Moving to Switzerland For Members

Tina Turner to Roger Moore: The stars who moved to Switzerland

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
Tina Turner to Roger Moore: The stars who moved to Switzerland
Audrey Hepburn spent the last decades of her life in a Swiss village. Photo: Pixabay

Many celebrities used to live in Swiss towns and villages, and some still do. One thing characterised them all — despite being rich and famous, they tried to stay mostly under the radar, blending in with the local population.


Tina Turner, who died in May 2023, was not the only world-famous foreign-born celebrity that had called Switzerland ‘home.’

Turner lived in Kusnacht, on Lake Zurich's exclusive Goldkueste (Golden Coast), for the last three decades after moving there with her longtime German partner Erwin Bach, 67.

The American star gave up her US citizenship around a decade ago to become Swiss and was considered a model Swiss citizen. She learned German and also pass a local civics test and an interview to obtain her citizenship.

The couple had long rented their chateau because of restrictions on foreigners owning property. 

But looking back over the last century or so, there was the Irish novelist James Joyce, who, like Turner, lived and died in Zurich, and is buried there.

Before that, there was a genius named Albert Einstein, who not only resided for a time in Zurich and Bern, but also became a Swiss citizen.

And many others as well.

Fast-forward to more recent times, other famous foreigners had made their lives here as well.

Charlie Chaplin

When the British-born actor had to leave the United States in 1952 because he was accused of being a communist sympathiser (which he always denied), Chaplin moved his sizeable family to Corsier-sur-Vevey in Vaud.

He settled in a mansion overlooking Lake Geneva, where he lived until his death in 1977. He was buried in the community.

His house, Manoir de Ban was converted into a museum dedicated to Chaplin’s life and work as an actor and filmmaker.

Manoir de Ban in Corsier-sur-Vevey. Photo by PHILIPPE MERLE / AFP

Audrey Hepburn

The British actress made her career in Hollywood but spent the last 30 years in Tolochenaz, a Vaud village located between Lausanne and Geneva.

Her two sons, Sean and Luca, attended the village school and many residents still fondly remember the family.

After retiring from acting, Hepburn took on a new role: that of the Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). Her tireless humanitarian work won her wide praise in the last years of her life.

Hepburn died in 1993 but her ties with Tolochenaz lived on: her funeral was held in a tiny village church and she is buried in a small cemetery nearby.


Roger Moore

The UK-born actor first settled in the resort of Gstaad, moving, in 1996, to the Valais mountain community of Crans-Montana, where he is remembered as an avid skier, taking to the slopes like his alter ego, James Bond.

In summer months, he lived in Monaco.

In 1991, his friend Audrey Hepburn (see above) asked him to become UNICEF’s ambassador as well, a role that he took to heart.

As he said in an interview, “since then I have been on many missions and seen many atrocities, all of which have affected me deeply. One of these is the plight of street children, who are exploited and reduced to appalling living standards.” 

Years ago, when I was pretending to be James Bond, I never imagined that this was what I would be doing with my life. I do get tired sometimes, but I realize it is very important for me to do it, and I am growing emotionally from it. My involvement with UNICEF has shaped the way I look at the world today."

Moore died in 2017 in Crans-Montana and is buried in Monaco.

Roger Moore and The Local's Helena Bachmann having tea in Crans-Montana. Photo: The Local

Peter Ustinov

Another British actor, Peter Ustinov, spent many years living in in Bursins, a hillside, wine-growing village in Vaud.

During his ‘Swiss years’, Ustonov was involved in humanitarian work, particularly that of promoting  democracy and democratic institutions around the world.. 

He died in 2004 and in buried in a vault in the village cemetery, close to where he lived.


Richard Burton

Welsh-born Burton was perhaps best known as one of Elizabeth Taylor’s many husbands, but he was an acclaimed actor in his own right as well.

He bought a house in a village of Celigny, near Geneva, in the late 1950s, while still married to his first wife, Sybil. After retiring from acting, he lived there, in a villa he named Le Pays de Galles (‘Wales’) for the last 30 years of his life.

Burton died in 1984 and was buried in the village.

Over the years, his grave became overgrown, but was restored in 2022 by a Welsh fan living in Switzerland.

Fans from around the world still flock to Céligny’s Buffet de la Gare, Burton’s favourite restaurant (where reportedly also drank quite a bit).

READ ALSO: Nine top celebrity hotspots in Switzerland

Famous people who still live in Switzerland:

Actress Sofia Loren in Geneva, singer Shania Twain in Corseaux (Vaud), and racing car driver Michael Schumacher in Gland (Vaud), though he has been seriously disabled since 2013, after being injured in a ski accident.


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