Biographers

A biographer is a writer who composes and produces an account of a person’s life. The ones who write their own biographies are called autobiographers. There have been innumerable famous people from all fields of life who have walked on this earth from the past several centuries. The credit of documenting the information about these great personalities and preserving such knowledge for the future generations goes to the biographers. Plutarch of ancient Greek was one of the earliest biographers and his work ‘Parallel Lives’, one of the earliest known biographies. During the Middle Ages the task of writing biographies was usually performed by the hermits and monks and priests who wrote about church fathers, popes and saints in a bid to inspire people. The art of writing biography as a distinct genre of writing began emerging in 18th century and evolved into its contemporary form in the 20th century. Richard David Ellmann was a prominent biographer who wrote about James Joyce and Oscar Wilde. The life stories of Mark Twain, Charlie Chaplin, and Ernest Hemmingway were authored by another famous biographer Kenneth Schuyler Lynn. Walter Isaacson recently rose to glory with Steve Jobs’ biography. Read on to learn more about famous biographers from all over the world.

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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 Ted Kennedy

Ted Kennedy.
4
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: February 22, 1932
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Dorchester, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: August 25, 2009

The brother of President John F. Kennedy, Ted Kennedy played an important role in American politics during his term as a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, a position which he served for almost 47 years. He was the fourth-longest-continuously-serving senator in the history of the United States. He was regarded as a major spokesman for American progressivism.

 2 Jane Hawking

Jane Hawking.
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: March 29, 1944
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: St Albans, Hertfordshire, England

Jane Hawking is an English teacher and author. She is best known as the ex-wife of popular physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking. She was married to Hawking for 30 years, during which she doubled up as his caretaker. Jane Hawking took good care of Stephen Hawking despite struggling from depression, for which she is much-respected in the scientific community.

 3 Samuel Johnson

Samuel Johnson.
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 18, 1709
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lichfield, England
Died: December 13, 1784

Essayist, biographer, lexicographer, and literary critic Samuel Johnson, or Dr. Johnson, is remembered for his A Dictionary of the English Language and Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets. He was also a poet, a playwright, and a staunch Tory. His mannerisms indicated he had Tourette syndrome.

 4 Randolph Churchill

Randolph Churchill.
4
Famous As: Journalist, Politician
Birthdate: May 28, 1911
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London
Died: June 6, 1968

Randolph Churchill was a British journalist and writer. The only son of Sir Winston Churchill, Randolph Churchill followed in the footsteps of his father and became a prominent politician, serving as a member of parliament for Preston. Randolph Churchill was portrayed by famous actors in several TV series and films like Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years and Darkest Hour.

 5 Paul Feig

Paul Feig.
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 17, 1962
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Mount Clemens, Michigan, USA

Filmmaker and actor Paul Feig is known for creating films such as Bridesmaids and Ghostbusters. His comedy series Freaks and Geeks later achieved cult status. Known for his frequent collaborations with Melissa McCarthy, he, apparently, is always dressed in a suit and a tie when he directs.

 6 David Irving

David Irving.
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: March 24, 1938
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Hutton, Brentwood, England

David Irving is an English Holocaust denier and author whose works pertaining to the political and military history of World War II have depicted Adolf Hitler in a favorable light. Due to his stance on Hitler, Irving's reputation as a historian has been discredited. He has also been accused of deliberately manipulating historical evidence.

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 7 Nick Mason

Nick Mason
4
Famous As: Drummer
Birthdate: January 27, 1944
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Edgbaston, Birmingham, England

Born to a documentary film maker, drummer Nick Mason was no stranger to art and entertainment as a child. He formed his first band while studying architecture. He was the only original member of the iconic rock band Pink Floyd member to have been part of the band since its inception.

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 8 Patty Duke

Patty Duke
9
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: December 14, 1946
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Queens, New York City, New York, USA
Died: March 29, 2016

Best known for her Academy Award-winning portrayal of Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker, Patty Duke was born to a cashier mother and a cab driver father. As a child actor, she was abused by her talent managers. Suffering from bipolar disorder, she later became a mental-health advocate.

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 9 Lee Israel

Lee Israel
4
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: December 3, 1939
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA
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.

 10 Dorothy Bush Koch

Dorothy Bush Koch.
4
Famous As: Author
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.

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 11 Karrine Steffans

Karrine Steffans
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: August 24, 1978
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

Karrine Steffans soared to international fame with her Vixen series of books, including Confessions of a Video Vixen and The Vixen Diaries. A former hip-hop music video star, she has also dabbled in acting, with films such as A Man Apart. The mother of one now lives in southern California.

 12 Washington Irving

Washington Irving.
4
Famous As: Author, Historian, Diplomat
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.

 13 Evelyn Waugh

Evelyn Waugh.
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 28, 1903
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: West Hampstead, London, United Kingdom
Died: April 10, 1966

Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh was an English author, known for his novels, biographies, and travelogues. Hailed as the most brilliant satirical novelist of his day, he wrote mostly satires before WWII. But during the war, his writings took a serious turn; he published Brideshead Revisited in 1945, a book that continues to appear on the best books list till now.

