One of the finest comedians of all time, Robin Williams began his career as a stand-up comedian and soon moved to act in television and films. Though widely recognised for his comedic skills, the immensely talented Williams proved his versatility by taking up and successfully performing more serious roles in films like Good Will Hunting and The Fisher King.
British actress Audrey Hepburn is counted among the greatest female screen legends in Golden Age Hollywood. Rising to prominence in the 1950s, she became one of the few people to win Academy, Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Awards. She devoted much of her time in her later life to UNICEF and was actively involved in humanitarian work.
F D Roosevelt was the 32nd president of the United States and was in the office from 1933 to1945. Qualified as a lawyer, he entered politics as an ambitious young man, inspired by his relative Theodore Roosevelt, a fellow politician. F D Roosevelt had an illustrious political career and is rated by scholars among the nation's greatest presidents.
The 18th president of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant held office from 1869 to 1877. He led the Union Army as Commanding General of the United States Army during the American Civil War and was a war hero. As president, he stabilized the post-war national economy and created the Department of Justice. Historians generally recognize his presidential accomplishments.
A commander of the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War, Robert E. Lee commanded the Army of Northern Virginia. He was a skilled tactician who served in the US Army for 32 years. Brilliant from a young age, he was a top graduate of the US Military Academy. In his later years, he became president of Washington College.
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.
Professional baseball player Mickey Mantle played his entire Major League Baseball (MLB) career with the New York Yankees. He played as a center fielder, right fielder, and first baseman. Regarded by many as the greatest switch hitter in baseball history, he won the Triple Crown in 1956 and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974.
Alfred Nobel was a Swedish chemist, engineer, and inventor. A prolific inventor, he held 355 different patents. Most popular as the inventor of dynamite, he was concerned with how he would be remembered after his death and bequeathed his fortune to the Nobel Prize institution. A wide traveler, he was proficient in several languages.
Rembrandt was a Dutch printmaker, painter, and draughtsman. A master in three major art media, Rembrandt is widely considered the most important visual artist in Dutch art history and one of the greatest of all time. He is also considered the greatest etcher in the history of printmaking. His life and work inspired several films, including the 1936 movie Rembrandt.
Italian Baroque composer, virtuoso violinist, and teacher, Antonio Lucio Vivaldi, is regarded as one of the greatest Baroque composers. He was extremely popular during his lifetime and composed many instrumental concertos and operas. He was also a Roman Catholic priest and worked at a home for abandoned children. Even though he died in 1741, his music continues to be popular.
William Holden is best known for his Academy Award-winning performance in Stalag 17 and his Emmy-winning role in the TV film The Blue Knight. He also appeared in the films Sunset Boulevard and The Bridge on the River Kwai, and on Lux Radio Theatre. He was also a wildlife conservationist.
Actor Dick York is best remembered for his role as Darrin Stephens in the ABC fantasy sitcom Bewitched. He began his career as a teenager by starring in a radio show. He became immensely popular as a radio actor and ventured into films and TV shows as well. In his later years, he founded a charity to help the homeless.
The mother of 16 children, Maria Theresa was the only female monarch of the Habsburg empire which she ruled with absolute power. She was known for industrial and educational reforms which led to the development of Austria during her 40-year reign. The devout Roman Catholic, who overtly disliked Jews and the Protestants, was sometimes criticized for her religious intolerance.
Trajan was the Roman emperor from 98 to 117 CE. Remembered as a successful soldier-emperor, he presided over a great military expansion, leading the Roman Empire to attain its maximum territorial extent by the time of his death. He was the second of the Five Good Emperors and focused on implementing social welfare policies for the benefit of his citizens.
TV personality, actor, emcee, and game show host Allen Ludden is best remembered for hosting various incarnations of the game show, Password, for almost two decades. He also hosted other game shows and wrote a series of books for young readers. A much-beloved personality, he was the recipient of the 1961 Horatio Alger Award.
Joanna Moore was an American actress whose career reached its peak during the 1960s when she was often featured in popular TV shows like Alfred Hitchcock Presents. However, she lost her popularity to drug and alcohol abuse, which worsened during the 1970s and 1980s. Eventually, she started making headlines for the wrong reasons and died of lung cancer in 1997.
