Famous 21st Century Novelists

Find out more about the greatest 21st Century Novelists, including William Gibson, Lady Colin Campbell, J. K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman and Haruki Murakami.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 J. K. Rowling

J. K. Rowling
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Famous As: Novelist & Producer
Birthdate: July 31, 1965
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Yate, England

JK Rowling’s story is that of rags-to-riches. She is the author of the Harry Potter fantasy series, which have sold more than 500 million copies and is the best-selling book series in history. She also writes crime fiction albeit under a pen name. Rowling supports many charities and has founded Lumos, an international NGO, working for children.

 2 George R. R. Martin

George R. R. Martin
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: September 20, 1948
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bayonne, New Jersey, United States
George R. R. Martin wrote the epic fantasy series of novels, A Song of Ice and Fire, which inspired the iconic Emmy-winning HBO series Game of Thrones. Also known as the "American Tolkien," he was featured on TIME 100. He has earned the Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker awards, too.
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 3 Guillermo del Toro

Guillermo del Toro
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Famous As: Filmmaker, Screenwriter
Birthdate: October 9, 1964
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Guadalajara, Jalisco

Guillermo del Toro is one of the most popular Mexican filmmakers of all time. Along with Alejandro Iñárritu and Alfonso Cuarón, he is known as one of the Three Amigos of Cinema. He also played a major role as a former special effects makeup artist. In 2018, he was named in Time's 100 most influential people in the world list.

 4 Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood
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Famous As: Writer, Environmental Activist
Birthdate: November 18, 1939
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Margaret Atwood is a Canadian poet and novelist. Her works encompass themes, such as religion and myth, climate change, and gender and identity. An award-winning writer, many of Atwood's works have been made into films and television series; her work, The Handmaid's Tale, has had several adaptations. Perhaps, Margaret Atwood's most important contribution is her invention of the LongPen device.

 5 Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: November 11, 1922
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Died: April 11, 2007

Science-fiction author Kurt Vonnegut is best remembered for the novel Slaughterhouse-Five, which became a New York Times bestseller. The Hugo Award-winner had also fought against the Germans in World War II and expressed his anti-war and atheist views through his works, which also include short stories, plays, and autobiographical works.  

 6 Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie
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Famous As: British-Indian novelist
Birthdate: June 19, 1947
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Mumbai

Salman Rushdie is a British Indian novelist whose work Midnight's Children is widely considered the best novel of all Booker Prize winners. In 2007, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to literature. In 2008, he was ranked 13th in the 50 greatest British writers since 1945 list published by The Times.

 7 Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: February 18, 1931
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lorain, Ohio
Died: August 5, 2019
Author, editor, and Princeton professor Toni Morrison is best remembered for her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Beloved, part of a trilogy. Some of her other notable works include The Bluest Eye and Song of Solomon. She received the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature. She also wrote several children’s books and plays.
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 8 John Grisham

John Grisham
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Famous As: American writer
Birthdate: February 8, 1955
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Jonesboro, Arkansas
Criminal lawyer-turned-author John Grisham is known for his bestselling legal thrillers The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Rainmaker, and A Time to Kill. Nine of his novels have been made into films. He is one of three authors to have sold 2 million copies in his first printing.

 9 Dan Brown

Dan Brown
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: June 22, 1964
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Exeter, New Hampshire, United States

Dan Brown is an American author best known for writing a series of Robert Langdon novels; three such novels, namely The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, and Inferno, have been made into films, with Tom Hanks portraying Robert Langdon in all three movies. Also known for his charity work, Dan Brown donates money to several charitable causes.

 10 Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: August 22, 1920
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Waukegan, Illinois, United States
Died: June 5, 2012
Ray Bradbury is best remembered for his writings in the science-fiction, mystery, and horror genres, the most notable being the short story anthology Martian Chronicles and the novel Fahrenheit 451. He also contributed to the screenplays of various series and films, and won an Emmy for writing The Halloween Tree.

 11 Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho
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Famous As: Brazilian lyricist
Birthdate: August 24, 1947
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho is best known for his iconic novel The Alchemist, which has been translated into about 70 languages. He was once sent to a mental institution by his parents for not following the usual career path. He dropped out of law school and became a hippie later.

