Joseph Pulitzer was a newspaper publisher who became a national figure in the Democratic Party after crusading against corruption and big business. Pulitzer is also credited with founding the Columbia School of Journalism. The world-renowned Pulitzer Prizes, which are awarded annually to reward excellence in various fields, are named in his honor.
Robert Capa was a Hungarian-American photojournalist and war photographer. Regarded as the greatest adventure and combat photographer of all time, Robert Capa is best remembered for covering five major wars, namely Second Sino-Japanese War, Spanish Civil War, World War II, First Indochina War, and the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. In 1947, he was honored with the prestigious Medal of Freedom.
Initially a budding lawyer, Theodor Herzl later deviated toward literature and also worked as a journalist. The anti-Semitism he witnessed in France, along with the Dreyfus affair, pushed him into Zionism. His will mentioned he wished for a no-frills funeral that would have no flowers or speeches.
Arthur Koestler was a Hungarian-British journalist and author. He achieved international fame in 1940 when he published an anti-totalitarian novel titled Darkness at Noon. He was honored with the prestigious Sonning Prize in 1968. In 1972, he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his contributions to the field of journalism.
Apart from being a political economist, Karl Polanyi was also a prominent Hungarian political leader. The Great Transformation remains his best-known work. He taught at institutes such as the Columbia University and is known for proposing the idea of a cultural version of economics known as substantivism.
Austro-Hungarian journalist Leopold Weiss was a descendant of rabbis and ran away from home in his teens, taking up odd jobs, before finally becoming a journalist in Germany. His work took him to the Middle East, where he converted to Islam and adopted the name Muhammad Asad.
Born into a noble family, Lajos Kossuth grew up to be one of his country’s greatest political reformers. He initially followed in his father’s footsteps to become a lawyer and later entered national politics to become the governor-president of Hungary. He is remembered for his role in the Hungarian Revolution.
New York Times bestselling Hungarian-American author Kati Marton was born to reporter parents who had survived the Holocaust. She has previously been an award-winning correspondent for NPR and the bureau chief of ABC News in Germany. Her best-known works include True Believer and Enemies of the People.
10 Béla Kun
Born to a village clerk in Hungary, Béla Kun later rose to be one of the most prominent Communist leaders of his country. Initially a journalist, he later fought for the Austro-Hungarian Army and was captured by the Russians. In Russia, he embraced Communism and later established the Hungarian Communist Party.
Apart from being the Marchioness of Bath, Anna Thynn was also a fine actor, known by her stage name, Anna Gaël. She had started dating Alexander Thynn, Viscount Weymouth, known to be a womanizer, while still married to French director Gilbert Pineau. She has also previously worked as a reporter.
12 Susan Faludi
Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist Susan Faludi is best known for her studies on the portrayal of women in the media. The Harvard alumna is known for her books such as Backlash and Stiffed. A firebrand feminist, she also wrote about her father’s sex-change operation in his 70s in In the Darkroom.
While he initially studied math and engineering, Emeric Pressburger later quit studies due to his father’s sudden death. He worked as a journalist and screenwriter in Berlin but had to flee to England after being chased by the Nazis. He later collaborated with Michael Powell to produce films such as Black Narcissus.
15 Sándor Márai
A descendant of a Hungarian noble family, Sándor Márai grew up to become a celebrated journalist. He was the first to review the works of Franz Kafka. He neither liked the Nazis nor the Communists. His best-known works include the novel Embers, which was later made into a stage play.
Hungarian author Frigyes Karinthy was the first to state the concept of six degrees of separation, in his short story Chains. Initially a journalist, he later mastered the short story format and also penned novels such as Voyage to Faremido. He also wrote the script for the film The Stork Caliph.
17 Endre Ady
Endre Ady was a Hungarian poet and journalist. Widely regarded as the 20th century's greatest Hungarian poet, Ady is credited with introducing a new, modern style of poetry, breaking away from the folksy style of Sándor Petőfi, which was widely followed by Hungarian poets at that time. In 1947, a postage stamp featuring Ady's likeness was issued by Hungary.
