A look at the hippie girls who gave unswerving loyalty and love to their crazed guru, Charles Manson. The group includes Susan Atkins, Leslie Van Houten, and Patricia Krenwinkel, who followed Manson's orders to commit mass murder, and Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, who later tried to assassinate President Ford.
The story of Chevie O'Brien Kehoe, who was taught to be a white supremacist by his father and then went on a crime and murder spree.
Is Wayne Williams the monster responsible for killing 29 African Americans between 1979 and 1981? Or did the prosecution in Williams' trial withhold evidence that white supremacists were responsible? This in-depth probe explores the continuing controversy over the infamous Atlanta child murders that shocked the nation. We'll hear from the prosecutors, the defense attorney, a mother of one of the victims, and Williams, who keeps fighting for a new trial after nearly two decades in prison.
Learn more about the cast of The Hunger Games, the popular film series based on the trilogy by author Suzanne Collins. Starring Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen and Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark, the Hunger Games series has included a gamut of other performers, including Liam Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Donald Sutherland, Amanda Plummer, Jena Malone, Elizabeth Banks and Lenny Kravitz. Explore this group to learn more about this popular big-screen series and its cast.
The American television series True Blood, created and produced by Alan Ball, premiered in 2008 and quickly developed a cult following of fans with a thirst for the supernatural. Based on Charlain Harris’ book series The Southern Vampire Mysteries, the Emmy Award-winning TV show follows an otherworldly cast of characters including telepaths, shapeshifters, werewolves and vampires. Here are some of the actors who have sunk their teeth into True Blood roles.
Learn more about the cast of the popular Twilight film series, based on the best-selling young adult books by Stephenie Meyer. The five-part screen series came to a close in 2012, with the release of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2. Stars of the Twilight films include Kristen Stewart (Bella Swan), Robert Pattinson (Edward Cullen) and Taylor Lautner (Jacob Black). Film credits have also gone to dozens of other cast members, including Peter Facinelli, Ashley Greene, Dakota Fanning, Anna Kendrick, Rachelle Lefevre, Edi Gathegi, Sarah Clarke and Elizabeth Reaser.
The rise of digital technology over the past decade, including mobile camera and video capabilities, has not only made web content more readily available to users, it's given users more control of that content—often through sites like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr. For some celebrities, this technological change has led to negative publicity. In some cases, scandalous photos or videos of stars have been leaked online or to the press. The very worst of those cases have left indelible marks on pop culture, leading to sex-scandal investigations, sales of sex tapes and major resignations, among other results. Explore Biography.com's group of celebrities caught naked, including Prince Harry, Kate Middleton, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Zac Efron and Paris Hilton, among several others.
You'll be surprised by some of the names included in Biography.com's group of celebrities who've written children's books. Dozens of celebs have penned literary works specially designed for kids, including Madonna, Billy Crystal, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jerry Seinfeld, Katie Couric, Whoopi Goldberg, Jay Leno and Queen Latifah. Find out who else has ventured into the imaginative world of children's books.
While many celebrities have met success for their star power, only a select few can truly claim honors for their advanced smarts: Stars like Christy Turlington, Shaquille O'Neal, James Franco, Art Garfunkel and Tyra Banks have attained graduate degrees—a level of success achieved by less than 10 percent of Americans. Explore this group to discover the little-known academic achievements of famous actors, athletes, musicians and more.
Since becoming a staple of the psychedelic movement of the 1960s, the Grateful Dead have achieved a powerful and continually growing fan base, which includes many popular celebrities. Examine our collection of Celebrity Deadheads, which includes Bill Clinton, Al Franken, Ann Coulter, Keith Haring and President Barack Obama. These popular celebs have long been drawn to the powerful and long-standing music of the Grateful Dead.
Because they're in the public eye, celebrities are subject to being the butt of many jokes, and on the Internet, it seems the best way to knock 'em dead is to ... well, claim that they're dead. Among the most famous celebrity death hoaxes, favorites include Bill Cosby, Margaret Thatcher, Barack Obama, Britney Spears, Sean Connery, Eddie Murphy and Morgan Freeman, among many others.
