Bobby Fischer began as a chess prodigy in his teens and went on to become the youngest "grandmaster," at 15. His participation in a politically controversial match in Yugoslavia led to the revocation of his U.S. passport and his arrest. He spent the final years of his life in Iceland.
Leif Erikson was a Norse explorer widely believed to have been one of the earliest Europeans to have set foot on North America, at least 500 years before Christopher Columbus. He is also credited with establishing a Norse settlement at coastal North America, as told in the sagas of Icelanders. He has been portrayed in films like The Viking (1928).
Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson is an Icelandic actor and former professional strongman. He inspired a number of Icelandic strongmen by becoming the first person to win the World's Strongest Man, Europe's Strongest Man, and Arnold Strongman Classic in the same calendar year. His popularity as a strongman earned him the role of Gregor Clegane in the popular series Game of Thrones.
Stefán Karl Stefánsson was an Icelandic singer and actor. He is remembered for playing Robbie Rotten in the popular children's television series, LazyTown. In June 2018, he was honored with the Order of the Falcon. In August 2018, Stefán Karl died of cancer. The launch of a performing arts academy in his honor was announced after his death.
Magnús Scheving is best known as the creator of the BAFTA-winning children’s series Lazy Town, which has its roots in Scheving’s first book and centers around children’s fitness. The Icelandic aerobic gymnastic champion is also a motivational speaker and has previously been a fitness trainer at a school.
Daði Freyr is an Icelandic musician best known as the frontman of a musical band named Daði & Gagnamagnið. In 2021, Freyr represented Iceland at the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest with the song 10 Years and finished fourth.
Retired Icelandic powerlifter Magnús Ver Magnússon not only won the World’s Strongest Man contest 4 times but has also been Europe's Strongest Man twice and Iceland's Strongest Man 8 times. He owns a gym, has launched a strongman competition, and judges powerlifting and strongman contests, too.
Icelandic MMA fighter Gunnar Nelson, also known as Gunni, competes for the UFC welterweight division. A black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, he had been interested in football and ice hockey till age 13, when he began training in Gōjū-ryū Karate. He is a World Jiu-Jitsu Championship silver medalist.
BAFTA-winning Irish multi-instrumentalist Ólafur Arnalds is known for his innovative experiments with electronic music. A trained drummer and pianist, he uses his customized software to mingle classical and modern notes. He is also known for his collaborative initiatives, such as his work with the techno duo Kiasmos.
Icelandic footballer Alfreð Finnbogason is a forward who began his youth career with teams such as Grindavík and later graduated to senior teams such as Breiðablik. He has also played for Dutch, Spanish, German, and Belgian clubs. He has won the Icelandic Cup with Breiðablik and the Super League Greece with Olympiacos.
Icelandic footballer Kolbeinn Sigþórsson, who started his senior career with HK, later had a successful stint with the Dutch club Ajax, winning the Eredivisie thrice and the Johan Cruyff Shield once. His 26 goals for the Iceland national team have made him the top joint national goal-scorer of all time.
Olafur Eliasson is an Icelandic-Danish artist. He is famous for his sculptured and large-scale installation art. He established Studio Olafur Eliasson in Berlin in 1995 and co-founded Studio Other Spaces in 2014. He represented Denmark at the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003. He was a professor at the Berlin University of the Arts for many years.
Born to Icelandic parents in the US, footballer Aron Jóhannsson moved to Iceland at age 3. Starting his senior career with Fjölnir, he later had successful stints with the Dutch club AZ and the Danish club AGF. While he initially represented the Iceland U21 team, he later switched to the US national team.
Icelandic professional football-winger Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson made his senior-career debut with Breiðablik. Thereafter he played with AZ, with whom he won the 2012–13 KNVB Cup; and with Charlton Athletic before joining Burnley in July 2016. He represented Iceland in UEFA Euro 2016, where he assisted the country’s first-ever goal in a major tournament; and in 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Icelandic professional footballer Jón Daði Böðvarsson made his senior debut with Selfoss. Thereafter he played with several other clubs before joining his present club Bolton Wanderers in January 2022. He played for Iceland at under-19 and under-21 level and became full international in 2012. He remained part of the national squad during UEFA Euro 2016 and 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Icelandic former footballer and coach Eiður Guðjohnsen began his senior career with Valur and then had successful stints with clubs such as Chelsea and Barcelona as a forward/midfielder. The son of former striker Arnór Guðjohnsen, he had also led the Iceland national football team as its captain.
