Famous Person Biography Essay

A list of famous people, chosen mainly from the nineteenth, twentieth or twenty-first centuries. This list includes famous actors, politicians, entrepreneurs, writers, artists and humanitarians.

  1. Marilyn Monroe (1926 – 1962) American actress, singer, model
  2. Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865) US President during American civil war
  3. Mother Teresa (1910 – 1997) Macedonian Catholic missionary nun
  4. John F. Kennedy (1917 – 1963) US President 1961 – 1963
  5. Martin Luther King (1929 – 1968)  American civil rights campaigner
  6. Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013)  South African President anti-apartheid campaigner
  7. Queen Elizabeth II (1926 – ) British monarch since 1954
  8. Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965) British Prime Minister during WWII
  9. Donald Trump (1946 – ) Businessman, politician
  10. Bill Gates (1955 – ) American businessman, founder of Microsoft
  11. Muhammad Ali (1942 – 2016) American Boxer and civil rights campaigner
  12. Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948) Leader of Indian independence movement
  13. Margaret Thatcher (1925 – 2013) British Prime Minister 1979 – 1990
  14. Christopher Columbus (1451 – 1506) Italian explorer
  15. Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882) British scientist, theory of evolution
  16. Elvis Presley (1935 – 1977) American musician
  17. Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) German scientist, theory of relativity
  18. Paul McCartney (1942 – ) British musician, member of Beatles
  19. Queen Victoria ( 1819 – 1901) British monarch 1837 – 1901
  20. Pope Francis (1936 – ) First pope from the Americas
  21. Jawaharlal Nehru (1889 – 1964) Indian Prime Minister 1947 – 1964
  22. Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519) Italian, painter, scientist, polymath
  23. Vincent Van Gogh (1853 – 1890) Dutch artist
  24. Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882 – 1945) US President 1932 – 1945
  25. Pope John Paul II (1920 – 2005) Polish Pope
  26. Thomas Edison ( 1847 – 1931) American inventor
  27. Rosa Parks (1913 – 2005)  American civil rights activist
  28. Aung San Suu Kyi (1945 – ) Burmese opposition leader
  29. Lyndon Johnson (1908 – 1973) US President 1963 – 1969
  30. Ludwig Beethoven (1770 – 1827) German composer
  31. Oprah Winfrey (1954 – ) American TV presenter, actress, entrepreneur
  32. Indira Gandhi (1917 – 1984) Prime Minister of India 1966 – 1977
  33. Eva Peron (1919 – 1952) First Lady of Argentina 1946 – 1952
  34. Benazir Bhutto (1953 – 2007) Prime Minister of Pakistan 1993 – 1996
  35. George Orwell (1903 – 1950) British author
  36. Desmond Tutu (1931 – ) South African Bishop and opponent of apartheid
  37. Dalai Lama (1938 – ) Spiritual and political leader of Tibetans
  38. Walt Disney (1901 – 1966) American film producer
  39. Neil Armstrong (1930 – 2012) US astronaut
  40. Peter Sellers (1925 – 1980) British actor and comedian
  41. Barack Obama (1961 – ) US President 2008 – 2016
  42. Malcolm X (1925 – 1965) American Black nationalist leader
  43. J.K.Rowling (1965 – ) British author
  44. Richard Branson (1950 – ) British entrepreneur
  45. Pele (1940 – ) Brazilian footballer, considered greatest of 20th century.
  46. Angelina Jolie (1975 – ) Actress, director, humanitarian
  47. Jesse Owens (1913 – 1980) US track athlete, 1936 Olympics
  48. Ernest Hemingway (1899 – 1961) American author
  49. John Lennon (1940 – 1980) British musician, member of the Beatles
  50. Henry Ford (1863 – 1947) US Industrialist
  51. Haile Selassie (1892 – 1975) Emperor of Ethiopia 1930 – 1974
  52. Joseph Stalin (1879 – 1953) Leader of Soviet Union 1924 – 1953
  53. Lord Baden Powell (1857 – 1941) British Founder of scout movement
  54. Michael Jordon (1963 – ) US Basketball star
  55. George Bush Jnr (1946 – ) US President 2000-2008
  56. Vladimir Lenin (1870 – 1924) Leader of Russian Revolution 1917
  57. Ingrid Bergman (1915 – 1982) Swedish actress
  58. Fidel Castro (1926 – ) President of Cuba 1976 – 2008
  59. Leo Tolstoy (1828 – 1910) Russian author and philosopher
  60. Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973) Spanish modern artist
  61. Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900) Irish author, poet, playwright
  62. Coco Chanel (1883 – 1971) French fashion designer
  63. Charles de Gaulle (1890 – 1970) French resistance leader and President 1959 – 1969
  64. Amelia Earhart (1897 – 1937) Aviator
  65. John M Keynes (1883 – 1946) British economist
  66. Louis Pasteur (1822 – 1895) French chemist and microbiologist
  67. Mikhail Gorbachev (1931 – ) Leader of Soviet Union 1985 – 1991
  68. Plato (423 BC – 348 BC) Greek philosopher
  69. Adolf Hitler (1889 – 1945) leader of Nazi Germany 1933 – 1945
  70. Sting (1951 – ) British musician
  71. Mary Magdalene (4 BCE – 40CE) devotee of Jesus Christ
  72. Alfred Hitchcock (1899 – 1980) English / American film producer, director
  73. Michael Jackson (1958 – 2009) American musician
  74. Madonna (1958 – ) American musician, actress, author
  75. Mata Hari (1876 – 1917) Dutch exotic dancer, executed as spy
  76. Cleopatra (69 – 30 BCE) Queen of Egypt
  77. Grace Kelly (1929 – 1982) American actress, Princess of Monaco
  78. Steve Jobs (1955 – 2012) co-founder of Apple computers
  79. Ronald Reagan (1911 – 2004) US President 1981-1989
  80. Lionel Messi (1987 – ) Argentinian footballer
  81. Babe Ruth (1895 – 1948) American baseball player
  82. Bob Geldof (1951 – ) Irish musician, charity worker
  83. Leon Trotsky (1879 – 1940) Russian Marxist revolutionary
  84. Roger Federer (1981 – ) Swiss Tennis player
  85. Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939) Austrian psychoanalyst
  86. Woodrow Wilson (1856 – 1924) US president 1913 – 1921
  87. Mao Zedong (1893 – 1976) Leader of Chinese Communist revolution
  88. Katherine Hepburn (1907 – 2003) American actress
  89. Audrey Hepburn (1929 – 1993) British actress and humanitarian
  90. David Beckham (1975 – )  English footballer
  91. Tiger Woods (1975 – ) American golfer
  92. Usain Bolt (1986 – ) Jamaican athlete and Olympian
  93. Carl Lewis (1961 – ) US athlete and Olympian
  94. Prince Charles (1948 – )  Heir to British throne
  95. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (1929 – 1994) American wife of JF Kennedy
  96. C.S. Lewis (1898 – 1963) British author
  97. Billie Holiday (1915 – 1959) American jazz singer
  98. J.R.R. Tolkien (1892 – 1973) British author
  99. Billie Jean King (1943 – ) American tennis player and human rights activist
  100. Anne Frank (1929 – 1945) Dutch Jewish author who died in Holocaust

