The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary American Companions of all time. This list of famous American Companions 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 Companions.
With an HPI of 82.29, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is the most famous American Companion. Her biography has been translated into 70 different languages on wikipedia.
Jacqueline Lee Kennedy Onassis (née Bouvier ; July 28, 1929 – May 19, 1994) was an American socialite, writer, photographer, and book editor who served as first lady of the United States from 1961 to 1963, as the wife of President John F. Kennedy. A popular first lady, she endeared the American public with her fashion sense, devotion to her family, and dedication to the historic preservation of the White House. During her lifetime, she was regarded as an international fashion icon.After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in French literature from George Washington University in 1951, Bouvier started working for the Washington Times-Herald as an inquiring photographer. The following year, she met then-Congressman John Kennedy at a dinner party in Washington. He was elected to the Senate that same year, and the couple married on September 12, 1953, in Newport, Rhode Island. They had four children, two of whom died in infancy. Following her husband's election to the presidency in 1960, Kennedy was known for her highly publicized restoration of the White House and emphasis on arts and culture, as well as for her style. At age 31, she was the third-youngest first lady of the United States when her husband was inaugurated. After the assassination and funeral of her husband in 1963, Kennedy and her children largely withdrew from public view. In 1968, she married Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, which caused controversy. Following Onassis's death in 1975, she had a career as a book editor in New York City, first at Viking Press and then at Doubleday, and worked to restore her public image. Even after her death, she ranks as one of the most popular and recognizable first ladies in American history, and in 1999, she was listed as one of Gallup's Most-Admired Men and Women of the 20th century. She died in 1994 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery alongside President Kennedy.
With an HPI of 73.66, Priscilla Presley is the 2nd most famous American Companion. Her biography has been translated into 42 different languages.
Priscilla Anne Presley (née Wagner, changed by adoption to Beaulieu; born May 24, 1945) is an American businesswoman and actress. She is the former wife of American singer Elvis Presley; as well as co-founder and former chairwoman of Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE), the company that turned Graceland into one of the top tourist attractions in the United States. In her acting career, Presley co-starred with Leslie Nielsen in the three successful Naked Gun films and played the role of Jenna Wade on the long-running television series Dallas.
With an HPI of 71.39, Michelle Obama is the 3rd most famous American Companion. Her biography has been translated into 98 different languages.
Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama (born January 17, 1964) is an American attorney and author who served as the first lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017. She was the first African-American woman to serve in this position. She is the wife of former President Barack Obama. Raised on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois, Obama is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School. In her early legal career, she worked at the law firm Sidley Austin where she met Barack Obama. She subsequently worked in nonprofits and as the associate dean of Student Services at the University of Chicago as well as the vice president for Community and External Affairs of the University of Chicago Medical Center. Michelle married Barack in 1992, and together they have two daughters. Obama campaigned for her husband's presidential bid throughout 2007 and 2008, delivering a keynote address at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. She has subsequently delivered acclaimed speeches at the 2012, 2016, and 2020 conventions. As first lady, Obama served as a role model for women and worked as an advocate for poverty awareness, education, nutrition, physical activity, and healthy eating. She supported American designers and was considered a fashion icon.After her husband's presidency, Obama's influence has remained high. In 2020, Obama topped Gallup's poll of the most admired woman in America for the third year running.
With an HPI of 70.82, Linda McCartney is the 4th most famous American Companion. Her biography has been translated into 37 different languages.
Linda Louise McCartney, Lady McCartney (née Eastman; September 24, 1941 – April 17, 1998) was an American photographer, musician, animal rights activist, vegetarian cook book author and advocate, and entrepreneur. She was the keyboardist in the band Wings, which also featured her husband, Paul McCartney, a former member of the Beatles. Beginning in the mid 1960s, Linda began a career as a photographer, landing with Town & Country, where she soon gained assignments to photograph various musicians and entertainers. By the late 1960s, she was a regular fixture at the Fillmore East, a New York concert venue, where she became the unofficial house photographer, photographing numerous performances at the legendary club, and was the first woman to have a photograph on the cover of the influential music journal Rolling Stone. Her photographs were displayed in galleries and museums such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, and were collected in several books. Linda had been learning to play keyboards from her husband, and after the 1970 breakup of the Beatles, Paul and Linda recorded the album Ram together, and formed the band Wings in 1971. She continued to play alongside Paul following Wings' breakup in 1981 up until The New World Tour in 1993. She was a vocal animal rights activist and wrote and published several vegetarian cookbooks. She also founded the vegetarian Linda McCartney Foods company with her husband. In 1995, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and died from the disease three years later at the age of 56.
