Hungarian

Hungary not only has a fixation for moustaches and vodka, but also for great minds and unsurpassable talents. One of the best eastern European cities, Hungary has been home to some of world's mind-boggling magicians (Harry Houdini), jaw-droppingly beautiful move actors (Zsa Zsa Gabor), enticing pianists (Franz Liszt), authors (Noemi Ban), entrepreneurs (George Soros), chess players (Susan Polgar) and lot many other rich and famous people. Not just that, Hungary has also produced a wad of Noble prizewinners that has fetched the country an enviable standing in the world. It is because of these heavily talented and exceptionally resourceful men and women that Hungary owns a coveted spot among its peer countries. Let us delve deep into the rich and inspiring lives of some of Hungary's greatest people in the timeline, trivia, and interesting facts included in the biographies below. Rest assured each biography would make for a worthy read.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 John von Neumann

John von Neumann
6
Listed In: Scientists
Famous As: Mathematician, Computer Scientist, Physicist
Birthdate: December 28, 1903
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: February 8, 1957
Hungarian-American scientist John von Neumann contributed to the development of game theory and the concept of self-replication. His work covered vast areas including math, economics, physics, and computer science. His research on nuclear physics led him to be part of the advisory committee of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.

 2 Franz Liszt

Franz Liszt
4
Listed In: Musicians
Famous As: Composer, pianist, conductor and teacher
Birthdate: October 22, 1811
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Raiding, Austria
Died: July 31, 1886

Franz Liszt was a Hungarian composer, conductor, arranger, music teacher, and virtuoso pianist of the Romantic era. Considered one of the greatest pianists ever, Liszt's works influenced his contemporaries and successors alike. Perhaps his greatest legacy is his work as a teacher, although his rich body of work might suggest otherwise; he taught people like Karl Klindworth among other pianists.

 3 Barbara Palvin

Barbara Palvin
5
Listed In: Fashion
Famous As: Fashion Model
Birthdate: October 8, 1993
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Budapest
Hungarian model Barbara Palvin gained fame after appearing in the 2016 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. She was later named a Victoria's Secret Angel. She has modeled for top-notch brands such as Prada and Chanel. She was also seen as Greek mythological figure Antimache in the 2014 film Hercules.
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 4 Ferenc Puskás

Ferenc Puskás
6
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: April 1, 1927
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Budapest
Died: November 17, 2006

 5 Ignaz Semmelweis

Ignaz Semmelweis
2
Listed In: Physicians
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: July 1, 1818
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Buda
Died: August 13, 1865

Almost 2 decades before germ theory was laid down, Ignaz Semmelweis became the first physician to suggest that hand-washing could prevent the spread of puerperal fever and related deaths. Ironically, after being ridiculed for his theory, he died in a mental asylum, due to an infection from a wound.

 6 Harry Houdini

Harry Houdini
7
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Famous As: Illusionist
Birthdate: March 24, 1874
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Budapest
Died: October 31, 1926

Legendary magician Harry Houdini initially worked as a trapeze artist named “Ehrich, the Prince of the Air” and was later known for his iconic stunt of escaping from handcuffs, at times even under water and while buried alive. He died after a blow to the gut damaged his appendix.

 7 Zsa Zsa Gabor

Zsa Zsa Gabor
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Famous As: Socialite, Actress
Birthdate: February 6, 1917
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: December 18, 2016
Zsa Zsa Gabor was a stage actor and also became Miss Hungary before she moved to the U.S. Fans loved her in Moulin Rouge and A Nightmare on Elm Street 3. She was known for her flamboyant lifestyle and her nine marriages, including one to hotelier Conrad Hilton. 
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 8 Elizabeth Báthory

Elizabeth Báthory
9
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Famous As: Countess, Serial Killer
Birthdate: August 7, 1560
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Nyírbátor, Hungary
Died: August 21, 1614
Known as The Blood Countess and Countess Dracula, Elizabeth Báthory was a Hungarian noblewoman who was accused of killing at least 650 young women from 1590 to 1610. She was also accused of cannibalism and bathing in the blood of her victims. She evaded punishment and died in house arrest.

 9 Bela Bartok

Bela Bartok
5
Listed In: Musicians
Famous As: Composer, Pianist
Birthdate: March 25, 1881
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Sânnicolau Mare, Romania
Died: September 26, 1945

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.