Hollywood stars often get flack for their extravagant lifestyles, and sometimes they seem to be far removed from the rest of us. Not so for all celebrities, though—a surprising number of stars have taken on the big responsibility of serving in the United States Armed Forces. We know them as actors, athletes, musicians, and comedians, but these brave individuals have actually put their lives on the line for their country. Here's a look at celebrity enlistees.
As a nation that loves to eat, we hold food, and the people who prepare it, close to our hearts. Though Julia Child was the original celebrity chef and cookbook personality, the boom in reality TV has led to a renewed interest in all the people who turn food into art. From cooking show competitors to chefs to the stars, we love to watch these talented individuals whip up all kinds of delicious dishes. To learn more, sift through this group of Famous Chefs, which includes chocolatier Jacques Torres, classic culinarian Julia Child, gourmet guru Alton Brown, "semi-homemade" cook Sandra Lee, Gordon Ramsay, Rachael Ray and many more.
Child stars are the pint-sized actors we've watched grow up on screen. These talented actors began their careers and traversed the triumphs and pitfalls of fame at an early age. While some child stars, like Sarah Jessica Parker and Natalie Portman, have continued their success into adulthood, others have been plagued by troubles following their early fame. Here's a look at some of the actors who made it big when they were kids.
Capturing the whimsy, innocence, and imagination of children can be a difficult thing to do as an adult ... unless you have the talent to think like them. Thankfully, these children's book authors do and have consequently made an indelible imprint on children's literature around the world. From the wizardry of Harry Potter's J.K. Rowling to the evocative illustrations of Where the Wild Things Are's Maurice Sendak, explore our collection of famous children's authors.
Pop star Rihanna and rising star Chris Brown seemed like a golden couple. It all fell apart in February 2008, when Brown turned himself in for domestic violence charges. Leaked photos of a badly beaten Rihanna did major damage to Brown's career, and the relationship was over.
"Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love." Stated by legendary civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., these words represent a basic human philosophy to which black history's greatest leaders have passionately subscribed. Learn more about the world's most revered civil rights activists, known for their fight against social injustices and lasting impact on the lives of black citizens, including Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Nelson Mandela, Nina Simone, Mary McLeod Bethune, Lena Horne, Marva Collins, Rosa Parks, W.E.B. Du Bois, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.
Long before the Internet, the feminine icons of the day were the pin-up queens. Sex symbols like Bettie Page and Rita Hayworth adorned the walls of boys' bedrooms and military barracks alike. Modern day icons like Farrah Fawcett and Raquel Welch are remembered for classic, risque photos that became the most popular posters in the country. Here's our group of famous pin-ups.
We may all think we're comedians, but sadly, we're not. Good thing there are so many truly funny people out there to make us laugh. Some comedians use their wit and smarts to make clever jokes and poke fun, while others use their physicality and appearance to to keep us doubled over. Formats range from stand up comedy and sketch comedy to talk shows, and subjects include politics, everyday life, and the comedians themselves. Here's a look at the famous comedians who've kept us laughing over the years.
Judging by the reported one billion people who tuned in to watch the royal wedding of commoner Kate Middleton to Prince William in April 2011, it's safe to say we have a collective fascination with pomp and circumstance—particularly when we feel the princess being feted is 'just like us.' The transformation of an ordinary person into a royal is the stuff of fairy tales, but it does come true for a few lucky mortals. Some of the most visible and well-liked royals are commoners who married into their regal title. Here are some of the individuals who made the ultimate transformation.
Today's country stars run the gamut in terms of musical style, blending classic country sounds with bluegrass, pop and rock, among other genres. Explore our group of contemporary country stars to learn more about musicians like Emmylou Harris, Brad Paisley, Reba McEntire, Vince Gill, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Jennifer Nettles, Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert.