Sjón is an Icelandic poet, lyricist, screenwriter, and novelist. He is best known for his frequent collaborations with singer-songwriter and composer Björk. Sjón's works are widely read and have been translated into many languages. Over the course of his career, Sjón has won several prestigious awards such as the Nordic Council's Literature Prize and DV Newspaper Culture Prize.
Gylfi Sigurðsson is an Icelandic football player who plays for the Iceland national team and Premier League club Everton. He helped the Iceland national team reach the quarter-finals at UEFA Euro 2016, the team's first major tournament. He also represented the country at their first-ever FIFA World Cup in the year 2018.
Icelandic former professional football centre-back Ragnar Sigurðsson made his senior-career debut with Fylkir and went on to play with several other clubs, most notably with IFK Göteborg, with whom he won Allsvenskan (2007), Svenska Supercupen (2008) and Svenska Cupen (2008). He won 97 caps while representing Iceland during 2007-20, which included representing the country at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Jóhann Jóhannsson was an Icelandic music composer best remembered for his wide array of work for various medium like theatre, television, and film. He is perhaps best known for his work in the 2014 biographical romantic drama film The Theory of Everything, for which he received an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe Award.
Icelandic strongman and powerlifter Benedikt "Benni" Magnússon currently holds the WPO powerlifting world record in deadlift and the Log Lift Icelandic Record. He won the Iceland's Strongest Man contest in 2003 and finished as runner up in 2004 and 2010. He attained the strongman deadlift world record at 460 kg in April 2011 at MHP's Clash of the Titan's IV.
Apart from being a coach and former footballer, Heimir Hallgrímsson is also a qualified dentist. The Icelandic defender has had successful playing stints with teams such as ÍBV and Höttur. He has also coached the Iceland team and the Qatari club Al-Arabi among others. He also has his dental chamber in Vestmannaeyjar.
Ragnar Þórhallsson is an Icelandic musician best known as the guitarist and lead vocalist of a band named Of Monsters and Men. He performs as the lead vocalist and guitarist of the band alongside Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir. Of Monsters and Men has released some successful albums like My Head Is an Animal and Beneath the Skin.
Gísli Örn Garðarsson is an Icelandic actor and occasional scriptwriter and producer. Also a theatre director, Gísli Örn is credited with co-founding a theatre and film company called Vesturport. Gísli Örn Garðarsson is best known for his portrayal of Garðar in the 2006 Icelandic film Children, which earned him a Shooting Stars Award at the Berlin Film Festival in 2007.
Icelandic professional footballer Emil Hallfreðsson made his senior career debut with Icelandic multi-sports club Fimleikafélag Hafnarfjarðar. Moving on, he played with other clubs including Tottenham Hotspur, Reggina and Virtus Verona and rejoined the latter club in October 2021. He also plays for the Iceland national team and was part of the nation’s squad during EURO 2016 and 2018 World Cup.
Ásgeir Trausti is an Icelandic musician and singer-songwriter. Apart from performing with his eponymous band, Trausti also plays guitar for The Lovely Lion. Over the course of his career, Ásgeir Trausti has won several prestigious awards such as Icelandic Music Awards and Kraumur Award.
Icelandic footballer Aron Gunnarsson is best known as a midfielder for the Qatari club Al-Arabi. While he was initially determined to be a handball player, he later switched to football. He led Iceland to their first World Cup in 2018 and also captained them to the quarter-finals of the 2016 UEFA Euro.
Stony Blyden is an Icelandic rapper, singer, actor, drummer, and record producer. He is best known for his portrayal of Stony in the 2018 American coming-of-age comedy-drama film, Dude. Stony Blyden also played an important role in the 2020 American romantic drama film, Life in a Year.
Atli Örvarsson is an Icelandic composer best known for his work in American films and TV series. He is credited with composing and orchestrating music for popular Hollywood films like Angels & Demons and the Pirates of the Caribbean film series.
The son of a footballer, Icelandic musician Orri Páll Dýrason is best known as the former drummer of the post-rock band Sigur Rós. He quit the band amid allegations of sexual assault by a fan on Instagram. He later defended his innocence through a Facebook post.
Jónsi is an Icelandic musician best known for his association with a post-rock band named Sigur Rós, where he performs as a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist. Renowned for using his cello bow on guitar, Jónsi has also achieved popularity for his amazing countertenor voice.