The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary American Presenters of all time. This list of famous American Presenters 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 Presenters.
With an HPI of 68.30, Jay Leno is the most famous American Presenter. His biography has been translated into 59 different languages on wikipedia.
James Douglas Muir Leno (; born April 28, 1950) is an American television host, writer and comedian. After doing stand-up comedy for years, he became the host of NBC's The Tonight Show from 1992 until 2009 when Conan O'Brien took over as host. Beginning in September 2009, Leno started a primetime talk show, The Jay Leno Show, which aired weeknights at 10:00 p.m. ET, also on NBC. When O'Brien turned down NBC's offer to have Leno host a half hour monologue show before The Tonight Show to boost ratings amid reported viewership diminishing, it led to the 2010 Tonight Show conflict which resulted in Leno returning to hosting the show on March 1, 2010. He hosted his last episode of his second tenure on February 6, 2014. That year, he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. From 2014 to 2022, he hosted Jay Leno's Garage, and from 2021 to 2023, hosted the revival of You Bet Your Life. Leno writes a regular column in Popular Mechanics showcasing his car collection and giving automotive advice. He also writes occasional "Motormouth" articles for The Sunday Times.
With an HPI of 66.96, Oprah Winfrey is the 2nd most famous American Presenter. Her biography has been translated into 92 different languages.
Oprah Gail Winfrey (; born Orpah Gail Winfrey; January 29, 1954), also known mononymously as Oprah, is an American talk show host, television producer, actress, author, and media proprietor. She is best known for her talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, broadcast from Chicago, which ran in national syndication for 25 years, from 1986 to 2011. Dubbed the "Queen of All Media", she was the richest African-American of the 20th century and was once the world's only black billionaire. By 2007, she was often ranked as the most influential woman in the world.Winfrey was born into poverty in rural Mississippi to a single teenage mother and later raised in inner-city Milwaukee. She has stated that she was molested during her childhood and early teenage years and became pregnant at 14; her son was born prematurely and died in infancy. Winfrey was then sent to live with the man she calls her father, Vernon Winfrey, a barber in Nashville, Tennessee, and landed a job in radio while still in high school. By 19, she was a co-anchor for the local evening news. Winfrey's often emotional, extemporaneous delivery eventually led to her transfer to the daytime talk show arena, and after boosting a third-rated local Chicago talk show to first place, she launched her own production company. By the mid-1990s, Winfrey had reinvented her show with a focus on literature, self-improvement, mindfulness, and spirituality. Though she has been criticized for unleashing a confession culture, promoting controversial self-help ideas, and having an emotion-centered approach, she has also been praised for overcoming adversity to become a benefactor to others. Winfrey also emerged as a political force in the 2008 presidential race, with her endorsement of Barack Obama estimated to have been worth about one million votes during the 2008 Democratic primaries. In 2013, Winfrey was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama, and received honorary doctorate degrees from Duke and Harvard. In 2008, she formed her own network, the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). Credited with creating a more intimate, confessional form of media communication, Winfrey popularized and revolutionized the tabloid talk show genre pioneered by Phil Donahue. In 1994, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame. Winfrey has won many accolades throughout her career which includes 18 Daytime Emmy Awards (including the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Chairman's Award), two Primetime Emmy Awards (including the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award), a Tony Award, a Peabody Award, and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award awarded by the Academy Awards, in addition to two competitive Academy Award nominations. Winfrey was elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2021.
With an HPI of 61.93, Larry King is the 3rd most famous American Presenter. His biography has been translated into 71 different languages.
Larry King (born Lawrence Harvey Zeiger; November 19, 1933 – January 23, 2021) was an American author, radio and television host, whose awards included two Peabodys, an Emmy and 10 Cable ACE Awards. During his career, King conducted over 60,000 interviews on radio and TV.King was born and raised in New York City to Jewish parents who immigrated to the United States from Belarus in the 1920s. He studied at Lafayette High School, a public high school in Brooklyn. He was a WMBM radio interviewer in the Miami area in the 1950s and 1960s and beginning in 1978, gained national prominence as host of The Larry King Show, an all-night nationwide call-in radio program heard over the Mutual Broadcasting System.From 1985 to 2010, he hosted the nightly interview television program Larry King Live on CNN. King hosted Larry King Now from 2012 to 2020, which aired on Hulu, Ora TV, and RT America. He hosted Politicking with Larry King, a weekly political talk show, on the same three channels from 2013 to 2020. King also appeared in television series and films, usually playing himself. He remained active until his death in 2021. That year, he suffered from a bout of COVID-19 and shortly after his recovery, died from sepsis.
