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.
Bjork is an Icelandic singer, record producer, songwriter, DJ, and actress. She is best known for her association with the now-defunct yet popular band, The Sugarcubes. The bestselling Icelandic singer-songwriter of all time, Bjork was named in Time magazine's most influential people in the world list in 2015. Over the course of her illustrious career, Bjork has received several awards.
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.
Hildur Guðnadóttir is an Icelandic composer and musician. A classically trained cellist, Guðnadóttir has recorded with popular bands like Throbbing Gristle, Pan Sonic, Stórsveit Nix Noltes, and Múm. Hildur Guðnadóttir is best known for her work in films like Joker, for which she received the Academy Award under the Best Original Score category.
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.
Retired Icelandic gymnast and track athlete Katrín Davíðsdóttir scripted history as the second woman to be a CrossFit Games champion twice. She was 18 when she began her CrossFit career. She later appeared in the 30th season of the reality game show The Amazing Race.
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 weightlifter and CrossFit athlete Sara Sigmundsdóttir was placed 3rd in the CrossFit Games twice. She has also won the 2016 Dubai Fitness Championship and appeared in the documentary Fittest on Earth: A Decade of Fitness. She now works as a trainer at CrossFit Sudurnes in Reykjanesbaer.
Marketa Irglova is a Czech-Icelandic musician, singer-songwriter, and actress. She is best known for starring in the 2007 Irish musical drama film Once, which earned Irglová numerous prestigious awards, such as an Oscar under the Best Original Song category for her song, Falling Slowly.
Ragnheiður Ragnarsdóttir, or Ragga Ragnars, was 19 when she became Iceland’s youngest swimmer at the Olympics. After making multiple national records in freestyle, she retired and started studying acting. She later gained fame as Gunnhild, an Icelandic Saga figure, in the popular historical drama TV series Vikings.
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.
Anníe Mist Þórisdóttir scripted history as the first female to win the CrossFit Games twice. The former gymnast withdrew from the 2015 CrossFit Games due to heatstroke, but baring that occasion, she has never finished below top 13. She now owns Reebok CrossFit Reykjavik.
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.
Emilíana Torrini is an Icelandic singer-songwriter. Torrini is perhaps best known for performing Gollum's Song for the 2002 epic fantasy adventure film The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Emilíana Torrini is also known for her single Jungle Drum and her third album Love in the Time of Science.
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.