This episode examines Lisette Lee, the supposed Samsung heiress who lived a mysterious life of privilege and luxury until her arrest for narcotics trafficking in 2010. The product of an illicit multi-national love affair, Lee was adopted at a young age and moved from South Korea to Beverly Hills. It was there that she molded and shaped various personalities to manipulate those around her. She went to great lengths to get what she wanted; allegedly kidnapping men, setting up surveillance, and wiretapping "team LL:", her crew of minions. The team was formed after Lee became romantically entangled with David Garrett, a street level drug dealer who partnered with her to move mass amounts of marijuana. Lisette chartered a private jet, Garrett got the drugs, and the squad flew 7,000 lbs of pot from LA to Columbus over 14 different trips.
Following a deadly brawl between the Hells Angels and Mongols Motorcycle Clubs in 2002, Cavazos came to national prominence. During his reign as the Mongols' president, he expanded the club's membership by recruiting local street thugs with affiliations to the Mexican Mafia. Federal agents say Doc's aim was to take on the Hells Angels and run a massive criminal enterprise engaged in drug running, murder and intimidation. But Doc's power grab came with consequences. During his time in charge, agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives infiltrated the club and piled on the evidence for a federal racketeering indictment. Many Mongols say Cavazos' hunger for fame would be his ultimate downfall and drive him to turn on his brothers.
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."
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.
Discover unexpected relationships between famous figures by exploring Biography.com's group of famous explorers. Browse some of the world's most famous adventure-seekers, including Christopher Columbus, Louis Joliet, Jacques Marquette, William Clark, Ernest Shackleton, Diego Velázquez, Matthew Henson, Leif Eriksson and Thor Heyerdahl.
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.
It's not just crazy loners who commit heinous crimes; many times, it's stars who are the most brazen killers, believing their notoriety and fortunes will get them off the hook for their violent behavior. Producer Phil Spector was one of the biggest names in the music industry in the 1960s before he was found guilty for murdering actress Lana Clarkson. O.J. Simpson was a star running-back before he stood trial for the murder of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman. Follow the rise and fall of these individuals and many more, who were famous—long before they became infamous.
From actresses and comedians to journalists and anthropologists, famous women of all stripes have used their power, knowledge and influence to benefit animals. Sex kittens Brigitte Bardot and Pamela Anderson have spoken out against wearing real fur, while rockers Chrissie Hynde and Sarah McLachlan have put their famous voices behind PETA and other animal rights organizations.
Additionally, journalist Joy Adamson pioneered the movement to preserve African wildlife; body shop entrepreneur Anita Roddick was a trailblazer in cruelty-free beauty products; legendary actress Tippi Hedren created the Shambhala Preserve for lions, tigers and other big cats; funny lady Betty White and screen star Doris Day have lent their famous faces to causes that promote pet adoption and spay/neuter programs; and scientist Jane Goodall lived for years in the jungle for her pioneering study of chimpanzees. Browse our collection of inspiring famous female animal rights activists and learn how their contributions have improved the lives of every species.
Visit Biography.com's Women's History group to explore more biographies, photos and videos of some the world's most fascinating women.
The output of prominent female artists over the centuries has showcased a wide range of ideas. The passionate, full-bodied paintings of Artemisia Gentileschi, the distinctive tribal masks of Lois Mailou Jones and the lush colors of Georgia O’Keefer’s floral works immediately call us to attention. Berthe Morisot’s pastoral serenity stands in contrast to the layered silhouettes of Kara Walker. These mythmakers and their contemporaries take us on unforgettable trips that touch on our dreams and desires.
Visit Biography.com's Women's History group to explore more biographies, photos and videos of some the world's most fascinating women.
Whether it's a classic upright double bass or an electric bass guitar, this stringed instrument anchors a band's rhythm section. In the hands of these musical women, that rhythm has been kept strong—from Anita Carter's acoustical playing with her famous family to Tina Weymouth's new wave handiwork with the Talking Heads. Browse these and other female bass players who have set the tone for rock 'n' roll greatness.
Visit Biography.com's Women's History group to explore more biographies, photos and videos of some the world's most fascinating women.
Women striving for social justice have often directed their efforts toward the most vulnerable in society, the world's children. From Princess Diana's charitable work on behalf of children to the efforts of activists like Joan Baez and Dolores Huerta, these famous female children's right activists have helped improve the lives of our youngest citizens.
Visit BIO's Women's History group for more biographies of the world's most fascinating women!
The quest for civil rights for people of all races and economic backgrounds has been a fundamental part of U.S. history. Those who have worked directly in community organizing and empowerment, such as Dorothy Height, Marian Wright Edelman and Dolores Huerta, inspire us with their vision and strength of character. Then there are those who use the arts to create poignant messages on justice. Whether using music, literature or sculpture, figures like Joan Baez, June Jordan, Miriam Makeba, Augusta Savage and Alice Walker have imparted wisdom to last through the ages.
