Famous American Biographers

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Find out more about the greatest American Biographers, including Washington Irving, David McCullough, Ida Tarbell, Robert Osborne and Garry Wills.
Vote for Your Favourite American Biographers
 1 
Marcus Luttrell
(Retired Navy SEAL Who Received the Navy Cross and Purple Heart for His Actions Against Taliban in 2005)
Marcus Luttrell
4
Birthdate: November 7, 1975
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States
Recipient of Purple Heart and Navy Cross for his actions against Taliban fighters in 2005, Marcus Luttrell became a SO1 in the United States Navy by the end of his eight-year career. He was the lone survivour during the Operation Red Wings. He is the co-host of television show After Action.
 2 
Piper Kerman
(Known for Memoir of Her Prison Experiences, ‘Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison’)
Piper Kerman
4
Birthdate: September 28, 1969
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
 3 
Washington Irving
(Author, Historian, Diplomat)
Washington Irving
4
Birthdate: April 3, 1783
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City, New York
Died: November 28, 1859

Widely known as the first American man of letters, Washington Irving penned the legendary tales of Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, which are also called the first short stories by an American author. He had also had a brief stint as a lawyer.

 4 
Lee Israel
(American Author Known for Committing Literary Forgery)
Lee Israel
4
Birthdate: December 3, 1939
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: December 24, 2014

Starting as a freelance writer, Lee Israel later penned bestselling biographies of personalities such as Tallulah Bankhead and Estée Lauder. She made headlines when she admitted to forging works of deceased authors and actors to make money. Her memoir, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, was later turned into a film.

 5 
Ève Curie
(Journalist and Pianist Best Known for Writing a Biography of Her Mother “Madame Curie”)
Ève Curie
4
Birthdate: December 6, 1904
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: October 22, 2007

French and American writer, journalist, and pianist Ève Curie was one of the daughters of scientists Marie Curie and Pierre Curie. She was the only one in the Curie family who did not choose a career in science. She authored her mother’s biography and was actively involved with UNICEF, helping women and children in developing countries.

 6 
Robert Osborne
(Actor, Television actor, Biographer, Film actor, Historian, Journalist, Screenwriter, Cinematographer, Film producer)
Robert Osborne
4
Birthdate: May 3, 1932
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Colfax
Died: March 6, 2017

Best known for his over two-decade-long stint as a Turner Classic Movies host, Robert Osborne also gained fame for his penning The Official History of the Academy Awards and the National Film Book Award-winning 50 Golden Years of Oscar. A qualified journalist, he also wrote columns for The Hollywood Reporter.

 7 
Monica Crowley
(Radio personality, Biographer, Journalist)
Monica Crowley
4
Birthdate: September 19, 1968
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Arizona

Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Public Affairs, Monica Crowley is also known as a Fox News political analyst. She has penned two bestsellers about her experience of working with Richard Nixon and has also contributed to the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times.

 8 
David McCullough
(American Historian & Author)
David McCullough
4
Birthdate: July 7, 1933
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died: August 7, 2022

David McCullough was an American historian, author, narrator, and lecturer. Over the course of his illustrious career, McCullough received two National Book Awards, two Pulitzer Prizes, and two Francis Parkman Prizes among other prestigious awards. In 2006, he was honored with America's highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He also received over 40 honorary degrees.

 9 
Ron Chernow
(Writer, Historian, Journalist, Biographer)
Ron Chernow
4
Birthdate: March 3, 1949
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, United States

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow is best known for his books Washington: A Life and The House of Morgan. Educated at Yale and Cambridge, he started his career as a freelance journalist and later turned into a master biographer. He also reviews books and is a radio/TV commentator.

 10 
John Eisenhower
(Diplomat, Military historian, Author, Writer, Biographer)
John Eisenhower
4
Birthdate: August 3, 1922
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Denver
Died: December 21, 2013

U.S. Army officer John Eisenhower was the son of military-general-turned-president Dwight D. Eisenhower. He had donned many hats, from teaching English to serving on his father's White House staff. He also assisted his father in writing his memoirs and had been the American ambassador to Belgium, too.

