Arguments for Atheism - Living without religion, with a clear conscience


Over the centuries, there have been many well-known personalities who, despite the social and political barriers, have bravely articulated their freethinking and atheistic beliefs.

Of the many famous people who have identified as atheists or non-theists, the list below is just my own personal selection. Those listed here have either been specifically identified as nontheists or atheists (as opposed to agnostics, humanists, naturalists, secularists, etc) by a reliable source, or have themselves expressed unbelief in deities. A few important names such as Albert Einstein, Nicolai Tesla, and Thomas Paine (often claimed by both “sides”) and Adolf Hitler (whom no-one wants on their team) are ambiguous in their views, but I have taken what seems to me to be a reasonable position after a review of the available evidence (Einstein and Tesla atheist, Paine not, Hitler neither atheist nor religious). Even Charles Darwin and Stephen Hawking have been excluded, despite some of their clearly atheistic comments, on the grounds of ambiguity.

There are, of course, many others who could have been included on the list, but have been excluded in the interests of conciseness. Wikipedia and the Celebrity Atheist List, among other websites, have much more comprehensive lists. Click on the name links to go to the Wikipedia biography page on each person.

The professions listed are my own choice of categorization (I have tried to limit it to a small number of general categories) and necessarily a simplification, as many of those listed have been active in several different fields. Similarly, many of the people listed have dual nationalities or have moved around the world throughout their lives, and the choice of nationality categorization is necessarily my own. The list is not offered as "proof" of anything about atheists or non-atheists: it is just a list.

The names are listed in alphabetical order, but you can click the column headings to re-sort the list by dates, nationality, profession, etc. Click the heading again to change from ascending to descending.

Name Dates Description Nationality Profession
Adams, Douglas 1952 - 2001 Radio and television writer and novelist, best known for “The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy” British Author
Ali, Tariq 1943 - Writer, historian, novelist, journalist, filmmaker, political campaigner and commentator British / Pakistani Author
Alkon, Amy 1964 - Journalist and writer, known as the "Advice Goddess", published in over 100 newspapers within North America American Author
Allen, Woody 1935 - Popular film director, writer, actor, comedian, playwright and jazz clarinetist, best known for films like “Annie Hall” and “Hannah and her Sisters” American Film & Theatre
Altman, Robert 1925 - 2006 Highly respected director of films like “The Player”, “Short Cuts” and “Gosford Park” American Film & Theatre
Amis, Kingsley 1922 - 1995 Novelist, poet, critic and teacher, best known for his novels “Lucky Jim” and “The Old Devils” British Author
Anaxagoras .500 BC - 428 BC Pre-Socratic philosopher, best known for his naturalistic cosmological theory of the universe, exiled for his contravention of the established religion Greek Philosopher
Aronofsky, Darren 1969 - Film director and screenwriter, known for his films “Requiem for a Dream”, “Pi” and “The Wrestler” American Film & Theatre
Asimov, Isaac 1920 - 1992 Author of many science fiction and popular science books, including the “Foundation” series, the “Galactic Empire” series and the “Robot” series American Author
Attenborough, David 1926 - Broadcaster, naturalist and writer, the face and voice of countless natural history programmes including the “Life” series, “Planet Earth” and “Blue Planet” British Film & Theatre
Attlee, Clement 1883 - 1967 Post-war prime minister of Britain, under whose government the National Health Service and Welfare State were established British Politician
Ayer, A. J. 1910 - 1989 Important advocate of logical positivism and analytic philosophy, viewed the whole idea of the existence of God as meaningless British Philosopher
Bacon, Francis 1909 - 1992 Modern figurative painter whose work is known for its bold, austere, and often grotesque or nightmarish imagery British / Irish Artist
Bacon, Kevin 1958 - Film and theatre actor, whose notable roles include “Animal House”, “JFK”, “Apollo 13” and “Mystic River” American Film & Theatre
Bakunin, Mikhail 1814 - 1876 Revolutionary, writer, philosopher and influential theorist of collectivist anarchism Russian Philosopher
Banks, Iain M. 1954 - Writer of both mainstream fiction and science fiction, best known for his utopian “Culture” sci-fi novels, self-styled “evangelical atheist” Scottish Author
Bardem, Javier 1969 - Film actor, best known for his roles in “Jamón, Jamón” and “No Country For Old Men” Spanish Film & Theatre
Barnes, Julian 1946 - Multi-award-winning English writer of essays and novels such as "Flaubert's Parrot", "Arthur & George" and "The Sense of an Ending" British Author
Barry, Dave 1947 - Prize-winning humour columnist and author, best known for his nationally syndicated humour column for "The Miami Herald", and his numerous comedic novels and books American Author
Bartók, Béla 1881 - 1945 Composer and pianist, considered to be one of the greatest composers of the 20th Century Hungarian Musician
