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The Most Famous

CELEBRITIES from United States

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This page contains a list of the greatest American Celebrities. The pantheon dataset contains 181 Celebrities, 73 of which were born in United States. This makes United States the birth place of the most number of Celebrities.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary American Celebrities of all time. This list of famous American Celebrities is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of American Celebrities.

Photo of Wallis Simpson

1. Wallis Simpson (1896 - 1986)

With an HPI of 79.31, Wallis Simpson is the most famous American Celebrity.  Her biography has been translated into 53 different languages on wikipedia.

Wallis, Duchess of Windsor (born Bessie Wallis Warfield, later Simpson; June 19, 1896 – April 24, 1986), was an American socialite and wife of the former King Edward VIII. Their intention to marry and her status as a divorcée caused a constitutional crisis that led to Edward's abdication. Wallis grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. Her father died shortly after her birth, and she and her widowed mother were partly supported by their wealthier relatives. Her first marriage, to United States Navy officer Win Spencer, was punctuated by periods of separation and eventually ended in divorce. In 1931, during her second marriage, to Ernest Simpson, she met Edward, the then Prince of Wales. Five years later, after Edward's accession as King of the United Kingdom, Wallis divorced Ernest to marry Edward. The King's desire to marry a woman who had two living ex-husbands threatened to cause a constitutional crisis in the United Kingdom and the Dominions, ultimately leading to his abdication in December 1936 to marry "the woman I love". After abdicating, Edward was made Duke of Windsor by his brother and successor, George VI. Wallis married Edward six months later, after which she was formally known as the Duchess of Windsor, but was not allowed to share her husband's style of "Royal Highness". Before, during, and after the Second World War, Wallis and Edward were suspected by many in government and society of being Nazi sympathizers. In 1937, without government approval, they visited Germany and met Adolf Hitler. In 1940, Edward was appointed governor of the Bahamas, and the couple moved to the islands until he relinquished the office in 1945. In the 1950s and 1960s, they shuttled between Europe and the United States, living a life of leisure as society celebrities. After Edward's death in 1972, Wallis lived in seclusion and was rarely seen in public. Her private life has been a source of much speculation, and she remains a controversial figure in British history.

Photo of Phineas Gage

2. Phineas Gage (1823 - 1860)

With an HPI of 74.06, Phineas Gage is the 2nd most famous American Celebrity.  His biography has been translated into 38 different languages.

Phineas P. Gage (1823–1860) was an American railroad construction foreman remembered for his improbable[B1]: 19  survival of an accident in which a large iron rod was driven completely through his head, destroying much of his brain's left frontal lobe, and for that injury's reported effects on his personality and behavior over the remaining 12 years of his life‍—‌effects sufficiently profound that friends saw him (for a time at least) as "no longer Gage". [H]: 14  Long known as the "American Crowbar Case"‍—‌once termed "the case which more than all others is cal­cu­lated to excite our wonder, impair the value of prognosis, and even to subvert our phys­i­o­log­i­cal doctrines" ‍—‌Phineas Gage influenced 19th-century discussion about the mind and brain, par­tic­u­larly debate on cerebral local­i­za­tion,​​[M]: ch7-9 [B] and was perhaps the first case to suggest the brain's role in deter­min­ing per­son­al­ity, and that damage to specific parts of the brain might induce specific mental changes. Gage is a fixture in the curricula of neurology, psychology, and neuroscience,​​[M7]: 149  one of "the great medical curiosities of all time"[M8] and "a living part of the medical folklore" [R]: 637  frequently mentioned in books and scientific papers;[M]: ch14  he even has a minor place in popular culture. Despite this celebrity, the body of established fact about Gage and what he was like (whether before or after his injury) is small, which has allowed "the fitting of almost any theory [desired] to the small number of facts we have" [M]: 290 ‍—‌Gage acting as a "Rorschach inkblot"  in which proponents of various conflicting theories of the brain all saw support for their views. Historically, published accounts of Gage (including scientific ones) have almost always severely exaggerated and distorted his behavioral changes, frequently contradicting the known facts. A report of Gage's physical and mental condition shortly before his death implies that his most serious mental changes were temporary, so that in later life he was far more functional, and socially far better adapted, than in the years immediately following his accident. A social recovery hypothesis suggests that his work as a stagecoach driver in Chile fostered this recovery by providing daily structure that allowed him to regain lost social and personal skills.

