Nadia Comaneci is a Romanian former gymnast. One of the best-known gymnasts in the world, Comaneci has five Olympic gold medals under her belt. Credited with popularizing gymnastics around the world, Nadia Comaneci was honored by the Laureus World Sports Academy by including her in their Athletes of the 20th Century list in 2000.
Kwame Nkrumah was a Ghanaian revolutionary and politician. He played an important role in the independence of the Gold Coast in 1957, after which he served as the first prime minister of Ghana from 1957 to 1960 and then as the first president of Ghana from 1960 to 1966. He also played an influential role as an advocate of Pan-Africanism.
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.
Sebastian Stan serves as an inspiration to many youngsters as he overcame his difficult beginnings to become a popular actor in the American film industry. A self-made man, he learned the art of acting at the prestigious Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London and went on to star in hit films like Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Endgame.
Saint Patrick was a Romano-British bishop and Christian missionary in Ireland. Widely regarded as the main patron saint of Ireland, Patrick is often referred to as the Apostle of Ireland. According to early medieval tradition, Patrick is credited with popularizing Christianity in Ireland. His life and work inspired the 2000 TV historical drama film, St. Patrick: The Irish Legend.
Often considered a national hero of Romania, Vlad the Impaler was an important ruler in Wallachian history. Also known as Vlad Dracula, his reputation for cruelty inspired the name of the famous fictitious vampire Count Dracula. Books describing his cruelty were among the first-known bestsellers in the German-speaking territories.
Simona Halep is a Romanian tennis player. With 22 WTA singles titles and two Grand Slam singles titles under her belt, Simona Halep is one of the most successful Romanian female tennis players of all time. She is also widely considered one of the WTA Tour's best returners of the current generation.
Michael I, the last King of Romania, ruled the country twice, of which the first-tenure was as a minor. During his second tenure, he removed Ion Antonescu’s government that aligned Romania with Nazi Germany. He declared alliance with Allies but was eventually forced to abdicate by Petru Groza’s government on December 30, 1947, as Romania officially became a People's Republic.
Roman poet Publius Ovidius Naso, better known as Ovid, lived during the rule of Augustus. He is held at par with Latin legends Virgil and Horace. Remembered for his mythological masterpiece the Metamorphoses, a 15-book Latin poem, he spent his final years exiled in a city on the Black Sea.
Known to fans as The Maradona of the Carpathians, Gheorghe Hagi is considered the most successful Romanian footballer of all time. An attacking midfielder, he began his career with FC Constanța, before playing for teams such as Real Madrid, Brescia, and Barcelona. Post-retirement, he managed the Romanian team.
Romanian former professional basketball player Gheorghe Dumitru Mureșan, also called Ghiță, with a height of 7 feet 7 inches (2.31 m), is counted among the two tallest basketball players (tied with Sudanese-American professional basketball player Manute Bol) in the history of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Ghiță played for the Washington Bullets and New Jersey Nets during his NBA career.
Inna is a Romanian songwriter and singer who achieved popularity after releasing her debut studio album Hot, which was certified Platinum and Gold. Over the years, she has received several awards, such as MTV Europe Music Awards, Romanian Music Awards, and Balkan Music Awards. Also a human rights activist, Inna supports LGBT and children's rights.
Constantin Brâncuși was a Romanian sculptor, painter, and photographer. A pioneer of modernism, he is considered one of the most influential sculptors of the 20th-century. The son of poor parents, he worked hard to fund his training at the Bucharest School of Fine Arts and became a skilled sculptor. He left behind 1200 photographs and 215 sculptures at his death.
Once number 1 in singles, Romanian tennis player Ilie Năstase created became the first European to cross $1 million in career prize money. A 3-time Davis Cup finalist, he won major titles such as the French Open, the US Open, and Wimbledon. He has also penned 2 French novels and a memoir.
Marie of Romania was a descendant of Queen Victoria and born as the Princess of Edinburgh, before she married King Ferdinand I and became the last queen of Romania. A visual artist and a patron of the Art Nouveau movement, she was also a skilled equestrian and driver.