Beauvoir, Simone de 1908 - 1986 Existentialist philosopher and author of novels and monographs on philosophy, politics, social issues and feminism, including “The Second Sex” French Philosopher
Bergman, Ingmar 1918 - 2007 Influential director, writer and producer for film and stage, best known for films such as “The Seventh Seal”, “Winter Light” and “Through A Glass Darkly” Swedish Film & Theatre
Berlioz, Hector 1803 - 1869 Romantic composer, theoretician and donductor, best known for his compositions “Symphonie Fantastique” and “Grande Messe des Morts” French Musician
Bernhardt, Sarah 1844 - 1923 Legendary 19th Century stage actress, sometimes referred to as “the most famous actress in the history of the world” French Film & Theatre
Berton, Pierre 1920 - 2004 Historian, non-fiction author, television personality and journalist, writer of over 50 books on Canadian history Canadian Author
Bierce, Ambrose 1842 - 1914 Journalist, writer, fabulist and satirist, best known for his short story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” and his satirical “The Devil's Dictionary” American Author
Björk 1965 - Eclectic and avant-garde singer-songwriter, composer, producer and actress, nominated for many awards Icelandic Musician
Blackham, H.J. 1903 - 2009 Respected and influential humanist and freethinker, particularly active in the field of moral education British Philosopher
Blackburn, Simon 1944 - Analytic philosopher and humanist, best known for his efforts to popularize philosophy British Philosopher
Boulez, Pierre 1925 - 2016 Composer and conductor of contemporary and avant-garde classical music French Musician
Bradlaugh, Charles 1833 - 1891 Member of Parliament and political activist, one of the most famous English atheists of the 19th Century British Politician
Brando, Marlon 1924 - 2004 Iconic award-winning method actor in such films as "Last Tango In Paris", "The Godfather" and "Apocalypse Now" American Film & Theatre
Branson, Richard 1950 - Flamboyant entrepreneur, industrialist and billionaire, founder of the Virgin Group commercial empire British Businessman
Breton, André 1896 - 1966 Writer, poet, artist and surrealist theorist, best known as one of the main founders of surrealism French Author
Buñuel, Luis 1900 - 1983 Significant director in the history of the cinema and activist of the surrealist movement, best known for his “Un chien andalou” and “L'Âge d'or” Spanish Film & Theatre
Byrne, Gabriel 1950 - Actor, film producer, writer and stage actor, best known for his films “The Usual Suspects”, “Miller's Crossing”, and “Stigmata” Irish Film & Theatre
Callaghan, James 1912 - 2005 MP, Cabinet minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Prime Minister of Britain during the 1970s British Politician
Callow, Simon 1949 - Stage, film and television actor, writer and director, including “Amadeus” and several Merchant Ivory films British Film & Theatre
Camus, Albert 1913 - 1960 Existentialist philosopher, novelist and journalist, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature for books like “The Outsider”, “The Plague” and “The Fall” French Author
Carlin, George 1937 - 2008 Stand-up comedian, actor and author, outspoken on politics, religion and various taboo subjects American Film & Theatre
Carnap, Rudolf 1891 - 1970 Analytic philosopher, leading member of the Vienna Circle and a prominent advocate of logical positivism German Philosopher
Carnegie, Andrew 1835 - 1919 Industrialist, business magnate, entrepreneur and a major philanthropist, often regarded as the second-richest man in history Scottish / American Businessman
Carter, Angela 1940 - 1992 Novelist and journalist, known for her feminist, magical realism and science fiction works British Author
Cartier-Bresson, Henri 1908 - 2004 Photographer, considered to be the father of modern photojournalism and helped develop the influential “street photography” style French Artist
Chandrasekhar, Subrahmanyan 1910 - 1995 Astrophysicist known for his theoretical work on the structure and evolution of stars, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics Indian / American Scientist
Chomsky, Noam 1928 - Linguist, philosopher, political activist, author and lecturer, one of the fathers of modern linguistics and creator of the theory of generative grammar American Philosopher
Clarke, Arthur C. 1917 - 2008 Scientist and science-fiction author, best known for his novel “2001: A Space Odyssey” and the British television series “Mysterious World” British Author
Clemenceau, Georges 1841 - 1929 Physician, journalist, statesman and two-time Prime Minister of France, major voice behind the Treaty of Versailles after World War I French Politician
Compton-Burnett, Ivy 1884 - 1969 Prolific writer of unconventional novels of the Edwardian gentry, such as “Pastors and Masters” British Author
Comte, Auguste 1798 - 1857 Founder of the science-based philosophical school of positivism, and of modern sociology French Philosopher
Connolly, Billy 1942 - Controversial and irreverent comedian, actor, presenter and folk musician Scottish Film & Theatre
Corbusier, Le 1887 - 1965 Architect, designer, urbanist, writer and also painter, pioneer of Modern Architecture and the International Style, real name Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris Swiss / French Artist
Coward, Noël 1899 - 1973 Playwright, actor and composer of popular music, best known for plays like “Private Lives”, “Present Laughter” and “Blithe Spirit” British Film & Theatre
