After starting her film career at the age of three, Shirley Temple went on to become Hollywood's highest-grossing child actress from 1935 to 1938. She is the epitome of popular child stars who lose their charm as they grow up. Despite failing as an adult actress, she is ranked 18th in the greatest female screen legends of Classic Hollywood list.
Feminist and civil rights icon Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was the longest-serving U.S First Lady. She was a prominent human rights activist, wrote columns, and hosted a radio show. She was named to Gallup's List of Most Widely Admired People of the 20th Century in 1999.
Lawyer Robert Todd Lincoln, son of Abraham Lincoln, served as the U.S. Secretary of War from 1881 to 1885 and as the U.S. minister to the U.K. from 1889 to 1893. He had served in the Civil War, too, and had also been the president of the Pullman Car Company.
Ghanaian diplomat Kofi Annan served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1997 to 2006. He was the founder and chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation and a co-recipient of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize. During his stint with the UN, he launched the UN Global Compact and worked to combat HIV/AIDS.
Henry Kissinger's heart-warming story of a Jewish who fled Nazi Germany in 1938 to become an influential politician in the USA is truly inspirational. As a National Security Advisor and US Secretary of State, Henry played a key role in the US foreign policy from 1969 to 1977. Henry Kissinger is also criticized by some as an alleged war criminal.
António Guterres is a Portuguese diplomat and politician who served as Portugal's prime minister from 1995 to 2002. A favorite among the masses, Guterres was ranked the best prime minister of Portugal over the last 30 years in polls conducted in 2012 and 2014. In 2009, he was named in Forbes magazine's list of world's most powerful people.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author and academic Samantha Power has previously served as the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. She was a war correspondent before she became a professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. She worked on Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and infamously called Hillary Clinton "a monster.”
11 John Jay
One of the Founding Fathers of the United States who signed the famous Paris Treaty, John Jay was best known as the first Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, although he occupied various other important public positions. He was a diplomat, who shaped his country’s foreign policy. He passed legislation to gradually abolish slavery, but he himself owned five enslaved people.
Dag Hammarskjöld was a Swedish diplomat and economist. In 1953, Hammarskjöld became the youngest person to be appointed as the Secretary-General of the United Nations. He died in airplane crash in 1961. Dag Hammarskjöld became the first person to be honored with a Nobel Peace Prize posthumously.
14 Susan Rice
Married to former US president, Bill Clinton, Hilary Clinton served as the First Lady of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Thereafter, she became the first First Lady to hold US senator office. The former Secretary of State in the administration of Barrack Obama also fought and lost, as a Democratic nominee, the 2016 presidential election against Donald Trump.
Chiune Sugihara was a Japanese diplomat best remembered for helping thousands of Jews flee Europe during the Second World War. He did so by issuing transit visas to the Jews, enabling them to travel through Japanese territory. Sugihara helped the Jews despite knowing that he was risking the lives of his family and his job.
The sixth president of the United States of America John Quincy Adams played a key role in shaping America during its formative years. He helped develop the Monroe Doctrine, which eventually became a vital tenet of the U.S. foreign policy. He is also widely regarded as one of the greatest secretaries of state and diplomats in the American history.
The 66th United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made history in 2005 when she became the first female black Secretary of State. She is also the first female to serve as National Security Advisor, a position which she served from 2001 to 2005. One of the most powerful women in the world at one point of time, she has been depicted in Hollywood films.
While he claimed he studied at the University of Vienna during World War II, documents recovered later suggested that Kurt Waldheim was in fact part of the German army in the Balkans. Waldheim later became the president of Austria and the secretary-general of the United Nations.
Fran Drescher is an American actress and comedian. Characterized by her thick New York accent and nasal voice, Fran Drescher serves as an inspiration to many cancer patients as she successfully fought off the disease after suffering from uterine cancer. She is also an outspoken LGBT rights activist and healthcare advocate.
