My Heroes

by Brian_McInnis | created - 04 Oct 2013 | updated - 19 Jan 2016 | Public

Here are most of the more invaluable people of fame I've studied in any depth (those who are listed on this site, at least). Robert Ingersoll, Thomas Paine and Marcus Aurelius would all be near the top of this list if only they had I.M.D.B. pages.

1. Sam Harris

Self | The God Who Wasn't There

Sam Harris was born on April 9, 1967 in the USA.

'We have a choice. We have two options as human beings. We have a choice between conversation and war. That's it. Conversation and violence. And faith is a conversation stopper.'

2. Roger Ebert

Actor | Siskel & Ebert & the Movies

Roger Joseph Ebert was the all-time best-known, most successful movie critic in cinema history, when one thinks of his establishing a rapport with both serious cineastes and the movie-going public and reaching more movie fans via television and print than any other critic. He became the first and ...

'We are all allotted an unknown number of hours of consciousness.'

3. Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin was born on February 12, 1809 in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England as Charles Robert Darwin. He was married to Emma Wedgwood. He died on April 19, 1882 in Downe, Kent, England.

4. Stanley Kubrick

Director | 2001: A Space Odyssey

Stanley Kubrick was born in Manhattan, New York City, to Sadie Gertrude (Perveler) and Jacob Leonard Kubrick, a physician. His family were Jewish immigrants (from Austria, Romania, and Russia). Stanley was considered intelligent, despite poor grades at school. Hoping that a change of scenery would ...

'The very meaninglessness of life forces man to create his own meaning.

5. Neil deGrasse Tyson

Actor | Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Neil deGrasse Tyson is an American astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, and science communicator.

Born and raised in New York City, Tyson became interested in astronomy at the age of nine after a visit to the Hayden Planetarium. After graduating from the Bronx High School of Science, where he was ...

6. Rabindranath Tagore

Writer | Charulata

Rabindranath Tagore was born on May 6, 1861 in Calcutta, Bengal Presidency, British India. He is known for his work on Charulata (1964), Aakashee Pullover and Shyama (2008). He was married to Mrinalini Devi. He died on August 7, 1941 in Calcutta.

7. Terrence Malick

Writer | Days of Heaven

Terrence Malick was born in Ottawa, Illinois. His family subsequently lived in Oklahoma and he went to school in Austin, Texas. He did his undergraduate work at Harvard, graduating summa cum laude with a degree in philosophy in 1965.

A member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society, he attended Magdalen ...

'Let us discover the eternal, the good.'

8. Christopher Hitchens

Writer | On an Electric Night

Christopher Eric Hitchens (born April 13, 1949) was a British-American author, journalist, and literary critic. He was a columnist at Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, The Nation, Slate, and Free Inquiry.

Hitchens is known for his atheism and anti-theism and was a firm believer in the Enlightenment values ...

'We have first to transcend our prehistory and escape the gnarled hands which reach out to drag us back.'

10. Mark Twain

Writer | The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Mark Twain, born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in Florida, Missouri in 1835, grew up in Hannibal. He was a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River. Throughout his career, Twain served as a writer, lecturer, reporter, editor, printer, and prospector. Twain took his pen name from an alert cry used on his...

11. Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Producer | Submission: Part I

Ayaan Hirsi Ali was born on November 13, 1969 in Mogadishu, Somalia as Ayaan Hirsi Magan. She is a producer and writer, known for Submission: Part I (2004), Honor Diaries (2013) and The National (1952).

12. Socrates

Writer | Processo e morte di Socrate

Born circa 470 B.C. in Athens. Executed in 399 B.C. by being forced by to drink a cup of hemlock after being found guilty of "refusing to recognize the gods recognized by the state" and "corrupting the youth." Two of his students had twice briefly overthrown the government of Athens, instituting a ...

13. Cormac McCarthy

Writer | The Road

Cormac McCarthy was born on July 20, 1933 in Providence, Rhode Island, USA as Charles Joseph McCarthy Jr. He is a writer, known for The Road (2009), No Country for Old Men (2007) and The Counselor (2013). He was previously married to Jennifer Claire Winkley, Anne DeLisle and Lee Holleman.

14. Studs Terkel

Actor | Eight Men Out

Studs Terkel was born on May 16, 1912 in New York City, New York, USA as Louis Terkel. He was an actor, known for Eight Men Out (1988), Medium Cool (1969) and American Playhouse (1981). He was married to Ida Goldberg. He died on October 31, 2008 in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

15. Werner Herzog

Director | Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes

Director. Writer. Producer. Actor. Poet. He studied history, literature and theatre for some time, but didn't finish it and founded instead his own film production company in 1963. Later in his life, Herzog also staged several operas in Bayreuth, Germany, and at the Milan Scala in Italy. Herzog has...

16. Paul Thomas Anderson

Director | There Will Be Blood

Anderson was born in 1970. He was one of the first of the "video store" generation of film-makers. His father was the first man on his block to own a V.C.R., and from a very early age Anderson had an infinite number of titles available to him. While film-makers like Spielberg cut their teeth making...

17. Isaac Asimov

Writer | I, Robot

Isaac Asimov was born Isaak Judah Ozimov, on January 2, 1920, in Petrovichi shtetl, near Smolensk, Russia. He was the oldest of three children. His father, named Judah Ozimov, and his mother, named Anna Rachel Ozimov (nee Berman), were Orthodox Jews. Ozimov family were millers (the name Ozimov ...

'Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centuries since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes.'

18. Charlie Kaufman

Writer | Synecdoche, New York

Avid reader Charlie Kaufman wrote plays and made short films as a young student. He moved from Massapequa, New York to West Hartford, Connecticut in 1972 where he attended high school. As a comedic actor, he performed in school plays and, after graduation, he enrolled at Boston University but soon ...