With an HPI of 59.65, Henry Rollins is the 4th most famous American Presenter. His biography has been translated into 34 different languages.
Henry Lawrence Garfield (born February 13, 1961), known professionally as Henry Rollins, is an American singer, writer, spoken word artist, actor, comedian, and presenter. After performing in the short-lived hardcore punk band State of Alert in 1980, Rollins fronted the California hardcore band Black Flag from 1981 to 1986. Following the band's breakup, he established the record label and publishing company 2.13.61 to release his spoken word albums, and formed the Rollins Band, which toured with a number of lineups from 1987 to 2003 and in 2006. Rollins has hosted numerous radio shows, such as Harmony in My Head on Indie 103, and television shows such as The Henry Rollins Show and 120 Minutes. He had recurring dramatic roles in the second season of Sons of Anarchy as A.J. Weston, in the final 2 seasons of the animated series The Legend of Korra as Zaheer, and has also had roles in several films. He has campaigned for various political causes in the United States, including the promotion of Gay rights, World Hunger Relief, the West Memphis Three, and an end to all war. He currently hosts a weekly radio show on KCRW, is a regular columnist for Rolling Stone Australia, and was a regular columnist for LA Weekly.
With an HPI of 57.61, Alex Jones is the 5th most famous American Presenter. His biography has been translated into 40 different languages.
Alexander Emerick Jones (born February 11, 1974) is an American far-right, alt-right radio show host and prominent conspiracy theorist. He hosts The Alex Jones Show from Austin, Texas, which the Genesis Communications Network broadcasts across the United States via syndicated and internet radio. Jones's website, InfoWars, promotes conspiracy theories and fake news, as do his other websites, NewsWars and PrisonPlanet. Jones has provided a platform and support for white nationalists, giving Unite the Right rally attendee and white supremacist Nick Fuentes a platform on his website, Banned.Video, as well as giving an "entry point" to their ideology. In 2023, leaked texts from Jones's phone revealed that he created the website National File.The conspiracy theories that Jones has promoted allege that the United States government either concealed information about or outright falsified the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting, the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the September 11 attacks, and the 1969 Moon landing. He has also claimed that several governments and large businesses have colluded to create a "New World Order" through "manufactured economic crises, sophisticated surveillance tech and—above all—inside-job terror attacks that fuel exploitable hysteria."A longtime critic of Republican and Democratic foreign and security policy, Jones supported Donald Trump's 2016 presidential bid and continued to support him as a savior from an alleged criminal bipartisan cabal controlling the federal government, despite falling out over several of Trump's policies including airstrikes against the Assad regime. A staunch supporter of Trump's re-election, Jones also supported the false claims of electoral fraud in the 2020 presidential election. On January 6, 2021, Jones was a speaker at the rally in Lafayette Square Park supporting Trump preceding the latter's supporters' attack on the US Capitol.In 2022, for Jones's defamatory falsehoods about the Sandy Hook shooting, juries in Connecticut and Texas awarded a total of $1.487 billion in damages from Jones to a first responder and families of victims; the plaintiffs alleged that Jones's lies led to them being threatened and harassed for years. One of the judges issued an order that he was "not to transfer, encumber, dispose or move his assets out of the United States until further order of the court." On December 2, 2022, Jones filed for personal bankruptcy.
With an HPI of 57.08, Fred Rogers is the 6th most famous American Presenter. His biography has been translated into 68 different languages.
Fred McFeely Rogers (March 20, 1928 – February 27, 2003), better known as Mister Rogers, was an American television host, author, producer, and Presbyterian minister. He was the creator, showrunner, and host of the preschool television series Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, which ran from 1968 to 2001. Born in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Rogers earned a bachelor's degree in music from Rollins College in 1951. He began his television career at NBC in New York, returning to Pittsburgh in 1953 to work for children's programming at NET (later PBS) television station WQED. He graduated from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary with a bachelor's degree in divinity in 1962 and became a Presbyterian minister in 1963. He attended the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Child Development, where he began his thirty-year collaboration with child psychologist Margaret McFarland. He also helped develop the children's shows The Children's Corner (1955) for WQED in Pittsburgh and Misterogers (1963) in Canada for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. In 1968, he returned to Pittsburgh and adapted the format of his Canadian series to create Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. It ran for 33 years and was critically acclaimed for focusing on children's emotional and physical concerns, such as death, sibling rivalry, school enrollment, and divorce. Rogers died of stomach cancer in 2003, aged 74. His work in children's television has been widely lauded, and he received more than forty honorary degrees and several awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Emmy in 1997 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002. He was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1999. Rogers influenced many writers and producers of children's television shows, and his broadcasts provided comfort during tragic events, even after his death.
