Pope John Paul II was the head of the Catholic Church from 1978 until his death in 2005. He is hailed for helping to end Communist rule in his native Poland and improving the Catholic Church's relations with Islam, Judaism, and the Eastern Orthodox Church. He was a lifelong football fan, having himself played the sport in his youth.
Nicholas II reigned as the last Emperor of All Russia from 1894 until his abdication in 1917. His reign oversaw a series of reforms in Russia. These reforms included the introduction of literacy programs, civil liberties, and methods to modernize the empire's infrastructure. However, these reforms were eventually undermined by Nicholas' love for autocratic rule.
Country music singer, songwriter, and actor George Strait is regarded as one of the most influential recording artists of all time. Lovingly nicknamed the "King of Country", he has sold more than 100 million records worldwide and is certified as the 12th-best selling artist in American history. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2006.
Bertrand Russell was a British polymath and Nobel laureate. His work, which is spread across various fields, has had a considerable influence on philosophy, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, mathematics, linguistics, and logic. Russell is also credited with leading the revolt against idealism in Britain and is regarded as one of the founders of analytic philosophy.
Omar Khayyam was a Persian polymath, mathematician, philosopher, astronomer, and poet. In the field of mathematics, he is best known for his work on the classification and solution of cubic equations. As an astronomer, he designed a solar calendar known as the Jalali calendar. His philosophical attitude towards life had elements of pessimism, nihilism, Epicureanism, and fatalism.
Nancy Juvonen is a film producer best known for founding Flower Films, a production company which she owns with actress Drew Barrymore. Over the course of her career, Juvonen has produced several successful films, such as Charlie's Angels, 50 First Dates, and How to Be Single. She is married to the popular television host and comedian, Jimmy Fallon.
Fred Perry was a British tennis player. A former world No. 1, Perry won three successive Wimbledon Championships from 1934. He won eight Grand Slam tournaments, including a Career Grand Slam. He was the first player and only British player to date to achieve a Career Grand Slam. Also a table tennis player, Perry was the world champion in 1929.
One of the most popular rock keyboardists of the progressive rock genre, Rick Wakeman soared to fame as part of the band Yes and later had an equally successful solo career. He had ditched his initial dream of becoming a pianist to start his career as a session musician.
Kevin Anderson is a South African tennis player who became the fifth-ranked player in the world in 2018. He is the first South African player to be ranked in the top five since 1985 when Kevin Curren was ranked fifth in the world. Anderson has reached two Grand Slam finals; US Open (2017) and Wimbledon (2018).
Alina Zagitova is a Russian figure skater who has won one gold medal each in Olympic Games, World Figure Skating Championships, European Figure Skating Championships, and Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final; she is the only female figure skater from Russia to have achieved this feat. At the 2019 Glamour Russia Awards, Alina Zagitova was named Sportswoman of the Year.
While he was part of theater groups even in high school, Lim Ju-hwan started his career as a model with the agency The Men soon after graduation. Over the years, he has gained fame for projects such as The Snow Queen; Tamra, the Island; and The Good Doctor.
Margot Fonteyn was an English ballerina who spent her entire dancing career at the Royal Ballet. She was eventually appointed prima ballerina assoluta of the Royal Ballet by Queen Elizabeth II. Margot Fonteyn achieved international fame after a tour of the US in 1949. She also helped popularize ballet in the US by appearing on TV before and after WWII.
Swiss basketball player Clint Capela made history when he became his country’s highest-earning athlete of team sports. Known for his stints with the NBA teams Atlanta Hawks and Houston Rockets, the African-origin sports star had a tough childhood and grew up partly in foster care.
Walter Gropius was a German architect. Along with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Alvar Aalto, and Frank Lloyd Wright, he is regarded as a pioneer in modernist architecture. Gropius founded the Bauhaus School. The large-scale housing projects he designed in Berlin, Karlsruhe, and Dessau in the late 1920s and early 1930s became major contributions to the New Objectivity movement.
Spencer Breslin is an American actor who started his career as a child artist. At the age of nine, he received the Young Artist Award for his portrayal of young Rusty Duritz in the 2000 fantasy comedy-drama film, The Kid. Also a musician, Breslin plays in a band named Broken Machine.
The youngest child of New York governor Nelson Rockefeller, Michael Rockefeller shunned his family’s legacy and decided to become an explorer. He went missing while on an expedition to the Asmat region of southwestern Dutch New Guinea and was declared dead 3 years later, raising speculations of cannibalism.
Walter Sisulu was a South African activist who played an important role in the anti-apartheid movement. Counted among the most important members of the ANC, Sisulu served more than 25 years in prison for his anti-apartheid activities. For his contribution to the success of the ANC, Sisulu was honored with the prestigious Isitwalandwe Seaparankoe in 1992.
Pakistani singer-actor Ali Zafar has been quite successful in Bollywood and has even earned a Filmfare nomination. Best known for his performance in the film Dear Zindagi, the actor had begun his career with Pakistani TV serials. A philanthropist, too, he has his own charitable foundation.
Finnish retired hockey player Jari Kurri is not just a 5-time Stanley Cup winner but also the first from his country to be part of the Hockey Hall of Fame. An Olympic bronze medal winner, he managed the Finnish team post-retirement. He is married to former Miss Finland, Vanessa Forsman.