Top 10 Most Famous Faces in the World

This conversation came up at dinner tonight and I enjoyed it so much that I figured it was worth sharing. The question was posed as follows: “If we took every living person in the world and showed them a mugshot pictures of every other living and non-living person that ever walked this planet, who would we (as humans) recognize most easily?” Needless to say, this study has never been conducted. It’s only hypothetical, but it’s stil fun to think about. I’ve consulted a few other friends and came up with this list, and shared my justification for each member.

To prevent the list from becoming too ridiculous, I limited it to strictly real people (although Mickey Mouse, Batman and Ronald McDonald could probably crack the top 10 if deemed eligible). Another assumption is that the pictures shown on this article were the same pictures shown to the judges (only a few people would recognize Jesus or Mohammad Ali at age 4).

Some Honorary Mentions for this list would be Princess Diana, Oprah, the Dalai Lama, Gandhi, Che Guevara, Nelson Mandela, Elvis Presley, Martin Luther King Jr., Queen Elizabeth, Marilyn Monroe, George Washington and possibly Osama bin Laden.

1. Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson was arguably the most dominant figure ever in the music industry. His 1982 album Thriller is the best-selling album of all time, and his music videos Beat It, Billie Jean and Thriller were credited with transforming the medium into an art and made him a staple on MTV and every other music and video outlet. Jackson’s death triggered a global outpouring of grief, and as many as one billion people around the world reportedly watched his public memorial service on live television.

2. Jesus Christ

It’s almost indisputable that Jesus was a real person, and lived on this Earth over 2000 years ago. Whether or not he was the son of God isn’t quite as widely accepted (perhaps even less accepted is that he was white). Nevertheless, this 1940′s painting of Jesus by artist Warner Sallman has been reproduced over 500 million times, making it one of the most popular works of art in history. And it has helped create a visual depiction of Jesus that’s hard to invalidate.

3. Adolf Hitler

I’m pretty sure this is the only place on the internet that you’ll find Jesus Christ and Adolf Hitler listed right next to each other in a ranking. But they’re certainly both famous in their own way. Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the Third Reich, a single-party dictatorship based on the totalitarian and autocratic ideology of Nazism. Hitler’s racially motivated policies resulted in the systematic annihilation of as many as 17 million civilians during the Holocaust, including an estimated 6 million Jews. He committed suicide in 1945.

4. Barack Obama

Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African-American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator in Illinois from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Obama can be easily identified as one of the most iconic figures in American and world history.

5. Albert Einstein

Einstein is another father of modern science. While his most famous theory is his theory of relativity, he put forward a number of new theories that formed the foundation of modern physics and paved the way for the Atomic Age. His theories exploded and reshaped our ideas of how our universe works. Thanks to his frazzled hair and the chalkboard in the background of all his pictures, it’s hard not to identify Einstein as the father of science. He died in 1955 of heart failure.

6. Michael Jordan

Considered by many to be the best basketball player ever, Michael Jordan dominated the sport from the mid-1980s to the late 1990s. He led the Chicago Bulls to six national championships as well as earned the NBA Most Valuable Player Award five times. He is an Olympic Gold Medalist and the founder of the Jordan brand (built in essence of his image), which has become one of the most successful branches of Nike. In every corner of the Earth, kids wanna “Be like Mike”.

7. Tiger Woods

Eldrick (Tiger) Woods, now 35 years of age, has had an unprecedented career since becoming a professional golfer in the late summer of 1996. He has won 95 tournaments, 71 of those on the PGA Tour. His achievements rank him among the most successful golfers of all time. Formerly the World’s Number 1, he is the highest-paid professional athlete in the world (he earned an estimated $90.5 million from winnings and endorsements in 2010). On December 11, 2009, Woods announced he would take an indefinite leave from professional golf after multiple infidelities were revealed by over a dozen women. This scandal only increased his popularity throughout many worldwide media sources.

8. Bob Marley

Robert Nesta “Bob” Marley was a legendary Jamaican singer-songwriter and musician. We remember the brilliant and evocative music Bob Marley gave the world. His music stretches back over nearly two decades, and during that time his growing style encompassed every aspect in the rise of Jamaican music, from ska to contemporary reggae. His growth was also well reflected in the maturity of the Wailers’ music. Marley has been called the first Third World Superstar and a Rasta Prophet, as well as a revolutionary and a visionary. These accolades were not mere hyperbole. Marley was one of the most charismatic and challenging performers of our time. He died in 1981.

9. Muhammad Ali

Ali was a three-time heavyweight World Champion in boxing, and the center of global fascination and frenzied controversy after winning his first title, changing his name from Cassius Clay in support of his Islamic faith, and then later boycotting the Vietnam war. His personality was endlessly mesmerizing with his float-like-a-butterfly, sting-like-a-bee ring style. He was called “the greatest of all time” so often that the words became almost an official designation. The sight of his flawless face and the sound of his confident-beyond-dispute voice have made him one of the most iconic figures in world history.

10. John Lennon

was an English musician and singer-songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as one of the founding members of The Beatles, one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Along with fellow Beatle Paul McCartney, he formed one of the most successful songwriting partnerships of the 20th century. On December 8th 1980, as Lennon was returning to his New York apartment, Mark David Chapman shot Lennon in the back four times at the entrance to the building. Lennon was taken to the emergency room of nearby Roosevelt Hospital and was pronounced dead on arrival. He was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.


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