10 Incredible Facts You Didn’t About the Most Famous People in History!

You may have seen them on TV or in history books. You probably know the historical Figures who have shaped the world or gave us the highest form of entertainment. You definitely know their names and what made them famous. But even the nerdiest scientists, biggest politicians and famous movie stars have some secrets that hide behind their fame. Whether you are a history buff or casual observer, here is a list of 10 incredible facts about some of the most popular and well-known historical figures in the world that are sure to shock you!

 

1. In 1952 Einstein was offered the presidency of Israel; he politely declined.

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Einstein is known as the physicist with wild hair and groundbreaking theories. His picture with outstretched tongue is world famous and his name is synonymous with intelligence. His brilliant mind was not apparent during his childhood. In fact, as a young boy he learned only very slowly and was suffering from a speech deficiency. Despite all rumors Einstein NOT fail math as a child. On the contrary, it was the only subject in which he excelled. However, there is some ground for the persistent saying: Einstein flunked his university entrance exam and had to repeat it a year later, before he was admitted to college. Einstein had an ingenious imagination and arrived at the majority of his theories through thought experiments rather than physical ones. He also had a spectacularly bad memory when it came to remembering dates, names and numbers.
Einstein was awarded honorary doctorates from 10 different universities. His actual dissertation is only 17 pages short and peppered with spelling mistakes in mathematical formulas. Although Einstein is known for his theory of relativity, he won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect. Due to a divorce settlement, the prizemoney of Einstein’s Nobel prize went to his ex-wife. In 1930 Albert Einstein patented a refrigerator, but due to the use of a new cooling fluid it never became commercially successful.

2. Ringo Starr’s real name is Richard Starkey; the name was inspired by the rings he wore.

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The Beatles are forever etched in history as one of the greatest bands of all time. “Beatlemania”, as the obsession with the band is called, has spread since their humble beginnings in Liverpool, across the globe. Even the Vatican has acknowledged their genius, as the Vatican’s official publication named “Revolver” as the best pop album of all time. People were so captivated by the band, that on the night when they played the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964, they were zero reported crimes in New York City. A whole 73 million people watched The Beatles that evening which accounted for 45% of the US population at the time!
The Beatles were associated with Apple Records which were and still are the record label founded by the Beatles themselves in 1968. While there were also other artists signed to the label by far the biggest was and still is the Beatles. The name of Apple Records led to dispute with Apple Computers in later years as both used the same word in their name. There were a number of legal disputes between the companies between 1978 and 2006 with both companies competing over trademark rights. This dispute was the cause for no Beatles music being available on the popular iTunes music service of Apple for many years.

3. Marie-Antoinette was the born Archduchess of Austria and Princess of Hungary, Bohemia, and Tuscany.

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Marie-Antoinette is probably one of the most colorful figures of French history. She is mostly known for her opulent lifestyle in Versailles and for her death through the guillotine, but a few facts from her life make even the most dazzling Hollywood movies look pale by comparison. When Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna was 12 years old, her engagement to the future King Louis XVI was arranged by her parents. She underwent oral surgery without anesthesia to get a smile befitting a queen. During her wedding she was 14 years old. The marriage was a means to an end to burry a feud between the dynasties Habsburg-Lothringen and Bourbon. Initially Marie-Antoinette was just a pawn in the power play of the royal families, but later on she was a proactive political decision maker and a sharp contrast to the indecisive king.
She is mostly known for having said “"Then let them eat cake!” Shortly before the French Revolution the sentence seemed like epitome of the ignorance and decadence of royalty. The thing is: She never said that. The saying appeared when the future Queen was 8 years old and was most likely uttered by her best friend. Moreover, the translation of “brioche” to “cake” as a law at the time stated that bakers were obliged to sell the high-quality brioche for the same price as cheap bread, if they were to run out of the latter.
Despite her pricey life-style Marie-Antoinette was not quite as lavish as expected. To be exact, her economy drove two jewelers to ruin. The jewelers Böhmer and Bassenge made a 2,800 carat heavy necklace worth the equivalent of 100 million US dollars. The gem should have been purchased by King Louis XV for his mistress, but died before its completion. The elegant necklace was offered Marie-Antoinette's husband, but she persuaded him to invest the money in France instead. The jewelers remained in possession the piece of jewelry until they fell a victim to intrigue.

4. Abraham Lincoln wanted for women to have the right to vote; in 1836.

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Abraham Lincoln is one of the most famous American president, not least because he fell victim to an assassination. Did you know that he needed two attempts before he came into office? Before he became the16th President of the USA in 1861, he failed in 1865 in the election for vice president at the Republican convention.
Before his presidency Lincoln worked as a lawyer, even though he never studied law at a university. He only had 18 month of formal education in his lifetime, the rest of his knowledge he acquired through self-study. Lincoln declared thanksgiving to be a national holiday, he was also the first president to use a telegraph for communications.
Lincoln was also the president who signed the Secret Service into life, just hours before his assassination. 11 years after this death two grave robbers tried to steal Abraham Lincoln body and use it for ransom in exchange of $ 200,000 and the release of a jailed gang-member. The Secret Service foiled the plan. After the incident Lincolns remains were buried under 10 feet of concrete at an unmarked location.