 14 Sumner Redstone

Sumner Redstone
4
Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: May 27, 1923
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: August 11, 2020

Media tycoon Sumner Redstone is known for his historic acquisitions of companies such as Viacom and CBS. The Harvard alumnus and lawyer later transformed his family business, National Amusements, Inc., into one of the biggest film theater chains in the U.S. He had also served the army during World War II.

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 15 Jennifer O'Neill

Jennifer O'Neill
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 20, 1948
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Born to an English mother and a Brazilian father, actor Jennifer O'Neill had begun modeling at 15. She later became part of films such as Summer of '42. She had attempted suicide at 14 and had later got married nine times to eight men. She was also a promising equestrienne.

 16 Monica Crowley

Monica Crowley
4
Famous As: Radio personality, Biographer, Journalist
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.

 17 Al-Ghazālī

Al-Ghazālī
4
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 1058 AD
Birthplace: Ṭūs, Iran
Died: December 19, 1111

 18 Mary Soames

Mary Soames.
4
Famous As: Youngest Child of Winston Churchill
Birthdate: September 15, 1922
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chartwell
Died: May 31, 2014

Mary Soames was a British author and the youngest child of Winston Churchill and Clementine. From 1939 to 1941, Soames worked for several public organizations, such as the Women's Voluntary Service and Red Cross. She then joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service. In 1945, she was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), in recognition of meritorious military services.

 19 Jon Meacham

Jon Meacham
4
Famous As: Journalist, Historian, Biographer
Birthdate: May 20, 1969
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chattanooga

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.

 20 Ève Curie

Ève Curie.
4
Famous As: Writer
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.

 21 Kevin McCloud

Kevin McCloud
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Famous As: Designer
Birthdate: May 8, 1959
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bedfordshire, England

Designer and TV personality Kevin McCloud has soared to fame with the series Grand Designs. A Cambridge architecture alumnus, McCloud is a specialist in renovations. He also won an MBE for his sustainable designs. He has also penned designing books, such as Kevin McCloud's Decorating Book.

 22 Lacey Sturm

Lacey Sturm
4
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: September 4, 1981
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Homestead, Florida, United States

Former lead singer of the hard-rock band Flyleaf, Lacey Sturm is known for her trademark screams and her tracks such as I'm So Sick and All Around Me. Her album Life Screams made her the first solo female performer to top the hard-rock album charts. She has also penned a memoir.

 23 Robert Osborne

Robert Osborne
4
Famous As: Actor, Television actor, Biographer, Film actor, Historian, Journalist, Screenwriter, Cinematographer, Film producer
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.

 24 Nasser Hussain

Nasser Hussain
3
Famous As: Cricketer
Birthdate: March 28, 1968
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Madras, India

Born to an Indian Muslim father and a British mother in Madras, Nasser Hussain moved to England with his family, as a child. At 12, he was the youngest to join the Essex Under-15 cricket team. He grew up to become one of the best English Test cricket captains.

 25 Dave Pelzer

Dave Pelzer
4
Famous As: Autobiographer
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.

 26 Scott Hamilton

Scott Hamilton
4
Famous As: Figure skater
Birthdate: August 28, 1958
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Toledo, Ohio, United States

Known for his innovative footwork sequences, Scott Hamilton is a retired figure skater, credited with imbibing an air of athleticism into men’s figure skating. Remembered for winning four consecutive U.S. championships and four World Championships between 1981 and 1984, topping his feat with a gold medal at the 1984 Olympics, he later co-founded Stars on Ice—a touring figure skating show—and authored three books.

 27 Ron Chernow

Ron Chernow
4
Famous As: Writer, Historian, Journalist, Biographer
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.

 28 Frank Zane

Frank Zane
4
Famous As: Bodybuilder
Birthdate: June 28, 1942
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kingston, Pennsylvania, USA

Three-time Mr. Olympia winner Frank Zane had begun gaining attention with the Mr. Pennsylvania title in 1961.Though inspired to take up bodybuilding after reading Muscle magazine in his teens, he initially taught math and chemistry and also earned advanced degrees in psychology, thus earning the nickname The Chemist.

 29 Sylvia Kristel

Sylvia Kristel
4
Famous As: Singer, Film actor, Film director, Actor, Model, Painter, Adult Film Star, Autobiographer, Biographer
Birthdate: September 28, 1952
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Utrecht
Died: October 17, 2012

 30 James Meredith

James Meredith
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: June 25, 1933
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kosciusko, Mississippi, United States

James Meredith created history by becoming the first Black student at the University of Mississippi. A civil rights activist and an author, he had also been part of the U.S. Air Force. He was shot at while on his March Against Fear from Memphis to Jackson, but survived.

