Famous for his roles in Western films in the mid-20th century, actor John Wayne was among the top box office draws for three decades. In a career spanning over half a century, he starred in 142 motion pictures. Upon his death, he came to be recognized as “an enduring icon who symbolized and communicated American values and ideals.”
Confucius was a Chinese philosopher whose philosophy came to be known as Confucianism. Confucianism is often credited with shaping Chinese communities and East Asian societies. Confucius is considered one of the most influential individuals in the history of mankind as his teachings have had a great impact on people around the world. His philosophy continues to remain influential.
A multitalented personality, Richard Harris was an Irish actor, singer, director and writer. He began as a stage actor and later moved to films. His famous films include This Sporting Life, Camelot, A Man Called Horse, Gladiator and the first two Harry Potter films. He released numerous musical albums, published a poetry book and ventured into film direction with Bloomfield.
The 27th president of the United States, William Howard Taft also served as the tenth Chief Justice of the US; he is the only person in the history of the US to have held both the offices. He had a great impact as chief justice and has been regarded as the greatest US chief justices of all time.
Isaac Asimov was an American writer. Best known for his science fiction works, Asimov was regarded as one of the Big Three writers along with Arthur C. Clarke and Robert A. Heinlein. Asimov is credited with influencing most sci-fi writers since the 1950s. Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman stated that one of Asimov's works inspired him to take up Economics.
Walt Whitman was an American poet, journalist, and essayist. Also a humanist, Whitman played a crucial role in the shift between transcendentalism and realism. Often referred to as the father of free verse, Whitman is one of the most influential American poets of all time. Several decades after his death, Walt Whitman's poetry remains influential.
Peggy Lipton achieved fame after playing Julie Barnes in the TV series The Mod Squad; her character Julie became a fashion icon. Peggy is also credited with raising her children Kidada and Rashida Jones—both celebrities—after marrying Quincy Jones. Interestingly, Peggy achieved all these after overcoming nervousness and stuttering as a child after being sexually abused by a relative.
Ferdinand Marcos served as the tenth president of the Philippines. Marcos' rule was marked by brutality, extravagance, and corruption, making him the most controversial leader of his generation. Deemed a kleptocrat, Marcos' dictatorship caused an economic collapse during which the country suffered greatly. He was removed from power in 1986 after a series of protests called the People Power Revolution.
English-born American political activist, philosopher, and revolutionary, Thomas Paine, is credited to have penned some of the most influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution. His works inspired the common people of America and motivated them to fight for independence from British rule. He was ostracized for criticizing Christianity and died a lonely man.
The quintessential American on-screen martial artist, David Carradine specialized in playing martial arts roles in an illustrious acting career that spanned more than 60 years. Regarded as the bad boy of Hollywood, Carradine was arrested several times throughout his life for offenses involving substance abuse. He died in Bangkok, Thailand due to accidental autoerotic asphyxiation at the age of 72.
Telly Savalas was an American singer and actor. He was characterized by his deep, resonant voice and bald head. In a career spanning 40 years, he is best known for her role in the film On Her Majesty's Secret Service He is also considered asone of the greatest TV stars ever. As a philhellene and philanthropist, Savalas supported various Hellenic causes.
Leonard Bernstein was an American composer, music educator, conductor, pianist, author, and humanitarian. One of the most important cultural personalities of 20th century America, Bernstein influenced many generations of musicians. He is also credited with mentoring famous conductors like John Mauceri, Herbert Blomstedt, Alexander Frey, Marin Alsop, and Edo de Waart among many others.
Arthur Schopenhauer was a German philosopher. He was among the first Western philosophers to affirm important tenets of Indian philosophy, such as denial of the self and asceticism. Schopenhauer's work has had a tremendous posthumous impact on disciplines like science, literature, and philosophy. His work influenced personalities like Albert Einstein, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Sigmund Freud, George Bernard Shaw, and Leo Tolstoy.
Canadian actor, radio personality, and singer, Lorne Greene, is remembered for his appearance in the original science-fiction TV series, Battlestar Galactica. As a young man, he studied to become a chemical engineer. However, he quit engineering for a career in entertainment. He was successful both as a radio personality and an actor in a career spanning almost five decades.