More famous people

  1. Simon Bolivar (1783 – 1830) Venezuelan independence activist in South America.
  2. Marie Antoinette (1755 – 1793) French Queen, executed during the French revolution
  3. Cristiano Ronaldo (1985 – ) Portuguese footballer.
  4. Emmeline Pankhurst  (1858 – 1928) English suffragette.
  5. Emile Zatopek (1922 – 2000) Czech athlete
  6. Lech Walesa (1943 – ) Polish leader of Solidarity movement
  7. Julie Andrews (1935 – ) British singer, actress
  8. Florence Nightingale (1820 – 1910) British nurse
  9. Marie Curie (1867 – 1934) Polish / French scientist
  10. Stephen Hawking (1942 – ) British scientist
  11. Tim Berners Lee (1955 – ) English creator of World Wide Web
  12. Lance Armstrong (1971 – ) American cyclist
  13. Shakira (1977 – ) Colombian singer
  14. Jon Stewart (1962 – ) American comedian
  15. Wright Brothers  Orville (1871 – 1948) and Wilbur (1867 – 1912) American inventors, aviation pioneers
  16. Roman Abramovich (1966 – ) Russian oligarch
  17. Tom Cruise (1962 – ) American actor
  18. Rupert Murdoch (1931 – ) Media owner of News Corporation
  19. Al Gore (1948 – ) US presidential candidate and environmental campaigner
  20. Sacha Baron Cohen (1971 – ) English comedian
  21. George Clooney (1961 – ) American actor and political activist
  22. Paul Krugman (1953 – ) American Nobel Prize winning economist
  23. Jimmy Wales (1966 – ) American creator of Wikipedia
  24. Brad Pitt (1963 – ) Actor
  25. Kylie Minogue (1968 – ) Australian singer and actress
  26. Malala Yousafzai (1997 – ) Pakistani human rights activist
  27. Stephen King (1947 – ) American author

More Famous people

Famous historical figures: A list of famous people throughout the ages, which includes people from ancient civilisations to the present.

100 Famous Women: A list of 100 famous women from the arts, sport, literature, acting and politics.

100 most influential people – A list of 100 most influential people as chosen by Michael H. Hast, from his book 100 most influential people in the world. Includes; Muhammad, Jesus Christ, Lord Buddha, Confucius, St Paul and Johann Gutenberg.

People who changed the world – Famous people who changed the course of history including Socrates, Newton, Jesus Christ, Muhammad, Queen Victoria, Catherine the Great, Einstein and Gandhi.