With an HPI of 69.68, Pat Nixon is the 5th most famous American Companion. Her biography has been translated into 52 different languages.
Thelma Catherine "Pat" Ryan Nixon (March 16, 1912 – June 22, 1993) was First Lady of the United States from 1969 to 1974 as the wife of President Richard Nixon. She also served as Second Lady of the United States from 1953 to 1961 when her husband was vice president. Born in Ely, Nevada, she grew up with her two brothers in what is now Cerritos, California, graduating from high school in 1929. She attended Fullerton Junior College and later the University of Southern California. She paid for her schooling by working multiple jobs, including pharmacy manager, typist, radiographer, and retail clerk. In 1940, she married lawyer Richard Nixon and they had two daughters, Tricia and Julie. Dubbed the "Nixon team", Richard and Pat Nixon campaigned together in his successful congressional campaigns of 1946 and 1948. Richard Nixon was elected vice president in 1952 alongside General Dwight D. Eisenhower, whereupon Pat became Second Lady. Pat Nixon did much to add substance to the role of the vice president's wife, insisting on visiting schools, orphanages, hospitals, and village markets as she undertook many missions of goodwill across the world. As First Lady, Pat Nixon promoted a number of charitable causes, including volunteerism. She oversaw the collection of more than 600 pieces of historic art and furnishings for the White House, an acquisition larger than that of any other administration. She was the most traveled First Lady in U.S. history, a record unsurpassed until twenty-five years later. She accompanied the President as the first First Lady to visit China and the Soviet Union, and was the first president's wife to be officially designated a representative of the United States on her solo trips to Africa and South America, which gained her recognition as "Madame Ambassador"; she was also the first First Lady to enter a combat zone. Though her husband was re-elected in a landslide victory in 1972, her tenure as First Lady ended two years later, when President Nixon resigned amid the Watergate scandal. Her public appearances became increasingly rare later in life. She and her husband settled in San Clemente, California, and later moved to New Jersey. She suffered two strokes, one in 1976 and another in 1983, and was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1992. She died in 1993, aged 81.
With an HPI of 69.66, Mary Todd Lincoln is the 6th most famous American Companion. Her biography has been translated into 43 different languages.
Mary Ann Todd Lincoln (December 13, 1818 – July 16, 1882) served as First Lady of the United States from 1861 until the assassination of her husband, President Abraham Lincoln in 1865. Mary Lincoln was a member of a large and wealthy, slave-owning Kentucky family. She was well educated. Born Mary Ann Todd, she dropped the name Ann after her younger sister, Ann Todd (later Clark), was born. After finishing school during her teens, she moved to Springfield, Illinois, where she lived with her married sister Elizabeth Edwards. Before she married Abraham Lincoln, she was courted by his long-time political opponent Stephen A. Douglas. The Lincolns had four sons of whom only the eldest, Robert, survived both parents. Their family home and neighborhood in Springfield is preserved at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site. Lincoln staunchly supported her husband throughout his presidency and was active in keeping national morale high during the Civil War. She acted as the White House social coordinator, throwing lavish balls and redecorating the White House at great expense; her spending was the source of much consternation. She was seated next to Abraham when he was assassinated in the President's Box at Ford's Theatre on Tenth Street in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1865. The deaths of her husband and three of her sons weighed heavily on her. Lincoln suffered from numerous physical and mental health issues during her life. She had frequent migraines, which were exacerbated by a head injury in 1863. She was depressed for much of her life; some historians think she may have had bipolar disorder. She was briefly institutionalized for psychiatric disease in 1875, but later retired to the home of her sister. She died of a stroke in 1882 at age 63.
With an HPI of 69.50, Laura Bush is the 7th most famous American Companion. Her biography has been translated into 65 different languages.