Crace, Jim 1946 - Award-winning novelist and writer of books such as “Being Dead”, “Quarantine” and “Continent” British Author
Crick, Francis 1916 - 2004 Molecular biologist, physicist and neuroscientist, co-discoverer of the structure of the DNA molecule, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine British Scientist
Cronenberg, David 1943 - Film director, one of the principal originators of the “body horror” genre, best known for films like “Shivers”, “The Fly”, “Crash” and “Spider” Canadian Film & Theatre
Curie, Marie 1867 - 1934 Chemist, physicist and pioneer in the early field of radioactivity and radiology, two-time Nobel Prize winner Polish / French Scientist
Darrow, Clarence 1857 - 1938 Lawyer and leading member of the American Civil Liberties Union, best known for leading the defence in the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925 American Lawyer
Davies, Peter Maxwell 1934 - Controversial openly gay composer of avant-garde choral, vocal and instrumental works, currently Master of the Queen's Music British Musician
Dawkins, Richard 1941 - Evolutionary biologist, popular science author and outspoken atheist, author of “The Selfish Gene”, “The Blind Watchmaker” and “The God Delusion” British Author
Delius, Frederick 1862 - 1934 Noted composer of opera, vocal, choral, orchestral and chamber music, including an atheist "Requiem" British Musician
Deng, Xiaoping 1904 - 1997 Chinese head of state after Mao Zedong's death, who led China through sweeping market-economy reforms Chinese Politician
Dennett, Daniel 1942 - Prominent analytic philosopher and outspoken atheist, specializing in philosophy as it relates to evolutionary biology and cognitive science American Philosopher
Diagoras of Melos .450 BC - 400 BC Ancient Greek poet and sophist philosopher, forced to flee Athens for speaking out against Greek religion Greek Philosopher
Diderot, Denis 1713 - 1784 Philosopher, art critic and writer, editor-in-chief of the “Encyclopédie” and prominent figure during the Enlightenment French Philosopher
Dietrich, Marlene 1901 - 1992 Bisexual actress, singer and entertainer, best known for films like “Blue Angel” and “Shanghai Express”, and songs like “Falling In Love Again” German / American Film & Theatre
DiFranco, Ani 1970 - Award-winning singer, guitarist and songwriter in an alternative folk style, widely celebrated as a feminist icon American Musician
Dirac, Paul 1902 - 1984 Theoretical physicist, one of the founders of quantum mechanics, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics, predicted the existence of antimatter British Scientist
Doyle, Roddy 1958 - Novelist, dramatist and screenwriter, best known for his “Barrytown Trilogy” and the Booker Prize winning “Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha” Irish Author
Durkheim, Émile 1858 - 1917 Sociologist, anthropologist and philosopher, pioneer in the development of modern sociology and anthropology and founding figure of functionalism French Philosopher
Einstein, Albert 1879 - 1955 Influential theoretical physicist and one of the best known and greatest minds in history, best known for his theories of relativity, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics German / Swiss /
Eliot, George 1819 - 1890 Leading novelist of the Victorian era (real name Mary Ann Evans), best known for her novel “Middlemarch” British Author
Engels, Friedrich 1820 - 1895 Social scientist, political theorist, philosopher and author, father of communist theory and writer of “The Communist Manifesto” with Karl Marx German Philosopher
Eno, Brian 1948 - Electronic musician, music theorist and record producer, one time member of Roxy Music, often known as the father of modern ambient music British Musician
Farmer, Frances 1913 - 1970 Film, television and theatre actress, known for the sensationalized accounts of her mental breakdown and incarceration American Film & Theatre
Feuerbach, Ludwig 1804 - 1872 Radical Hegelian philosopher and anthropologist, influential in the development of Marxist dialectic German Philosopher
Feynman, Richard 1918 - 1988 Theoretical physicist, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics, best known for his work in quantum mechanics American Scientist
Fierstein, Harvey 1952 - Actor, playwright and gay activist, best known for his plays "Torch Song Trilogy" and "La Cage aux Folles" American Film & Theatre
Fisk, Robert 1946 - Multi-award-winning journalist, and “probably the most famous foreign correspondent in Britain” British Author
Flynt, Larry 1942 - Publisher of more than a dozen adult magazines, including “Hustler”, and producer of sexually graphic videos American Businessman
Foot, Michael 1913 - 2010 Socialist MP, writer and journalist, leader of the British Labour Party in the 1980s British Politician
Forster, E. M. 1879 - 1970 Novelist, short story writer and essayist, best known for his novels such as “Howard’s End”, “A Room With A View” and “A Passage to India” British Author
Foster, Jodie 1962 - Film actress, director and producer, best known for films like “Taxi Driver”, “Silence of the Lambs” and “Contact” American Film & Theatre
Foucault, Michel 1926 - 1984 Structuralist philosopher, sociologist and historian, best known for his revolutionary philosophical analyses of social institutions French Philosopher
Fowles, John 1926 - 2005 Novelist and essayist, noted especially for “The French Lieutenant's Woman” and “The Magus” British Author
