Non-Fiction Famous Biographers  

Walter Graves
35.3k views 97 items
A list of famous biographers who have documented the lives of some of the most important people of all time. All types of biographers have been listed including presidential biographers, historic biographers, and those who write non-fiction about Hollywood celebrities. With the introduction of the Nook, Kindle, and iPad with iBooks, reading is hot again. The famous biographers on this list have written accounts of people's lives that are often even better than fiction. This list is intended to help long-time readers, as well as newcomers alike with discovering (and rediscovering) some of the best biographers of all time.
list ordered by

Plutarch is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Biographers
Died at 75 (45-120) Plutarch was a Greek historian, biographer and essayist, known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia. He is considered today to be a Middle Platonist. Plutarch's surviving works seem to ...more

Samuel Johnson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Biographers
Died at 75 (1709-1784) Samuel Johnson, often referred to as Dr Johnson, was an English writer who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and ...more

Thomas Carlyle is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Biographers
Died at 86 (1795-1881) Biographies written: John Sterling and Frederick the Great Thomas Carlyle was a Scottish philosopher, satirical writer, essayist, historian and teacher. Considered one of the most important social commentators of his time, he presented many lectures ...more

Cornelius Nepos is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Biographers
Died at 76 (99 BC-23 BC) Cornelius Nepos was a Roman biographer. He was born at Hostilia, a village in Cisalpine Gaul not far from Verona. His Gallic origin is attested by Ausonius, and Pliny the Elder calls him Padi ...more

Martin Gilbert is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Biographers
age 82 Biographies written: Winston Churchill Sir Martin John Gilbert, CBE was a British historian and honorary Fellow of Merton College, University of Oxford. He was the author of over eighty books, including works on the Holocaust and ...more

Norman Mailer is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Biographers
Died at 84 (1923-2007) Biographies written: Marilyn Monroe, Lee Harvey Oswald, Gary Gilmore Norman Kingsley Mailer was an American novelist, journalist, essayist, playwright, film-maker, actor and political activist. In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, his book Armies of the Night was ...more

Elizabeth Gaskell is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Biographers
Died at 55 (1810-1865) Biographies written: Charlotte Brontë Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, née Stevenson, often referred to simply as Mrs Gaskell, was a British novelist and short story writer during the Victorian era. Her novels offer a detailed ...more

Thomas Moore is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Biographers
Died at 73 (1779-1852) Biographies written: Lord Byron, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, and Lord Edward Fitzgerald Thomas Moore was an Irish poet, singer, songwriter, and entertainer, now best remembered for the lyrics of "The Minstrel Boy" and "The Last Rose of Summer". He was ...more

Leslie Stephen is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Biographers
Died at 72 (1832-1904) Biographies written: Alexander Pope, Samuel Johnson, Jonathan Swift George Eliot and Thomas Hobbes Sir Leslie Stephen KCB was an English author, critic and mountaineer, and the father of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell.

Carl Sandburg is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Biographers
Died at 89 (1878-1967) Biographies written: Abraham Lincoln Carl August Sandburg was an American poet, writer, and editor who won three Pulitzer Prizes, two for his poetry and one for his biography of Abraham Lincoln. During his lifetime, Sandburg was ...more

Kathleen Jones is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Biographers
age 96 Biographies written: Katherine Mansfield Kathleen Jones was a former Professor of Social Policy and Head of Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of York, 1965–87 and Emeritus Professor since 1987. She lived in York, ...more

David McCullough is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Biographers
age 85 Biographies written: Harry Truman, John Adams, and Theodore Roosevelt David Gaub McCullough is an American author, narrator, historian, and lecturer. He is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award and a recipient of the Presidential ...more

Jenny Uglow is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Biographers
age 71 Biographies written: William Hogarth, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Thomas Bewick Jennifer Sheila Uglow OBE is a British biographer, historian, critic and publisher. Until retirement in 2013, she was an editorial director of Chatto & Windus. She has written critically ...more

James Boswell is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Biographers
Died at 55 (1740-1795) Biographies written: Samuel Johnson James Boswell, 9th Laird of Auchinleck, was a Scottish lawyer, diarist, and author born in Edinburgh. He is best known for the biography he wrote of one of his contemporaries, the English ...more