Laura Lane Welch Bush (née Welch; born November 4, 1946) is an American teacher, librarian, memoirist and author who was the first lady of the United States from 2001 to 2009. Bush previously served as the first lady of Texas from 1995 to 2000. She is the wife of former President George W. Bush, and the daughter-in-law of former president George H.W. Bush. Born in Midland, Texas, Bush graduated from Southern Methodist University in 1968 with a bachelor's degree in education, and took a job as a second grade teacher. After attaining her master's degree in library science at the University of Texas at Austin, she was employed as a librarian. Bush met her future husband, George W. Bush, in 1977, and they were married later that year. The couple had twin daughters in 1981. Bush's political involvement began during her marriage. She campaigned with her husband during his unsuccessful 1978 run for the United States Congress, and later for his successful Texas gubernatorial campaign. As First Lady of Texas, Bush implemented many initiatives focused on health, education, and literacy. In 1999–2000, she aided her husband in campaigning for the presidency in a number of ways, such as delivering a keynote address at the 2000 Republican National Convention, which gained her national attention. She became First Lady after her husband was inaugurated as president on January 20, 2001. Polled by The Gallup Organization as one of the most popular First Ladies, Bush was involved in national and global concerns during her tenure. She continued to advance her trademark interests of education and literacy by establishing the annual National Book Festival in 2001, and encouraged education on a worldwide scale. She also advanced women's causes through The Heart Truth and Susan G. Komen for the Cure organizations. She represented the United States during her foreign trips, which tended to focus on HIV/AIDS and malaria awareness.
With an HPI of 69.43, Rosalynn Carter is the 8th most famous American Companion. Her biography has been translated into 51 different languages.
Eleanor Rosalynn Carter ( ROH-zə-lin; née Smith; born August 18, 1927) is an American writer and activist who served as first lady of the United States from 1977 to 1981 as the wife of President Jimmy Carter. For decades, she has been a leading advocate for numerous causes, including mental health. Carter was politically active during her White House years, sitting in on Cabinet meetings. She was her husband's closest adviser. She also served as an envoy abroad, particularly in Latin America. Like her husband, Rosalynn Carter is considered a key figure in the Habitat for Humanity charity. After Bess Truman, Carter is the second-longest lived First Lady of the White House.
With an HPI of 68.80, Mamie Eisenhower is the 9th most famous American Companion. Her biography has been translated into 46 different languages.
Mary Geneva "Mamie" Eisenhower (née Doud; November 14, 1896 – November 1, 1979) was the first lady of the United States from 1953 to 1961 as the wife of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Mamie married Dwight Eisenhower at age 19 on July 1, 1916. The young couple moved frequently between military quarters in many postings, from Panama to the Philippines. As First Lady, she entertained a wide range of foreign dignitaries. She was noted for her confident style and clothing choices. Mamie and Dwight Eisenhower were married for 52 years until his death in March 1969. She spent her retirement and widowhood at the family farm in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
With an HPI of 68.49, Martha Washington is the 10th most famous American Companion. Her biography has been translated into 54 different languages.
Martha Dandridge Custis Washington (June 2, 1731 — May 22, 1802) was the wife of George Washington, the first president of the United States. Although the title was not coined until after her death, Martha Washington served as the inaugural first lady of the United States. During her lifetime, she was often referred to as "Lady Washington".Martha Dandridge first married Daniel Parke Custis. They had four children, two of whom survived to young adulthood. Daniel's death made Martha a widow at age 26. She brought her vast wealth to her marriage to Washington, which enabled him to buy land to add to his personal estate. She also brought with her 84 dower slaves from Daniel Custis' estate for use during her lifetime. They and their descendants reverted to Custis' estate at her death and were inherited by his heirs. The Washingtons did not have children together, but they did rear her two surviving children, John and Martha. They also helped both of their extended families.
Pantheon has 22 people classified as companions born between 1731 and 1987. Of these 22, 8 (36.36%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living companions include Priscilla Presley, Michelle Obama, and Laura Bush. The most famous deceased companions include Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Linda McCartney, and Pat Nixon. As of October 2020, 3 new companions have been added to Pantheon including Nicole Aniston, Happy Rockefeller, and Marilyn Quayle.
1929 - 1994
1941 - 1998
1912 - 1993
1818 - 1882
1896 - 1979
1731 - 1802
1837 - 1876
1744 - 1818
1860 - 1914
1767 - 1828
1748 - 1782
1783 - 1819
Which Companions were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 14 most globally memorable Companions since 1700.