Photo of Robert Wadlow

3. Robert Wadlow (1918 - 1940)

With an HPI of 70.93, Robert Wadlow is the 3rd most famous American Celebrity.  His biography has been translated into 47 different languages.

Robert Pershing Wadlow (February 22, 1918 – July 15, 1940), also known as the Alton Giant and the Giant of Illinois, was an American man who was the tallest person in recorded history for whom there is irrefutable evidence. He was born and raised in Alton, Illinois, a small city near St. Louis, Missouri.Wadlow's height was 8 ft 11.1 in (2.72 m) while his weight reached 439 lb (199 kg) at his death at age 22. His great size and his continued growth in adulthood were due to hypertrophy of his pituitary gland, which results in an abnormally high level of human growth hormone (HGH). Even by the time of his death, there was no indication that his growth had ended.

Photo of Buffalo Bill

4. Buffalo Bill (1846 - 1917)

With an HPI of 69.02, Buffalo Bill is the 4th most famous American Celebrity.  His biography has been translated into 47 different languages.

William Frederick Cody (February 26, 1846 – January 10, 1917), known as "Buffalo Bill", was an American soldier, bison hunter, and showman. He was born in Le Claire, Iowa Territory (now the U.S. state of Iowa), but he lived for several years in his father's hometown in modern-day Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, before the family returned to the Midwest and settled in the Kansas Territory. Buffalo Bill started working at the age of eleven, after his father's death, and became a rider for the Pony Express at age 15. During the American Civil War, he served the Union from 1863 to the end of the war in 1865. Later he served as a civilian scout for the U.S. Army during the Indian Wars, receiving the Medal of Honor in 1872. One of the most famous and well-known figures of the American Old West, Buffalo Bill's legend began to spread when he was only 23. Shortly thereafter he started performing in shows that displayed cowboy themes and episodes from the frontier and Indian Wars. He founded Buffalo Bill's Wild West in 1883, taking his large company on tours in the United States and, beginning in 1887, in Great Britain and continental Europe.

Photo of Black Dahlia

5. Black Dahlia (1924 - 1947)

With an HPI of 67.82, Black Dahlia is the 5th most famous American Celebrity.  Her biography has been translated into 36 different languages.

Elizabeth Short (July 29, 1924 – c. January 14–15, 1947), known posthumously as the Black Dahlia, was an American woman found murdered in the Leimert Park neighborhood of Los Angeles on January 15, 1947. Her case became highly publicized owing to the gruesome nature of the crime, which included the mutilation of her corpse, which was bisected at the waist. A native of Boston, Short spent her early life in New England and Florida before relocating to California, where her father lived. It is commonly held that Short was an aspiring actress, though she had no known acting credits or jobs during her time in Los Angeles. She would acquire the nickname of the Black Dahlia posthumously, as newspapers of the period often nicknamed particularly lurid crimes; the term may have originated from a film noir murder mystery, The Blue Dahlia, released in 1946. After the discovery of her body, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) began an extensive investigation that produced over 150 suspects but yielded no arrests. Short's unsolved murder and the details surrounding it have had a lasting cultural intrigue, generating various theories and public speculation. Her life and death have been the basis of numerous books and films, and her murder is frequently cited as one of the most famous unsolved murders in American history, as well as one of the oldest unsolved cases in Los Angeles County. It has likewise been credited by historians as one of the first major crimes in post–World War II America to capture national attention.