Merle Miller is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Biographers
Died at 67 (1919-1986) Biographies written: Harry S. Truman and Lyndon B. Johnson Merle Dale Miller was an American writer, novelist, and best-selling author who came out of the closet in an article in the New York Times Magazine on January 17, 1971, titled "What It ...more

Kitty Kelley is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Biographers
age 76 Biographies written: Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, and Nancy Reagan Kitty Kelley is an American journalist and author of several best-selling unauthorized biographies of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Nancy Reagan, the ...more

Jean Edward Smith is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Biographers
age 86 Biographies written: Ulysses S. Grant, John Marshall, and Lucius D. Clay Jean Edward Smith is a biographer and the John Marshall Professor of Political Science at Marshall University. He is also professor emeritus at the University of Toronto after having served as ...more

Jeffrey Morgan is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous Biographers
Biographies written: Alice Cooper, The Stooges Jeffrey Morgan is a Canadian writer and editor who is best known for being the authorized biographer of both Alice Cooper and Iggy Pop & The Stooges.

Lytton Strachey is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Biographers
Died at 52 (1880-1932) Giles Lytton Strachey was a British writer and critic. A founding member of the Bloomsbury Group and author of Eminent Victorians, he is best known for establishing a new form of biography in ...more

Roger Lewis is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Biographers
Biographies written: Anthony Burgess

Romain Rolland is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Biographers
Died at 78 (1866-1944) Biographies written: Gandhi, Michelangelo, Beethoven, and Leo Tolstoy Romain Rolland was a French dramatist, novelist, essayist, art historian and mystic who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1915 "as a tribute to the lofty idealism of his ...more

Nick Tosches is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous Biographers
age 69 Biographies written: Jerry Lee Lewis, Dean Martin, and Sonny Liston Nick Tosches is an American journalist, novelist, biographer, and poet. His 1982 biography of Jerry Lee Lewis, Hellfire, was called "the best rock n’ roll biography ever written" by

Thomas DiLorenzo is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Biographers
age 64 Biographies written: Abraham Lincoln Thomas James DiLorenzo is an American economics professor at Loyola University Maryland Sellinger School of Business. He identifies himself as an adherent of the Austrian School of economics. He ...more

A. N. Wilson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Biographers
age 68 Biographies written: Hilaire Belloc, John Milton, Leo Tolstoy, C. S. Lewis, Jesus Iris Murdoch, Sir Walter Scott, and John Betjeman Andrew Norman Wilson is an English writer and newspaper columnist, known for his critical biographies, novels, works of popular history and religious views. He is an occasional columnist for the ...more

Virginia Spencer Carr is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous Biographers
Died at 83 (1929-2012) Biographies written: Paul Bowles, Carson McCullers, and John Dos Passos Virginia Spencer Carr was a biographer of Carson McCullers, John Dos Passos and Paul Bowles. Carr was also a college professor for more than 25 years at Columbus State University in Columbus, ...more

Brenda Maddox is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Famous Biographers
age 83 Biographies written: Elizabeth Taylor, Rosalind Franklin, Nora Joyce, W. B. Yeats, and D. H. Lawrence Brenda Maddox, Lady Maddox FRSL is an American author, journalist, and biographer, who has lived in the UK since 1959. Born in Brockton, Bridgewater, Massachusetts, she graduated from Harvard ...more

Nirad C. Chaudhuri is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Famous Biographers
Died at 102 (1897-1999) Nirad C. Chaudhuri was a Bengali−English writer and man of letters. He was born in 1897 in Kishoreganj, then part of Bengal in British India, now in Bangladesh. Chaudhuri authored numerous works ...more

Andrea Cagan is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Famous Biographers
Andrea Cagan is an American writer and biographer. She has edited, and collaborated on more than fifteen books, including biographies of Diana Ross, Grace Slick, Joan Lunden, and Prem Rawat. She ...more

Richard Holmes is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Famous Biographers
Died at 65 (1946-2011) Biographies written: Coleridge and Mary Shelley Brigadier Edward Richard Holmes, CBE, TD, JP, known as Richard Holmes, was a British soldier and noted military historian, particularly well-known through his many television appearances. He was ...more

Irving Stone is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Famous Biographers
Died at 86 (1903-1989) Irving Stone was an American writer, chiefly known for his biographical novels of noted artists, politicians and intellectuals; among the best known are Lust for Life, about the life of Vincent ...more