5. Darwin first studied medicine and then theology, before he turned to natural science.

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Darwin is now a famous biologist and the founder of the theory of evolution. His book "On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection" is a milestone of scientific research, but it almost didn’t come to be. Charles was the son of a physician and was supposed to follow the family tradition. Alas, he couldn’t stand the sight of blood and was bored by the lessons. His second attempt was the study of theology, also encouraged by his father. In addition to studies of theology he took up an interest in insects an geology, which secured his place aboard the research ship MS Beagle during its voyage to South America. It was the reconnaissance trip on the HMS Beagle that shaped Darwin's idea of evolution, but he almost never went on board: The captain did not like the shape of Darwin’s nose, thinking it hinted at a weak character.
Darwin waited 20 years before publishing his groundbreaking results. He had legitimate concerns that society at that time was not for a theory of a natural origin of species. The famous phrase "survival of the fittest" was not coined by Darwin himself and emerged only in the 5th edition on "The Origin of Species". The actual saying was phrased by the philosopher Herbert Spencer, while summarizing Darwin's concept of evolution in his book.

6. Martin Luther King was jailed 29 times. 

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Martin Luther King Jr., born Michael Luther King Jr., was one of the greatest civil and human rights activists the world has ever known. He is perhaps best known for his now iconic: “I Have a Dream Speech”. The line that lent itself to the title today, was actually improvised by King! He added the line “I have a dream” during the speech itself. The “dream” rhetoric was a common theme for King, as he used it many times before in lesser-known speeches.
In 1964, the FBI got involved in Martin Luther King Jr’s personal affairs when they mailed him a letter accusing him of extramarital affairs from his wife Coretta. The letter also suggested that he should commit suicide! It wasn’t the first time he was involved with the government and the law, he was jailed a total of 29 times in his life. That said, he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, the same year the FBI threatened him, and became the youngest ever in history to win the prestigious accolade. Today, more than 900 streets in the United States are named in his honor.

7. Marlene Dietrich popularized the pants suit for women, proving it wasn’t deceiving of one’s sex.

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Marlene Dietrich was born on December 27 1901 in Berlin and is still regarded as one of the biggest movie stars of all time. She started her career as a vaudeville chorus girl from where she later moved on to theater and film. Her role as Lola in “The Blue Angel” kick started her world-wide fame. In the 30s she moved to Hollywood and refused to return to Germany, when she was asked to star in the Nazi propaganda films. Instead Marlene became a citizen of the United States in 1937 and entertained US troops during World War II. In 1947 she was awarded the Medal of Freedom for her efforts.
The beautiful woman with long legs and a husky voice was not without quirks: Dietrich suffered from bacillophobia, which means she was terrified of germs. Between shots she sucked on lemons to keep her mouth muscles tense. She admired the author Ernest Hemingway for his positive attitude towards life; Hemingway later committed suicide.

8. Mark Twain worked as a saloon reporter in a gold mining town.

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Before Samuel Langhorne Clemens became Mark Twain and invented the adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, he tried his hand in other professions. Originally Clemens, who was born in Missouri in 1835, dreamed of becoming a steam boat pilot on the Mississippi. He even became an apprentice and got his license. After only two years as a pilot the American Civil War broke out in 1861, the Mississippi was closed for boats and his career came to a hold. After a short bout in a confederate militia Clemens fled to a newly established gold mining town. Work was hard, profits were tiny, so Clemens started to supplement his income by working as a local reporter. He mostly wrote exaggerated accounts on saloon gossip. His stories from this time largely contributed to the myth of the “Wild West”. Clemens writing was often received as slander and he had to flee the town in 1863.
After that incident Clemens took on the pen name of Mark Twain. He worked as a journalist and published reports on his travels to Europe. In 1871 he settled in Connecticut, where he wrote his most famous works. The rascals story “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” was based on a neighbor boy from his childhood and came out in 1876. His most famous work “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” was first published in the UK in 1884 before it was printed in the USA.

9. Wilt Chamberlain backed out of a scheduled boxing match with Muhammad Ali.

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Wilt Chamberlain was a basketball player who is known for accomplishing the unthinkable: On march 2nd 1962 the 7’1’’ tall player scored 100 points for the Philadelphia Warriors in a match against the New York Knicks. The player who was born in 1936 holds several sports records to this day, including for most points scored in one season with a whopping 4,029 points!
The player was in love with sports cars, bur due to his tall frame there wasn’t enough leg room in most models on the marked. Rumor has it, that he removed the front seat of a Lamborghini and sat on a padded mat to be able to drive it. In 1996 he had enough of it and designed a custom racecar which cost him $ 750,000.

10. Charlie Chaplin took part in a Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest, he came in 3rd.

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Charlie Chaplin was known for the Tramp with his iconic mustache, bowler hat and cane. In real life, the actor looked completely different. Chaplin was the first thespian who made it on the cover of the TIME Magazine. His films combined slapstick humor with political commentary, which turned them into masterpieces. Charlie Chaplin was not only an actor and director, he was also a composer who wrote 500, some very famous, melodies.
Chaplin was liberal, critical and a pacifist, which went against the popular sentiment in US at that time. After World War II Chaplin was on trial for alleged communist connections. The native brit had trouble re-entering the United States and in 1952 he went into exile in Switzerland.
The Private life of Chaplin would be all over the tabloids today. He was married four times to much younger women. At an age of 26 he married the 16-year-old actress Mildred Harris. After a nasty divorce he remarried at the age of 35. This time the bride, Lita Grey, was also just 16 years old. As expected the marriage didn’t last and ended in a messy divorce in court. At his third wedding he was 47 and the bride was 28. hat marriage ended amicably after 6 years. In 1943, at the ripe age of 54, he married again. This time, the bride was only 18 years young, but the marriage Oona O'Neill was his happiest and held up to Chaplin's death in 1977. The couple had 8 children, the youngest was born when Charlie Chaplin was 73 years old.