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.
The king of dystopia and satire, George Orwell, the pen name adopted by Eric Arthur Blair, was a well-known novelist and critic of the 20th century. A man with a strong mind of his own, Orwell never backed down from stating his views on the socio-political climate he lived in, which he expressed profusely through his influential essays and novels.
Considered one of the major authors of the 20th century, Franz Kafka was a Bohemian short-story writer and novelist. Franz Kafka is credited for being one of the earliest German-speaking authors to explore themes like absurdity, existential anxiety, and alienation. The term Kafkaesque is now widely used in the English language to explain those situations experienced by his characters.
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.
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.
Nathaniel Hawthorne was an American writer, known for dark romanticism and moral-themed novels and short stories. A descendant of judge John Hathorne of the Salem witch trials infamy, the writer was a friend of late American president Franklin Pierce. His well-known books include Twice-Told Tales, The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables. Nathaniel was married to painter Sophia Peabody.
Chilean poet-diplomat and politician, Pablo Neruda, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. He was a versatile writer and his works include surrealist poems, historical epics, political manifestos, and love poems. He is considered the national poet of Chile. As a politician, he served a term as a senator for the Chilean Communist Party and held several diplomatic positions.
Marcel Proust was a French novelist, essayist, and critic best known for writing the world-renowned novel In Search of Lost Time, which was published between 1913 and 1927 in seven parts. Many writers and critics regard him as one of the 20th century's most influential and important authors.
Tracy Letts is a highly acclaimed American actor, screenwriter, and playwright. Letts has received several prestigious awards, including the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a couple of Tony Awards. Tracy Letts is credited with popularizing Edward Albee's play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? which he revived in 2012.
Robert A. Heinlein was an American author, naval officer, and aeronautical engineer. Heinlein is credited with pioneering a literary subgenre called hard science fiction as he was among the first to stress the importance of scientific accuracy in fiction. Robert A. Heinlein is one of the most influential science-fiction writers of all time.
French writer, poet, aristocrat, and journalist, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, is best remembered for his novella, The Little Prince. He was a pioneering aviator as a young man. A successful commercial pilot before World War II, he joined the French Air Force at the start of the war. Equally successful as a writer, he won several of France's highest literary awards.
12 Neil Simon
German-born Swiss poet, novelist, and painter Hermann Hesse received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1946. He explored individuals’ search for authenticity, self-knowledge, and spirituality in his works. An intense and headstrong person from childhood, he developed an early interest in reading. He started writing as a young man and became an influential author in the German-speaking world.
15 Helen Keller
A prolific author, having written 12 published books and several articles, Helen Keller was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. Her autobiography, The Story of My Life, made Keller famous and was adapted for film and stage. She was also an activist and campaigned for women's suffrage, labour rights, socialism and other such causes.
Hunter S. Thompson was an American author and journalist. He is credited with creating his own subgenre of New Journalism called the gonzo journalism. The author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which was later adapted into a film, Thompson was famous for his lifelong use of drugs and alcohol. His books have had a major impact on counterculture.
One of the finest African-American sci-fi authors, Octavia Butler was raised single-handedly by her widowed mother. Best known for the Patternist series and the short story Bloodchild, she often mingled mythology and spirituality in her work. She was the first sci-fi author to receive a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.
20 Larry David
Comedian, writer, actor, director, and television producer Larry David is best known as the co-creator of the television series Seinfeld. He discovered his talent for comedy as a college student and began his career as a stand-up performer. After a few years of struggle, he achieved success and went on to become an accomplished actor, director, and producer.
John Leguizamo is a popular stand-up comedian and actor who is credited with voicing Sid the Sloth in the Ice Age film series. Over the years, John Leguizamo has also played a major role in helping the Hispanic community and has been honored by organizations, such as the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a Genevan philosopher, composer, and writer. His political philosophy influenced aspects of the French Revolution. He also helped develop modern economic, political, and educational thought. His writing inspired a transformation in French drama and poetry. His works also influenced such writers around the world as Tolstoy. His works as a composer were acknowledged by composers like Mozart.