 12 John Le Carré

John Le Carré
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: October 19, 1931
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Poole, Dorset, England

 13 Philip Roth

Philip Roth
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: March 19, 1933
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, USA

Philip Roth was a novelist and short-story writer best remembered for creating the fictional character Nathan Zuckerman, who featured in many of his novels. The recipient of the 1997 Pulitzer Prize, he also received the inaugural Franz Kafka Prize. Roth was one of the most awarded American writers of his generation. Born a Jew, he became an atheist later on.

 14 Cormac McCarthy

Cormac McCarthy
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: July 20, 1933
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Providence, Rhode Island, United States
Renonwed as one of the most gifted contemporary writers, Cormac McCarthy is distinguished for his unique writing style and graphic depictions of violence. His novels depict wayward characters in the rural American South and Southwest. He shot to fame with his novel All The Pretty Horses and bagged in Pulitzer Prize for his post-apocalyptic novel The Road.

 15 Stephen King

Stephen King
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: September 21, 1947
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Portland, Maine

One of the most popular American authors, Stephen King has sold over 350 million copies of his works. Many of his books have been adapted into television series, miniseries, and films. One of the most decorated authors, King believes in giving back to society as he and his wife are noted philanthropists.

 16 Isabel Allende

Isabel Allende
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: August 2, 1942
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lima
Chilean author Isabel Allende is known for her bestselling Spanish-language novels The House of the Spirits and City of the Beasts. The Chilean National Literature Prize-winner explores women’s perspectives and includes magic realism and autobiographical aspects in her works. She has also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

 17 Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: November 10, 1960
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Portchester, Hampshire, England
Author Neil Gaiman has written numerous novels, short stories, film scripts, and comics. He has won the Hugo, Bram Stoker, and Nebula awards, and the Carnegie and Newbery medals. Some of his best works are American Gods, Stardust, The Graveyard Book, and the comic series The Sandman

 18 David McCallum

David McCallum
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 19, 1933
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland

David McCallum is a Scottish musician and actor who gained recognition for portraying Illya Kuryakin in the popular spy fiction TV series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. He gained international recognition for playing Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard in the action police procedural TV series NCIS. David McCallum has also contributed as a writer, publishing a novel titled Once a Crooked Man.

 19 David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: February 21, 1962
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ithaca, New York, United States
Died: September 12, 2008

David Foster Wallace was an American author who is regarded as one of the most innovative and influential writers of the past 20 years. His best-known work, Infinite Jest, was named one of the best English-language novels between 1923 and 2005 by Time magazine. Wallace continues to serve as an inspiration to writers like Darin Strauss and George Saunders.

 20 John Green

John Green
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Famous As: Author, Vlogger
Birthdate: August 24, 1977
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
John Green soared to fame with his bestselling novel The Fault in Our Stars, which was turned into a movie. His other notable works include the novels Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska. Also a prominent YouTuber, he manages the channel Vlogbrothers and has co-founded the educational channel Crash Course.

 21 David Thewlis

David Thewlis
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 20, 1963
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Blackpool, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom
David Thewlis gained fame with his role in Naked, a film that won him a Cannes Film Festival Award. Fans loved him as Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter film franchise and Sir Patrick Morgan/Ares in Wonder Woman. He has also written a novel and directed a BAFTA-nominated short film. 

 22 Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 12, 1949
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan
Japanese writer Haruki Murakami has authored bestselling works such as Norwegian Wood and Kafka on the Shore, which explore the genres of surrealism and magic realism. He has also translated works by J. D. Salinger and Raymond Carver. He has been named to Time 100 and has won numerous awards.

 23 Gene Hackman

Gene Hackman
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 30, 1930
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: San Bernardino, California, United States

For someone who was voted by his acting school peers as 'The Least Likely To Succeed', Gene Hackman went on to have a remarkable acting career spanning around half a century with multiple prestigious awards. His notable films include Bonnie and Clyde, The French Connection, Unforgiven, Mississippi Burning and The Royal Tenenbaums. Apart from acting, Gene Hackman is also a novelist and has written six books.