Romanian-born US actor and producer John Houseman is remembered for his Academy Award- and Golden Globe-winning role in The Paper Chase. Primarily a character actor, he also gained fame as a theater director and producer and collaborated with director Orson Welles on many projects.
Born to athlete parents, Hungarian-origin Romanian basketball player Robert Bobroczky became famous for his towering 7’7” frame. His abnormal height was apparently found to be a result of genetics and not any disorder. He represented the Italian club Stella Azzurra and later moved to the US to join the SPIRE Institute and Academy.
Alaric I reigned as the first king of the Visigoths. Alaric, who operated against the Western Roman regimes, is best remembered for playing a crucial role in the sack of Rome in 410, which was one of the major events leading up to the fall of the Western Roman Empire. After Rome's sack, Alaric fell ill and died in Bruttium.
Ana Ularu is a Romanian actress best known for playing the role of Matilda in the action film Outbound. She began her acting career in the mid-1990s and appeared in a handful of minor roles in TV shows. As her career progressed, she started acting in films as well. She has received a Locarno International Film Festival Award.
Carol I of Romania reigned as the King of Romania from 15 March 1881 to 10 October 1914. He helped Romania achieve independence by leading his men during the Russo-Turkish War and is best remembered as the Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen dynasty's first ruler. During his reign, Romania's infrastructure and industry were improved.
Carol II of Romania reigned as king of Romania from 1930 to 1940. He played a major role in establishing a royal dictatorship in Romania by abolishing the political parties and removing the 1923 constitution. He replaced the political parties with the National Renaissance Front, a single monopoly party of government.
Ion Antonescu was a Romanian marshal who served as a dictator during World War II. Appointed the prime minister in 1940, he formed a military dictatorship in Romania and joined hands with the Axis powers. His regime was ended by a coup d’etat led by King Michael, and he was sentenced to death.
Princess Anne Antoinette came to be known as the Queen of Romania after her marriage to Romanian king Michael I. However, she was actually an uncrowned queen, since her husband was forced to abdicate by the Communists shortly before their marriage. She had also been a Free French forces nurse.
Considered the national poet of Romania, Mihai Eminescu was a major figure of Romanticism in Romanian literature. Starting as an editor for the paper Timpul, he later penned iconic poems such as Luceafărul, or The Evening Star, and stories such as Sărmanul Dionis and Cezara. He, unfortunately, died in a mental asylum.
Mircea Eliade was a Romanian fiction writer, historian of religion, professor at the University of Chicago, and philosopher. His stories and novels have been adapted into films, such as The Bengali Night, which was directed by Nicolas Klotz. His works have also influenced writers all over the world.
Aurelia Dobre is a Romanian former artistic gymnast who won three gold medals at the 24th Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in 1987. In the same World Championships, she won two bronze medals. In 1988, she helped her team win the silver medal at the Summer Olympics. In 2016, she was made an inductee of the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.
Romanian far-right politician Corneliu Zelea Codreanu founded the anti-Semitic and fascist movement called Iron Guard, also known as the Legionary Movement. While the movement turned into a successful political party, it was crushed by King Carol II, while Codreanu was imprisoned and then shot to death while escaping.
Nicolae Ceaușescu was a Romanian politician who served as the first president of the country. Ceaușescu's communist government was totalitarian and was responsible for human rights abuses and severe repression. An anti-government protest (the Romanian Revolution) broke out in 1989 and his government was overthrown subsequently. Ceaușescu and his wife were convicted of genocide and executed by firing squad.
Mihai Viteazul, or Michael the Brave, was the prince of Walachia, who became a national hero after uniting all Romanian principalities under his rule. Known for his exploits against the Turks, he also conquered Transylvania and Moldavia. He was killed shortly after suppressing a revolt of Magyar nobles.
Dan Petrescu is a Romanian former football player best known for winning the 1998 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup for Chelsea. He also earned 95 caps for his national team between 1989 and 2000. Since his retirement, Dan Petrescu has worked as a manager and is currently managing CFR Cluj. Petrescu is the second-most successful Romanian manager.