 10 Bela Lugosi

Bela Lugosi
2
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 20, 1882
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lugoj, Romania
Died: August 16, 1956
Hungarian-American actor Bela Lugosi is best remembered for his iconic performance as Dracula on Broadway and in the 1931 film of the same name, based on Bram Stoker’s novel. He also appeared in films such as The Black Cat, The Raven, and Son of Frankenstein, along with Boris Karloff.

 11 Joseph Pulitzer

Joseph Pulitzer
2
Famous As: Journalist & Publisher
Birthdate: April 10, 1847
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Makó
Died: October 29, 1911

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.

 12 Peter Lorre

Peter Lorre
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 26, 1904
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Austria-Hungary
Died: March 23, 1964
Hungarian-American actor Peter Lorre went from stage-acting in Vienna to working in films in Germany. He soared to fame with the films M and The Man Who Knew Too Much. He left Germany during the Nazi rule. Fans loved him as Le Chiffre in the TV version of Casino Royale.

 13 Mickey Hargitay

Mickey Hargitay
4
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 6, 1926
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: September 14, 2006
Former Mr.Universe, Mickey Hargitay made his way into showbiz with Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? Husband of actress Jayne Mansfield, he was also a proficient football player. He earned the Joe Weider Lifetime Achievement Award; he was the first one to recieve that honor. During World War II, he was an underground fighter.

 14 Robert Capa

Robert Capa
4
Famous As: Photographer, Photojournalist
Birthdate: October 22, 1913
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: May 25, 1954

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.

 15 Tommy Ramone

Tommy Ramone
1
Listed In: Musicians
Famous As: Record Producer, Drummer
Birthdate: January 29, 1949
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Budapest
Died: July 11, 2014

Tommy Ramone was a Hungarian-American record producer, musician, and songwriter. For four years, he served as the drummer for the punk rock band the Ramones. The band was often cited as the first true punk rock group and was highly influential. Even though he left the group in the late 1970s, he maintained good relations with his former bandmates. 

 16 Judit Polgár

Judit Polgár
1
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: July 23, 1976
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary

 17 Charles I of Austria

Charles I of Austria
2
Famous As: Last ruler of Austro-Hungarian Empire
Birthdate: August 17, 1887
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Persenbeug-Gottsdorf
Died: April 1, 1922

Charles I of Austria reigned from 1916 to 1918 as the last emperor of Austria. He was the last king of Croatia, Bohemia, Hungary, and the last monarch from the House of Habsburg-Lorraine. Charles is remembered for making unsuccessful attempts to end Austria-Hungary's World War I campaign. He also tried to save the Austro-Hungarian Empire from disintegration but was unsuccessful.

 18 Ilona Staller

Ilona Staller
4
Listed In: Leaders
Famous As: Pornographic actor, Politician
Birthdate: November 26, 1951
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary

Ilona Staller is a former porn star, singer, and politician. She achieved popularity by appearing in Telefono rosso, the first Italian hardcore pornography production, and then went on to pose nude in Playboy's editions around the world. In 1980, an erotic series titled La Cicciolina was made based on Ilona Staller's life and career.

 19 Geli Raubal

Geli Raubal
4
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Famous As: Hitler’s Niece
Birthdate: June 4, 1908
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Linz
Died: September 18, 1931
Geli Raubal was the half-niece of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and the daughter of Hitler’s half-sister, Angela Raubal. She spent her childhood in Hitler’s home, where her mother worked as a housekeeper. She is said to have committed suicide after Hitler forbade her to pursue singing lessons in Vienna.

 20 Ferdinand Porsche

Ferdinand Porsche
2
Listed In: Engineers
Famous As: Founder of Porsche Automobile Company
Birthdate: September 3, 1875
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Vratislavice nad Nisou, Liberec, Czechia
Died: January 30, 1951

Ferdinand Porsche was an Austrian-German automotive engineer. He is credited with founding one of the most popular car companies in the world, Porsche AG. He is also credited with creating the Lohner-Porsche mixed hybrid, the first gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle. During World War II, Porsche was a prominent contributor to the German war effort.

 21 Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor

Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor
2
Famous As: Holy Roman Emperor
Birthdate: March 13, 1741
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Vienna
Died: February 20, 1790

Joseph II reigned as the Holy Roman Emperor from 1765, and as the sole ruler of the Habsburg lands from 1780, until 1790. Son of Empress Maria Theresa and Emperor Francis I, and brother of Marie Antoinette, he laid down policies now known as Josephinism. He died without heirs.