Chutzpah? Check. Self-deprecation? Check. Estrogen? Yes ma'am! Rollicking, quick-witted ladies like Lucille Ball, Joan Rivers, Tina Fey, and Ellen DeGeneres have boldly laughed their way into an industry which even today is still considered a boys' club. Talk about being ballsy.
A good editor has a keen eye for truth and the ability to strip away extraneous noise to let that truth shine through. In the pages of newspapers and magazines, female editors have spoken out on weighty issues like abolition and women's suffrage, and given us the literally weighty September issues of Vogue. Mary Ann Shadd Cary gave a voice to freed slaves in the weekly Provincial Freemen, Susan B. Anthony’s newspaper Revolution fueled just that, and Dorothy Day’s The Catholic Worker tackled important topics in an effort to improve society as a whole. Television’s 60 Minutes set new standards for investigative journalism, thanks to the Emmy-winning work of Lesley Stahl. From abolitionists and suffragettes to the religious and the radical, these female editors told their stories and shaped our worldview.
Did you know that onscreen legend Ida Lupino was also one of film's pioneering female directors and producers? Or that visionary French filmmaker Alice Guy-Blaché was among the first to create narrative fiction films and experiment with interracial casting? Female film directors amuse, terrify, delight and inspire us with their talent behind the camera for crafting memorable movies. Some began their career as actors, including former child stars Jodie Foster, Drew Barrymore and Laverne & Shirley star Penny Marshall. Other female directors are just as well-known for writing great scripts, including Nora Ephron, famous for the modern-day romantic classics Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail. Whatever their background, these famous female directors are known for their knack for delivering to the screen just what their audience wants.
Female journalists and nonfiction writers have covered some of the world’s most pressing concerns, including ethnic civil rights, reproductive freedom, voting access and overall gender equality, with iconic thinkers like Simone de Beauvoir, Judy Chicago, Ida B. Wells and Dr. Ruth Westheimer having shaped forward-thinking conversations. These pioneers have often been joined in their efforts by the women who work in general news. Correspondents like Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Lisa Ling, Diane Sawyer and Barbara Walters are known for insightful current-affair analysis and an inspiring breadth of vision, creating a more inclusive media landscape.
Going beyond giving a mere book review, literary critics parse the language, dissect the symbolism and debate the theory of printed works. Who better to evaluate and interpret the output of the publishing world than successful authors like Booker Prize winners Margaret Atwood and Iris Murdoch? Browse these female literary critics and others whose considered opinions have had untold effects on readers both historic and contemporary.
The 1990s was the era of the riot grrrl, the rapper and Lilith Fair, which served to reshape traditional ideas of feminism. Artists such as Bikini Kill, Meg White, Queen Latifah and Lady Gaga were able to explore the formerly male-dominated areas of the music industry and become some of the leading voices of the industry. Whether in high-heels, stilettos, or army boots, these ladies stood toe-to-toe with any male artist of the day.
Philanthropy has come from women involved in an array of professional pursuits, including business, politics, social services and entertainment. With Melinda Gates spearheading multi-billion dollar health and education efforts, Audrey Hepburn serving as a UNICEF ambassador and Oprah Winfrey opening a school for girls in South Africa, these visionaries and their peers remind us of our connection to each other and the importance of caring.
The art of photography can be used to document, inspire, rally for change or make a statement of a more personal nature. These female photographers created portfolios that accomplished all of the above—from Diane Arbus's black-and-white New York scenes to Dorothea Lange's iconic Depression-era image of the "Migrant Mother," to Cindy Sherman's bizarre, stereotype-challenging self-portraits.
To devote oneself to a field of study is to become a part of the fabric of that field—be it language, medicine, politics or culture. Female scholars shine among these intellectuals, including pediatric trailblazer Virginia Apgar and anti-Communist crusader Jean Kirkpatrick. Mary Wollenstonecraft championed equal education rights for women, Angela Davis and Bell Hooks vastly contributed to the Civil Rights Movement, and feminist poet Adrienne Rich explored the complexities of marriage and motherhood. Browse full biographies of these and other great minds who paved the way for the female scholars of today to change the shape of the world of tomorrow.
They've gone to space and back, taught us about the natural world, dug up the earth and discovered the origins of our species. The world of science wouldn't be the same without the pioneering efforts of famous female scientists like Mary Leakey, Sally Field, Jane Goodall, Mary Curie and others. We invite you to sit with their stories and enter new areas of understanding.
Taking on topics of politics, entertainment, women's issues and more, female talk show hosts have proven to be every bit as engaging, intelligent, and funny as their male counterparts. Oprah Winfrey's 25-year-reign as the queen of talk is unparalleled, but many other female talk show hosts have come into their own as well, including Tyra Banks, Ellen DeGeneres, Sally Jessy Raphael and Kelly Ripa.