Freud, Sigmund 1856 - 1939 Neurologist, father of the clinical practice of psychoanalysis, best known for his theories of the unconscious mind, repression and sexual desire Austrian Scientist
Fry, Stephen 1957 - Humourist, writer, actor, filmmaker and television and radio presenter, best known for his parts in films such as “Peter’s Friends” and “Wilde” British Film & Theatre
Garibaldi, Giuseppe 1807 - 1882 Italian military and political figure and national hero, leader of the Risorgimento and unifier of Italy Italian Politician
Geldof, Bob 1951 - Singer/songwriter, author and political activist, one-time front man of The Boomtown Rats, organized the Live Aid, Live 8 and other charity concerts Irish Musician
Gervais Ricky 1961 - Comedian, actor, film and television director, screenwriter and producer, best known for his part in the TV series “The Office” British Film & Theatre
Gibbon, Edward 1737 - 1794 Historian and Member of Parliament, best known for his encyclopedic “History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” British Author
Gillard, Julia 1961 - First woman leader of the Australian Labour Party and Prime Minister of Australia from 2010 to 2013 Australian Politician
Gilmour, David 1946 - Guitarist, songwriter and vocalist of Pink Floyd, as well as having a successful solo career, involved with many charitable organizations British Musician
Golding, William 1911 - 1993 Novelist, poet and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, best known for his novel “Lord of the Flies” British Author
Goldman, Emma 1869 - 1940 Anarchist and radical, known for her writings and speeches defending anarchist communism, feminism, and atheism Lithuanian / American Politician
Gora 1902 - 1975 Indian atheist leader and author (full name Goparaju Ramachandra Rao), and co-founder of the Atheist Centre with his wife, Saraswathi Indian Philosopher
Gorbachev, Mikhail 1931 - Soviet president, presided over the democratization and eventual break-up of the Soviet Union, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize Russian Politician
Gordimer, Nadine 1923 - 2014 Writer, political activist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, particularly known for confronting issues of apartheid in South Africa South African Author
Gould, Stephen Jay 1941 - 2002 Paleontologist, evolutionary biologist and historian of science, one of the most influential and widely read writers of popular science American Scientist
Grant, Richard E. 1957 - Actor, screenwriter and director, best known for his parts in “Withnail and I” and “How To Get Ahead in Advertising” British Film & Theatre
Graves, Robert 1895 - 1985 Poet, scholar, translator and novelist, best known for his novel “I, Claudius” British Author
Greenaway, Peter 1942 - Controversial filmmaker, best known for artistic but elliptic films such as “The Draughtsman's Contract” and “The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover” British Film & Theatre
Greer, Germaine 1939 - Feminist writer, journalist and and scholar, best known for her book “The Female Eunuch”, and a self-described “Catholic atheist” Australian Author
Grosz, George 1893 - 1959 Painter and draughtsman, prominent member of the Berlin Dada and New Objectivity groups German Artist
Guevara, Che (Ernesto) 1928 - 1967 Marxist revolutionary, politician and author, and a major figure of the Cuban Revolution Argentine Politician
Hall, James 1761 - 1832 MP, Geologist, geophysicist and chemist, leading figure in the Scottish Enlightenment Scottish Scientist
Hancock, Tony 1924 - 1968 Radio and television comedian and actor, star of the popular “Hancock's Half Hour” British Film & Theatre
Hare, David 1947 - Playwright, writer and theatre and film director, best known for plays such as “Plenty”, “Pravda” and “Racing Demon” British Film & Theatre
Harris, Sam 1967 - Non-fiction author and researcher in neuroscience, best known for his “The End of Faith” and “Letter to a Christian Nation” American Author
Heaney, Seamus 1939 - Poet, writer, lecturer and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature Irish Author
Hepburn, Katharine 1907 - 2003 Glamorous and much awarded actress of film and stage, best known for films such as “African Queen”, “Guess Who's Coming To Dinner” and “On Golden Pond” American Film & Theatre
Heyerdahl, Thor 1914 - 2002 Ethnographer and adventurer with a scientific background in zoology and geography, most famous for his Kon-Tiki expedition Norwegian Scientist
Hirsi Ali, Ayaan 1969 - Activist, writer and politician (member of the Dutch parliament for 3 years), best known for her support of women's rights and criticism of Islam Somali/American Author
Hirst, Damien 1965 - Controversial but internationally renowned conceptual and installation artist, the most prominent member of the group known as “Young British Artists” British Artist
Hitchens, Christopher 1949 - 2011 Writer, journalist and essayist, best known for his book “God Is Not Great” and regular lecture appearances in support of atheism British / American Author
Holbach, Baron d' 1723 - 1789 Author, philosopher, encyclopedist and a prominent figure in the French Enlightenment, one of the first outspoken atheists in Europe French Philosopher
Houdini, Harry 1874 - 1926 Illusionist and stunt performer, known worldwide for his sensational escape acts American Film & Theatre
Houellebecq, Michel 1958 - Controversial and provocative novelist, poet and filmmaker, winner of several literary prizes French Author
