One of the most popular singers of the 20th century and an Academy award winning actor, Frank Sinatra was the darling of the American audiences for decades at a stretch. Counted among the all-time best selling artists, his albums have sold more than 150 million records worldwide. Having entered show business during the 1930s, he gave his last performance in the 1990s! Over his incredibly long career he has entertained several generations of music lovers and cinema goers with his melodious voice, acting skills and charismatic personality. From a young age little Frank knew that he was meant to be a singer. While in high school he was unruly and rowdy and dropped out without graduating. A big fan of Bing Crosby, he had started singing for tips as a child and became a professional in his teens. After playing with some bands he launched his solo career and found great success which prompted him to venture into films. There too he was successful though success did not come easily to him. He experienced his share of difficulties though he always managed to bounce back. Being both a popular singer and a critically acclaimed actor greatly added to his mass appeal and he is considered to be one of the greatest entertainers in American history.
Edith Piaf was a French singer. She is considered the greatest icon of French popular music. Albeit her short physical stature, audiences the world over were amazed by her powerful vocals. Her music embodied the wretched life of the streets of Paris and was highly sentimental and passionate. Steeped in poverty and abandoned by her mother, she grew up with her grandparents until her father made her a part of his acrobatic show. She had to earn her living singing on the streets of Paris. She was discovered by Louis Leplee who groomed her into a night-club singer. After he was murdered, she recruited Raymond Asso who gave her an image makeover and the basic education. She had an endless stream of lovers. After cementing her place in the world of music, she took upcoming musicians under her wings and groomed them. She was not formally educated, yet managed to pen the lyrics of quite a few of her songs. In spite of making it big in the world of music, she continued to suffer psychologically. She became addicted to morphine and alcohol, following a series of near-fatal accidents. Even today she continues to be heard by music lovers all over the world.
Swedish actress who was immortalized when she played Ilsa Lund in the 1942 film Casablanca. She was ranked as the fourth greatest actress of all time by the American Film Institute.
David Rockefeller was an American banker and philanthropist, and also the oldest living member of the well-known Rockefeller family at the time of his death in March 2017. He served as a chairman and chief executive of the Chase Manhattan Corporation for several years. After completing his studies, he spent a few years in government service before joining the military during the World War II. During the war years he served for military intelligence, setting up political and economic intelligence units in France and North Africa. He began his banking career following the war. He joined the sector as an assistant manager in the foreign department of a bank and soon rose to the designations of an assistant cashier, then second vice president and finally the vice president. He was involved with the Council for Foreign Relations and the Centre for Inter-American Relations and it led to his interest in Latin American affairs and in foreign affairs in general. He was famous for his skills in international banking and was quite a familiar figure to the head of states and the global ministers. He died at the age of 101 in 2017 and was regarded as the world's oldest billionaire at the time of his death.
Muddy Waters, born as McKinley Morganfield, was an American blues musician who is usually referred to as the "Father of modern Chicago blues". He, along with his band mates, recorded numerous blues classics, such as the singles "I Just Want to Make Love to You", "I'm Ready", "Hoochie Coochie Man", "Trouble No More", "Forty Days and Forty Nights" and "You Shook Me", to name a few. He also released several studio albums, live albums, and compilation albums including ˜Folk Singer', ˜Electric Mud', ˜After the Rain', ˜Fathers and Sons', ˜The London Muddy Waters Sessions', ˜Hard Again', ˜King Bee', ˜The Real Folk Blues', ˜The Anthology', ˜At Newport 1960' and ˜Live at the Checkerboard Lounge, Chicago 1981'. Known to work with renowned labels like Columbia Records and Aristocrat Records, Waters had tremendous influence not only on the blues and rhythm and blues genres but also on hard rock, rock and roll, jazz, folk music and country music. Talking about his awards and accolades, the American musician won many Grammy Awards and Blues Foundation Awards in his career. He was also inducted into several prestigious halls of fame. On a personal note, Waters married twice in his lifetime and had many children. He died from heart failure in his sleep at the age of 70.
Jazz and blues guitarist who pioneered the solid-body electric guitar, influencing what would become rock 'n' roll music. He released #1 hits like "How High the Moon" and "Vaya Con Dios."
