Martin Scorsese is a director and writer of highly personal films. While many of his works reflect his experience as an Italian American growing up in New York City, he has also made highly regarded movies of great works of literature.
The Scottish novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott is recognized as the master of the historical novel. He was one of the most influential authors of modern times.
Haile Selassie was an emperor of Ethiopia whose influence as an African leader far surpassed the boundaries of his country. Although his popularity declined near the end of his sixty-year reign, Selassie remains a key figure in turning Ethiopia into a modern civilization.
Often called the "Mexican Madonna," Selena used her talent and voice to become one of popular music's fastest rising stars. Although she was murdered very early in her career, she brought great exposure to Tejano, or Tex-Mex, music.
Sequoyah, Cherokee scholar, is the only known Native American to have created an alphabet for his tribe. This advance helped thousands of Cherokee to become literate (able to read and write).
The English playwright, poet, and actor William Shakespeare was a popular dramatist. He was born six years after Queen Elizabeth I (1533–1603) ascended the throne, in the height of the English Renaissance.
British playwright and critic George Bernard Shaw produced more than fifty plays and three volumes of music and drama criticism. Many critics consider him the greatest English dramatist since William Shakespeare (1564–1616).
English novelist Mary Shelley is best known for writing Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus (1818) and for her marriage to the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822).
The English romantic poet Percy Shelley ranks as one of the greatest lyric poets in the history of English literature.
Beverly Sills was a child performer, coloratura soprano (a light voice used in a very ornate type of singing), and operatic (in operas) superstar who retired from her performance career in 1980 to become general director of the New York City Opera Company.
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Neil Simon is one of America's most productive and popular dramatists. His plays expose human weaknesses and make people laugh at themselves.
Frank Sinatra is one of the most popular singers in American history. As an actor, he appeared in fifty-eight films and won an Academy Award for his role in From Here to Eternity.
Upton Sinclair, American novelist and political writer, was one of the most important muckrakers (writers who search out and reveal improper conduct in politics and business) of the 1900s. His novel The Jungle helped improve working conditions in the meat-packing industry.
I saac Bashevis Singer, a Polish-American author, was admired for his recreation of the forgotten world of nineteenth-century Poland and his depiction of a timeless Jewish ghetto (a city neighborhood where a minority group lives).
The African American singer Bessie Smith was called "The Empress of the Blues." Her magnificent voice, sense of the dramatic, clarity of diction (one never missed a word of what she sang), and incomparable time and phrasing set her apart from the competition and made her appeal as much to jazz lovers as to blues lovers.
The Greek philosopher and logician (one who studies logic or reason) Socrates was an important influence on Plato (427–347 B.C.E.) and had a major effect on ancient philosophy.
Stephen Sondheim redefined the Broadway musical form with his creative and award winning productions. He continues to be a major force in the shaping of the musical theater.
The Greek playwright Sophocles was responsible for several improvements in the presentation of drama. His tragedies (plays in which characters suffer because of their actions and usually die) rank him among the greatest Greek classical dramatists.
Steven Spielberg is one of the wealthiest and most powerful moviemakers in Hollywood. The director of such elaborate fantasies as Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, he is regarded as a man who understands the pulse of America as it would like to see itself.
Benjamin Spock, pediatrician (doctor who treats children) and political activist, was most noted for his book Baby and Child Care, which significantly changed widely held attitudes toward the raising of infants and children.
The Soviet statesman Joseph Stalin was the supreme ruler of the Soviet Union. He led his country alongside America and England through World War II (1939–45) in their fight against Germany, Italy and Japan.
The writer and reformer Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815–1902) was perhaps the most gifted feminist leader in American history.
German philosopher Edith Stein was a leading supporter of the early twentieth century's phenomenological school of thought, which explored human awareness and perception. A Jew by birth who converted to Catholicism, she was killed in a Nazi (having to do with members of the German Socialist Party led by Adolf Hitler from 1933 to 1945) concentration camp (a guarded enclosure where political prisoners were kept) and canonized (declared a saint) in 1998.
American writer Gertrude Stein was a powerful literary force in the early part of the twentieth century. Although the ultimate value of her writing was a matter of debate, it greatly affected the work of a generation of American writers.
John Steinbeck, American author and winner of the Nobel Prize in 1962, was a leading writer of novels about the working class and was a major spokesman for the victims of the Great Depression (a downturn in the American system of producing, distributing, and using goods and services in the 1930s, and during which time millions of people lost their jobs).
The Scottish novelist, essayist, and poet Robert Louis Stevenson was one of the most popular and highly praised British writers during the last part of the nineteenth century.
Bram Stoker is best known as the author of Dracula (1897), one of the most famous horror novels of all time.
Oliver Stone is a writer-director of films with a flashy style that often deal with issues of the 1960s, such as America's involvement with the Vietnam War (1955–75; a war in which the United States aided South Vietnam in its fight against a takeover by Communist North Vietnam). He has won several Academy Awards as a writer and as a director.