 31 Christopher Lawford

Christopher Lawford
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: March 29, 1955
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Santa Monica, California, USA
Died: September 4, 2018

Born to actor Peter Lawford and Patricia Kennedy Lawford, President John F. Kennedy's sister, Christopher Lawford grew up to be an actor and an activist. He was also a qualified lawyer. He related his struggle with addiction in his book Symptoms of Withdrawal and also taught psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

 32 Howard Marks

Howard Marks
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: August 13, 1945
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kenfig Hill, Bridgend, Wales, UK
Died: April 10, 2016

An Oxford alumnus, Dennis Howard Marks was an aspiring teacher before chose the world of drugs. He went from consuming cannabis to selling it, and was eventually jailed for 7 years. He used numerous pseudonyms, such as Mr. Nice and Marco Polo, and also penned a bestselling memoir.

 33 Margot Frank

Margot Frank
4
Famous As: Second World War victim
Birthdate: February 16, 1926
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Frankfurt am Main, Hesse, Germany
Died: March 9, 1945

 34 William Kamkwamba

William Kamkwamba
4
Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: August 5, 1987
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dowa, Malawi

 35 John Eisenhower

John Eisenhower
4
Famous As: Diplomat, Military historian, Author, Writer, Biographer
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.

 36 Rachel Dolezal

Rachel Dolezal
4
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: November 12, 1977
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lincoln County, Montana, U.S

While she claimed she was a transracial Black woman, former NAACP branch president Rachel Dolezal was revealed to be a white woman passing off as Black when her parents spoke to the media. Following the mass protests after the revelation, she was fired from Eastern Washington University, her workplace.

 37 Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg.
3
Famous As: Writer & Editor
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.

 38 Ann Rule

Ann Rule
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 22, 1931
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lowell, Michigan, USA
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.

 39 Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson
4
Famous As: Writer
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.

 40 Jim Davidson

Jim Davidson
4
Famous As: Comedian
Birthdate: December 13, 1953
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Blackheath, London, England, UK

Popular host of shows such as The Generation Game and Big Break, comedian Jim Davidson has often been dragged into controversies for his jokes. A YouTube rant posted by him on the George Floyd issue caused social-media users to call for a ban on him. He has been married five times.

 41 Karl Ove Knausgard

Karl Ove Knausgard
4
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: December 6, 1968
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Oslo, Norway

 42 Barbara Barrie

Barbara Barrie
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 23, 1931
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, USA
While she soared to fame with her Cannes Award-winning role in One Potato, Two Potato, Barbara Barrie later also earned an Academy Award nomination for Breaking Away. She was typecast as plain Janes and bespectacled women. She later defeated rectal cancer and penned a book on her struggle with disease.

 43 Essie Mae Washington-Williams

Essie Mae Washington-Williams
3
Famous As: Teacher
Birthdate: October 12, 1925
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Aiken, South Carolina, USA
Died: February 4, 2013

In 2003, Essie Mae Washington-Williams made headlines when she announced that she was the illegitimate, bi-racial child of senator Strom Thurmond and his Black maid. It is believed Essie’s mother was 16 when she had her, and that Thurmond didn’t accept her, as he was politically pro-segregation.

 44 Walter Isaacson

Walter Isaacson
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: May 20, 1952
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana,

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.

 45 David Wilkerson

David Wilkerson
3
Famous As: Evangelist
Birthdate: May 19, 1931
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hammond, Indiana, USA
Died: April 27, 2011

David Wilkerson was an American evangelist who founded Teen Challenge, an addiction recovery program that aims at providing rehabilitation services to people around the world. He is also credited with founding the non-denominational Times Square Church. David Wilkerson is also remembered for his biographical book The Cross and the Switchblade.

 46 Nancy Mitford

Nancy Mitford
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: November 28, 1904
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: June 30, 1973

Born to the 2nd Baron Redesdale, Nancy Mitford and her siblings were all homeschooled. Known as one of the brightest of the Mitford sisters, she became famous for writing semi-autobiographical novels such as The Pursuit of Love. She pioneered the use of language to distinguish between social classes in books.

 47 Carl Bernstein

Carl Bernstein
4
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: February 14, 1944
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Washington, District of Columbia, USA

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.

 48 Richard Donner

Richard Donner
4
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: April 24, 1930
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA

Director of blockbuster films like Superman, The Goonies, Scrooged, Lethal Weapon, Richard Donner initially wanted to become an actor. But encouraged by Martin Ritt, he soon moved behind the camera, eventually directing 22 films and 25 television productions, producing many more, yet finding time to collaborate on two comic books; Action Comics and Lost Son and also on his biography.

 49 Pema Chodron

Pema Chodron
3
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: July 14, 1936
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York City, New York (state) New York, United States

Pema Chodron is an American Tibetan Buddhist and an ordained nun. Born as Deirdre Blomfield-Brown in New York, she began studying with Tibetan Buddhist Lama Chime Rinpoche as a young woman. She eventually became a fully ordained nun or bhikṣuṇī. She is the author of several dozen books and audiobooks. She is the principal teacher at Gampo Abbey. 

 50 Janette Scott

Janette Scott
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: December 14, 1938
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Morecambe, Lancashire, England, UK

The daughter of actor Thora Hird, Janette Scott began her career as a child artist. She later appeared in films such as The Day of the Triffids. She penned her memoir at 14 and was the youngest actor to portray Peter Pan. She quit her career after marrying Mel Tormé.

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