 22 Otto von Habsburg

Otto von Habsburg
1
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: November 20, 1912
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Reichenau an der Rax
Died: July 4, 2011

Otto von Habsburg was the son of Charles I, the last emperor of Austria. A staunch opponent of Nazism, he called for the unification and integration of Europe. He had been a European Parliament member and spearheaded the Pan-European Picnic at the Austrian-Hungarian border during the 1989 revolution.

 23 Magda Gabor

Magda Gabor
1
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 11, 1915
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: June 6, 1997

 24 Big Nose Kate

Big Nose Kate
3
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Famous As: Prostitute
Birthdate: November 9, 1849
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Nové Zámky, Slovakia
Died: November 2, 1940

 25 Amrita Shergil

Amrita Shergil
1
Famous As: Greatest avant-garde women artists of the early 20th century
Birthdate: January 30, 1913
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: December 5, 1941

Amrita Sher-Gil was a Hungarian-Indian painter best remembered as a pioneer of modern Indian art. Widely regarded as one of the early-20th century's greatest avant-garde women artists, Sher-Gil's work has influenced several Indian artists like Arpita Singh and Sayed Haider Raza. Her life and career inspired the 1969 documentary film Amrita Sher-Gil which was directed by Bhagwan Das Garga.

 26 Katinka Hosszu

Katinka Hosszu
1
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: May 3, 1989
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Pécs, Hungary

 27 Otto Preminger

Otto Preminger
0
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: December 5, 1905
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Vyzhnytsya, Ukraine
Died: April 23, 1986

While he initially wished to follow in his prosecutor father’s footsteps to be a lawyer, Otto Preminger later discovered his love for theater. A master stage director, he later signed with Fox as one of its first independent filmmakers. He soared to fame with the 1944 film Laura.  

 28 Erno Rubik

Erno Rubik
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Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: July 13, 1944
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Budapest

A professor of design and architecture, Erno Rubik is the man behind the Rubik’s Cube. The Hungarian inventor himself took a month to solve his Rubik’s Cube puzzle, before marketing it worldwide as a popular game. He later also invented Rubik’s Magic and now promotes problem solving and mathematics. 

 29 Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor

Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor
0
Famous As: Holy Roman Emperor (1433-1437)
Birthdate: February 14, 1368
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Nuremberg, Germany
Died: December 9, 1437

Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor reigned as the king of Hungary and Croatia from 1387 to 1437. He also served as the king of Germany, king of Bohemia, king of Italy, and emperor of the Romans. Sigismund is best remembered for playing a key role in bringing about the Council of Constance, which ended the Papal Schism.   

 30 Ferdinand I of Austria

Ferdinand I of Austria
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Famous As: Emperor
Birthdate: April 19, 1793
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: June 29, 1875

Ferdinand I of Austria reigned as the Austrian emperor from 1835 until his retirement in 1848. As the emperor of Austria, Ferdinand also ruled as the king of Croatia, Hungary, and Bohemia. He also served as the king of Lombardy–Venetia and held several other lesser titles, which any emperor of Austria is entitled to hold.

 31 Matthias Corvinus

Matthias Corvinus
0
Famous As: King
Birthdate: February 23, 1443
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Died: April 6, 1490

 32 Jadwiga of Poland

Jadwiga of Poland
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Famous As: Queen of Poland (1384-1399)
Birthdate: 1373 AD
Birthplace: Buda, Hungary
Died: July 17, 1399

Jadwiga of Poland reigned over the Kingdom of Poland as its first female monarch from 1384 until her death in 1399. Regarded as one of Poland's greatest rulers, Jadwiga is often compared to Casimir the Great and Bolesław the Brave. Also remembered for her charitable activities, Jadwiga of Poland established new schools, hospitals, and churches.

 33 Marcel Breuer

Marcel Breuer
2
Listed In: Architects
Famous As: Architect & Furniture Designer
Birthdate: May 21, 1902
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Pécs, Austria-Hungary
Died: July 1, 1981
Hungarian architect and furniture designer Marcel Breuer was a major figure of the International Style of design. His innovative designs made use of new technology and materials, such as steel furniture resembling the designs of bicycle handle bars, also known as the Wassily chair. He inspired the documentary Breuer's Bohemia.

 34 Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor

Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor
1
Famous As: Holy Roman Emperor
Birthdate: May 5, 1747
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: March 1, 1792

Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor reigned as king of Archduke of Austria, emperor of the Romans, and king of Hungary and Bohemia from 1790 until his death in 1792. From 1765 to 1790, he served as Grand Duke of Tuscany, during which he abolished capital punishment in Tuscany, making it the first nation to abolish capital punishment in modern history.

