A glass a day is said to keep the doctor away. A defeated Napoleon drowned his sorrows in it; Thomas Jefferson became obsessed with it. Wine is an integral part of our culture and more wine is consumed today than ever before. Supermarket shelves that once carried only box wine and jugs are now lined with wines from Australia, Chile, and South Africa. Aerial imaging and infrared photography once used by NASA to map the moon is now employed by wineries to analyze soil, vine vigor, and even disease. Paying tribute to wine's unique history we will travel the world over to explore wineries, the worlds' most historic wine cellar and a legendary Paris restaurant.
Discover how festive eggnog gets its rich and creamy, soothing texture; pre-assembled gingerbread houses are built on a spicy foundation of aromatic dough and icing; sweet and luxurious milk chocolate is painstakingly formed into flavorful hollow chocolate Santas; and fruity, nutty, dense traditional Christmas cake is infused with a round of holiday cheer.
Discover how only a few simple ingredients produce the complex flavor of crumbly, buttery Scottish shortbread; moist cake and creamy mousse are rolled into Yule logs, a decadent holiday dessert; a secret ingredient is the crunch in a sweet and minty chocolate bark; and the iconic hook of a candy cane is the finishing touch on a classic stocking stuffer.
Discover how peppermint puffs get their light and airy texture while packing a spicy blast; flaky cheese straws get that perfect twist of buttery cheddar and crunchy pastry; cool and fruity mango chutney is the Indian condiment used as ketchup, relish and mustard all at once; and iconic love hearts are embossed with those catchy sweet nothings.
Discover how old world flavor is lovingly baked into rustic and crusty Baltic dark rye bread; sweet and chewy Duo cookies cater to the tastes of chocolate and vanilla lovers alike; tangy Japanese ginger carrot dressing complements Western as well as Asian dishes; and fluffy, crunchy, chocolaty Rocky Road bars are carefully built on a sumptuous bed of creamy marshmallow.
With innovative ideas and charismatic personalities, many African-Americans have made lasting contributions to the country, while also earning millions. Oprah Winfrey emerged as a world-famous one-woman brand with her show, eventually becoming the world's first black billionaire. Robert L. Johnson started BET, the cable channel geared towards African-Americans. Athlete Michael Jordan turned into a household name through numerous endorsement deals. These people were among the first African-Americans to overcome the obstacles of discrimination and achieve top honors in their fields. With talent and determination, each one reinvented not only what it meant to be an African-American, but also what it meant to be an American.
Facebook, Twitter, Google, iPhone— they're the names of technologies so pervasive in our 21st century lives that we've started using them as verbs. Behind these technologies are individuals whose ingenuity and enterprising spirit have profoundly changed our lives. Far from being computer nerds, these tech geniuses are billionaire celebrities, household names and the subjects of hit movies. From Steve Jobs of Apple to Mark Zuckerburg of Facebook, here are the most famous modern titans of tech.
Dance pioneers like Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers and Gene Kelly—remembered for his groundbreaking performance in 1952's Singin' in the Rain—truly set the stage for Hollywood's dance-film genre. John Travolta, Jennifer Beals, Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey and Natalie Portman are some of the performers who took up where Astaire, Rogers and Kelly left off, repopularizing dance on film for later generations. Biography.com's Famous Movie Dancers group examines the lives and careers of these high-stepping performers who will always be remembered for their unforgettable moves.
Some of the most inspirational films in history are those about an educator's lasting impact on his or her students. For instance, in To Sir, with Love, Sidney Poitier stars as a newly hired London school teacher; Mr. Holland's Opus, starring Richard Dreyfuss, tells the story of an impassioned high school music teacher; Michelle Pfeiffer plays a marine turned educator of an inner-city school in Dangerous Minds; in Dead Poets Society, Robin Williams plays a motivational English professor; and Hilary Swank garnered fame for her role as a compassionate educator in Freedom Writers. For more on famous educators of the big-screen, visit Biography.com's group of Famous Movie Teachers.
When musicians land big fame, there typically comes a moment of reinvention in which the "rock star" identity is born. This new persona often requires a new name, a way to differentiate between the private and public versions of themselves. Musical monikers take different forms, from the simple, last-name changes aimed at boosting celebrity appeal—like Steven Tyler—to the glamorized version of a childhood nickname—like Jay-Z. Musicians' nicknames and aliases tend to take on an identity all their own over time, often becoming as full of personality as the artists they represent.
An unsolved crime never fails to fascinate us, especially when it involves the death of a celebrity. Over the years many famous individuals, from movie stars to politicians to rockers, have died in mysterious circumstances. Conspiracy theories and accusations of foul play abound, but we may never know fact from fiction. Here's a look at some of the most famous mysterious deaths.
In entertainment, where the line between fiction and reality is often blurry, names are a crucial part of a celebrity's image. Stage names are often chosen to make an actor or musician's name easier to pronounce or remember, or simply to make it sounds more attractive. Here are famous celebrities who have changed their names.
