Famous American Non-Fiction Writers

What can be more joyous than re-reading your favorite book for the nth time just because you love it so much? Reading, as any book lover will tell you, is therapeutic and when it is from the stable of one of your most favorite writers, the joy just doubles up. Whether you are looking for inspiration or just need something to read during your downtime, we have got America’s best non-fiction writers covered for you. Here is an extensive list of must-read American non-fiction writers who deserve to be in the wish list of all book lovers. Some new, some old, some you've no doubt already read, these non-fiction writers were, are and will always list on top of every book lover’s catalogue. Now only if you thought non-fiction was stranger and boring than fantasy and fiction, make out time to check out the work by some of these great writers. But before that, don’t miss out to delve into the biography, trivia and facts about America’s famous non-fiction writers.

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

Vote for Your Favourite American Non-Fiction Writers

 1 Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson.
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Famous As: 3rd U.S. President
Birthdate: April 13, 1743
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Shadwell, Virginia, United States
Died: July 4, 1826

The 2nd Vice President and the 3rd President of America, Thomas Jefferson was one of the Founding Fathers of USA and the principal draftsman of the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson was a staunch advocate of democracy and a strong believer of individual rights and religious freedom, despite the fact that he himself owned nearly 600 slaves.

 2 Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway.
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Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: July 21, 1899
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Oak Park, Illinois, United States
Died: July 2, 1961

Ernest Hemingway was an American novelist and short-story writer who had a strong impact on 20th-century fiction. He published seven novels and six short-story collections and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea are some of his classic works. He ended his own life in July 1961.

 3 Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass.
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Famous As: American orator
Birthdate: February 1, 1818
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Talbot County, Maryland, U.S
Died: February 20, 1895

Social reformer and abolitionist, Frederick Douglass was a national leader of the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts and New York. Born into slavery, he had a difficult early life. Eventually, he managed to escape and dedicated the rest of his life to promoting the cause of abolition. He was a great orator and writer.

 4 Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath.
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Famous As: Poet, Novelist, and Writer
Birthdate: October 27, 1932
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: February 11, 1963

Sylvia Plath was an American short-story writer, novelist, and poet. Plath is credited with popularizing confessional poetry and won a posthumous Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. Sylvia Plath achieved popularity and critical acclaim despite suffering from clinical depression for the most part of her adult life. Her story inspired the 2003 film Sylvia in which she was portrayed by Gwyneth Paltrow.

 5 James Baldwin

James Baldwin.
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: August 2, 1924
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Harlem, New York, United States
Died: December 1, 1987

Amongst the greatest writers of the 20th century and a leading literary voice in the civil rights movement, James Baldwin extensively explored issues like race, sexuality and humanity in his work. His best known work include his debut novel Go Tell It on the Mountain and his books of essays Notes of a Native Son and Nobody Knows My Name.

 6 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.

 7 Truman Capote

Truman Capote.
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: September 30, 1924
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Died: August 25, 1984
Truman Capote is best known for his novella Breakfast at Tiffany's, which was made into a movie that starred Audrey Hepburn, and the non-fiction novel In Cold Blood. His short story Shut a Final Door won the O. Henry Award. He was a lifelong friend of author Harper Lee.
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 8 Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau.
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Famous As: Writer and Philosopher
Birthdate: July 12, 1817
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Concord, Massachusetts, United States
Died: May 6, 1862

Henry David Thoreau was an American philosopher, essayist, poet, and naturalist. He is credited with popularizing transcendentalism and simple living. His philosophy of civil disobedience, which was detailed in his essay of the same name, later influenced world-renowned personalities like Leo Tolstoy, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mahatma Gandhi.

 9 Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emersion.
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Famous As: American Lecturer, Philosopher, Essayist & Poet
Birthdate: May 25, 1803
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: April 27, 1882

Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American philosopher who led the transcendentalist movement that developed in the eastern United States in the 1820s and 1830s. He is credited with popularizing individualism through his numerous lectures and essays. Emerson influenced many thinkers and writers that followed him; he mentored Henry David Thoreau, who went on to become a leading transcendentalist.

 10 Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell.
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Famous As: Writer, Journalist
Birthdate: September 3, 1963
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Fareham, Hampshire, England
Malcolm Gladwell is best known for his bestselling books The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers. He has also written for The New Yorker and The Washington Post. His writings encompass subjects such as psychology, economics, and sociology. Gladwell has also co-founded a podcast company and hosts the podcast Revisionist History.

