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.
One of the most popular actresses of the 1950s and 1960s, Lucille Ball created the sitcom, I Love Lucy, in 1951. In 1962, she started managing the Desilu Productions, becoming the first woman to run a major TV studio. The recipient of two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Lucille Ball was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1984.
Vincent Price was an American actor who was honored with two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Remembered for his iconic voice, Price narrated many animation films and documentaries. His life inspired Tim Burton to direct a stop-motion film titled Vincent. Since he was also an ardent art collector, The Vincent Price Art Museum is named in his honor.
Singer and guitarist Robert Johnson is remembered as a Delta blues legend. Lack of proper documentation of his early life led to various legends surrounding him, such as one that claimed he had made a deal with the Devil to excel in music. He also inspired an award-winning biography.
Ginger Rogers was an American actress, singer, and dancer. Often regarded as an American icon, Rogers played an important role in popularizing the Golden Age of Hollywood. After winning the Academy Award for portraying the title character in Kitty Foyle, Rogers became one of the highest-paid actresses during the 1940s. Her life inspired a musical titled Backwards in High Heels.
Jean Harlow was an actress and sex symbol. Nicknamed the Platinum Blonde and Blonde Bombshell, Harlow was famous for her femme fatale screen persona. She became one of the biggest Hollywood stars despite being in the industry for not more than nine years. Her life and career inspired several movies, such as Harlow and Hughes and Harlow: Angels in Hell.
Roy Rogers was an American singer, television host, and actor. Credited with co-founding one of America's earliest Western singing groups, Sons of the Pioneers, Rogers is widely regarded as one of the most famous Western stars of his generation. One of the earliest actors to popularize Western films, Roy Rogers was often referred to as the King of the Cowboys.
Cantinflas was a Mexican actor, comedian, and filmmaker. Dubbed the Charlie Chaplin of Mexico, Cantinflas is best remembered for playing Passepartout in Around the World in 80 Days, for which he won a Golden Globe Award. Regarded as one of the most popular Mexican comedians of all time, Cantinflas is celebrated as a popular icon throughout Spain and Latin America.
Mahalia Jackson was an American singer. During her career, which spanned four decades, Jackson played a major role in popularizing gospel blues in black churches across the United States. Regarded as one of the 20th century's most influential vocalists, Mahalia Jackson is credited with inspiring rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and soul singing styles.
Merle Oberon was a British actress best known for playing Kitty Vane in the movie, The Dark Angel, for which she received her only Academy Award nomination. After her death, Michael Korda wrote a roman à clef titled Queenie, a novel about Oberon's real-life events. For her achievements, Merle Oberon was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Actress and screenwriter, Ellen Corby, is best known for her role in the TV series The Waltons, for which she won three Emmy Awards. In a long and productive career that spanned over six decades, she appeared in over two hundred films and TV shows. In her later years, she also trained as a teacher of transcendental meditation.
Gypsy Rose Lee was an American vedette and burlesque entertainer best remembered for her striptease act. She was also an actress, playwright, and author whose memoir inspired the 1959 stage musical, Gypsy. Lee's life inspired several works of art, including a song titled Gypsy Rose Lee by The Distillers. She also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Władysław Szpilman was a Polish pianist of Jewish descent. He was a popular performer on Polish radio and in concert in the 1930s. He was also a prolific composer. He survived the Holocaust and was the central figure in the 2002 Roman Polanski film The Pianist. His son, Andrzej Szpilman, is also a composer and music producer.
Born to a politician father and a brewery heiress mother, actor Hume Cronyn, initially showed promise as a boxer. He teamed up with Alfred Hitchcock for films such as Shadow of a Doubt. The film The Seventh Cross, set in Nazi Germany, earned him an Academy Award nomination.
William Golding was a British playwright, novelist, and poet whose novel Rites of Passage earned him the Booker Prize in 1980. In 1983, Golding was honored with the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature. In 1988, William Golding was knighted for his contributions to literature. In 2008, he was mentioned in The Times' list of 50 greatest British writers since 1945.
