25 Most Famous People of All Time

most famous people oprah winfrey in a black shirt in front of a purple background
Image from Shutterstock.

Last updated on September 13th, 2023 at 07:34 pm

Many individuals will become famous, but it’s less likely for people to become unforgettable. Several celebrities have achieved this status, instantly recognized by millions. 

You may be wondering just who is the most famous person in the world. Of course, this answer is slightly subjectable, but we’ve got the answer as well.

If you’re curious to learn more about some of the most famous people of all time, you’re in the right place. Take a seat and get ready to learn about some household celebrity names.

1. Albert Einstein

albert einstein and his wife posing for a photo
Albert Einstein in Prague in 1912. Image is in the Public Domain.

First on our list of the most famous people is Albert Einstein, a famed theoretical physicist and father of many theories. He is widely known to be one of the most influential and greatest scientists, even seven decades after his death.

2. Michael Jackson

michael jackson's net worth Michael Jackson getting out of a car in a red outfit.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – Exact date unknown – circa 1990 – Michael Jackson arriving at a celebrity event. Image from Shutterstock.

Michael Jackson is another individual who will never be forgotten, producing an incredible career with dozens of songs and unforgettable performances. Not only was he a valuable singer, songwriter, and performer, but he was also known and remembered for his valuable philanthropy and influence on the culture.

At one point, Michael Jackson was the most famous person in the world, but as od 2023, he is now ranked 4th.

Related: How Did Michael Jackson Die?

3. John F. Kennedy

john F kennedy with his nephew robert f kennedy in the white house
Image is in the Public Domain.

Many presidents are memorable, but few left as big of an impact on American history as John F. Kennedy. He is known for his bold political choices, but he remains in the minds of most people thanks to his tragic assassination in 1963.

4. Vincent Van Gogh

vincent van goghs self portrait
Vincent Van Gogh’s self-portrait painted in 1887. Image is in the Public Domain.

Artist Vincent Van Gogh lived a tragic life with no appreciation for his work. It was only after his tragic death that he became a household name, known for his unique style and gorgeous take on the world with painted scenes like “Starry Night.”

5. Lady Gaga

lady gaga in a pink and fluffy dress
Image from Shutterstock.

As a singer, it’s critical to create an image for yourself to draw an audience and become memorable – and Lady Gaga did just that. She is well-known for her crazy outfits and powerful performances, especially in the late 2000s when she wore a dress made of meat while belting with her incredible voice.

6. Martin Luther King Jr.

martin luther king jr at a civil rights demonstration wearing a suit
Image taken in 1963. Image is in the Public Domain.

Next on our list of famous people is Martin Luther King, a pastor and activist who was one of the leaders of the civil rights movements of the 50s and 60s. He helped drive critical change and played a role in altering the fragile state of the American landscape. 

7. Oprah Winfrey

oprah winfrey in a black shirt in front of a purple background
Image from Shutterstock.

You can’t think of a talk show without The Oprah Winfrey Show coming to mind. Oprah Winfrey is most known for her iconic show, but she’s also an author, TV producer, actress, and proprietor of various media.

8. Elvis Presley

elvis presley meeting president nixon
Elvis meeting president Nixon. Image is in the Public Domain.

Perhaps no one is as well-known in the music industry as Elvis Presley, the “King of Rock and Roll.” He is one of the most significant figures in the culture of the 20th century and is well-known for his time as an actor and performer. 

Related: How Did Elvis Die?

9. Mother Teresa

mother theresa statue  holding a baby with dark hair
Image from Shutterstock.

Mother Teresa is another famous individual known in households for her good deeds as an Albanian-Catholic nun. She was the founder of the Missionaries of Charity and spent most of her life in India.

Related: 19 Singers Who Are Catholic

10. Donald Trump

famous musicians who hate trump celebrities who hate Donald Trump trump giving a speech and making a fist
Image from Shutterstock

Not only is Donald Trump known for his time as the 45th president of the United States, but he is also known as a media personality and businessman. Thanks to his time as the leader of the free world, his legacy has been cemented in the minds of people everywhere.

Related: 50 Celebrities Who Hate Donald Trump

11. Mahatma Gandhi 

mahatma gandhi in his robes
Mahatma Gandhi in 1931. Image in in the Public Domain.

Mahatma Gandhi is synonymous with peace and is known for his time as an Indian lawyer, political ethicist, and anti-colonial nationalist. He is most known for his non-violent actions to protest the British’s rule over India.

12. Taylor Swift

taylor swift on the red carpet in 2018
Image from Shutterstock.

Taylor Swift is an American singer and songwriter who has boomed in her career over the past decade, pushing herself out of controversy and into one of the biggest names in music. She’s best known for her songwriting skills, versatility in music, reinventions of artistry, and overall cultural impact.