18 Janos Arany
Hungarian poet Janos Arany is regarded by many as the Shakespeare of ballads. Best known for his iconic epic poem Toldi, which was part of a trilogy, he had also been associated with the Hungarian Academy. He had initially been part of the Hungarian Revolution and later also taught for a while.
Besides being an author and a songwriter, Zsuzsanna Emese Mokcsay, a.k.a. Zsuzsanna Budapest, is also known for her Goddess-oriented witchcraft, Dianic Wicca, which she established in LA. She also founded the first women-only witches’ coven. She was initially married, and had 2 sons, but divorced after realizing she was a lesbian.
Hungarian-British producer and dramatist Martin Julius Esslin is best known for introducing the term "the theatre of the absurd” in his 1961 book of the same name. Apart from being a BBC scriptwriter and producer, he also taught at institutes such as Stanford. He died after a long struggle with Parkinson's disease.
Hungarian author Dezső Kosztolányi brought in futurism to Hungarian literature and wrote everything from plays to plays. Known for his novels such as Skylark and The Golden Kite, he also translated works of legends such as Shakespeare and Rilke. He was a lifelong journalist, too.
22 Cornell Capa
Inspired by his older war photographer brother Robert Capa’s photos of the Spanish Civil War, Cornell Capa later became a staff photographer for Life magazine. He also joined Magnum Photos, co-founded by his brother. His camera captured many luminaries, such as JFK, Armando Reverón, and Clark Gable.
Hungarian journalist Karl-Maria Kertbeny is best remembered for coining terms such as homosexual and heterosexual. The suicide of a gay friend after being blackmailed made Kertbeny study homosexuality in detail later. A prominent gay rights activist, he also believed homosexuality was inborn but didn’t live to see acceptance of his ideas.
Legendary horticulturalist Gyorgy Balint, known as Farmer Balint and the Gardener of the Country, in his homeland, Hungary, was dragged into Nazi concentration camps with his family. Eventually, only Balint and one of his sisters survived. Known for his Facebook gardening videos, he died of COVID-19 at age 100.
Former gymnast Zsuzsa Csisztu, who once represented Hungary at the 1988 Olympics and 3 World Championships, later gained fame as an actor and TV presenter. Some of her best-known works include the films Hungarian Beauty, White Palms, and Pizzás. She was previously married to presenter Gábor Bochkor.
A well-known lawyer of his time, Károly Eötvös is best remembered for his role as a defense counsel in an iconic case on anti-Semitism, known widely as the 1883 Tiszaeszlár blood feud. He was also a famed author, known for works such as The Bakony, and had also been an MP.
While he initially studied law, Kálmán Mikszáth later became a renowned journalist and later penned some of the best social commentaries of his time. Remembered for his short story collections such as The Slovak Kinsfolk and novels such as The Black City, he was also an elected member of the National Assembly.
28 Lajos Kassák
Remembered as the first writer from the Hungarian working class, Lajos Kassák traveled all over Europe on foot in his 20s. A man who was influenced by several avant-garde movements, he later penned his iconic 8-volume memoir, A Man’s Life, of which the later chapters were deleted for going against communism.
29 Kati Horna
Hungarian historian Ladislas Farago is remembered for his books on war and spies, with the backdrop of World War II. Many of his books, such as The Broken Seal and Patton, later inspired movies. In 1972, he shocked everyone by claiming Martin Bormann was alive and was living as a businessman in Argentina.
A pioneering photojournalist, Stefan Lorant initially edited and directed several films in Berlin and Vienna, before joining Münchner Illustrierte Presse as an editor. Imprisoned for opposing Hitler, he moved to England once released. He is remembered for founding the magazines Lilliput and Picture Post and for his photo histories of US presidents.
Hungarian far-right politician István Csurka not only established the Hungarian Justice and Life Party but also served as an MP. He was also a talented playwright who also penned many short stories and novels, though his achievements as a writer was overshadowed by his radical political views.
35 Geza Szocs
A significant pillar of Hungarian poetry, Geza Szocs was known for his disregard for conventions. He also worked as journalist in Geneva and later served as Hungary’s Secretary of State for Culture and the president of the Hungarian PEN Club. He died of COVID-19 complications in 2020.