 11 Mark Twain

Mark Twain Image.
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: November 30, 1835
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Florida, Missouri, United States
Died: April 21, 1910

Mark Twain, “the father of American literature,” was one of the world’s greatest 19-th century humorists and authors. His novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn were drawn from his childhood experiences in Missouri. In his later life, he sunk into bankruptcy and also recovered.

 12 Jordan Belfort

Jordan Belfort.
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: July 9, 1962
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York, United States
The former stock broker, who was convicted for stock-market manipulation and cheating several investors, Jordan Belfort spent 22 months in prison before he was released and altered his way of living. Using his life experiences, he became a motivational speaker and also authored two memoirs, one of which, The Wolf of Wall Street, was adapted into an award winning film.

 13 Bob Woodward

Bob Woodward
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Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: March 26, 1943
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Geneva, Illinois, United States

 14 Ann Coulter

Ann Coulter.
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Birthdate: December 8, 1961
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York City, United States
Ann Coulter is a political commentator and has written countless bestselling books, including High Crimes and Misdemeanors, which enumerated the reasons why Bill Clinton should have been impeached. She assisted Paula Jones’s attorneys for free. Her columns are featured on various conservative websites. She opposes same-sex marriage and hate-crime laws.

 15 Mara Wilson

Mara Wilson.
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Famous As: Writer, Actress
Birthdate: July 24, 1987
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Burbank, California

Mara Wilson stole the hearts of many with her performance as a child actress in films like Mrs. Doubtfire, Miracle on 34th Street, and Matilda. After growing up, she decided to pursue a career as a writer. In one of her interviews, she spoke about her mental illnesses, including OCD, depression, and anxiety. She also came out as bisexual.

 16 Caroline Kennedy

Caroline Kennedy.
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: November 27, 1957
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cornell Medical Center Hospital, New York City, New York, U.S.

Caroline Kennedy is an American author, diplomat, and attorney. The only surviving child of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Caroline served as the US Ambassador to Japan between 2013 and 2017. A prolific author who writes about civil liberties, Caroline Kennedy has also served as a spokesperson for the Kennedy family's legacy.

 17 Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates.
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: September 30, 1975
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States

Author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates gained international prominence while serving as the national correspondent at The Atlantic. His writings on socio-political issues related to African Americans and white supremacy garnered him much appreciation. He is a recipient of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center Prize for Writing to Advance Social Justice. He also writes fiction and comics.

 18 Fran Drescher

Fran Drescher.
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 30, 1957
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kew Gardens, New York, United States

Fran Drescher is an American actress and comedian. Characterized by her thick New York accent and nasal voice, Fran Drescher serves as an inspiration to many cancer patients as she successfully fought off the disease after suffering from uterine cancer. She is also an outspoken LGBT rights activist and healthcare advocate.

 19 Joan Didion

Joan Didion
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Famous As: Screenwriter, Novelist, Journalist, Writer, Essayist
Birthdate: December 5, 1934
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Sacramento, California, United States

 20 Anthony Rapp

Anthony Rapp
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 26, 1971
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Joliet, Illinois, USA

 21 Mick Mars

Mick Mars.
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: May 4, 1951
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Terre Haute, Indiana, United States
Mick Mars gained fame as the guitarist for the heavy metal band Mötley Crüe and came to be known for his aggressive style of playing the instrument. He has also written songs for bands such as Crashdïet. He has suffered from ankylosing spondylitis since his teenage years. 

 22 Sean Hannity

Sean Hannity.
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Famous As: Talk Show Host
Birthdate: December 30, 1961
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York City

Sean Hannity is a conservative political commentator and talk show host. As one of the most-watched and most-listened-to hosts, he has played a key role in shaping American politics in the last decade or so. Due to his closeness to President Donald Trump, he is characterized as the shadow Chief of Staff.

 23 Jon Krakauer

Jon Krakauer
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Famous As: Journalist, Explorer, Writer
Birthdate: April 12, 1954
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Brookline, Massachusetts, United States

 24 Stephen Miller

Stephen Miller
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Famous As: Politician writer
Birthdate: August 23, 1985
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Santa Monica, California, U.S.