Hoxha, Enver 1908 - 1985 Long-time communist and isolationist ruler of Albania, declared it the first atheist state Albanian Politician
Hume, David 1711 - 1776 Empiricist philosopher, economist and historian, key figure in the history of Western philosophy and the Scottish Enlightenment Scottish Philosopher
Huston, John 1906 - 1987 Film director and actor, best known for films such as “The Maltese Falcon”, “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” and “The African Queen” American Film & Theatre
Huxley, Julian 1887 - 1975 Evolutionary biologist, humanist and internationalist, founding member of the World Wildlife Fund and first Director of UNESCO British Scientist
James, Clive 1939 - Author, travel writer, critic, television presenter, talk-show host and cultural commentator Australian / British Author
Janácek, Leos 1854 - 1928 Composer of operas, orchestral, choral and chamber works, including “Jenufa”, “Sinfonietta” and “Glagolitic Mass” (notwithstanding his atheism) Czech Musician
Jenkins, Simon 1943 - Journalist, newspaper editor, columnist and author, received a knighthood for services to journalism British Author
Joel, Billy 1949 - Multi-award winning pop singer, songwriter and composer, one of the best-selling recording artists of all time American Musician
Kennedy, Ludovic 1919 - 2009 Journalist, broadcaster, author and campaigner for voluntary euthanasia British Author
Khrushchev, Nikita 1894 - 1971 First Secretary and Premier of the Soviet Union after Stalin in the 1950s and 1960s Russian Politician
Kim Jong-il 1941 - 2011 Dictatorial and isolationist leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, officially referred to as the “Dear Leader” Korean Politician
Kinsey, Alfred 1894 - 1956 Biologist, sexologist and professor of entomology and zoology, best known for his “Kinsey Reports” on human sexuality American Scientist
Knightley, Keira 1985 - Actress, model and singer, best known for her parts in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series and period dramas like “Pride and Prejudice”, “Anna Karenina” and many others British Film & Theatre
Kropotkin, Peter 1842 - 1921 Geographer, zoologist, political activist, anarchist communist theoretician and writer Russian Politician
Kundera, Milan 1929 - Novelist and essayist, best known for novels such as “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”, “The Book of Laughter and Forgetting” and “The Joke” Czech Author
Kurtz, Paul 1925 - 2012 Philosophy professor and author, best known for his prominent role in the U.S. skeptical community and sometimes called “the father of secular humanism” American Philosopher
Lancaster, Burt 1913 - 1994 Hunky film actor, best known for his parts in films such as “From Here to Eternity”, “Elmer Gantry” and “Atlantic City” American Film & Theatre
Larkin, Philip 1922 - 1985 Poet, novelist and jazz critic, sometimes considered as the greatest British post-war poet British Author
Laurie, Hugh 1959 - Actor, comedian, writer and musician, best known for his part in the television shows “House” and “Blackadder” and several films British Film & Theatre
Lawson, Nigella 1960 - Journalist, food writer, broadcaster and television presenter, and daughter of former British Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson British Author
Leakey, Richard 1944 - Paleontologist, archaeologist, conservationist and politician, contributed immensely to the study of human evolution Kenyan Scientist
Le Bon, Simon 1958 - Musician and yacht racer, best known as the lead singer and lyricist of the popular 1980s rock band Duran Duran British Musician
Lee, Bruce 1940 - 1973 Martial artist, actor, philosopher and cultural icon, star of many martial arts films such as “Fists of Fury” and “Enter the Dragon” Chinese / American Film & Theatre
Lenin, Vladimir Ilyich 1870 - 1924 Marxist revolutionary and theoretician, Bolshevik leader of the 1917 October Revolution and the first head of state of the USSR Russian Politician
Lennon, John 1940 - 1980 Pop singer and songwriter, author and peace activist, founding member of The Beatles, one of the most successful and influential pop groups in history British Musician
Levi, Primo 1919 - 1987 Novelist, essayist, memoirist, chemist, particularly known for his memoirs as a survivor of Auschwitz concentration camp, “If This Is A Man” Italian Author
Livingstone, Ken 1945 - Socialist MP, leader of the Greater London Council and Mayor of London British Politician
Lovecraft, H. P. 1890 - 1937 Regarded, since his death, as one of the 20th century's most significant and influential horror fiction writers American Author
Lyszczynski, Kazimierz 1634 - 1689 Polish noble, philosopher and author, (often written as Casimir Liszinski in English), condemned to death and executed for atheism Polish Philosopher
MacFarlane, Seth 1973 - Television/movie producer, actor and animator, best known for the hit television show “Family Guy” and films like “Ted” American Film & Theatre
Mackie, John Leslie 1917 - 1981 Philosopher and ethicist, best known for his views on meta-ethics and his defence of moral skepticism and atheism Australian Philosopher
Maher, Bill 1956 - Comedian, television host and poitical commentator, known for his biting satires on religion and politics American Film & Theatre
Malkovich, John 1953 - Film actor, producer and director, best known for films such as “Dangerous Liaisons” and “Being John Malkovich” American Film & Theatre