 11 
Ann Rule
(Author of True Crime Books, Famous for Her Book 'The Stranger Beside Me', About Serial Killer Ted Bundy)
Ann Rule
4
Birthdate: October 22, 1931
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lowell, Michigan, United States
Died: July 26, 2015

True crime author Ann Rule had initially been a policewoman and was also well-versed in criminology and psychology. She first gained attention with her book The Stranger Beside Me, which relates her experiences of working with Ted Bundy, a volunteer at a suicide hotline, who later murdered several women.

 12 
Dave Pelzer
(Autobiographer Best Known for His 1995 Memoir of Childhood Abuse, 'A Child Called It')
Dave Pelzer
4
Birthdate: December 29, 1960
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Daly City, California, United States

Best known for his 1995 memoir, A Child Called "It", David James Pelzer is an American author of four autobiographical work and three self-help books. Raised by abusing parents until the age of twelve, he has described his childhood, adolescence and adulthood in the first three books. Also a motivational speaker, his message is all about triumph of human spirit.

 13 
Jim Carroll
(Known for His 1978 Autobiographical Work ‘The Basketball Diaries')
Jim Carroll
4
Birthdate: August 1, 1949
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York, United States
Died: September 11, 2009

Punk musician and author Jim Carroll is best remembered for his autobiographical depiction of his struggle with drugs in his teenage years, The Basketball Diaries, which was later turned into a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Part of The Jim Carroll Band, he was known for the single People Who Died.

 14 
Jon Meacham
(Writer, Reviewer, Historian and Presidential Biographer)
Jon Meacham
4
Birthdate: May 20, 1969
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States

Jon Meacham is an American historian, writer, reviewer, and presidential biographer. Over the years Meacham has contributed to popular publications like The New York Times, Time, and Newsweek. In 2009, he won the Pulitzer Prize for his work American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House. He has also received honorary doctorates from many universities including the University of Tennessee.

 15 
Carl Sandburg
(Writer & Editor)
Carl Sandburg
3
Birthdate: January 6, 1878
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Galesburg, Illinois, United States
Died: July 22, 1967

Carl Sandburg had begun working since age 11 and been employed in various odd jobs, such as a truck driver, a harvester, and a brickyard hand, before being part of the Illinois Infantry. The two-time Pulitzer-winning poet and biographer late also won a Grammy for his recording of Lincoln Portrait.

 16 
Rachel Corrie
(American Activist and Diarist)
Rachel Corrie
3
Birthdate: April 10, 1979
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Olympia, Washington, United States
Died: March 16, 2003

Crushed to death in Gaza by an Israeli armored bulldozer, peace activist Rachel Corrie was also a member of pro-Palestine International Solidarity Movement. Born and raised in USA, she had gone there as part of her college assignment and met her death while trying to stop the demolition of Palestinian houses by Israeli forces, causing international furore.

 17 
Stephen E. Ambrose
(Historian Known for His Biographies of U.S. Presidents 'Dwight D. Eisenhower' and 'Richard Nixon')
Stephen E. Ambrose
3
Birthdate: January 10, 1936
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Decatur, United States
Died: October 13, 2002

Stephen Edward Ambrose was an American biographer and historian. A respected figure, Ambrose was honored with several prestigious awards during his lifetime. In 1998, he was honored with the National Humanities Medal. The same year, he also won the Golden Plate Award as well as the Samuel Eliot Morison Prize. In 2001, he received the Theodore Roosevelt Medal.

 18 
Walter Isaacson
(Author, Journalist, President and CEO of the 'Aspen Institute')
Walter Isaacson
4
Birthdate: May 20, 1952
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

Once an inspiring journalist, Walter Isaacson now teaches history at the Tulane University. Educated at Harvard and Oxford, he has been the chair of CNN, the CEO of Aspen Institute, and an editor at Time. He has also penned biographies of personalities such as Steve Jobs and Leonardo da Vinci.