Orson Welles was an American actor, director and writer, who is known for his remarkable contribution to the mediums of theatre, radio and films. Since his father was an alcoholic and mother died early he had a very troubled childhood and had his first sense of belonging at Todd Seminary where he was enrolled at the age of eleven. There he was initiated into the world of drama by his teacher Roger Hill. Soon after passing out he went to United Kingdom and appeared for audition claiming to be a Broadway star. He made his stage debut at the age of sixteen at Dublin and came back to USA at the age of eighteen to start a career in acting in a repertory theatre group. He supplemented his income from the stage with radio shows and gradually became a popular figure both at stage and radio. However, radio remained his favorite till the very end and it was his radio show ˜The War of The World', which introduced him to Hollywood. Unfortunately, film industry was not kind to him in the beginning. Although he had produced master pieces like ˜Citizen Kane' at the very start, it took him many years to gain acceptance in Hollywood.
Arthur Asher Miller is one of the greatest American dramatists of the 20th century. His work was respected in the literary circuit, for its honesty and edginess. He was born and brought up in New York in a rich family with servants and chauffeurs but soon his father lost all his money to Wall Street Crash of 1929 and Miller had to struggle to support his family as well as his studies. He went to University of Michigan where he was awarded for his literary genius with the Avery Hopwood Award. His plays started getting produced from the 1940s until 2010. The most successful play of his life has been ˜The Death of a Salesman' which fetched him a Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize. He got married thrice and one of his marriages was with the Hollywood actress Marilyn Monroe. Their relationship was sensationalized throughout their marriage due to the troubled lifestyle of Monroe. After her death, a lot of his work was inspired by his experiences with Monroe like, ˜After The Fall'. Some of Miller's plays like, ˜The Death of a Salesman' and ˜The Crucibles' have been turned into motion picture. He died while he was in relationship with a woman half his age - Agnes Barley.
A Pulitzer Prize-winning author of War and Remembrance, The Caine Mutiny, and other historical novels, he is also known for plays such as Nature's Way (1957) and The Traitor (1949). His novel, Aurora Dawn, was a Book of the Month Club selection in 1947.
Writer and comic book artist who collaborated with <a title='Bill Finger' href='/famous/bill-finger.htm'>Bill Finger</a> on the creation of the DC Comics "Batman" series. He was inspired by actor <a title='Douglas Fairbanks' href='/famous/douglas-fairbanks-sr.htm'>Douglas Fairbanks</a>' version of Zorro and the film, "The Bat Whispers," from 1930.
Anthony Quinn was a Mexican-born American actor who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor twice: for ˜Viva Zapata!' and ˜Lust for Life.' A renowned character actor during the 1950s and 1960s, he appeared in a number of critically acclaimed and commercially successful films, often sharing the screen space with other prominent actors of the Hollywood Golden Age. Born in Mexico to a half-Irish father and a Mexican mother during the Mexican Revolution, he moved to the United States with his family when he was a young child. His family, which struggled financially in the new country, was dealt with a severe blow when his father died in an accident. Aged just nine at that time, Quinn was forced to do odd jobs to help his mother run the family. Always interested in acting, he received training in an acting school before beginning his acting career on stage. His success on the stage paved the way for a Hollywood career. During his initial years he was cast in a series of B-movies though it did not take him long to be considered an A-Lister. With his rugged good looks and powerful performances, he soon came to be regarded as one of the topmost Hollywood stars of the 1950s and 1960s.
Alan Watts was a well-known British philosopher, writer and speaker, best known for his interpretation of Eastern philosophy for Western audiences. Born to Christian parents in England, he developed interest in Buddhism while he was still a student at King's School, Canterbury. Subsequently, he became a member of Buddhist Lodge, where he met many scholars and spiritual masters, who helped him to shape his ideas. He was a prolific writer and began writing at the age of fourteen. Many of his early works were published in the journal of the Lodge. At the age of twenty three, he migrated to the USA, where he first received training under Zen master, but left before he was ordained. He then studied Christian scriptures and functioned as a priest at Chicago for six years before leaving for San Francisco to pursue an academic career. Simultaneously, he started giving talks on Eastern philosophy and soon developed a wide audience both at home and abroad. Apart from writing more than 25 books, he has also left an audio library of nearly 400 talks, which are still in great demand.