Life (1954-55)
  • The Bachelor (1955-56)
  • The Young Savages (1961)
  • The Graduate (1967)
  • Escape to Witch Mountain (1975)
  • Matilda (1977)

Edward de Bono (b.1933)

This is the man who coined the term ‘lateral thinking’ and wrote the book “Six Thinking Hats”. He is a psychologist, author and inventor who has thus far written 57 books (translated into 34 languages).

Many schools have incorporated his thinking tools into their curriculum. His main aim stems from the premise that the key for humanity’s improvement lies in better language, better communication. In the “Edward de Bono Code Book” (2000) he proposed a suite of numerically based words, each number combination representing an idea or situation.

maltese celebrities psychologist


  • New thinking (1967/68)
  • Po: A device for successful thinking (1972)
  • Learn to think (1982)
  • Simplicity (1999)

Marc Storace (b.1951)

maltese rock celebrities

Most known as the frontman, lead singer and songwriter of the Swiss hard rock band ‘Krokus’ of the ‘80s. His musical career started in the 1960s moving to London in 1970. Before joining ‘Krokus’ he was with the Swiss Prog Rockers ‘Tea’.

Storace wrote, sang and acted in the Swiss-German films ‘Anuk’ and ‘Handyman’.

‘Krokus’ reunited and in 2015 they embarked on a promo-tour for their “Live” Album playing the Monsters of Rock Cruise in the Caribbean continuing on to the US ending their Longstick Goes Boom Tour with 2 shows at the legendary “Whiskey A Go Go” on LA’s Sunset Strip.



  • Metal Rendez-vous (1980)
  • Headhunter (1983)
  • Heart Attack (1988)
  • Hellraiser (2006)
  • Dirty Dynamite (2013-17)

Emma Heming (b.1978)

Heming is a model and actress. She was born in Malta but then moved on to London and California. Heming was discovered at the age of 16 when she entered the “Big Breakfast find me a supermodel competition” with the Lorraine Ashton model agency in 1991.

She became the spokesperson for the Canadian lingerie retailer ‘La Senza’, and appeared in adverts for ‘Dior’, ‘Escada’, ‘Gap’, ‘Garnier’ and ‘John Frieda’ among others. Heming has appeared on various magazine covers and walked down the runway for designers including ‘Herve Leger’, ‘Christian Dior’, ‘Chanel’ and ‘Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show’.

It was in 2009 that Heming married Bruce Willis in the Turks and Caicos Islands and then in a civil ceremony in California. They have two daughters called Mabel Ray and Evelyn Penn.

TV & Filmography

  • Perfume (2001)
  • Entourage (2006)
  • Perfect Stranger (2007)
  • Red 2 (2013)
maltese celebrities
maltese celebrities tenor

Joseph Calleja (b.1978)

The well known Maltese tenor, who was discovered by Brian Cefai and then continued studies with Paul Asciak. His operatic debut was as Macduff in Verdi’s ‘Macbeth’ at the Astra Theatre in Gozo.

Calleja developed his talent overseas but comes back to the island when he hosts an annual concert on the Granaries – which has been happening since 2009. This event has brought amazing figures from the musical world including Dionne Warwick, Ronan Keating, Gigi D’Alessio, Zucchero, Rebecca Ferguson and Anastasia.


  • Bellini
  • Gounod
  • Puccini
  • Verdi
  • Mozart
  • Moscagni
  • Bizet

Marama Corlett

Corlett is a very discreet actor and manages to keep things private, which is surprising given social media nowadays. Even though we do not know exactly when she was born, we do know a bit about her upbringing in Malta. She pursued a dance career with the company ‘Ballet Russe de Malte’ before she moved to England to pursue her ballet career.

Corlett’s acting career took off with the role in “The Devil’s Double” (2010), directed by Lee Tamahori. She performed on the West End in the 2011 production of “The Children’s Hour” opposite Keira Knightley, Ellen Burstyn, Carol Kane and Elizabeth Moss.

Corlett also appeared in “Desert Dancer” alongside Freida Pinto and then “Maleficent” with Angelina Jolie.

TV & Filmography

  • The Devil’s Double (2012)
  • Sinbad (2012)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
  • Blood Drive (2017)
maltese celebrities

Thank you for reading our blog post, we hope that it was interesting. Have a look at our other blogs:

Top Events Happening in Malta during Summer 2017

A Day in Comino

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