Photo of Jon Brower Minnoch

6. Jon Brower Minnoch (1941 - 1983)

With an HPI of 66.99, Jon Brower Minnoch is the 6th most famous American Celebrity.  His biography has been translated into 22 different languages.

Jon Brower Minnoch (September 29, 1941 – September 10, 1983) was an American man who, at his peak weight, was the heaviest human ever recorded, weighing 1,400 lb (635 kilograms; 100 stone).

Photo of Monica Lewinsky

7. Monica Lewinsky (1973 - )

With an HPI of 64.57, Monica Lewinsky is the 7th most famous American Celebrity.  Her biography has been translated into 52 different languages.

Monica Samille Lewinsky (born July 23, 1973) is an American activist and writer. President Bill Clinton admitted to having an affair with Lewinsky while she worked at the White House as an intern in 1995 and 1996. The affair, and its repercussions (which included Clinton's impeachment), became known later as the Clinton–Lewinsky scandal. As a result of the public coverage of the political scandal, Lewinsky gained international celebrity status. She subsequently engaged in a variety of ventures that included designing a line of handbags under her name, serving as an advertising spokesperson for a diet plan, and working as a television personality. Lewinsky later left the public spotlight to pursue a master's degree in psychology in London. In 2014, she returned to public view as a social activist speaking out against cyberbullying.

Photo of Margaret Brown

8. Margaret Brown (1867 - 1932)

With an HPI of 63.44, Margaret Brown is the 8th most famous American Celebrity.  Her biography has been translated into 39 different languages.

Margaret Brown (née Tobin; July 18, 1867 – October 26, 1932), posthumously known as "The Unsinkable Molly Brown", was an American socialite and philanthropist. She was a passenger on the RMS Titanic which sank in 1912 and she unsuccessfully urged the crew in Lifeboat No. 6 to return to the debris field to look for survivors.During her lifetime, her friends called her "Maggie", but by her death, obituaries referred to her as the "Unsinkable Mrs. Brown". The "Molly" nickname was coined by 1960 Broadway musical based on her life and its 1964 film adaptation which were both entitled The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

Photo of Sarah Knauss

9. Sarah Knauss (1880 - 1999)

With an HPI of 62.60, Sarah Knauss is the 9th most famous American Celebrity.  Her biography has been translated into 28 different languages.

Sarah DeRemer Knauss (née Clark; September 24, 1880 – December 30, 1999) was an American supercentenarian. She is the oldest person ever from the United States and, on April 16, 1998, became the world's oldest living person. She remains as the third-oldest well-documented person ever, living to the age of 119 years and 97 days. Her birthdate has been independently verified through numerous census and other records.

Photo of Peggy Guggenheim

10. Peggy Guggenheim (1898 - 1979)

With an HPI of 62.34, Peggy Guggenheim is the 10th most famous American Celebrity.  Her biography has been translated into 29 different languages.

Marguerite "Peggy" Guggenheim ( GUUG-ən-hyme; August 26, 1898 – December 23, 1979) was an American art collector, bohemian and socialite. Born to the wealthy New York City Guggenheim family, she was the daughter of Benjamin Guggenheim, who went down with the Titanic in 1912, and the niece of Solomon R. Guggenheim, who established the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. Guggenheim collected art in Europe and America primarily between 1938 and 1946. She exhibited this collection as she built it; in 1949, she settled in Venice, where she lived and exhibited her collection for the rest of her life. The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is a modern art museum on the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy, and is one of the most visited attractions in Venice.

Pantheon has 73 people classified as celebrities born between 1587 and 2003. Of these 73, 37 (50.68%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living celebrities include Monica Lewinsky, Don King, and Kim Kardashian. The most famous deceased celebrities include Wallis Simpson, Phineas Gage, and Robert Wadlow. As of April 2022, 10 new celebrities have been added to Pantheon including John B. Calhoun, Jeane Dixon, and Sandy Allen.

Living Celebrities

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Deceased Celebrities

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Newly Added Celebrities (2022)

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Which Celebrities were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Celebrities since 1700.