Mao Zedong 1893 - 1976 Revolutionary, political theorist, military and political leader of the People’s Republic of China from its establishment in 1949 until his death Chinese Politician
Martin, George R.R. 1948 - Best-selling author of fantasy, horror and science fiction books, including the "Song of Fire and Ice" series American Author
Marx, Karl 1818 - 1883 Philosopher, political economist, sociologist, humanist, political theorist and revolutionary, often called the father of communism German Philosopher
McEwan, Ian 1948 - Booker Prize-winning writer of novels such as “Enduring Love”, “Amsterdam” and “Atonement” British Author
McKellen, Ian 1939 - Multi award-winning actor of stage and screen, best known for his Shakespearean roles and his parts in the “Lord of the Rings” and “X-Men” films British Film & Theatre
Melly, George 1926 - 2007 Popular jazz and blues singer, critic, writer and lecturer on art history British Musician
Meslier, Jean 1664 - 1729 French village Catholic priest, secretly wrote a book-length philosophical essay denouncing all religion, first person to write in support of atheism French Philosopher
Mill, John Stuart 1806 - 1873 Utilitarian philosopher, liberal thinker, political theorist, economist, civil servant and MP, declared his atheism posthumously British Philosopher
Miller, Arthur 1915 - 2005 Prominent playwright and essayist, including such works as “The Crucible” and “Death of a Salesman” American Author
Miller, Jonathan 1934 - Leading theatre and opera director, author, television presenter, humourist, sculptor and physician British Film & Theatre
Milosevic, Slobodan 1941 - 2006 Former President of Serbia and of Yugoslavia, charged with genocide and crimes against humanity during wars in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo Serbian Politician
Minchin, Tim 1975 - British-born Australian comedian, actor and musician, best known for his bawdy musical comedy Australian Musician
Mirren, Helen 1945 - Multi award-winning stage, television, and film actress, best known for her Shakespearean and stage roles and films such as “Gosford Park” and “The Queen” British Film & Theatre
Monod, Jacques 1910 - 1976 Biologist and enzymologist, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, believer that life on earth arose by freak chemical accident French Scientist
Moore, Henry 1898 - 1986 Renowned sculptor and artist, best known for his monumental semi-abstract bronze sculptures of reclining women British Artist
Morgentaler, Henry 1923 - 2013 Physician and gynecologist, leading pro-choice abortion rights activist and founder of the Humanist Association of Canada Canadian Scientist
Morris, Desmond 1928 - Zoologist, ethologist, painter and popular author, best known for his books “The Naked Ape” and “The Human Zoo” British Scientist
Murdoch, Iris 1919 - 1999 Dublin-born writer and philosopher, best known for her novels “Under the Net”, “A Severed Head” and “The Sea, The Sea” British Author
Murray O'Hair, Madalyn 1919 - 1995 Social worker, founder of American Atheists, best known for her lawsuit to ban teacher-led prayer and Bible reading in public schools American Politician
Mussolini, Benito 1883 - 1945 Fascist dictator of Italy, one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism, known as “Il Duce” Italian Politician
Nehru, Jawaharlal 1889 - 1964 Leading figure in the Indian independence movement, protegé of Mahatma Gandhi and first prime minister of India Indian Politician
Nicholson, Jack 1937 - Actor, film director and producer, renowned for his often dark-themed portrayals of neurotic characters in films such as "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and "The Shining" American Film & Theatre
Nietzsche, Friedrich 1844 - 1900 Philosopher and philologist, forerunner of existentialism movement, refuted traditional notions of morality in works like “Beyond Good and Evil” and “Thus Spake Zarathustra” German Philosopher
Numan, Gary 1958 - New Wave and industrial musician, and one of the pioneers of commercial electronic music or synthpop British Musician
Orwell, George 1903 - 1950 Novelist, journalist and critic, best known for his books “1984” and “Animal Farm” British Author
Owen, Robert 1771 - 1858 Industrialist, philanthropist, social reformer, utopian and one of the founders of socialism and the cooperative movement British Politician
Parkinson, Michael 1935 - Television broadcaster and journalist, best known for his interview programme “Parkinson” British Film & Theatre
Pauling, Linus 1901 - 1994 Chemist, molecular biologist, peace activist, author and educator, winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry and the Nobel Peace Prize American Scientist
Pavlov, Ivan 1849 - 1936 Physiologist, psychologist and physician, best known for his description of classical conditioning, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine Russian Scientist
Penn & Teller 1955/1948 - Las Vegas illusionists and comedians, specializing in gory tricks, exposing frauds and performing clever pranks. American Film & Theatre
Pinker, Steven 1954 - Experimental psychologist, cognitive scientist and author of many books of popular science including “The Blank Slate” and “The Stuff of Thought” Canadian / American Scientist
Pinter, Harold 1930 - 2008 Playwright, screenwriter, political activist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, best known for his plays “The Birthday Party”, “The Caretaker” and “Betrayal” British Author