 24 MacKenzie Scott

MacKenzie Scott
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Famous As: Novelist, Ex-Wife of Jeff Bezos
Birthdate: April 7, 1970
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States

 25 Lucy Hawking

Lucy Hawking
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Famous As: Journalist, Novelist, Writer
Birthdate: November 2, 1970
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: England
Lucy Hawking, daughter of legendary physicist Stephen Hawking, has been a journalist with New York Magazine, The Times, and The Telegraph. She has also authored several children's books, such as George's Secret Key to the Universe. She is the VP of National Star College and also works for autism research.

 26 V. S. Naipaul

V. S. Naipaul
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: August 17, 1932
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Trinidad and Tobago
Died: August 11, 2018

Born to Indian descendants in Trinidad, V. S. Naipaul grew up to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. The author of iconic novels such as Half a Life and A House for Mr. Biswas, Naipaul was also knighted. His realistic depiction of developing countries and their miseries won hearts worldwide.

 27 Asia Argento

Asia Argento
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Famous As: Actress, Model, Writer
Birthdate: September 20, 1975
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rome
Asia Argento, daughter of filmmaker Dario Argento, has starred in movies such as XXX, Traveling Companion, and Transylvania. She declared that Harvey Weinstein had sexually assaulted her in the 1990s, while she was herself accused of assaulting Jimmy Bennett. She was dating Anthony Bourdain at the time of his death.

 28 Nicholas Sparks

Nicholas Sparks
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: December 31, 1965
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Omaha
Novelist Nicholas Sparks is known for his bestselling books which have been translated into over 50 languages. Eleven of his books, such as Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember, and The Notebook, have been adapted into films. He also owns the educational non-profit The Nicholas Sparks Foundation.

 29 John Barrowman

John Barrowman
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 11, 1967
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland

John Barrowman is a Scottish-born author, comic book writer, presenter, singer, and actor. Barrowman is also known for his charity work and activism. Over the years, he has been a strong supporter of the LGBT community and has worked with organizations like Stonewall. He also has his own skincare line named HIM.

 30 Stacey Dash

Stacey Dash
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 20, 1967
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York City, New York, USA

 31 Kazuo Ishiguro

Kazuo Ishiguro
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Famous As: Nobel Prize Winner in Literature
Birthdate: November 8, 1954
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Nagasaki, Japan
Nobel Prize-winning British-Asian author Sir Kazuo Ishiguro also won the Man Booker Prize for the novel The Remains of the Day. Time named his Never Let Me Go the best novel of 2005. He has also penned several screenplays and songs, and is known for his signature first-person narrative style.

 32 James Patterson

James Patterson
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: March 22, 1947
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Newburgh, New York

One of the highest-earning authors in the contemporary world, James Patterson is the writer of many mystery fictions which sold records copie globally. Born to working-class parents of Irish-origin, the American writer whose thriller novels include Alex Cross and Michael Bennett series is also a philanthropist and contributes to promoting reading. He founded the James Patterson PageTurner Awards.

 33 Greg Gutfeld

Greg Gutfeld
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Famous As: Television personality
Birthdate: September 12, 1964
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: San Mateo, California, USA

 34 Richard Belzer

Richard Belzer
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Famous As: Stand-up Comedian, Actor, Author
Birthdate: August 4, 1944
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bridgeport, Connecticut
Richard Belzer is best known as John Munch from the series Homicide: Life on the Street and Law & Order: SVU. He continued to play the role in several other series and a TV movie. He has also written several books on conspiracy theories, of which two became bestsellers.

 35 Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 15, 1977
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Enugu, Nigeria

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian writer and feminist. She is popular for writing novels, such as Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun. She is credited with popularizing African literature among a new generation of readers, especially in the United States. In 2015, she was named in Time magazine's list of 100 Most Influential People.

 36 Mark Gatiss

Mark Gatiss
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 17, 1966
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Sedgefield, County Durham, England
Mark Gatiss is best known for both writing and appearing in Doctor Who, Dracula, and Sherlock. He is also part of the comedy group The League of Gentlemen and has appeared as Tycho Nestoris in Game of Thrones. He has written the Lucifer Box novels, too.