Napoleon did not care for Josephine's given name, Rose, so he renamed her Josephine, which she kept for the rest of her life. He proposed in January 1796 and sent her intensely romantic love letters from numerous posts around the world with the French army. Despite rumors of her infidelity and his jealous temperament, Napoleon and Josephine were crowned Emperor and Empress of the French in 1804. The couple divorced in 1810 after her infertility was confirmed, freeing Napoleon to take a wife who could provide an heir. The couple remained on good terms, with Napoleon once saying that the only thing to come between them was her debts.
Ernest Hemingway's novels and stories are among the most beloved and influential masterpieces of American literature, and The Ernest Hemingway Audiobook Library highlights several of these classic works, including The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, The Garden of Eden, and The Old Man and the Sea. Learn more about the famous actors who lent their voices to The Hemingway Audiobook Library‚ including Donald Sutherland, William Hurt, John Slattery, Campbell Scott and Brian Dennehy.
The Nashville Sound developed in the late 1950s, when recording studios and artists replaced some of the traditional elements of honky-tonk music with more contemporary pop music sounds. Producer and musician Chet Atkins was one of the genre's inventors, and is credited with bringing country music to a much wider audience. With his smooth voice, Charley Pride is one of country music's few African-American stars—and the only one to be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. Women were also crucial to the popularity of the Nashville sound, with stars like Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynne bringing women's perpectives, as well as glamour, to the genre.
Not only did the Nashville Sound influence the sound of country music, but it also helped to establish Nashville, Tennessee, as the country music capital of the world. Thousands of aspiring artists now flock to the city each year, hoping they might be the next big, musical discovery.
Learn more about the five lead singers of the platinum-selling boy band New Edition, including Bobby Brown, Johnny Gill and Ralph Tresvant. The group formed in 1978 and went on to have several successful singles during the 1980s, including "Candy Girl," "Cool It Now," "Can You Stand the Rain," "N.E. Heartbreak," "Boys to Men" and "Mr. Telephone Man," and they became teen pop idols in the process.
Learn more about the mega-popular boy band New Kids on the Block, including Donnie Wahlberg, Jordan Knight, Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre and Danny Wood. The group's 1988 album, Hangin' Tough, scored five Top 10 songs, including "You Got It (The Right Stuff)," "I'll Be Loving You (Forever)" and "Step by Step." Explore full biographies, photos and more, only at Biography.com.
When Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel died in 1896, he left his fortune to create an annual series of prizes for the individuals who confer "the greatest benefit on mankind." The most prestigious of the awards is the Nobel Peace Prize. Historians believe Alfred Nobel wanted to award people who work for peace to compensate for his own role in inventing dynamite. Since its establishment, the prize has gone to many courageous individuals who have fought for peace and human rights around the world.
Through the funding of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, the world's most renowned prize series was born; historically, Nobel Prizes have been awarded to individuals who confer "the greatest benefit on mankind." Examine this group to learn more about some of the world's most famous Nobel Prize winners, including Nelson Mandela, Albert Einstein, Al Gore, Ernest Hemingway, Martin Luther King Jr., Gertrude B. Elion, Barack Obama and Marie Curie.
Aside from their gender, female leaders don't have much else in common. Some have brought peace to troubled lands, while others have strewn discontent. Some have been competent or brilliant, others inept or corrupt. They come from political positions ranging from arch-conservative to ultra-leftist and represent all the world's religions.
Visit BIO's Women's History group for more lists of the world's most fascinating women!
Got chaps? Their cowboy and cowgirl personas are tough, rugged, and wild—just like the frontier in which they come from—and in turn, they elicit the nostalgia of The Old West with its fierce individualism and sense of golden opportunity. From the indomitable swagger of John Wayne to the intimidating scowl of Clint Eastwood, explore our Wild West Film Actors group.
Out for revenge, fame, or fortune, criminals have always captivated our attention—as much for the dramatic attempts to bring them to justice as for their cunning plots and shocking acts. These serial killers, gangsters, terrorists, and assassins all made history for their unscrupulous acts. Some were caught for their crimes, while others remain on the 'Most Wanted' list. Biography.com takes a look at the lives of the most notorious criminals of all time and examines how they made it into the ranks of infamy.
Life imitates art in Hollywood, where passionate romances turn into short-lived marriages and quickie divorces. Numerous nuptials are one of the hallmarks of the celebrity lifestyle. Hollywood royalty Elizabeth Taylor married eight times—even more than real royalty King Henry VIII, who married six times. Here's a look at the famous individuals who tied the knot—and then tied it again, and again, and again.
Released in 1960, heist film Ocean's Eleven centered around a group trying to pull off a series of Las Vegas casino robberies. The film had an all-star cast, including some of the biggest names in Hollywood at the time. When it was remade in 2001, an equally high profile group of actors was cast. Here are the stars who acted in the original and the remake of Ocean's Eleven.
The 2012 London Summer Olympic Games set the stage for fierce competition among the world's top athletes in track and field, boxing, gymnastics, soccer, swimming and basketball, among other sports. Explore Biography.com's list of Olympic 2012 Athletes, from swimmers Missy Franklin, Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte to javelin-throwing beauty Leryn Franco, to swift track stars Tyson Gay, Justin Gatlin, Yohan Blake, Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Sanya Richards-Ross, and more.