Pitt, Brad 1963 - Award-winning Hollywood actor and producer, best known for films such as “Fight Club”, “Ocean’s Eleven” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” American Film & Theatre
Polley, Sarah 1979 - Actress, director, screenwriter and singer, best known for her films “The Road to Avonlea” and “Away from Her” Canadian Film & Theatre
Pol Pot 1925 - 1998 Genocidal dictator of Cambodia, leader of the Cambodian communist movement known as the Khmer Rouge Cambodian Politician
Pratchett, Terry 1948 - 2015 Author of fantasy novels, including his very popular and long-running “Discworld” series British Author
Pullman, Philip 1946 - Fantasy fiction writer, including the popular “His Dark Materials” fantasy trilogy for young adults British Author
Radcliffe, Daniel 1989 - Film and stage actor, best known for his lead role in the popular “Harry Potter” film series British Film & Theatre
Rand, Ayn 1905 - 1982 Best-selling novelist and philosopher, author of “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged” and founder of the philosophical school of Objectivism Russian Author
Randi, James 1928 - Stage magician, scientific skeptic and author, best known as a challenger and debunker of pseudoscience and paranormal claims Canadian / American Film & Theatre
Rayner, Claire 1931 - 2010 Journalist, best-known for her role for many years as an “agony aunt” in British newspapers British Author
Reeves, Keanu 1964 - Hollywood film actor, best known for his parts in the “Matrix” films and “Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure” Canadian / American Film & Theatre
Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai 1844 - 1908 19th Century classical composer, member of the “The Five” Russian nationalist composers, best known for his symphonic suite “Scheherazade” Russian Musician
Roddenberry, Gene 1921 - 1991 Screenwriter and producer, best known as the creator of the “Star Trek” television series and films American Film & Theatre
Rodgers, Richard 1902 - 1979 Multiple prize-winning composer of popular songs and Broadway musicals, including “Oklahoma”, “South Pacific” and “The Sound of Music” American Musician
Rothko, Mark 1903 - 1970 Latvian-born painter and printmaker in the abstract expressionist and colour field style Russian / American Artist
Roy, Arundhati 1961 - Award-winning writer of novels, screenplays and essays, and activist for social and economic justice, best known for her novel “The God of Small Things” Indian Author
Rushdie, Salman 1947 - Novelist and essayist, known for his frequent criticism of Islam and books such as “Midnight’s Children” and “The Satanic Verses” Indian / British Author
Russell, Bertrand 1872 - 1970 Analytic philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, social critic and anti-war activist, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature British Philosopher
Sacks, Oliver 1933 - 2015 Neurologist and physician, author of several popular books about his patients, including “Awakenings” British / American Scientist
Santayana, George 1863 - 1952 Naturalist and pragmatist philosopher, essayist, poet, novelist and aphorist Spanish / American Philosopher
Saramago, José 1922 - 2010 Novelist, playwright, journalist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, best known for his novel “Blindness" Portuguese Author
Sartre, Jean-Paul 1905 - 1980 French existentialist philosopher, novelist, playwright and political activist, known for books like “Nausea” and “Being and Nothingness”, rejected the Nobel Prize in Literature French Philosopher
Sade, Marquis de 1740 - 1814 Aristocrat, revolutionary and writer, best known for his erotic novels, which combined philosophical discourse with (often violent) pornography French Author
Sagan, Carl 1934 - 1996 Astronomer, astrochemist and author, highly successful popularizer of astronomy and astrophysics, pioneer of exobiology and the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence American Scientist
Sautoy, Marcus du 1965 - Mathematician and media personality, awarded the OBE for his work in popularizing mathematics British Scientist
Schopenhauer, Arthur 1788 - 1860 Pessimistic German idealist philosopher, highly influential on later thinkers in the arts and psychology German Philosopher
Sharif, Omar 1932 - 2015 Hollywood film actor, best knbown for his roles in “Doctor Zhivago”, “Funny Girl” and “Lawrence of Arabia”, lapsed Catholic and Muslim Egyptian Film & Theatre
Shaw, George Bernard 1856 - 1950 Playwright, journalist, critic, composer and political activist, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, best known for plays like “Pygmalion” Irish Author
Shelley, Percy Bysshe 1792 - 1822 Romantic poet, essayist and novelist, regarded among the finest lyric poets in the English language, and author of “The Necessity of Atheism" British Author
Shostakovich, Dmitri 1906 - 1975 Composer of symphonies, operas, chamber and film music of the Soviet period, one of the most celebrated classical composers of the 20th Century Russian Musician
Simon, Herbert 1916 - 2001 Often-cited political scientist, economist and psychologist, one of the most influential social scientists of the 20th Century American Scientist
Singh, Bhagat 1907 - 1931 Freedom fighter against the British Raj and one of the most influential revolutionaries of the Indian independence movement Indian Politician
