5 Minute Biographies

Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin

“Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself” – Charlie Chaplin. Charlie Chaplin Biography Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin, known to the world as Charlie, was born on 16 April 1889 to music hall entertainers Charles Chaplin Sr, a singer and son of a butcher and Hannah Harriet Pedlingham Hill, who had a brief career under the ...

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Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen

“I’m not sure that acting is something for a grown man to be doing.” – Steve McQueen. Steve McQueen Biography The King of Cool as he became known, was born Terence Steven McQueen on 24 March 1930, in a suburb of Indianapolis called Beech Grove. He grew up on his uncle Claude’s farm during the great depression with his grandparents. ...

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Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria

Archduke Franz Ferdinand

Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria Biography Archduke Franz Ferdinand Carl Ludwig Joseph Maria was born on 20 November, 1875 in Graz, Austria. It is his assassination that is credited with triggering World War I, though this was really just the tipping point in a complex geo-political web that led to the greatest loss of life in human history. Franz Ferdinand ...

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Catherine de Medici

Catherine de Medici

Catherine de Medici Biography Catherine de Medici was a formidable woman. She was the daughter of nobility, the mother of kings, and the wife of King Henry II of France. The times through which she lived demanded not a subservient queen but a powerful right hand to those in charge and although there is contention about the way in which ...

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Sammy Davis Jr.

Sammy Davis Jr.

“What have I got? No looks, no money, no education. Just talent.” – Sammy Davis Jr. Sammy Davis Jr. Biography Samuel George Davis Junior, who will forever be known as Sammy, was born in Harlem, New York City, New York, USA on 8 December 1925. As his name suggests, he is the son of Sammy Davis Senior, who was also ...

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Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee Biography Lee Jun-fan (Bruce Lee was his professional name) was born on 27 November 1940 in the Chinatown district of San Francisco, USA. He was the fourth of five children born to father Lee Hoi-chuen who was a leading actor in Cantonese opera and his mother wealthy mother Grace Ho. His siblings were two sisters called Phoebe and ...

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Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar Biography Julius Caesar is sometimes regarded as more myth than man due to his famous, or perhaps rather notorious, place in history as the harbinger of the end of the Roman Republic and the first emperor in the Roman Empire. A brilliant tactician, politically savvy, and intellectually enlightened writer of Latin prose, Julius Caesar was the embodiment of ...

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Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony Biography When people think of the rights of women, of the protection of those rights, and of those who fought most vigorously to secure them, few names come to mind swifter, in the United States at least, than that of the passionate women’s suffrage leader Susan B. Anthony. Susan B. Anthony holds a special place of honour ...

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Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln Biography Abraham Lincoln was a fairly simple man, and with the hindsight of history, some have judged him unfairly, attempting to hold a 19th-century man to 21st century standards. However, when viewed as a man of his times, what he said and did was revolutionary, and unlike other historical figures, Abraham Lincoln’s story is one that has continued ...

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Nina Simone

Nina Simone

Nina Simone Biography Nina Simone was a complicated woman.  Extraordinarily talented musically, she played a wide variety of styles, and although well-known and critically acclaimed, she only had one song reach the top 20 chart in the United States throughout her whole career. However, it was the combination of her powerful, passionate music along with her strong views and activist ...

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John Paul Jones

John Paul Jones

John Paul Jones Biography The reputation and legacy of John Paul Jones really depends on which side of the Atlantic you are on. In Britain, he is commonly thought of as a privateer at best and a pirate at worst. Having originally served for the United Kingdom, there are even some who viewed his defection to the American cause as ...

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King Henry VIII

King Henry VIII

King Henry VIII Biography King Henry VIII is probably the most well-known and most studied of English monarchs. His reign is often seen as a prelude to and the forerunner of the British empire. Certainly, without the institutional changes he brought, the wars he fought, and the religious differences he ushered into his country, England, and therefore Britain likely would ...

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Charles Lindbergh

Charles Lindbergh

Charles Lindbergh Biography Charles Lindbergh was born on 4 February 1902 in Detroit, Michigan, USA but grew up in the Little Falls area of Minnesota and in Washington D.C. His father was Charles August Lindbergh, a Swedish immigrant who had arrived in the United States with his parents when he was a small child and went on to become a ...

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Ulysses S Grant

Ulysses S Grant

Ulysses S. Grant Biography Born on 27 April 1822 in Point Pleasant, Ohio, Hiram Ulysses Grant was a United States general and commander during the American Civil War for the Union armies and later became the 18th president of the United States. His father was Jesse Root Grant who was a tanner as well as a businessman, and Ulysses was ...

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Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson Biography Born on 13 April 1743 in Shadwell, Virginia in what would later become the United States of America, few people could imagine all that would be accomplished by Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson had no true ties to nobility although he was born to a moderately wealthy family in Virginia. At that time, the British colonies were little ...

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Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell Biography Bertrand Russell was one of the great thinkers of the 20th century. He was born into a life within the British aristocracy on 18 May 1872. His father was John Russell, Viscount Amberley who was a British Politician and eldest son of John Russell who had served two terms as British Prime Minister. His mother was Katharine ...

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