In the 1990s, London's artists and cultural tastemakers embraced their British roots. Pop acts like Oasis, Elastica and the Spice Girls dominated 90's music, and reinforced British pride with symbolic use of the Union Flag—Oasis member Noel Gallagher famously used a Union Jack guitar while "Ginger Spice" Geri Halliwell wore the symbol on her trademark, flashy dress. The period was also marked by influential designers like John Galliano and Alexander McQueen, whose unique designs established numerous fashion trends for the decade. Biography.com celebrates these prominent figures, and the many others who led the way for "Cool Britannia."
When it comes to singing about struggle and emotion, there are few genres that match the intensity of country music. Country music was born from musicians that were brave enough to wear their hearts on their sleeves from happiness to heartache. Because of country icons like Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and Jimmie Rodgers, this southern, soulful genre has grown to become loved by many. Browse through the legends that established country music as the popular genre that it is today.
A uniquely American genre, country music got its start in the South in the early 19th century, when immigrants blended their Old World sounds with African-American musical styles. But it was the lives of the musicians, as told in their songs, that turned country into one of the best-loved musical styles in the United States. Listeners could relate to Jimmie Rodgers' stories of the railroad in "The Brakeman's Blues"; Hank Williams' struggle with depression in tunes such as "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry"; and the promise of finding someone to rely on in George Jones' "Walk Through This World With Me." And its the universal struggles of love, loss, joy and longing found in each country song that keeps this music—and its performers—relevant throughout time.
Whether they're holding hands or ruling empires, these famous lovers have played out real-life romantic dramas that have captured national attention. From the stormy marriage of Ike and Tina Turner to the love letters of Napoleon and Josephine, these couples' break-ups, make-ups, love affairs and betrayals are the stuff of movies—and we just can't get enough of them.
During the 1930s, partly to avoid the hillbilly image and partly owing to Hollywood's romance with the West, country music headed to the range. Western fringe and cowboy hats turned up on many singers onstage, while Gene Autry and Roy Rogers hit the country charts as "The Singing Cowboy" and the "King of the Cowboys," respectively. Autry made it big in Hollywood and on the radio, singing favorites like "Here Comes Santa Claus" and "Frosty the Snowman." Rogers and his wife, "Queen of the West" Dale Evans, also straddled the worlds of music and movies with their Wild West personas.
The association of country music with the wide open spaces of the western United States made such a deep impact on popular culture during this time that it never quite faded from the public perception of the country genre. To this day, Cowboy Country music serves as a reminder of our continued yearning for a life that's beautiful, pastoral and—ultimately—more simple.
They can be chainsaw-wielding mainiacs, creatures from another dimension or supernatural presences. Horror film monsters frighten, haunt and shock us. They personify our biggest nightmares. And the actors that truly make those characters come to life on the big screen often give performances so convincing that—for just a minute—you forget they're only imaginary. Here are some of the actors and actresses who have given performances so real, they made viewers think twice about turning off the lights at night.
Combine a charismatic personality with fringe beliefs and an appetite for violence, and you get some of history's most notorious cult leaders. Charles Manson terrorized frightened Americans in the late 1960s, convincing his followers to commit heinous murders in his name. David Koresh led the Branch Davidian cult in Waco, Texas, leading to a standoff with the federal government in 1993 that resulted in the death of Koresh and 75 of his believers. Learn about these leaders, and many more, who inspired hundreds to follow their unconventional philosophies—often with tragic results.
Some went where no man had gone before. Icons like Jacqueline Cochran, Mae C. Jemison, Annie Smith Peck and Zora Neale Hurston have held the torch for women to follow in the fields of anthropology, astronautics, aviation and mountain climbing. Take a look at some of the world’s top women adventurers and the terrains they’ve explored.
Learn more about the members of the famous all-female R&B group Destiny's Child, including Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams. The group went through some name and line-up changes before landing a record deal in 1997 with Columbia Records. Since then, the group has become one of the most popular R&B acts in music history. They've scored several No. 1 singles, including "Independent Women Part 1," "Bills, Bills, Bills" and "Say My Name."
Throughout history, these tyrants have ruled with an iron fist, attempting to annihilate their enemies and oppress their people in a grab for absolute power.