Women who changed the world – Famous women who changed the world. Features female Prime Ministers, scientists, cultural figures, authors and royalty. Includes; Cleopatra, Princess Diana, Marie Curie, Queen Victoria, and Joan of Arc.

Famous People Through History

Famous by Nationality

Citation: Pettinger, Tejvan. “Top 100 Famous People”, Oxford, UK. www.biographyonline.net, 31/01/2016. Last updated 28 Feb 2018.

1000 Years of Famous People at Amazon

Famous People by Category

Famous by religion

Write a Biography

How to pick a subject, research, and write a profile for class.


PART I: BRAINSTORM

Biography means "writing about life." The key to writing a good biography is picking a good subject who has lead an interesting life. While it may be tempting to write about your favorite celebrity, you are strongly encouraged to select someone who has lived an important life and made a lasting contribution to the world.

People you are familiar with are also good subjects for profiles. They are easily accessible for interviews. Also, you can easily interview others about them.

Step 1: Make a list of 10 possible subjects for your biography. Think about all the people in the world who fascinate you. Examples:
  • Bill Clinton (former President)
  • William Shakespeare (famous writer)
  • Serena Williams (famous athlete)
  • Your principal
  • Queen Elizabeth (famous queen)
  • Albert Einstein (famous scientist)
  • One of your teachers
  • Frida Kahlo (famous painter)
  • A relative
  • A mentor


Step 2: Choose three people from your list who seem like the best candidates for a biography.

Step 3: Run a quick search on the Internet to see how much information you can easily find about your three candidates.


Note: For people in your community—such as your principal or teacher—the Internet will not be a helpful research tool. You will have to talk to the person directly to see how much info you can quickly find out.

Step 4: Answer the following questions for each of your three candidates (yes or no).
  • Is the person's life worth writing about?
  • Do you feel strongly about the person?
  • Has the person made a difference in the world?
  • Does the person fascinate you?
  • Does the person's life make a good story?


Step 5: Which person's life stands out as the best story? That's your subject!

PART II: RESEARCH

Now that you've selected a subject, the real fun begins! Biographical research is like detective work. Your assignment: Uncover fun facts about your subject!

To help you get started, we've provided you with a list of Research Resources.

Step 1: Visit the library to gather information about your subject. No detail is too small, no story too great! Take good notes! Investigate! You should browse:
  • The Internet (See Research Resources)
  • Newspaper articles
  • Magazine articles and interviews
  • Biographies
  • History books


If your subject is a community member, dig up details through interviews.
  • Interview your subject.
  • Interview people who know your subject.
  • Interview people who have an opinion about your subject.


Step 2: Track down basic facts about your subject, such as:
  • Date of birth/death
  • Place of origin
  • Parents/siblings
  • Educational background
  • Profession
  • Marriage/children
  • Favorite books, music, art
  • Hobbies


Step 3: Find out which events shaped your subject's life, such as:
  • Greatest accomplishments
  • Worst failure
  • Biggest obstacles overcome
  • Lasting contribution to the world


Step 4: Find out which people influenced your subject's life:
  • Most influential teacher
  • Worst enemies
  • Best friend(s)
  • Heroes and role models
  • Favorite family member


Step 5: Gather three quotations by and three quotations about your subject. Be accurate!

PART III: WRITE

Now that you've gathered enough facts and quotes, it's time to write!

Step 1: To help organize your biography, draw a time line of important events in your subject's life. Keep this handy when you begin to write. Include things like:
  • Birth
  • Education
  • Marriage/children
  • Achievements
  • Failures
  • Death


What is the most interesting thing you learned about your subject. That's where your story should begin. Work in the rest of the details as the story unfolds. Follow this basic outline for storytelling:
  • Lead
  • Quote from or about your subject that backs up your lead.
  • A paragraph that gives the who, what, where, why of your subject. This paragraph tells your readers what the story is about and why they should read it.
  • Another quote from or about your subject.
  • Several paragraphs that tell your story—can include more quotes.
  • A conclusion that takes your readers back to the information in the first paragraph.


Not all biographies follow this format. This format is most often used by journalists writing news stories.

Step 2: Write a first draft of your biography.
  • Be honest. Tell the truth about your subject, good and bad.
  • Be accurate. Check facts by cross-referencing in other sources.
  • Be clear. Always keep your readers in mind.

Step 3: Read your biography out loud. Answer the following questions:
  • What new information have I learned about my subject?
  • Is my story always clear? If not, where does it break down?
  • What more would I like to know about my subject?
  • Do the transitions between paragraphs make sense? Does the story flow from paragraph to paragraph without confusing the reader?

Step 4: Based on your answers, revise your biography.
  • Check spelling and grammar.
  • Check quotations for accuracy.
  • Double check all facts.

Congratulations on finishing your biography!

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