Herman Melville was an American short story writer, novelist, and poet. One of his best-known works, Moby-Dick is widely regarded as one of the great American novels, although it did not garner much attention during his lifetime. Livyatan melvillei, a species of an extinct sperm whale, which was discovered in 2010, was named in his honor.
Japanese-American actor Makoto Iwamatsu, or Mako, is remembered for his Academy Award- and Golden Globe-nominated role of Po-Han in The Sand Pebbles. He also appeared in Conan the Barbarian, Conan the Destroyer, and Seven Years in Tibet. He delivered a Tony-nominated performance in Pacific Overtures and co-founded East West Players.
John Drew Barrymore was an American actor who hailed from the famous Barrymore family of actors, which includes his daughter Drew Barrymore and his half-sister Diana Barrymore. For his contributions to the American television industry, John Drew Barrymore was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The son of popular actor and singer Frank Sinatra, Frank Sinatra Jr. followed in the footsteps of his father to become a singer-songwriter and conductor. He was kidnapped at age 19 and released two days later. The kidnapping was rumored to be a publicity stunt to promote his singing career, which he established around the same time.
Angelica Hamilton was the daughter of Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers of America. She is said to have suffered a mental breakdown in 1801 when her brother Philip was killed in a duel. It is said that she could never recover from the shock and the incident was the main reason for her lifelong mental health issues.
Mary Travers was an American singer and songwriter. She was part of Peter, Paul and Mary, one of the most successful and popular folk music groups of the 1960s. Apart from working with the music group, Travers released five solo albums. In 1999, she was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame as part of the group.
Henry James was an author, regarded as one of the greatest novelists ever to write in the English language. One of his novellas titled The Turn of the Screw has been the most analyzed ghost story in the history of English language literature. While his works have been adapted into films, he has been the subject of several other stories.
Sir Douglas Bader was a RAF pilot during World War II. Although he lost both his legs in an aerobatics accident in 1931, he recovered and rejoined the RAF. Following the war, he joined the oil industry. The film and book Reach for the Sky details his life.
Lou Rawls was an American singer, composer, record producer, and actor. Rawls sold over 40 million records during his illustrious career. He was also renowned for his charity work; in 2004, he was honored by the popular philanthropic organization United Negro College Fund for his work with the organization for more than 25 years.
Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni is regarded as his country's biggest film star of all time. Making his debut as an uncredited extra when he was just 14, he worked hard over the decades to become a major film star in his country. He was a big name in international cinema as well. He was the recipient of numerous prestigious awards.
Gertrude Stein was an American playwright, novelist, poet, and art collector. She is remembered for publishing works about lesbian sexuality, which was considered a taboo at that time. Over the years, Gertrude Stein has been the subject of several works of art. In the 2011 movie Midnight in Paris, Stein was portrayed by Kathy Bates.
Vasili Arkhipov was a Soviet Navy officer who played a crucial role in the Cuban Missile Crisis. He prevented a Soviet nuclear strike, which could’ve easily caused an all-out nuclear war. He refused to authorize the use of nuclear torpedoes, for which he was posthumously honored with the Future of Life Award by the Future of Life Institute in 2017.
Born to Polish immigrants, Canadian actor John Vernon made waves in Hollywood with his roles of figures of authority, such as doctors and academics, in films. Known for films such as Animal House and Dirty Harry, he had also lent his voice to many series and video games.
German novelist Erich Maria Remarque is best remembered for his landmark novel All Quiet on the Western Front. Born in the late 1890s, he was conscripted into the German Imperial Army during World War I. His wartime experiences later motivated him to write what would become his seminal work. He also authored many other poignant novels.
Empress Dowager Cixi was a Chinese regent and empress dowager. From 1861 to 1908, Cixi served as the de facto supreme ruler of the Qing dynasty. She is credited with overseeing a series of moderate reforms called the Tongzhi Restoration, which helped the regime survive for a long period of time. She also supported military and technological reforms.