Thomas Cranmer was the first Protestant to be the Archbishop of Canterbury. He was instrumental in the annulment of Henry VIII's marriage to Catherine of Aragon, which led to the separation of the English Church from the See of Rome. He was eventually burnt at the stake for preaching Protestantism.
25 Jean Cocteau
26 Carly Simon
Walter Benjamin was a German Jewish essayist, philosopher, and cultural critic. An eclectic thinker, Benjamin made significant contributions to literary criticism, aesthetic theory, and historical materialism. Although Benjamin's work did not earn much recognition during his lifetime, it continues to be revered by academics several years after his death.
28 Tom Stoppard
29 E. B. White
33 Sela Ward
Sela Ann Ward is best known for her Emmy-winning role of Teddy Reed in Sisters. She won another Emmy and a Golden Globe for playing Lily Manning in Once and Again. Fans also loved her in the series House and CSI: NY, and the movie The Day After Tomorrow.
34 Cheech Marin
35 Cheryl Ladd
37 Thomas Kuhn
American philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn is noted for his book on history of science, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, publication of which marked a significant event in the history, philosophy, and sociology of science. He presented his notion of paradigm shift and identified and elaborated on normal science in this book which remained influential in academic and popular circles.
Wendy Williams is an American media personality, businesswoman, television host, and author. She was the subject of a TV series titled The Wendy Williams Experience, which chronicles her work as a radio show host and her on-air spats with celebrities. As a businesswoman, Williams has created several product lines, including a jewelry collection, a fashion line, and a wig line.
39 Tony Kushner
41 Orson Bean
Veteran actor, Orson Bean, was once considered a mainstay of Los Angeles’ small theater scene. Born in the late 1920s, he served in the army for a few years before beginning his career in entertainment. He appeared in numerous TV shows, plays, and films, making a name for himself as one of the finest actors of his generation.
Arianna Huffington is a Greek-American author, businesswoman, and syndicated columnist. She is credited with co-founding the popular news aggregator and blog, The Huffington Post. She is also the founder of Thrive Global, for which she also serves as the CEO. She has been featured on lists, such as Time magazine's 100 most influential people and Forbes magazine's Most Powerful Women.
Assata Shakur is a former member of the revolutionary organization 'Black Liberation Army'. Sentenced to life for murder, Shakur escaped from the 'Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women' and was eventually granted political asylum in Cuba. She is the first woman to be added to FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists list. Her life inspired the documentary film Eyes of the Rainbow.
44 Bebe Buell
Bebe Buell is a singer whose personal life has overshadowed her professional achievements. She gained notoriety between 1972 and 1978 for her highly-publicized relationship with Todd Rundgren. She is also known for her relationships with many rock musicians, including Steven Tyler, who fathered her daughter Liv Tyler. A former model, Buell was named Playmate of the Month in November 1974.
45 Liu Cixin
Liu Cixin is a Chinese science fiction writer who has won the prestigious Galaxy Award on nine occasions so far. He is best known for his novel The Three-Body Problem, which earned him the Hugo Award in 2015. In 2017, Liu Cixin won the Locus Award for his work Death's End. Many of his works have been adapted into films.
Elizabeth Gilbert is an American author and journalist best known for publishing Eat Pray Love, a 2006 memoir that has sold more than 12 million copies. In 2010, it was adapted into a successful movie of the same name. Also known for her philanthropic efforts, Elizabeth Gilbert has participated in fundraising efforts for organizations like BlinkNow Foundation.
Jacques Derrida was a French philosopher remembered for developing deconstruction, a form of semiotic analysis. Derrida is one of the most influential figures associated with postmodern philosophy and post-structuralism. He also had a major influence on academic disciplines like philosophy, law, political theory, anthropology, applied linguistics, and historiography. He also influenced music, art criticism, art, and architecture.
Chef Marcela Valladolid was the host of the Food Network television series Mexican Made Easy. A graduate of the Los Angeles Culinary Institute, she is also a classically trained pastry chef. She started her own catering company and soon began hosting cookery shows on TV. She has also authored several cookbooks.