Guglielmo Marconi was an Italian electrical engineer and inventor best remembered for his work on long-distance radio transmission. Marconi, who is credited with inventing the radio, was honored with the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in the field of wireless telegraphy. Also a businessman, Marconi founded the Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company in 1897.
Scott Hall is an American retired wrestler best known for his association with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) where he is popularly known as Razor Ramon. Apart from his several championship reigns in WWE, Scott Hall is also renowned for being an original member of the New World Order, one of the most popular stables in the history of professional wrestling.
Mary Todd Lincoln was the wife of Abraham Lincoln. She played an important role during the American Civil War as she worked hard to keep the morale of the country high throughout the war. Mary invariably finds a place in stories and biographies written about Abraham Lincoln as she was seated next to him when he was killed.
A significant figure of the American Revolution, Patrick Henry was the first governor of post-colonial Virginia. A skilled orator, he is remembered for his iconic words “Give me liberty or give me death!” He excelled as a lawyer and gained fame with his win in the Parson's Cause.
Isabella of France, also known as the She-Wolf of France, was the Queen of England as the wife of King Edward II. She was known for her diplomatic skills, intelligence, and beauty. Her marriage was a troubled one and she probably had an affair with Roger Mortimer. It is believed that Isabella then arranged the murder of Edward II.
Akbar, the third Mughal emperor, played an important role in inculcating Persian culture into the Indian subcontinent. Akbar is considered one of the most important rulers of the Mughal Empire, an empire that seeped foreign ideas and culture into medieval India, the effects of which are still visible in modern-day India, especially in the northern parts of the country.
Francisco Pizarro was a Spanish conquistador best remembered for his expeditions that eventually paved the way for the Spanish conquest of Peru. Along with Vasco Núñez de Balboa, Pizarro became the first European to reach the Pacific Ocean after crossing the Isthmus of Panama. After two failed expeditions to Peru, Pizarro led a third and successful campaign to conquer Peru.
Austrian-born actor John Banner is best remembered as Sergeant Schultz from the World War II-themed sitcom Hogan's Heroes. He was known for his popular catchphrase “I see nothing! I hear nothing! I know nothing!" He has also appeared on Broadway and in films such as Once Upon a Honeymoon.
King Hussein of Jordan reigned as the king of Jordan from 1952 to 1999. As a royal member of the House of Hashim, Hussein was a direct descendant of Prophet Muhammad. At the time of Hussein's accession, Jordan was a young nation with few natural resources. However, by the end of his reign, Jordan had become a stable, modern state.
While the Hubble Telescope, named after Edwin Powell Hubble, reminds one of his contribution to astronomy, he failed to get a Nobel Prize, as back in his time, the Nobel Committee didn’t recognize astrophysics as a valid science. He is best remembered for his work on galaxies and extragalactic astronomy.
Civil rights activist and educator Betty Shabazz, or Betty X, was the wife of Black nationalist leader Malcolm X. Raised by her adoptive parents in Detroit, she met Malcolm X at a Nation of Islam event in Harlem. She died when her apartment was set on fire set by her grandson.
Path-breaking British composer, pianist, and conductor Benjamin Britten was known for his fine operas such as Peter Grimes and the War Requiem. He also created countless orchestral works and is known for his long professional partnership with tenor Peter Pears, a collaboration that led to the formation of the Britten-Pears Foundation.
Hugo Boss was a German businessman and fashion designer. He is credited with founding one of the most popular fashion houses in the world, Hugo Boss AG. Apart from maintaining his business endeavors, Hugo Boss was also a member of the Nazi Party and remained loyal to the ideology of Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany.
Josephus was a Romano-Jewish historian. He played a major role during the First Jewish–Roman War, where he fought against the Romans as head of Jewish forces. However, he surrendered to Roman forces in 67 CE. As a historian, Josephus' works provide the first-known source for stories considered Biblical history. These stories include the narration of the Siege of Masada.
Ferdinand II of Aragon reigned as the King of Aragon from 1479 until his death in 1516. He sponsored Christopher Columbus' first voyage and therefore is credited with playing a key role in the discovery of the New World. He has been depicted in several films, including Christopher Columbus: The Discovery, 1492: Conquest of Paradise, and Assassin's Creed.
Actor Robert Ryan was also a prominent civil rights activist. In his initial days, he was also a heavyweight boxing champion, and later also served in the US Marine Corps. He soared to fame with his roles of cops or bullies in films such as The Woman on the Beach and Crossfire.