 37 Milan Kundera

Milan Kundera
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: April 1, 1929
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Brno, Czechia

Milan Kundera is a Czech writer who became a naturalized French citizen in 1981 after going into exile in France in 1975. Although his Czechoslovak citizenship was revoked four years after going into exile, he received Czech citizenship in 2019, thanks to his achievements as a writer. He is the recipient of several prestigious awards, such as the Jerusalem Prize.

 38 Chuck Palahniuk

Chuck Palahniuk
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Famous As: Novelist & Journalist
Birthdate: February 21, 1962
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Pasco, Washington, United States

Freelance journalist and author Chuck Palahniuk specializes in what he calls transgressional fiction. His popular novel Fight Club was adapted into a film starring Brad Pitt and also won awards such as the Oregon Book Award for Best Novel. Though critics call his books nihilistic, he himself calls them romantic.

 39 Jackie Collins

Jackie Collins
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: October 4, 1937
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England, UK
Died: September 19, 2015

 40 Bruce Boxleitner

Bruce Boxleitner
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 12, 1950
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Elgin, Illinois, United States

The American actor, who shot to fame following his success in the television series How the West Was Won, Bring 'Em Back Alive and Scarecrow and Mrs King, starred in Babylon 5 films. Bruce William Boxleitner is also known for his comic roles. He appeared in video games and is credited as the author of two science fiction novels.

 41 Eileen Davidson

Eileen Davidson
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 15, 1959
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Artesia, California

 42 Ken Follett

Ken Follett
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: June 5, 1949
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Cardiff, Wales

 43 Michael Nesmith

Michael Nesmith
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Famous As: Musician, Singer, Novelist, Screenwriter, Film actor, Stage actor, Television actor, Guitarist, Songwriter
Birthdate: December 30, 1942
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Houston

 44 Lee Child

Lee Child
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: October 29, 1954
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Coventry, England

 45 Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith
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Famous As: Writer, Novelist, Essayist
Birthdate: October 25, 1975
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London

Author Zadie Smith was born in London to a British father and a Jamaican mother. Her bestselling debut novel, White Teeth, won numerous awards and catapulted her to fame, while her third novel, On Beauty, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. She has also taught fiction at New York University.

 46 Joe Hill

Joe Hill
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Famous As: Novelists
Birthdate: June 4, 1972
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bangor, Maine, United States
Bram Stoker Award-winning author Joseph Hillström King, known by his pseudonym, Joe Hill, has gained famed with his novels such as Heart-Shaped Box and Horns and his short story anthologies such as 20th Century Ghosts and Strange Weather. He has also authored the comic book series Locke & Key.

 47 Shashi Tharoor

Shashi Tharoor
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Famous As: Writer, Politician, Diplomat
Birthdate: March 9, 1956
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: London

Born in London, to an Indian couple, Shashi Tharoor is known for his award-winning books such as the The Great Indian Novel and his over-the-top English vocabulary. Tharoor is also a Congress MP. He made headlines when his wife Sunanda Pushkar was found dead in a luxury hotel.

 48 Jeffrey Archer

Jeffrey Archer
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Famous As: Politician, Novelist, Writer, Playwright, Science fiction writer, Children's writer
Birthdate: April 15, 1940
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London

Jeffrey Archer is an English author and former politician whose books have sold over 320 million copies around the world. Archer has been a controversial figure; he was convicted of perjury in 2001 after which he was sent to Belmarsh Prison from where he was later transferred to Wayland Prison. His conviction ended his political career.

 49 Alex Garland

Alex Garland
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Famous As: Novelist, Screenwriter, Film Director
Birthdate: May 26, 1970
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London

Alex Garland is an English filmmaker and writer best known for penning the critically acclaimed novel, The Beach, which was adapted into a movie after being translated into 25 languages. Apart from writing screenplays of films like 28 Days Later, Garland has also directed movies like Ex Machina, which earned him an Oscar nomination and a couple of BIFA awards.

 50 Robby Benson

Robby Benson
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 21, 1956
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Dallas, Texas, United States

Robby Benson is an American actor, filmmaker, composer, singer, and teacher. He gained popularity in the late-1970s when he established himself as a teen idol, appearing in films like Ice Castles and One on One. Apart from being an entertainer, Robby Benson is also a fundraiser and activist for heart research.