 19 
Dorothy Bush Koch
4
Birthdate: August 18, 1959
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Harris County, Texas

The author of the New York Times bestseller My Father, My President, Dorothy Bush Koch is the sixth child of former U.S. president George H.W. Bush, and the sister of George W. Bush. A Eucharistic minister, she is also the founder of BB&R Wellness Consulting, centered on health and well-being.

 20 
Bill Bryson
(American–British author of Nonfiction Books on Topics Including Travel, the English language, and Science)
Bill Bryson
4
Birthdate: December 8, 1951
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Des Moines, Iowa, United States
Best known for his books on travel, travel, languages, and science, Bill Bryson had been a journalist before he ventured into writing. Notes From a Small Island gained him the initial attention, while the award-winning and bestselling A Short History of Nearly Everything established him as a seasoned author.
 21 
Robert Caro
(American Journalist and Author Known for His Biographies of 'Robert Moses' and 'Lyndon B. Johnson')
Robert Caro
3
Birthdate: October 30, 1935
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

Known for his extensive research, Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Caro began his career as journalist. Fascinated by the vast power enjoyed by Robert Moses, he published a biography on him, concurrently dealing in prevalent political practices. Taking up Lyndon B. Johnson as his next subject, he has already published four volumes on him and is currently working on the fifth.   

 22 
Carl Bernstein
(Investigative Journalist of 'The Washington Post' Who Exposed the 'Watergate Scandal' that Lead to the Resignation of President Richard Nixon)
Carl Bernstein
4
Birthdate: February 14, 1944
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States

Investigative journalist Carl Bernstein is best known for his reporting on what later came to be known as the Watergate Scandal and led to U.S. president Richard Nixon’s resignation. During the COVID-19 crisis, he termed President Donald Trump a “war criminal.” He is also known for co-authoring All the President's Men.

 23 
Dominique Jackson
(For her leading role of Elektra Abundance on the FX television series Pose)
Dominique Jackson
0
Birthplace: Scarborough, Trinidad and Tobago
 24 
Stephen Humphrey Bogart
(Writer, Television news producer)
Stephen Humphrey Bogart
0
Birthdate: January 6, 1949
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
 25 
Michael Chaplin
3
Birthdate: March 7, 1946
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Santa Monica, California, United States

Michael Chaplin is an American actor best known as Charlie Chaplin's eldest son from his fourth marriage to actress Oona O'Neill. Michael Chaplin is also known for his book I Couldn't Smoke The Grass On My Father's Lawn, a memoir of drugs and rebellion against Charlie Chaplin.

 26 
Cathy O'Brien
3
Birthdate: December 4, 1957
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Muskegon, Michigan, United States

Cathy O'Brien is an American author and conspiracy theorist. She gained national attention when she claimed that the US government is running a secret program called Project Monarch which is designed to control people's minds. She also claimed that she has been a victim of the program and that Project Monarch was part of the Central Intelligence Agency's Project MKUltra.

 27 
Michael Eric Dyson
(Historian, Biographer)
Michael Eric Dyson
4
Birthdate: October 23, 1958
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Detroit

Michael Eric Dyson is an American author, academic, radio host, and ordained minister. He is currently serving as a professor at Vanderbilt University and in the College of Arts and Science. Over the course of his illustrious career, Dyson has received a couple of NAACP Image Awards as well as an American Book Award for his skills as a writer.

 28 
Ruth Benedict
(Anthropologist, Folklorist, University teacher, Poet, Sociologist, Biographer)
Ruth Benedict
3
Birthdate: June 5, 1887
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York City
Died: September 17, 1948

Ruth Benedict was an American folklorist and anthropologist. Benedict, who played an important role in the American Folklore Society, also served as the American Anthropological Association's president; the association gives away an annual prize named after Ruth Benedict. In 2005, she was made an inductee of the National Women's Hall of Fame.

 29 
Susan Berman
(Memoirist of Easy Street, detailed her life as a mobster's daughter)
Susan Berman
0
Birthdate: May 18, 1945
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Died: December 23, 2000
 30 
Deborah Feldman
0
Birthdate: August 17, 1986
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
 31 
John Lahr
(Biographer, Journalist)
John Lahr
3
Birthdate: July 12, 1941
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Los Angeles

John Henry Lahr is an American theater critic who worked as he senior drama critic at The New Yorker magazine from 1992 to 2013. Also an established author, he is known for works like Joy Ride and Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh.