Related: All The Men Taylor Swift Has Dated So Far

13. Barack Obama

president barrak obama close up
Image from Shutterstock.

Next on our list of the most famous people is Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States of America. He was the very first African-American president and is known for his political career and skills as an orator. As of the writing of this article, Barack Obama is considered by many to be the most famous person in the world.

14. Elton John

elton john in a blue suit and glasses on a TV show
Image from Shutterstock.

Elton John is a British singer who is well-acclaimed for his extensive performances in the 70s that left an impact on the world. His ability to perform has also left a long mark on the music industry. Even in his later years, he continued to perform, making him famous in the US, UK, and around the world.

15. Paul McCartney 

paul mccartney on stage playing guitar
Washington DC. USA, 4th July, 1990 Paul McCartney performs at the Fourth of July concert in the Robert F. Kennedy football stadium. Image from Shutterstock.

Paul McCartney is an English singer, songwriter, and famed member of the Beatles. He played bass guitar and helped write the songs performed by the band, all while taking on lead singing roles with the late John Lennon.

Related: 10 Best Early Beatles Songs

16. Beyonce Knowles-Carter

beyonce on stage in a gold outfit
Image from Shutterstock.

Next on our list of famous people is Beyonce Knowles-Carter, performer and singer extraordinaire. She’s a powerhouse in the music world and someone anyone will know with a single flip of her hair.

Related: Is Beyonce a Billionaire?

17. Walt Disney

walt disney in a suit posing for a photo
Walt Disney in 1946. Image is in the Public Domain

Walt Disney was an animator, entrepreneur, and producer. His career produced the likes of Mickey Mouse, Disneyland, Disneyworld, and more, creating fun and excitement for children and adults around the world. With theme parks around the world, he is definitely one of the most famous people.

18. Abraham Lincoln

abraham lincoln in a suit posing for a photo
Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Image is in the Public Domain.

Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States and served as a statesman, lawyer, and politician. He’s famous for his stoic leadership and his unfortunate assassination, which ended his career as a president much earlier than anticipated, though this didn’t prevent him from becoming one of the most famous people of all time.

19. Marilyn Monroe

up close view of the wax marilyn monroe statue at madam tussands
Image from Shutterstock

Marilyn Monroe is an American singer, actress, and model with a striking voice and bob of blonde hair. She was an emblem of a unique revolution in the United States and often played the typical blonde bombshell in the productions she starred in during her life.

20. Queen Elizabeth II

Queen elizabeth II in a gown and crown
Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. Image is in the Public Domain

Next on our list of the most famous people is Queen Elizabeth, former monarch of the United Kingdom. She reigned for a total of seventy years, ensuring her legacy was sealed forever in her country and beyond.  

21. Christopher Colombus

a portrait thought to be of the man christopher columbus
Portrait of a man believed to be Christopher Columbus. Image is in the Public Domain.

Christopher Columbus has forever found himself sealed in the history of the United States, although it’s become something of a controversy over the years. Columbus was an Italian explorer and navigator who opened up paths for further expeditions from Europe, making him one of the most famous people in history.

22. Dolly Parton

dolly parton singing on stage
Image from Shutterstock.

Dolly Parton is an American singer and songwriter who also serves as a musician, philanthropist, businesswoman, and actress. She is also known for her career in the country music scene and continues to push on even at the age of 77.

Related: Dolly Parton’s Net Worth

23. Bill Gates

bill gates in a suit outside of a government building
Image from Shutterstock.

Bill Gates is one of the wealthiest men in the country, and he’s also known around the world for his career as an American billionaire, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. With his friend Paul Allen, Bill Gates brought the program Microsoft to life, which has turned into an expansive empire with dozens of pieces of technology.

24. Adele

adele on the red carpet in a black dress
Image from Shutterstock.

Adele is a singer, songwriter, and performer who started her career at just 18 years old. She is known for her mezzo-soprano tone that digs at the heartstrings with every note. She signed a contract with XL Recordings almost right after she graduated from the BRIT School in her younger years and has since become one of the most famous people on earth.

Related: 20 Best Adele Songs

25. Leonardo da Vinci

a faded parchment with an image of da vinci
A presumed self-portrait of Da Vinci from around 1512. Image is in the Public Domain.

Last but not least on our list of most famous people is the incredible Leonardo da Vinci, a Polymath of the High Renaissance who functioned as a theorist, scientist, draftsman, painter, sculptor, theorist, engineer, and architect. He conducted many groundbreaking experiments, all while forming gorgeous and expressive artwork that still exists today in many museums.

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Written by Hope Davis

Long-time music lover Hope became a full-time writer in 2020 after being laid off from her regular job due to COVID-19. She now spends her time traveling the world to see her favorite bands while writing about them!


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