 35 László Bíró

László Bíró
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Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: September 29, 1899
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Budapest
Died: October 24, 1985

 36 Katalin Karikó

Katalin Karikó
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Listed In: Scientists
Famous As: mRNA technology in immunology and therapies
Birthdate: January 17, 1955
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Szolnok, Hungary

Hungarian biochemist Katalin Karikó is best known for her research on mRNA, which led scientists to develop the first mRNA-based vaccine in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. After working at the Biological Research Centre in Szeged, she moved to the US due to lack of funding.

 37 Cornel Wilde

Cornel Wilde
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 13, 1912
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Prievidza, Hungary [now Slovakia]
Died: October 16, 1989

 38 Andrew Grove

Andrew Grove
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Listed In: Business People
Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: September 2, 1936
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: March 21, 2016

 39 Imre Nagy

Imre Nagy
1
Listed In: Leaders
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: June 7, 1896
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kaposvár, Hungary
Died: June 16, 1958

Imre Nagy was a Hungarian politician who served as the third chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Hungarian People's Republic. He also served as the 44th prime minister of Hungary. In 1956, Nagy played an influential role in the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 where he led the Revolution against the government, for which he was executed in 1958.

 40 Georg Solti

Georg Solti
2
Listed In: Musicians
Famous As: Conductor
Birthdate: October 21, 1912
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: September 5, 1997

Georg Solti was an operatic and orchestral conductor. He is best remembered for his association with opera companies in London, Frankfurt, and Munich. He also worked with the popular Chicago Symphony Orchestra where he served as a music director for a long time. Solti became the subject of a 1987 biographical TV documentary titled This Is Your Life.

 41 Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor

Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor
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Famous As: Holy Roman Emperor
Birthdate: July 31, 1527
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Vienna
Died: October 12, 1576

Maximilian II was the Holy Roman Emperor from 1564 until his death in 1576.  A member of the Austrian House of Habsburg, he was the eldest son of the Habsburg archduke Ferdinand I and Anne of Bohemia and Hungary. He was the nephew of Emperor Charles V. As the king, he adopted a policy of religious neutrality.

 42 Jolie Gabor

Jolie Gabor
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Listed In: Fashion
Famous As: Jeweler, Socialite
Birthdate: September 30, 1896
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: April 1, 1997

 43 Anna Rudolf

Anna Rudolf
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Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: November 12, 1987
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Miskolc, Hungary

 44 Miklós Fehér

Miklós Fehér
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Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: July 20, 1979
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tatabánya
Died: January 25, 2004

 45 György Lukács

György Lukács
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: April 13, 1885
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: June 4, 1971

One of the pioneers of Western Marxism, Hungarian philosopher and literary critic György Lukács also taught at the University of Budapest and later became a major pillar of the Hungarian uprising. His best-known written works include Soul and Form and The Historical Novel, apart from his books on Goethe, Lenin, and Marx.

 46 Comte de Saint-Germain

Comte de Saint-Germain
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Listed In: Miscellaneous
Famous As: Adventurer
Birthdate: 1691 AD
Birthplace: Sárospatak, Hungary
Died: February 27, 1784

Known as The Wonderman, 18th-century French adventurer Comte de Saint-Germain was also a talented musician, especially skilled in the violin, and a well-known chemist. Not only was he proficient in almost all European languages, he had traveled to places such as Russia, the Dutch Republic, and Germany.

 47 Márton Fucsovics

Márton Fucsovics
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Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Tennis player
Birthdate: February 8, 1992
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Nyíregyháza, Hungary

 48 Elizabeth of Hungary

Elizabeth of Hungary
2
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Famous As: Saint
Birthdate: July 7, 1207
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Pozsony county, Hungary
Died: November 17, 1231

Elizabeth, the daughter of Hungarian king Andrew II, was married at 14 but lost her husband to a plague in Italy at 20. She then joined the Third Order of St. Francis and opened a hospital for the poor. She is revered as the patron saint of the homeless.

 49 Karl Polanyi

Karl Polanyi
0
Famous As: Economist, Anthropologist, Economic historian, Historian, Journalist, Philosopher, Writer, University teacher, Sociologist
Birthdate: October 25, 1886
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vienna
Died: April 23, 1964

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.

 50 Muhammad Asad

Muhammad Asad
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Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: July 2, 1900
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Lviv, Ukraine
Died: February 20, 1992

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.