From Nazi despot Adolf Hitler to Cambodia's genocidal leader Pol Pot and beyond, browse this group of notorious dictators, past and present.
The younger siblings of the Osmond family, Donny and Marie Osmond started performing at an early age. Donny first entered the public eye when he joined his older brothers' singing group,"The Osmonds," and appeared regularly on"The Andy Williams Show." Donny and Marie both recorded solo albums before joining forces to star on the 70s TV variety show "Donny & Marie." In the late 1990s, the duo co-hosted their own talk show. Donny and Marie both enjoyed newfound popularity after separately appearing on the hit reality competition show, "Dancing with the Stars." In 2008, they announced an exclusive engagement of concerts at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas.
Oddly enough, some of the world's most wealthy individuals launched successful careers the moment they kissed their teachers goodbye. You'll be surprised to learn just who's listed in Biography.com's group of Famous Dropouts, including media magnate William Randolph Hearst, casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, musicians Kanye West and Madonna, and billionaires Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs.
Incorporated in 1910, the Boy Scouts of America was founded with the aim of instilling ethics and morals into the lives of young boys. A Scout is a "trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent," boy who, above all, strives to "be prepared" and "do his best." The highest order of these Boy Scouts are the Eagle Scouts, a rare group of young men who rise through the scouting ranks to earn 21 merit badges, serve for six months in a troop leadership position, and successfully complete a strict Eagle Scout board of review, among other requirements.
The first Eagle Scout to complete this training was 17-year-old Arthur R. Eldred, on September 2, 1912. Since then, more than 2 million Boy Scouts have earned the coveted rank. Here are some of the most famous of the honorable young men who made it to the top of the Boy Scouts program.
In 1936, King Edward VIII unexpectedly abdicated the throne to marry the love of his life, American divorcée Wallis Simpson, proclaiming, "I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as king as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love." Edward's behavior prior to his decision to abdicate—including courting Wallis while she was still married to her second husband—garnered outrage from the British Royal Family, most notably from Queen Mary of Teck and King George V, and led to the "abdication crisis" in Britain. In 1937, the happy couple married and embarked on a jet-setting life in Paris, meanwhile referring to themselves as "W.E."—their initials, but also a dig at the royal "we," or the majestic plural. Subversive and playful, their nickname continues to serve as a testament to their lasting adoration for one another.
Their creative visions unsettle, shock and haunt us—then leave us begging for more. Meet some of the biggest horror-film directors in Hollywood; the ones who not only sent chills down our spines and thrilled us with their suspenseful work, but who also made films so good, it became fun to be a little afraid.
An acronym was born the day actor Philip Michael Thomas (a.k.a. Detective Rico Tubbs of Miami Vice fame) announced his aspiration to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony within five years. But it was his gold EGOT medallion, which he had made as a reminder of his aims, that really solidified the term in Hollywood history. Sadly, Thomas still hasn't achieved his 1984 goal but, to be fair, only a small group of performers ever has. Here are the notable few who have made awards history.
Eleanor Roosevelt began courting her father's fifth cousin, 20-year-old Harvard student Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in 1903. The couple got engaged in November, married on St. Patrick's Day 1905, and produced six children, five of whom survived infancy. In 1921, while vacationing in Campobello Island, New Brunswick, FDR contracted an illness that resulted in permanent paralysis of his legs. Another blow followed: FDR's affair with Eleanor's social secretary, Lucy Mercer. The marriage endured, however, and as President and First Lady, they used their influence to promote New Deal policies and advocate for civil rights.
Although one could argue that these famous folks’ personalities are otherworldly, it’s a fact that their names are generally down to earth. From the conventionally monikered Natalie Wood to the very original Muddy Waters, here’s our list of famous people whose names give homage to the elements and beyond.
We usually think of sex and rock stars, but lately it seems as though politicians are the culprits in most sex scandals in the news. Many powerful politicians, with careers and reputations to lose, have been caught carrying on with the wrong person. From a French presidential hopeful and a New York City chambermaid, to a rising star of Congress and his cell phone, these famous individuals have gotten themselves in trouble by being elite and indiscreet.
