List of Famous Orphans
Classical and religious scriptural
Aristotle, Greek philosopher and scientist, orphaned in early childhood.
Cyrus the Great, Persian emperor, orphaned in childhood.
Moses, major prophet in Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, orphaned as an infant.
Muhammad, central figure in Islam, orphaned at age 6.
Romulus and Remus, traditional founders of ancient Rome, orphaned in infancy.
Andrew JacksonAlexander Hamilton, U.S. founding father, orphaned at age 13.
Ben W. Hooper, governor of Tennessee, 1911 to 1915, raised in an orphanage.
Herbert Hoover, U.S. president, orphaned at age 9.
Andrew Jackson, U.S. president, orphaned at age 14.
Edward Langworthy, U.S. patriot and founding father, raised in an orphanage.
Nelson Mandela, president of South Africa, raised as a ward.
Eleanor Roosevelt, U.S. First Lady, civil-rights activist, orphaned at age 10.
Bertrand Russell, political philosopher, orphaned at age 3.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, political philosopher, raised by aunt and uncle.
Tecumseh, Native American leader, orphaned as a child.
Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, former Iowa governor, adopted at birth.
Malcolm X, political and civil rights activist, raised in an orphanage and foster care.
Authors and poets
Leo TolstoyEdward Albee, playwright, adopted as an infant.
John Keats, poet, raised partly by his grandmother.
W. Somerset Maugham, author, orphaned in childhood.
James Michener, author, adopted as an infant.
Edgar Allan Poe, author, orphaned in childhood.
J. R. R. Tolkien, author, orphaned at age 12.
Leo Tolstoy, author, orphaned at age 9.
Henry Morton Stanley, journalist, explorer, raised in a workhouse.
Dale Wasserman, playwright, orphaned at age 9.
William Wordsworth, poet, orphaned at age 12.
Arts, entertainment, sports
Ella FitzgeraldLouis Armstrong, musician, raised in an orphanage and by his grandmother.
Johann Sebastian Bach, composer, orphaned at age 9.
Tallulah Bankhead, actress, orphaned as an infant.
Ingrid Bergman, actress, orphaned at age 12.
Carol Burnett, entertainer, raised by her grandmother.
Ray Charles, singer, orphaned at age 15.
Henry Darger, artist whose work focused on orphans.
Ice-T, rapper, actor, orphaned aged 9.
Juliette Drouet, actress, orphaned in childhood.
Ella Fitzgerald, singer, orphaned in childhood.
Samuel Goldwyn, film mogul, raised by relatives.
James Hetfield, singer, ophaned by cancer at 16.
Faith Hill, singer, adopted as an infant.
Billie Holiday, singer, intermittently abandoned in childhood.
John Lennon, musician, raised by his aunt and uncle.
George Lopez, comedian,raised by a grandmother.
Frances McDormand, best actress Academy Award winner, adopted as an infant.
Marilyn Monroe, entertainer, raised in foster care.
Babe Ruth, baseball star, raised in an orphanage.
Bessie Smith, singer, orphaned at age 9.
Barbara Stanwyck, actress, raised in foster homes from age 2.
Trent Reznor, orphaned when parents abandoned him at age 5 and raised by grandparents.
Jeordie White, of Marilyn Manson band, orphaned by father as an infant.
Art Clokey, creator of Gumby. Father died and mother abandoned him at age 11.
Science and business
George Washington CarverGeorge Washington Carver, scientist, inventor, orphaned while a slave.
Steven Paul Jobs, Apple Computer founder and executive, orphaned as infant.
Johannes Kepler, scientist, raised by grandmother.
Percy Spencer, inventor, orphaned in childhood.
Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy's restaurants, adopted as an infant.