Sidney Poitier is a Bahamian-American actor who became the first Afro-Bahamian and Black male actor to receive an Oscar for Best Actor in 1964. In 2009, he was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His life and work inspired a couple of documentary films, including the 2008 film Sidney Poitier, an Outsider in Hollywood.
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was the second President of India and served from 1962 to 1967. He is regarded as one of India’s most eminent scholars and wrote extensively on Indian philosophy and religion. Lifelong he defended Hindu traditions and culture against criticism from the West. September 5, his birthday, is observed as Teachers Day in India, in his honour.
23 Colin Powell
A veteran politician who served as the 65th United States Secretary of State, Colin Powell was the first African-American Secretary of State. A member of the Republican Party, he was an army man prior to entering politics. He was a four-star general at the time of his retirement. After leaving politics, he pursued a career as a public speaker.
Grandson of former Egyptian prime minister Boutros Ghali Bey, politician Boutros Boutros-Ghali is remembered for his tenure as the secretary-general of the UN, which witnessed peacekeeping activities in war-torn areas such as Bosnia and Herzegovina. His illustrious career boasted of various prestigious academic positions and a Fulbright scholarship.
27 Gary Hart
Born in London, to an Indian couple, Shashi Tharoor is known for his award-winning books such as the The Great Indian Novel and his over-the-top English vocabulary. Tharoor is also a Congress MP. He made headlines when his wife Sunanda Pushkar was found dead in a luxury hotel.
32 U Thant
Burmese diplomat U Thant made history by becoming the first non-Scandinavian to be named the UN secretary-general. Later in life, he tried applying Buddhist principles such as detachment to solve major international conflicts. Following his death in New York, his burial in Burma became a source of riots.
Fridtjof Nansen was a Norwegian polymath who won the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize in 1922 for his post-war efforts after the First World War. A well-known explorer, humanitarian, and diplomat, Nansen achieved international fame for his attempt to reach the geographical North Pole during his Fram expedition. His techniques and innovations influenced a generation of succeeding Antarctic and Arctic expeditions.
German politician Joachim von Ribbentrop was Nazi Germany’s minister of foreign affairs from 1938 to 1945. He let Hitler use his summer house, Schloss Fuschl, for secret Nazi meetings. Ribbentrop was eventually convicted of war crimes and became the first Nuremberg defendant to be hanged to death.
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.
Alexander Vindman served as the Director for European Affairs for the United States NSC under Donald Trump. He testified against Trump in his impeachment case in 2019 and subsequently resigned from his military post, citing political bullying by the Trump administration as one of the reasons.
38 James Baker
French diplomat and political scientist Alexis de Tocqueville is best remembered for his written works The Old Regime and the Revolution and Democracy in America. He was part of French politics, primarily during the July Monarchy and the Second Republic. He had been the minister of foreign affairs briefly.
40 Kevin Rudd
Former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd has been an Australian Labor Party leader and his country’s foreign affairs minister, too. After graduating in Chinese studies, he directly stepped into a diplomatic career. He has also worked for KPMG Australia as a Senior China Consultant and has penned a memoir.
41 Rory Stewart
45 Kim Campbell
Canadian politician and Progressive Conservative leader Kim Campbell made headlines when she became the first woman to serve as the prime minister of Canada and remains the only woman to have achieved the feat. After quitting her doctoral studies, she studied law and joined the British Columbia Bar.
47 John Bolton
Franz von Papen was a German politician, Prussian nobleman, diplomat, and General Staff officer. From 1933 to 1934, he served under Adolf Hitler as the Vice-Chancellor of Germany. After World War II, Franz von Papen was indicted alongside other war criminals in the Nuremberg trials. However, he was later acquitted of all charges.
49 Dan Coats
Swedish architect Raoul Wallenberg went down in history as a savior for Jews during the Nazi regime. He not only issued provisional Swedish passports, or Schutzpass, to protect Jews, but also set up safe houses for them. He disappeared amid mysterious circumstances. Many believe he died in a Soviet prison.