Shaquille O'Neal, Carmelo Anthony and Lebron James are just a few of the most well-known basketball players to have competed in the Olympic Games. The men's and women's national teams, often comprised of some of the top American professional and college players, have proven to be two of the most successful teams from the U.S. Since their first Olympic appearance in 1936, the men's team has taken home a total of 13 gold medals, with the women not far behind, claiming six since their start in 1976. From legendary figures like Michael Jordan to female powerhouses like Lisa Leslie and Sheryl Swoopes, Biography looks at the most famous names who have dominated the Olympic courts.
Boxing was first introduced as an Olympic event at the 1904 Summer Olympics. Since then, the Games have introduced us to future boxing legends. In 1960, boxer Muhammad Ali won a spot on the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team, returning home that year with a gold medal. At the 1976 Olympics, Sugar Ray Leonard won the gold medal in light-waterweight boxing, with the heavyweight title awarded to Leon Spinks. These men join the group of fighters, from George Foreman to Floyd Mayweather, who have made history in their run for Olympic Gold. Biography looks at some of the hardest hitters in Olympic boxing history.
Since 1928, we have watched some of the world's most talented gymnasts leap, flip and twirl their way to Olympic gold. From the balance beam to the uneven bars, these poised athletes have balanced artistry and athleticism to win medals and the public's hearts. From legends like Nadia Comaneci and Olga Korbut to favorites like Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin, Biography looks at the famous gymnasts who have earned Olympic medals.
Olympic medal winners have wowed us with their athleticism and determination and have made history with some of the most unforgettable moments in sports history. From Bruce Jenner's 1972 world record victory lap to Michael Phelps's astounding eight medal sweep at the 2008 Beijing Games, these champions have proven they have what it takes to be the best. Here's a look at some of the most well-known medal winners from past and present Olympic Games.
The Olympic opening ceremony has long marked the official commencement of the Olympic Games. The celebration, with traditions including the declaration of the Olympic Oath and the running of the torch, signifies a gathering of nations to celebrate the best in sports. The Olympic opening ceremony has also provided an opportunity for host cities to showcase their cultures, often featuring native performers and superstars. From Celine Dion to R. Kelly to Björk, Biography.com looks at the many gifted performers who have graced the stage of the opening ceremony, igniting the excitement and spirit that is the Olympic Games.
Explore our collection of Olympic skaters to learn more about speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno and legendary figure skaters like Oksana Baiul, Sarah Hughes, Viktor Petrenko, Tonya Harding, Nancy Kerrigan, Evan Lysacek, Michelle Kwan, Scott Hamilton, Gracie Gold, Johnny Weir, Katerina Witt and Shani Davis.
Explore our collection of Olympic snowboarders for more on Shaun White, Hannah Teter, Scotty Lago, Gretchen Bleiler, Todd Richards, Shannon Dunn, Jamie Anderson and other icons of the X Games. Learn more about the lives and careers of these agile winter athletes through full biographies, photos, videos and more, only at Biography.com.
Olympic swimmers always seem to make a big splash and are the among the most-watched athletes at the Summer Games. The speed, endurance and athleticism of stars like Michael Phelps, who made history winning 16 Olympic medals, captivate sports fans, hoping to witness record-breaking achievements in the pool. Here's a group of legendary swimmers who have taken the Olympic heat to victory.
The world craves the idea of unattainable perfection, and the superhero—an aspirational figure who is stronger, faster and smarter than the average human—is the epitome of human perfection. For more than two centuries, philosophers, comic book artists, writers and academics have debated the role of the superhero, from how they should interact with society to what they should wear when they're saving the world. And now, with the rash of superhero films in Hollywood, the debate becomes who should portray these larger-than-life characters on the big screen. Here are the actors and actresses who have been chosen to represent the mighty superhero. Whether it's running faster than the speed of light or stopping a speeding train with one hand, these performers are renowned for bringing the vision of the superhero to reality.
Truth is often more fascinating than fiction. Since the beginning of movies, actors have been portraying figures from history and bringing them to life on screen. Mastering the well-known mannerisms and characteristics of real world figures can be more challenging than portraying a fictional character. Enormous amounts of research and drastic physical transformations are not uncommon for actors wanting to properly inhabit their role on film. Whether playing a scheming Queen, a country singer, a temperamental boxer, or a pioneering writer, those performers who can accurately play the part often find Oscar gold as their reward. Here are the Academy Award-winning actors, and the larger-than-life people they portrayed.
Baywatch babe Pamela Anderson married Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee in 1995, just a few days after meeting. Things got tumultuous fast—a sex tape from the newlyweds' honeymoon was stolen from their home, and made the new couple infamous. They had two sons before Anderson filed for divorce—twice. Lee and Anderson reconciled and split up repeatedly before they broke up for good. Anderson later said she contracted Hepatitis C from sharing tattoo needles with Lee.