 25 James Watson

James Watson.
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Famous As: Molecular Biologist
Birthdate: April 6, 1928
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

 26 Eartha Kitt

Eartha Kitt.
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: January 17, 1927
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: North, South Carolina, United States
Died: December 25, 2008

Eartha Kitt was an American actress, comedian, dancer, and singer-songwriter. Renowned for her distinctive singing style, Kitt recorded several chartbusting songs during the 1950s. Also a well-known activist, Eartha Kitt established a non-profit organization called the Kittsville Youth Foundation, which helped underprivileged youths in Los Angeles. She was also an ardent advocate for same-sex marriage and LGBT rights.

 27 Tom Clancy

Tom Clancy.
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: April 12, 1947
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Baltimore County, Maryland, United States of America
Died: October 1, 2013
Tom Clancy is best remembered for his espionage- and war-themed novels, many of which, such as The Hunt for Red October, The Sum of All Fears, and Clear and Present Danger, have been made into hit films. He was also a co-owner of the MLB team Baltimore Orioles

 28 Anita Hill

Anita Hill
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Famous As: Attorney
Birthdate: July 30, 1956
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Morns, Oklahoma, USA

 29 Barack Obama

Barack Obama.
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Famous As: 44th U.S. President
Birthdate: August 4, 1961
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawai, USA

Former President of the United States, Barack Obama, has the distinction of being the first African-American president of the nation. A civil rights attorney and an academic, he has been credited with bringing about a significant improvement in America’s reputation abroad. His efforts to strengthen international diplomacy was recognized with the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.

 30 Mackenzie Phillips

Mackenzie Phillips.
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 10, 1959
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Alexandria, Virginia
Mackenzie Phillips made her acting debut at 12, with American Graffiti. Fans loved her in the series One Day at a Time and So Weird. She has struggled with drug issues and has appeared on Celebrity Rehab. She also confessed to being raped by her father, in her memoir.

 31 Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris.
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Famous As: Vice Preseiden of the United States
Birthdate: October 20, 1964
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: California

A Democrat politician and lawyer, Kamala Harris is the vice president-elect of the United States. She will assume the office on 20 January 2021, alongside President-elect Joe Biden.  Half-Indian, half-Jamaican, Harris is the first woman, the first Black person and the first Asian-American to be elected vice president.  

 32 Sam Harris

Sam Harris.
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Famous As: Philosopher, Author
Birthdate: April 9, 1967
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: United States of America

One of the "Four Horsemen of Atheism," neuroscientist and author Sam Harris is known for his works on topics such as religion, artificial intelligence, and terrorism. His books include the New York Times bestseller The End of Faith. He hosted the podcast Making Sense and released a meditation app, too.

 33 Kayden Kross

Kayden Kross
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 15, 1985
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Sacramento, California, USA

 34 Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan.
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Famous As: 40th U.S. President
Birthdate: February 6, 1911
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Tampico, Illinois, United States
Died: June 5, 2004

An actor turned union leader turned politician, Ronald Wilson Reagan served as the 40th president of America. Hailed for his public speaking and communication skills, Reagan is one of the most popular Presidents of USA, mainly due to his ‘America First’ economic policies which led to a decrease in inflation and unemployment rates during his tenure.

 35 Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders.
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: September 8, 1941
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

The current junior US Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders is the longest-serving nonpartisan politician in the history of the United States Congress. Sanders is an ardent advocate of progressive policies and is well-known for his opposition to neoliberalism and economic inequality. He also supports paid parental leave, universal and single-payer healthcare, and labor rights.

 36 Dale Carnegie

Dale Breckenridge Carnegie.
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Famous As: Self-Help Writer, Motivational Guru, Public Speaker
Birthdate: November 24, 1888
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Maryville, Missouri, United States
Died: November 1, 1955
Writer and academic Dale Carnegie is best remembered for his work on courses in areas such as corporate training, self-improvement, and salesmanship. He started his career as a salesperson. He wrote many books, including the international bestseller How to Win Friends and Influence People, and was a successful lecturer, too.

