One of the most celebrated actors of the 1960s and 1970s, Paul Newman was a multi-faceted man. Apart from winning acting accolades, such as the Academy Award, he had also won many championships as a driver as part of the Sports Car Club of America. Also known for his philanthropy and political activism, Newman founded many nonprofit organizations.
Daniel Boone was an American pioneer, woodsman, explorer, and frontiersman. His exploits as an American frontier made him one of the earliest folk heroes of the US. Widely regarded as the founder of Kentucky, Daniel Boone is popular for his exploration and settlement of Kentucky. His life and work have inspired several movies, such as the 1936 movie Daniel Boone.
Bessie Smith was an American singer who gained popularity during the Jazz Age. Dubbed the Empress of the Blues, Smith was one of the most famous blues singers of the 1920s and 1930s. Counted among the greatest singers of her generation, Bessie Smith was a major influence on several other singers. Her life and work inspired the TV film Bessie.
Bela Bartok was a Hungarian pianist, composer, and ethnomusicologist. Widely regarded as one of the 20th century's most prominent composers, Bartok is also counted among Hungary's greatest composers of all time. He is credited with co-founding comparative musicology, which came to be known as ethnomusicology.
Jacques Chirac was a French politician who served as France's prime minister on two occasions, first from 1974 to 1976 and then from 1986 to 1988. He also served as France's president from 1995 to 2007. Because of his long career in prominent government positions, Chirac was often caricatured or parodied. He was also depicted in films, such as W.
Levi Strauss, the man behind the iconic clothing brand Levi Strauss & Co., or Levi's, which was also the first blue-jeans-manufacturing firm, was born in Germany and later moved to the US. It is rumored that his jeans were meant for the labor class, and he himself had never worn a pair.
One of George Santayana’s initial works, The Sense of Beauty, spoke about aesthetics, an oft-repeated topic in his later works. The Spanish-born American philosopher and Harvard professor is remembered for his quote “Only the dead have seen the end of war,” which has often been misattributed to Plato.
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.
Anna Magnani was an Italian actress best remembered for her real-life portrayals of characters and explosive acting. In 1956, Magnani became the first Italian ever to receive an Academy Award when she won the award for her portrayal of Serafina Delle Rose in the 1955 film, The Rose Tattoo. She had also won other prestigious awards like the Silver Bear.
Byron Nelson was an American golfer who won 52 PGA Tour events during his career. Considered one of the greatest in the history of the sport, Nelson won five major championships in his 64 professional wins. In 1974, he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. In 1997, he won the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award.
Alberto Moravia was an Italian journalist and novelist best remembered for exploring themes like existentialism, social alienation, and sexuality. His anti-fascist novel The Conformist inspired the 1970 political drama film of the same name. Moravia's works have also inspired other films, such as Agostino, Contempt, The Empty Canvas, and Two Women.
After losing his father at age 3, Georgian poet W. H. Davies was raised by his grandparents. He later spent moving from place to place in the US and Canada, taking up odd jobs, and even lost his right foot while trying to jump a freight train.
Lafcadio Hearn was a writer best remembered for writing about Japanese culture. His writings about Japan threw light on the previously unknown but fascinating culture of Japan. It also helped the Western world understand Japanese culture. Many of his stories have been adapted into films and theatrical productions.
Georg Simmel was a German sociologist, philosopher, and critic considered a forerunner to structuralist styles of reasoning in the social sciences. He was neo-Kantian in his approach and laid the foundations for sociological antipositivism. He broadly rejected academic standards and wrote extensively on the philosophy of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. He was married to philosopher Gertrud Kinel and had one son.
Karl Patterson Schmidt was a herpetologist. He studied biology and geology at Cornell University and realized his keen interest in herpetology. He later worked as a scientific assistant in herpetology at the American Museum of Natural History. He undertook many collecting expeditions for the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. He died after being bitten by a boomslang snake.
Scottish-born labor leader and trade unionist J. Keir Hardie is best remembered for establishing the Labour Party of the UK. He also supported the suffragist revolt organized by activist Emmeline Pankhurst. A pacifist, he objected to Britain’s participation in World War I but eventually ended up being sidelined by his party.
Though a qualified civil engineer from MIT, Hugh Lofting is best remembered for writing the Dr. Dolittle series of children’s classics, which created a cult character and also inspired several movies. His only work for adults was the war poem Victory for the Slain, which depicted the futility of war.
A leader of the Expressionist group The Blue Rider, German artist August Macke had initially drawn inspiration from his amateur artist father’s paintings. His works, such as Three Girls in a Barque, focused on human subjects and mingled German and French traditions. He was killed while fighting in World War I.
Herschell Gordon Lewis was a filmmaker who specialized in the horror genre. He is credited with creating the "splatter" subgenre of horror films, for which he is often referred to as the "Godfather of Gore." He studied journalism at Northwestern University and held a few other jobs before venturing into cinema. He was also a published author of several books.
British embryologist C.H. Waddington had studied paleontology before turning to biology. A professor of zoology and embryology, he later also taught animal genetics. His interests also included poetry, painting, and Marxism. He introduced concepts such as epigenetic landscape and genetic assimilation, and penned books such as Principles of Embryology.
Fujiwara no Teika was a Japanese anthologist, literary critic, calligrapher, novelist, scribe, and poet. Widely regarded as one of the greatest Japanese poets of all time, Fujiwara no Teika was very influential during the late-Heian and early-Kamakura periods. Considered the greatest exponent of the waka form, Fujiwara no Teika's ideas dominated classical Japanese poetry for centuries after his death.
Hermann Grassmann was a German polymath remembered for his work in linear algebra, although he wasn’t acknowledged as a mathematician for most part of his life. His work Die lineale Ausdehnungslehre, ein neuer Zweig der Mathematik was revolutionary in the field of mathematics and was far ahead of its time. During his lifetime, he was only known as a linguist.
Nobel Prize-winning Croatian-Swiss chemist Lavoslav Ružička is remembered for his research on cyclic compounds. He also taught in the Netherlands and Switzerland. Apart from studying the rings of muskone and civetone molecules, he also discovered the molecular structures of male hormones such as testosterone and androsterone.
Russian author Nina Berberova was initially part of Maxim Gorky’s entourage. Best known for her short stories and novellas, she had also penned biographies, novels, and poetry. She had also worked with Voice of America and taught at Yale and Princeton. Most of her works spoke of exiles.