Soderbergh, Steven 1963 - Award-winning filmmaker and director of films such as “Traffic”, “Erin Brockovich”, “Ocean's Eleven” and “Sex, Lies and Videotape” American Film & Theatre
Soros, George 1930 - Investor, businessman, political activist, philanthropist, writer and billionaire Hungarian / American Businessman
Stalin, Joseph 1878 - 1953 Dictatorial leader of the Soviet Union following Lenin's death in 1924 until his own death in 1953 Russian Politician
Sterling, Bruce 1954 - Science fiction writer, and one of the defining authors of the cyberpunk genre American Author
Stern, Howard 1954 - Controversial radio entertainer and media personality, and best known “shock jock” American Film & Theatre
Stevenson, Juliet 1956 - English actress of stage and screen, best known for films such as “Truly, Madly, Deeply” and “Bend It Like Beckham” British Film & Theatre
Stevenson, Robert Louis 1850 - 1894 Novelist, poet and travel writer, especially famous for his works “Treasure Island”, “Kidnapped” and “The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” Scottish Author
Strauss, Richard 1864 - 1949 Classical composer of the late Romantic and early modern era, particularly noted for his tone poems and operas German Musician
Sugar, Alan 1947 - Entrepreneur, businessman and television personality, knighted for his services to business British Businessman
Susskind, Leonard 1940 - Theoretical physicist, a founding father of superstring theory and quantum cosmology American Scientist
Suzuki, David 1936 - Zoologist, environmental activist, science broadcaster, university professor and writer of several books about science and environmentalism Canadian Scientist
Tesla, Nikola 1856 - 1943 Inventor, engineer and physicist, who made important controbutions to the development of AC electricity Serbian-American Scientist
Theodorus .340 BC - 250 BC Philosopher of the hedonistic Cyrenaic school, popularly known as Theodorus the Atheist Greek Philosopher
Thompson, Emma 1959 - Award-winning actress, screenwriter and environmental activist, best known for films such as “Howard’s End”, “Sense and Sensibility”, and “The Remains of the Day” British Film & Theatre
Tippett, Michael 1905 - 1998 One of the foremost classical composers of the 20th Century, as well as a confirmed pacifist and homosexual British Musician
Townsend, Sue 1946 - 2014 Novelist and playwright, best known as the author of the “Adrian Mole” series of books British Author
Trotsky, Leon 1879 - 1940 Marxist theorist, Bolshevik revolutionary and one of the leaders of the Russian October Revolution of 1917 Russian Politician
Turing, Alan 1912 - 1954 Mathematician, logician and cryptographer, often considered to be the father of modern computer science British Scientist
Turner, Ted 1938 - Highly successful businessman, media mogul and noted philanthropist, founder of the cable television network CNN and superstation TBS American Businessman
Unamuno, Miguel de 1864 - 1936 Poet, novelist, essayist, proto-existentialist philosopher and important figure in the Spanish cultural movement known as the Generation of 1898 Spanish / Basque Author
Varèse, Edgard 1883 - 1965 Innovative French-born avant-garde composer and pioneer of electronic and electroacoustic music American Musician
Vedder, Eddie 1964 - Lead singer, guitarist and lyricist for the popular rock/grunge band Pearl Jam, and an alternative rock icon American Musician
Vidal, Gore 1925 - 2012 Author, playwright, essayist, screenwriter, political activist and one of the most prominent public intellectuals of the 20th Century American Author
Vonnegut, Kurt 1922 - 2007 Novelist and essaying, known for his blending of satire, black comedy, and science fiction in books like “Cat's Cradle” and “Slaughterhouse-Five” American Author
Waters, Roger 1943 - Singer, bassist, guitarist and songwriter, best known for his career with Pink Floyd and his own solo career British Musician
Watson, James 1928 - Molecular biologist, co-discover of the structure of DNA, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine American Scientist
Weinberg, Steven 1933 - Theoretical physicist, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics for the unification of electromagnetism and the weak force American Scientist
Whedon, Joss 1964 - Director, screenwriter and producer, best known for creating the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” television series and its offshoots American Film & Theatre
Wilder, Gene 1933 - Stage and screen actor, director and writer, best known for his roles in the films “The Producers” and “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” American Film & Theatre
Wolfe, Tom 1931 - Best-selling author and journalist, one of the founders of the New Journalism movement, author of “The Right Stuff and “Bonfire of the Vanities" American Author
Woolf, Leonard 1880 - 1969 Noted political theorist, author, publisher and civil servant, perhaps best known as the husband of Virginia Woolf British Author
Wozniak, Steve 1950 - Computer scientist and electrical engineer, co-founder of Apple Computer and inventor of the Apple I and Apple II personal computers American Scientist
Zappa, Frank 1940 - 1993 Prolific singer, guitarist, composer, producer and film director, spanning rock, jazz, electronic and orchestral music American Musician
Zuckerberg, Mark 1984 - Entrepreneur and billionaire, best known for co-founding the popular social networking website Facebook American Businessman
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