 37 Ivanka Trump

Ivanka Trump.
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Famous As: Daughter of Donald Trump
Birthdate: October 30, 1981
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York City, New York

Ivanka Trump is the daughter of the U.S. President Donald Trump and since 2017, she has been serving as Advisor to the President.  Before venturing into politics, she dabbled a bit in modelling, became a television personality, worked as executive vice-president of the Trump Organization and also launched her own eponymous fashion line. A published author, Ivanka also supports numerous charitable causes.

 38 Doris Roberts

Doris Roberts.
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 4, 1925
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Died: April 17, 2016

Five-time Emmy Award-winning actor Doris Roberts is best remembered as Marie Barone from the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond and as Mildred Krebs from Remington Steele. She also appeared on various talk/game shows and in films such as The Honeymoon Killers. She was a prominent animal rights activist, too.

 39 Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: December 8, 1951
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Des Moines, Iowa, United States

 40 Michelle McNamara

Michelle McNamara.
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Famous As: Freelance Writer, Blogger
Birthdate: April 14, 1970
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: United States
Died: April 21, 2016

True-crime writer, Michelle McNamara, is remembered for coining the name "Golden State Killer" for the serial killer later identified as Joseph James DeAngelo. Sadly, the author died before his identification and arrest. Fascinated by true crime from a young age, she launched her website TrueCrimeDiary in 2006 and dedicated her life to researching and writing about true crime.

 41 Ben Shapiro

Ben Shapiro.
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Famous As: Political Commentator, Public Speaker
Birthdate: January 15, 1984
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

A strong conservative political commentator, author, media host and lawyer, Ben Shapiro became the youngest nationally syndicated columnist in the US at the age of seventeen and at twenty published his first book. The host of a daily political podcast ,The Ben Shapiro Show, he has frequently invited criticism for his views on various issues like same-sex marriage and abortion.

 42 Cybill Lynne Shepherd

Cybill Lynne Shepherd.
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 18, 1950
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Cybill Shepherd is best known for her roles in films such as The Heartbreak Kid, Taxi Driver, and Alice. Fans also loved her for her Golden Globe-winning portrayals of Madelyn 'Maddie' Hayes in the series Moonlighting and Cybill Sheridan in the sitcom Cybill. She is a follower of goddess-worshipping Paganism.

 43 Amy Fisher

Amy Fisher
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Famous As: Criminal
Birthdate: August 21, 1974
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Long Island, New York, United States

 44 Jon Lovett

Jon Lovett
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Famous As: Podcaster
Birthdate: August 17, 1982
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Woodbury, New York, United States

 45 Susan Sontag

Susan Sontag.
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 16, 1933
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: December 28, 2004
Susan Sontag is best known for her essay anthologies such as Against Interpretation and her novels such as In America. She wrote about diverse issues such as human rights, photography, AIDS, and leftist beliefs, and also visited war-torn areas. The National Book Award-winning author was also openly bisexual. 

 46 Katherine Schwarzenegger

Katherine Schwarzenegger.
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Famous As: Daughter of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Author
Birthdate: December 13, 1989
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

Katherine Schwarzenegger is a young and confident woman. As an author, she encourages young women to achieve a positive self-image and confidence. Each of her books serves as a guiding light for women, children, and youngsters. She is also associated with non-profit organizations, such as Best Friends Animal Society and American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

 47 Tom Wolfe

Tom Wolfe.
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Famous As: American author
Birthdate: March 2, 1931
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Richmond, Virginia, United States
Died: March 14, 2018

 48 Lisa Brennan-Jobs

Lisa Brennan-Jobs.
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Famous As: Daughter of Steve Jobs
Birthdate: May 17, 1978
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Oregon, United States
Lisa Brennan-Jobs, daughter of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and painter Chrisann Brennan, is a journalist who has written for Vogue and The Southwest Review. Jobs initially denied having fathered her, but a DNA test and a legal case proved the paternity. The Apple Lisa computer was named after her.

 49 Morris Chestnut

Morris Chestnut.
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 1, 1969
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Cerritos, California

Actor Morris Chestnut is best known for his role in the film Boyz n the Hood. Beginning his career as a young man, he appeared in a few TV shows before venturing into films. He steadily evolved as an actor and went on to co-star alongside major actors in big-budget films. He has co-authored a book on health and fitness.

 50 Jocko Willink

Jocko Willink.
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: September 8, 1971
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Torrington, Connecticut, United States