Each city has its heroes. A big city has big heroes. New York has its share of famous people, both from the past and the future. The city’s boundless energy, its magnetism, and versatility have inspired many generations of New Yorkers.
Even today the city remains the center of contemporary art with its numerous art galleries, museums, and most importantly — talented people.
New Yorkers have succeeded in many fields through the centuries. The city can be proud of its famous writers, poets, playwrights, painters, actors, musicians, and architects. There are also New Yorkers, Nobel Prize winners in every category of this prestigious award.
Nobel Prize Winners
Nobel Peace Prize: Theodore Roosevelt (1906), Elihu Root (1912), Frank B. Kellogg (1929)
Nobel Prize in Literature: Eugene O’Neill (1936)
Nobel Prize in Chemistry: Irving Langmuir (1932), John H. Northrop (1946), William Howard Stein (1972)
Nobel Prize in Physics: Carl D. Anderson (1936), Robert Hofstadter (1961), Richard Phillips Feynman and Julian Seymour Schwinger (1965), Murray Gell-Mann (1969), Leon N. Cooper (1972), Burton Richter (1976), Steven Weinberg and Sheldon L. Glashow (1979)
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine: Hermann Joseph Muller (1946), Arthur Kornberg (1959), George Wald (1967), Marshall Warren Nirenberg (1968), Julius Axelrod (1970), Gerald Maurice Edelman (1972), David Baltimore (1975), Baruch Samuel Blumberg and Daniel Carlton Gajdusek (1976), Rosalyn Sussman Yalow (1977), Hamilton O. Smith (1978)
Nobel Prize in Economic Science: Kenneth J. Arrow (1972), Milton Friedman (1976), Richard Stone (1984), and Robert Fogel (1993)
But the above mentioned outstanding personalities and their works are not the only legacy of NYC. Many worldwide renowned prominent figures marked an imprint on American (as well as on world) culture and science.
Among them there are names that we all know very well.
Writers, Poets, Playwrights
One of the most famous native New Yorkers was Washington Irving, born in 1783. He wrote a number of short stories, biographies, etc. During his life time his talent was acknowledged not only in the US, but in Europe. His most famous works are the short stories The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle, both the part of his short stories collection book The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. He also wrote a number of biographies including the biography of George Washington. Irving died at the age of 76 in 1859.
Henry James is another well-known name. He was born in 1843. He wrote numerous short stories, novellas, and novels, the most famous being The Turn of the Screw, The Europeans, Daisy Miller, and others. His prose is notable for an attempt to create, expose, and compare the characters of the Old World (Europe) and the New World (the USA). He spent his last years in England where he passed away in 1916.
The author of Leaves of Grass, poet Walt Whitman was another New-Yorker. He developed a different poetic style based on his own poetic theory. Extraordinary techniques he used for his poems and the wish to step over the boundaries known for poetry in his time resulted in interest to him well beyond the borders of the US. Today his influence on American culture can’t be doubted.
One of the most famous American playwrights, also a native New-Yorker, was Eugene O’Neill, already mentioned as a Nobel Prize Winner in Literature. One can continue the list of writers and poets who were born in New-York endlessly. Arthur Miller, Ogden Nash, Neil Simon, Herman Melville, James Fenimore Cooper, Henry Miller, James Michener, J.D. Salinger, Joseph Heller, James Baldwin, William F. Buckley, Jr., Walter Lippmann, and many more.
New York Actors
An American cultural icon Humphrey Bogart was another son of New York. The winner of numerous awards, including Academy Award, a leading man in films that have become classics such as Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, The African Queen, Sabrina and others Bogart turned into a cult-figure for generations, probably being the most famous American actor of the 20th century
Another well-known actor, Academy Award winner who was born in NYC is James Cagney. He is specifically known for his roles in gangster films during the 1930s and 1940s.
The pleiad of talented actors and actresses of the second half of the 20th century – the beginning of 21st century includes such names as Robert de Niro, Mel Gibson, Tom Cruise, Jane Fonda, Melanie Griffith, Scarlett Johansson, Adrien Brody, and others. All of them are charismatic personalities, talented people, and are native New Yorkers.
New York Musicians
Many famous singers and composers get to call NYC home. Among them there are George Bristow, George Gershwin, Aaron Copland, Roger Sessions, William Schuman, and other composers who influenced the New York musical scene in the 19th and 20th centuries.
It would be amiss not to name other musicians, singers, songwriters born in New York. Billy Joel, Ethel Merman, Fred E. Ahlert, Barbra Streisand, Sammy Davis, Jr., and others have been and sure will remain a huge part of New York’s history, present and future.
The city’s image is created by its citizens, but not every city is represented by a large number of brilliant minds, artistic talents, and magnetic personalities. New York is lucky in this aspect. It has the greatest treasure a city can have – people!