 32 
Randy Shilts
(Author)
Randy Shilts
3
Birthdate: August 8, 1951
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Davenport, Iowa, United States
Died: February 17, 1994
 33 
Ken Murray
(Comedian)
Ken Murray
3
Birthdate: July 14, 1903
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York City, United States
Died: October 12, 1988
 34 
Karine Jean-Pierre
(White House Deputy Press Secretary)
Karine Jean-Pierre
0
Birthdate: August 13, 1977
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Martinique, France
 35 
Garry Wills
(Historian, Biographer)
Garry Wills
3
Birthdate: May 22, 1934
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Atlanta

Best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning book Lincoln at Gettysburg, Garry Wills is a prominent American journalist and historian. Apart from writing books on American politics and the Roman Catholic Church, he also teaches history at Northwestern University. His unorthodox views on Catholicism have often created controversies.

 36 
William Manchester
(American Author, Biographer and Historian)
William Manchester
3
Birthdate: April 1, 1922
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Attleboro, Massachusetts, United States
Died: June 1, 2004

Author of The Death of a President, William Raymond Manchester was a well-known historian, author and a WWII veteran. On finishing his education after the war, he began his career as a reporter, publishing his master's thesis as Disturber of the Peace in 1951, thereafter, continuing to write, publishing a total of eighteen books, including a three part-biography of Churchill

 37 
John Lewis Gaddis
(Historian, University teacher, Biographer)
John Lewis Gaddis
3
Birthdate: April 2, 1941
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cotulla

Military historian and Yale professor John Lewis Gaddis is known for his extensive research on the Cold War and for his books such as The United States and the Origins of the Cold War, 1941-1947. He has also won a Pulitzer Prize for his biography of George F. Kennan.

 38 
Chesley Sullenberger
0
Birthdate: January 23, 1951
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Denison, Texas, United States
 39 
Irving Stone
(Writer)
Irving Stone
3
Birthdate: July 14, 1903
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: San Francisco, California
Died: August 26, 1989
 40 
Daniel J. Boorstin
(Librarian, Historian, Writer, Sociologist, Lawyer, Biographer)
Daniel J. Boorstin
3
Birthdate: October 1, 1914
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Atlanta
Died: February 28, 2004

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and University of Chicago professor Daniel J. Boorstin is best known for his three-volume history of American civilization, The Americans. Born to a lawyer father, Daniel J. Boorstin studied law at Harvard and had also been a communist in his youth. He also held 20 honorary degrees.

 41 
James Truslow Adams
(Historian of the modern age, Historian, Biographer)
James Truslow Adams
3
Birthdate: October 18, 1878
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: May 18, 1949
Shirley Graham Du Bois
3
Birthdate: November 11, 1896
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Died: March 27, 1977
 43 
Michelle Ye
(Best known for her roles in, Eternal Happiness, Triumph in the Skies, and Lost in the Chamber of Love)
Michelle Ye
3
Birthdate: February 14, 1980
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hangzhou, China
 44 
Stacy Schiff
(Historian, Author, Journalist, Writer, Biographer)
Stacy Schiff
3
Birthdate: October 26, 1961
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Massachusetts
 45 
Leon Leonwood Bean
3
Birthdate: October 13, 1872
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Greenwood, Maine, United States
Died: February 5, 1967
 46 
Danny Sugerman
0
Birthdate: October 11, 1954
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: January 5, 2005
 47 
James Farley
(Politician)
James Farley
3
Birthdate: May 30, 1888
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Grassy Point, New York, United States
Died: June 9, 1976
 48 
Carole Simpson
(Broadcaster)
Carole Simpson
3
Birthdate: December 7, 1941
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
 49 
Alex Roy
(Racing driver)
Alex Roy
3
Birthdate: November 23, 1971
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California
 50 
Peter Maas
(Journalist)
Peter Maas
2
Birthdate: June 27, 1929
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: August 23, 2001