Hollywood's leading lady Elizabeth Taylor was married eight times—and two of them were to Richard Burton. The two fell in love on the set of the 1963 film Cleopatra, and though both were married at the time, by March 1964 they divorced their previous spouses and married each other. Their turbulent relationship kept them in the papers, and they divorced in 1974 and remarried in 1975, only to split again a year later.
Elvis Presley met Priscilla Beaulieu when she was just 14 years old. He was 10 years older, and already a rock 'n' roll superstar. The two married in 1967 after a nearly eight-year courtship. The King of Rock was known to carry on affairs with women, including his Hollywood co-stars. In 1968 Priscilla gave birth to their only child, Lisa Marie. By 1973 Elvis' drug dependency and infidelity led to the couple's divorce. The only marriage Elvis ever entered, the story of Elvis and Priscilla continues to fascinate the public long after Elvis' death in 1977.
They are the best of the best on television - the entertainers who have taken home the coveted Emmy Award. Popular sitcoms stars from Lucille Ball to Tina Fey, dramatic actors like James Gandolfini and legendary talk show hosts including Johnny Carson and Oprah Winfrey are just some of the performers who have taken home the winged statuette. Here is a star-studded collection of famous Emmy winners from throughout the history of TV.
Ruthless, corrupt and crazy. Many of the world's dicators started out as charismatic young leaders, with a large measure of support from their countrymen—only to become bloated with power and abandon the principles they had pledged to uphold. These leaders held on to power by rigidly enforcing control, intimidating opposition and instilling fear among citizens. With access to unlimited power and riches, many developed secretive personal lives and bizarre habits. These dictators terrorized their people, and mesmerized the world, with their bizarre sayings, styles, and actions. Biography.com takes a look at some of the world's most erratic, and autocratic, leaders.
Throughout the centuries, brave explorers have fearlessly traveled the globe and beyond to discover new lands, people, animal species, riches and glory. Ferdinand Magellan of Portugal proved the world is round with his mission to sail around the world. His fellow countryman Vasco da Gama commanded the first European ship around the southern tip of Africa to reach India by sea. Norseman Leif Eriksson is regarded as the first European to reach North America, nearly 500 years before Christopher Columbus, who is credited with discovering the “New World” of the Americas. Juan Ponce de León scoured Puerto Rico and Florida in his quest for the fountain of youth. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark blazed new trails during their Corps of Discovery Expedition across the western half of the United States. Traveling to new heights of discovery were mountain climber Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to reach the peak of Mount Everest, and U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first human to walk on the moon. These intrepid explorers and more have made an indelible mark on human history. See all Explorers.
Political assassinations are an all-too-common occurrence, and they often become major landmark events. Luckily, many attempts to murder a political figure don't succeed, and a life is spared. Even those events, though, become important events in our history. In one of the most famous incidents, John Hinckley, Jr. tried to assassinate President Reagan in 1981.The president suffered a puntured lung, but survived the shooting. Here's a look at some of the most famous failed assassination attempts.
The Chaplin. The Fu Manchu. The Van Dyke. The Garlbaldi. These beards, and other creative variations on chin whiskers, have become such a striking reflection of their wearers' personalities that it becomes hard to know whether the people made the facial hair famous, or the other way around. We do know this much is certain: the only rivals to these fabulous beards are the men sporting them.
With its natural splendor and key geographic location, France has forever been the destination of marauding hordes—whether they be sword-wielding barbarians or camera-toting tourists. However, these Frenchmen and Frenchwomen have extended their influence outward, beyond the borders of the Hexagone, through art, invention and philosophy. C'etait magnifique, or, as deemed by the aforementioned title, fantastically French.
Each day, we put on clothes that do more than just cover up bodies. We choose clothes that represent our personalities, our moods, the times we live in, our ambitions and our desires. Who are the people behind the designs we wear every day? These fashion designers who have made fashion a huge industry, and whose work is as controversial, and as influential, as traditional art. These are some of the designers who have dressed the world's most famous people—and are hugely famous in their own right.