Romanian actor Ingrid Bisu is best known for playing Anca in the Palme d'Or-nominated comedy-drama Toni Erdmann. She made her debut with one of Romania’s first sitcoms, Casatorie de proba. She has also appeared in the horror films The Nun and The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It and has co-written Malignant.
Alexandru Ioan Cuza was the first ruler of the Romanian Principalities after the unification of Moldavia and Wallachia. He is credited with modernizing the Romanian society through a series of reforms. Today, Alexandru Ioan Cuza is regarded as a national hero of Romania. He is also counted among the founders of the modern Romanian state.
Laura Bretan is a Romanian-American soprano who came into prominence in 2016 when she won the sixth season of the popular TV show, Romania's Got Talent. In the same year, Laura Bretan also appeared in America's Got Talent where she finished sixth.
Ferdinand I of Romania reigned as the King of Romania from 10 October 1914 until his death on 20 July 1927. He chose to support the Triple Entente during World War I and managed to annex Transylvania, Bukovina, Bessarabia, and parts of Maramureș, Crișana, and Banat, which resulted in the establishment of Greater Romania.
Paul Celan was a Romanian-born poet who wrote in the German language. One of the most important and influential German-language poets of the post-Second World War era, Celan was awarded the Bremen Literature Prize and the Georg Büchner Prize in 1958 and 1960 respectively. Paul Celan is also remembered for his work as a translator.
Romanian former footballer Mircea Lucescu is known for his successful stint in the Romanian First League, having won 6 titles. He also led the Romanian team in the 1970 FIFA World Cup. Post-retirement, he had a successful stint as a manager, especially with the Ukrainian club Dynamo Kyiv.
Romanian-Canadian former professional boxer Lucian Bute is best known for winning the IBF super-middleweight title for the first time in 2007 and then defending it successfully for nine consecutive times before losing it to Carl Froch in May 2012. He was given the number one ranking in the division by the American boxing magazine called The Ring.
Three-time Olympian Romanian former artistic gymnast Cătălina Ponor has 5 Olympic medals in her kitty, including 3 golds. He has also won a World Cup gold and 8 European Championship gold medals. The sports star started training at age 4 and was scouted by the national selectors during a nationwide talent search.
Cristian Chivu is a Romanian retired football player who earned 75 caps for his national team between 1999 and 2010. He also represented popular clubs like Inter Milan, winning the FIFA Club World Cup and the UEFA Champions League for the team. Cristian Chivu is currently serving as the head coach of Internazionale's Primavera side.
Moldovan politician Maia Sandu, who was part of the Liberal Democratic Party before forming the Party of Action and Solidarity, has also served her country as its prime minister and is now its president. She has previously also been the advisor to the World Bank executive director.
Nobel Prize-winning author Herta Müller grew up under the dictatorial regime of Nicolae Ceaușescu in Romania. She was fired from her first job for not co-operating with the Romanian secret police. Her works, such as Oppressive Tango and The Passport, mirror the oppression of Germans she has witnessed in Romania.
Considered a Romanian hero, Helen of Greece and Denmark is remembered for her selfless act of saving Romanian Jews during World War II. The daughter of Greek king Constantine I, Helen served as the queen mother of Romania during the rule of her son, King Michael I.
Romanian actor Maia Morgenstern is best known to fans as the Virgin Mary from the 2004 biblical drama The Passion of the Christ. She has also appeared in series such as Aniela and Las Fierbinți. She has also won multiple awards for her role in Balanța, or The Oak.
Gordian III was a Roman emperor who reigned from 238 to 244 AD. He was the youngest Roman emperor as he ascended the throne at age 13. His reign was marked by a series of major earthquakes that swallowed a number of cities along with their inhabitants.
Former Romanian politician Traian Băsescu was impeached and re-instated by a popular referendum once in 2007 and again in 2012. As the governor of Bucharest, he successfully reduced the number of stray dogs. He also sent Romanian troops to serve as part of George Bush’s war in Iraq.