Magic Johnson was one of professional basketball's most popular stars. He won five championships with the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1980s before he was forced to retire after contracting the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), a disease that destroys the body's ability to fight off infection.
The writings of the English author and lexicographer (an author or editor of a dictionary) Samuel Johnson express a deep respect for the past combined with an energetic independence of mind.
Al Jolson (Asa Yoelson) was born on May 26, 1886, in Srednike, Lithuania. Jolson's family came to the United States in 1894, settling in Washington, D.C.
Award-winning actor James Earl Jones has acted on television, stage, and screen. He is best known for his deep bass voice.
Quincy Jones has worked as a musician, composer, arranger, producer, and film and television executive. He also helped Michael Jackson (1958–), Oprah Winfrey (1954–), and many others become stars.
Ben Jonson was an English playwright and poet best known for his satiric comedies (types of comedies that poke fun at human weaknesses). In many peoples opinion he was, next to William Shakespeare (1564–1616), the greatest dramatic genius of the English Renaissance (roughly the fourteenth through sixteenth centuries).
Basketball superstar Michael Jordan is one of the most successful, popular, and wealthy athletes in college, Olympic, and professional sports history.
James Joyce was an Irish author who experimented with ways to use language, symbolism (having one thing to stand for another), interior monologue (characters talking to themselves), and stream of consciousness (the uninterrupted, continuous flow of a character's thoughts).
Benito Juárez was a Mexican statesman and four-time president of Mexico. After resisting takeover by European powers, Juárez installed numerous social changes that would improve the lives of the Mexican people.
The Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist Carl Jung was one of the major forces responsible for bringing psychological (having to do with the mind and its processes) thought and its theories into the twentieth century.
The Czech-born German novelist and short-story writer Franz Kafka presented man's experience of total isolation or separation from the environment around him. In his works man finds himself in a maze that he will never understand.
The Russian painter and graphic artist Wassily Kandinsky was one of the great masters of modern art, as well as the outstanding representative of pure abstract painting (using only colors and forms) that dominated the first half of the twentieth century.
The major works of the German philosopher Immanuel Kant offer an analysis of theoretical and moral reason and the ability of human judgment. He had a great influence on the intellectual movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
The English Romantic poet John Keats stressed that man's quest for happiness and fulfillment is thwarted (prevented from taking place) by the sorrow and corruption inherent (existing as an essential characteristic) in human nature. His works are marked with rich imagery and melodic beauty.
Though both blind and deaf, American lecturer and author Helen Keller (1880–1968) traveled the world over, fighting for improvement in the education and life of the physically handicapped.
Although Gene Kelly established his reputation as an actor and a dancer, his contribution to the Hollywood, California, musical also includes choreography (creating dances) and movie direction.
Edward (Ted) Kennedy, brother of President John F. Kennedy (1917– 1963) and Robert F.
John F. Kennedy was the thirty-fifth president of the United States.
John F. Kennedy Jr., son of the late president John F.
Robert Kennedy was a U.S. senator and the attorney general in the presidential administration of his brother John F.
The German astronomer Johannes Kepler's discovery of three basic laws governing the motion of planets made him one of the chief founders of modern astronomy (the study of the universe and its stars and planets).
J ack Kerouac, an American writer, is best known for On the Road, (1957) which describes his travels into the American West. He is known as the father of the Beat Generation, younger intellectuals who rejected traditional values of society.
Charles F. Kettering, first as an independent inventor and later as head of research for General Motors Corporation, conducted research that established him as one of the most creative Americans of his generation.
Ayatollah Khomeini was the founder and supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The only leader in the Muslim world who combined political and religious authority as a head of state, he took office in 1979.
The Soviet political leader Nikita Khrushchev was a major force in world politics in the second half of the twentieth century. His leadership played a key role in the 1960s during the height of the Cold War, a four-decade standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union.
I nternational tennis star Billie Jean King won a record twenty Wimbledon championships and helped win equal treatment for women in sports.
Coretta Scott King was the wife of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. (1929–1968).