With an HPI of 56.46, David Letterman is the 7th most famous American Presenter. His biography has been translated into 66 different languages.
David Michael Letterman (born April 12, 1947) is an American television host, comedian, writer and producer. He hosted late night television talk shows for 33 years, beginning with the February 1, 1982, debut of Late Night with David Letterman on NBC and ending with the May 20, 2015, broadcast of Late Show with David Letterman on CBS. In total, Letterman hosted 6,080 episodes of Late Night and Late Show, surpassing his friend and mentor Johnny Carson as the longest-serving late-night talk show host in American television history.He is also a television and film producer. His company, Worldwide Pants, produced his shows as well as The Late Late Show and several primetime comedies, the most successful of which was the CBS sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond. Several late-night hosts have cited Letterman's influence, including Conan O'Brien (his successor on Late Night), Stephen Colbert (his successor on The Late Show), Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Jon Stewart, and Seth Meyers. Since 2018 he has hosted the Netflix series My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman.
With an HPI of 54.77, Anna Moffo is the 8th most famous American Presenter. Her biography has been translated into 23 different languages.
Anna Moffo (June 27, 1932 – March 9, 2006) was an American opera singer, television personality, and actress. One of the leading lyric-coloratura sopranos of her generation, she possessed a warm and radiant voice of considerable range and agility. Noted for her physical beauty, she was nicknamed "La Bellissima".Winning a Fulbright scholarship to study in Italy, Moffo became popular there after performing leading operatic roles on three RAI television productions in 1956. She returned to America for her debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago on October 16, 1957. In New York, her Metropolitan Opera debut took place on November 14, 1959. She performed at the Met for over seventeen seasons. Moffo's earliest recordings were made for EMI Records; she signed an exclusive contract with RCA Victor in 1960, recording for the company until the late 1970s. In the early 1960s, she hosted her own show on Italian television and appeared in several operatic films along with other non-singing roles. In the early 1970s Moffo extended her international popularity to Germany through operatic performances, TV appearances, and several films, all while continuing her American operatic performances. Due to an extremely heavy workload, Moffo suffered a serious vocal breakdown from which she never fully recovered. Her final appearance at the Metropolitan Opera was in 1983.
With an HPI of 54.28, Ed Sullivan is the 9th most famous American Presenter. His biography has been translated into 41 different languages.
Edward Vincent Sullivan (September 28, 1901 – October 13, 1974) was an American television host, impresario, sports and entertainment reporter, and syndicated columnist for the New York Daily News and the Chicago Tribune New York News Syndicate. He was the creator and host of the television variety program The Toast of the Town, which in 1955 was renamed The Ed Sullivan Show. Broadcast from 1948 to 1971, it set a record as the longest-running variety show in U.S. broadcast history. "It was, by almost any measure, the last great American TV show", said television critic David Hinckley. "It's one of our fondest, dearest pop culture memories."Sullivan was a broadcasting pioneer during the early years of American television. As critic David Bianculli wrote, "Before MTV, Sullivan presented rock acts. Before Bravo, he presented jazz and classical music and theater. Before the Comedy Channel, even before there was The Tonight Show, Sullivan discovered, anointed and popularized young comedians. Before there were 500 channels, before there was cable, Ed Sullivan was where the choice was. From the start, he was indeed 'the Toast of the Town'." In 1996, Sullivan was ranked number 50 on TV Guide's "50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time".
With an HPI of 54.24, Christine Chubbuck is the 10th most famous American Presenter. Her biography has been translated into 26 different languages.
Christine Chubbuck (August 24, 1944 – July 15, 1974) was an American television news reporter who worked for stations WTOG and WXLT-TV in Sarasota, Florida. She was the first person to die by suicide on a live television broadcast.
Pantheon has 68 people classified as presenters born between 1894 and 1996. Of these 68, 42 (61.76%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living presenters include Jay Leno, Oprah Winfrey, and Henry Rollins. The most famous deceased presenters include Larry King, Fred Rogers, and Anna Moffo. As of April 2022, 3 new presenters have been added to Pantheon including Chris Wallace, Gretchen Carlson, and Greta Van Susteren.
1950 - Present
1954 - Present
1961 - Present
1974 - Present
1947 - Present
1947 - Present
1954 - Present
1944 - Present
1963 - Present
1950 - Present
1962 - Present
1967 - Present
1933 - 2021
1928 - 2003
1932 - 2006
1901 - 1974
1944 - 1974
1925 - 2005
1916 - 2009
1924 - 2009
1929 - 2022
1918 - 2007
1932 - 2014
1921 - 2000
Which Presenters were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Presenters since 1700.