19. George MacDonald

Writer | Shirley Temple's Storybook

He was appointed minister of Trinity Congregational Church, Arundel, in 1850 but his sermons, which preached God's universal love and the possibility that none would, ultimately, fail to unite with God, met with little favor and his salary was cut in half.

'The man who loves most will love best.'

20. Steve McQueen

Director | 12 Years a Slave

Steve McQueen was born on October 9, 1969 in London, England as Steve Rodney McQueen. He is a director and writer, known for 12 Years a Slave (2013), Shame (2011) and Hunger (2008). He is married to Bianca Stigter. They have two children.

'I'm interested in human beings on film.'

21. Jack Kerouac

Writer | On the Road

Jack Kerouac was born into a French-Canadian family and spoke French before he learned English. His father was a printer and a local businessman. His first story was inspired by the radio show "The Shadow". As a young writer he styled himself after Thomas Wolfe, and attended Columbia University. ...

22. Carl Sagan

Writer | Contact

Astronomer, educator and author Carl Sagan was perhaps the world's greatest popularizer of science, reaching millions of people through newspapers, magazines and television broadcasts. He is well-known for his work on the PBS series Cosmos (1980), the Emmy Award and Peabody Award-winning show that ...

'Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us.'

23. Jenova Chen

Cinematographer | Flower

Jenova Chen is a director and cinematographer, known for Flower (2009), Journey (2012) and Sky: Children of the Light (2019).

24. Peter Chan

Art_department | Rio

Peter Chan is known for his work on Rio (2011), Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) and Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004).

25. Seth MacFarlane

Writer | Family Guy

Seth Woodbury MacFarlane was born in the small New England town of Kent, Connecticut, where he lived with his mother, Ann Perry (Sager), an admissions office worker, his father, Ronald Milton MacFarlane, a prep school teacher, and his sister, Rachael MacFarlane, now a voice actress and singer. He ...

26. Takako Tate

Actress | Dare mo shiranai

Takako Tate is an actress, known for Nobody Knows (2004).

27. Bill Murray

Actor | Lost in Translation

Bill Murray is an American actor, comedian, and writer. The fifth of nine children, he was born William James Murray in Wilmette, Illinois, to Lucille (Collins), a mailroom clerk, and Edward Joseph Murray II, who sold lumber. He is of Irish descent. Among his siblings are actors Brian Doyle-Murray, ...

28. Penn Jillette

Writer | Penn & Teller Get Killed

Penn Jillette was born on March 5, 1955 in Greenfield, Massachusetts, USA as Penn Fraser Jillette. He is a writer and producer, known for Penn & Teller Get Killed (1989), Penn & Teller: Bullshit! (2003) and Hackers (1995). He has been married to Emily Zolten Jillette since November 23, 2004...

29. Gary Larson

Writer | Tales from the Far Side

Gary Larson was born on August 14, 1950 in Tacoma, Washington, USA. He is known for his work on Tales from the Far Side (1994), Tales from the Far Side II (1997) and War of the Worlds (1988). He has been married to Toni Carmichael since 1987.

31. Douglas Adams

Writer | The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Born Douglas Noel Adams on March 11, 1952 in Cambridge. From 1959 until 1970 he went to Brentwood school in Essex, and his main interest was science. As a student in Cambridge he decided to hitch-hike through Europe to Istanbul, and in order to raise funds for this he took a lot of small jobs. In ...

32. Nina Burleigh

Actress | Miral

Nina Burleigh is an actress, known for Miral (2010), Active Measures (2018) and MSNBC Live (1996).

33. Bill Cunningham

Self | Bill Cunningham New York

Bill Cunningham was born on March 13, 1929 in Boston, Massachusetts, USA as William John Cunningham Jr. He died on June 25, 2016 in New York City, New York, USA.

34. Nina Paley

Director | Sita Sings the Blues

Nina Paley was born on May 3, 1968 in Champaign, Illinois, USA. She is a director and writer, known for Sita Sings the Blues (2008), Seder-Masochism (2018) and The Prophet (2014). She was previously married to Liam.

35. Elvis Mitchell

Producer | Black Lightning

Elvis Mitchell was born in 1958 in Detroit, Michigan, USA. He is a producer, known for Black Lightning (2018), The Black List: Volume One (2008) and The Black List: Volume Three (2010).

36. Sacha Baron Cohen

Actor | Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

British actor and comedian Sacha Baron Cohen was born in Hammersmith, London. He is the son of Daniella (Weiser), a movement instructor, and Gerald Baron Cohen, a clothing store owner. His father, born in England and raised in Wales, was of Eastern European Jewish descent, while his mother was born...

37. Michael Land

Music_department | Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance

Michael Land was born in 1961 in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. He is known for his work on Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance (1999), Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) and Star Wars: Rebel Assault (1993).

38. Randy Newman

Soundtrack | The Princess and the Frog

Randy Newman was born on November 28, 1943 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Randall Stuart Newman. He has been married to Gretchen Preece since 1990. They have two children. He was previously married to Roswitha Schmale.

39. Orson Welles

Actor | Citizen Kane

His father was a well-to-do inventor, his mother a beautiful concert pianist; Orson Welles was gifted in many arts (magic, piano, painting) as a child. When his mother died (he was six) he traveled the world with his father. He was orphaned at 15 after his father's death and became the ward of Dr. ...

40. David Wise

Composer | Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

David Wise was born in 1967 in Coalville, Leicestershire, England as Julian David Wise. He is a composer, known for Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (2014), Rare Replay (2015) and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (2018).



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