Joseph Barbera was an American animator, cartoon artist, storyboard artist, director, and producer. He is credited with co-producing Tom and Jerry along with William Hanna while working at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Barbera is also credited with co-founding the popular animation studio Hanna-Barbera which produced world-renowned programs like Scooby-Doo, The Flintstones, and The Smurfs. Hanna-Barbera's shows have been translated into over 28 languages.
Lee J. Cobb was an American actor best remembered for playing intimidating, arrogant, and abrasive characters. He received two nominations for the prestigious Academy Award under the Best Supporting Actor category. Also renowned for his theatre work, Lee J. Cobb was inducted posthumously into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1981.
The 38th vice president of the USA, Hubert Humphrey was an early skeptic of the Vietnam War; however, he had no choice but to support the war effort as President Lyndon B. Johnson wanted the war to go on. Thanks to his popularity, several buildings have been named after Humphrey. He has also been portrayed by actors like Bradley Whitford.
Phil Silvers was an American comedian and entertainer. Dubbed the King of Chutzpah, Silvers won two Primetime Emmy Awards and two Tony Awards during his illustrious career that spanned almost six decades. In 1996, he was ranked 31st on TV Guide's list of 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time. Silvers’ work has inspired other comedians like Dick Van Dyke.
German theoretical physicist Klaus Fuchs worked on many significant theoretical calculations relating to the first nuclear weapons. He was also an atomic spy who provided information about nuclear weapons production to the Soviet Union during World War II. He was convicted and jailed for nine years, following which he resumed his career as a physicist.
Võ Nguyên Giáp was a politician who also served in the Vietnam People's Army as an army general. Regarded as one of the 20th century's greatest military strategists, Giáp played key roles as a military commander in the First Indochina War and in the Second Indochina War. He is also credited with laying the foundation for the Annamite Range trail.
Known as Angel of Death, Dr. Josef Mengele was the chief doctor of Auschwitz concentration camp and was responsible for killing thousands of Jews as well as torturing the prisoners mercilessly and conducting inhuman experiments on them. These included injecting them with chemicals and stitching twin children together. Despite his horrible crimes, the infamous Nazi doctor could never be captured.
Babe Didrikson Zaharias was an American athlete who specialized in golf, track and field, basketball, and baseball. Considered one of the greatest female athletes ever, Didrikson won two gold medals and a silver medal in track and field at the Summer Olympics in 1932. She then went on to win 10 LPGA major championships, becoming USA's first female golf celebrity.
Georges Pompidou was a French politician whose tenure as prime minister of France between 1962 and 1968 was the longest in the history of France. From 1969 to 1974, Pompidou served as president of France. He is credited with mending France's relationship with the US and maintaining positive relations with many other countries.
Experimental physicist and Nobel laureate Luis Walter Alvarez is best remembered for inventing the liquid hydrogen bubble chamber, which enabled the discovery of countless short-lived resonance particles. The University of California, Berkeley professor and MIT scientist had also been part of the development of the atomic bomb.
Juan Manuel Fangio was an Argentine race car driver who dominated the first 10 years of Formula One racing. He won the World Drivers' Championship on five occasions, a record which was broken by Michael Schumacher after 46 years. Juan Manuel Fangio is also the only Argentine racer to have won the prestigious Argentine Grand Prix.
Fe del Mundo was a Filipina paediatrician who achieved international recognition in 1977 when she was honored with the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service. In 1980, she was named National Scientist of the Philippines, becoming the first woman to be named so. Del Mundo is credited with founding Philippines' first pediatric hospital.
Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz had previously worked in the Egyptian civil service. Initially a short story writer, he later wrote novels such as Al-Thulāthiyyah, or The Cairo Trilogy. His novel Children of the Alley was banned for its religious references and led him to be stabbed by Islamists.
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.
American theoretical-physicist John Archibald Wheeler, who worked as professor of physics at Princeton University for most of his career, is best-known for co-developing the concept of Breit–Wheeler process, popularising the term black hole, and helping in designing and building the hydrogen bomb. He also invented several terms like quantum foam and wormhole, and hypothesized the one-electron universe.