Photo: Jonathan Hession/Courtesy of Showtime

Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Jonathan Rhys Meyers is the 29-year-old actor currently starring in The Tudors, a Showtime series about the life and reign of Henry VIII. Because of his surname, Rhys (pronounced “Reese”) Meyers is often assumed to be Welsh, though he was actually born Jonathan O’Keefe in Dublin, Ireland. He’s well known for such roles as Chris Wilton, the murderous social climber in Woody Allen’s Match Point, and the title role in the 2005 mini-series Elvis (for which he won a Golden Globe). He also frequently appears in period dramas, including the upcoming film Brontë, about the famous literary sisters. Often noted for his smoldering good looks, Rhys Meyers is the current face of Versace and was ranked No. 34 on Cosmopolitan’s “100 Most Sexy Men in the World” list in 1998.

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John Rhys-Davies
John Rhys-Davies is the 62-year-old actor who recently lent his voice to Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!, a Disney Channel animated series about a teenage boy who teams with five robotic monkeys to fight the Skeleton King on planet Shuggazoom. He’s better known for such roles as Sallah, the fez-wearing Egyptian friend of Indiana Jones’s (played by Harrison Ford) in Raiders of the Lost Ark. In one memorable scene, Sallah saves Indy from a poisoned date by snatching it midair, then declaring, “Bad dates.” Thanks to this part and another high-profile role—that of dwarf warrior Gimli in the Lord of the Rings trilogy—Rhys-Davies is often assumed to hail from either the Middle East or Middle Earth. He is, in fact, of Welsh extraction, born in Ammanford, Wales, in 1944.

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Jean Rhys
Jean Rhys, an author who died in 1979 at the age of 88, was best known for her 1966 novel, Wide Sargasso Sea. Though she adopted the surname Rhys, she was born Ella Gwendolen Rees Williams in the British West Indies in 1890 to a Welsh father and Creole mother and should not be confused with Rhys Ifans, the actor best known for appearing in his underwear in Notting Hill. Rhys (the author) was mentored by, and had an affair with, Ford Madox Ford, and this romantic entanglement served as the basis of her first novel, Quartet, published in the late twenties. She didn’t attain fame until age 76, with her postcolonial reimagining of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. In 2005, Time magazine selected Wide Sargasso Sea as one of the 100 best English-language novels published since 1923.

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Jonathan Taylor Thomas
Jonathan Taylor Thomas is the 25-year-old actor who’s best known for starring as Randy Taylor in Home Improvement (for which he won a Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Award in 1998). Thomas, who is often referred to by the nickname “JTT,” which he reportedly dislikes, was born Jonathan Taylor Weiss in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Over the course of his career, Thomas has also portrayed Tom Sawyer, Pinocchio, and the title role in Timothy Tweedle, The First Christmas Elf. Widespread Internet rumors in 1998 questioned his sexuality, and he later appeared on the cover of The Advocate to promote a TV movie and declare that he was not gay. Often noted for his prodigious cuteness, he was named one of YM magazine’s “50 Hottest Guys Under the Sun” in 1998.