Robert Lacey is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Famous Biographers
age 74 Biographies written: Queen Elizabeth II, 2nd Earl of Essex, Henry VIII, Princess Grace, Henry Ford, and Robert Devereux Robert Lacey is a British historian and biographer. He is the author of a number of bestselling biographies, including those of Henry Ford and Queen Elizabeth II, as well as works of popular ...more

Sidney Lee is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Famous Biographers
Died at 67 (1859-1926) Biographies written: William Shakespeare and Queen Victoria Sir Sidney Lee was an English biographer and critic. He was born Solomon Lazarus Lee at 12 Keppel Street, Bloomsbury, London and educated at the City of London School and at Balliol College, ...more

Thomas Jefferson Hogg is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Famous Biographers
Died at 70 (1792-1862) Biographies written: Percy Bysshe Shelley Thomas Jefferson Hogg was a British barrister and writer best known for his friendship with the Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Hogg was raised in County Durham, but spent most of his life ...more

Antonia Fraser is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Famous Biographers
age 86 Biographies written: Mary and Oliver Cromwell Lady Antonia Margaret Caroline Fraser, DBE, née Pakenham, is a British author of history, novels, biographies and detective fiction. She is the widow of the 2005 Nobel Laureate in ...more

Amanda Foreman is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Famous Biographers
age 50 Biographies written: Georgiana Cavendish Amanda Foreman is a film producer and screenwriter.

Peter Gay is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Famous Biographers
age 95 Biographies written: Mozart and Sigmund Freud Peter Gay is Sterling Professor of History Emeritus at Yale University and former director of the New York Public Library's Center for Scholars and Writers. Gay received the American Historical ...more

Humphrey Carpenter is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Famous Biographers
Died at 59 (1946-2005) Biographies written: W. H. Auden, J. R. R. Tolkien, Evelyn Waugh, Ezra Pound, Benjamin Britten Robert Runcie and Spike Milligan Humphrey William Bouverie Carpenter was an English biographer, writer, and radio broadcaster.

Richard Ellmann is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Famous Biographers
Died at 69 (1918-1987) Biographies written: James Joyce, Oscar Wilde and William Butler Yeats Richard David Ellmann was a prominent American literary critic and biographer of the Irish writers James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, and William Butler Yeats. He won the U.S. National Book Award for ...more

Russell Freedman is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Famous Biographers
age 89 Biographies written: Abraham Lincoln Russell A. Freedman is an American biogapher and the author of nearly 50 books for young people. He may be known best for winning the 1988 Newbery Medal with his work Lincoln: A Photobiography.

Piers Paul Read is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Famous Biographers
age 77 Biographies written: Alec Guinness Piers Paul Read, FRSL is an award-winning English novelist, historian and biographer. He was first noted in 1974 for a book of reportage Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors, later adapted as ...more

Hesketh Pearson is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list Famous Biographers
Died at 77 (1887-1964) Edward Hesketh Gibbons Pearson was a British actor, theatre director and writer. He is known mainly for his popular biographies; they made him the leading British biographer of his time, in ...more

Henri Troyat is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Famous Biographers
Died at 96 (1911-2007) Biographies written: Rasputin, Leo Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Ivan the Terrible, Gogol, Catherine the Great, Peter the Great, Anton Chekhov, Ivan Turgenev, and Maxim Gorky Henri Troyat was a Russian-born French author, biographer, historian and novelist.

Michael Holroyd is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Famous Biographers
age 83 Sir Michael De Courcy Fraser Holroyd CBE FRHistS FRSL is an English biographer.

Barbara Levick is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Famous Biographers
age 86 Barbara M. Levick is a British historian, specializing in ancient history. She was educated at St Hugh's College, Oxford, and, since 1959, has been a Fellow of St Hilda's College, Oxford. She is ...more

Deborah Baker is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Famous Biographers
age 59 Biographies written: Allen Ginsberg and Laura Riding Deborah Baker is a biographer and essayist. She is married to the writer Amitav Ghosh and lives in Brooklyn, Calcutta, and Goa. She is the author of A Blue Hand: The Beats in India, a biography ...more

James Parton is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Famous Biographers
Died at 69 (1822-1891) Biographies written: Benjamin Franklin, Aaron Burr, Horace Greeley, Andrew Jackson, Thomas Jefferson and Voltaire James Parton was an English-born American biographer who wrote books on the lives of Horace Greeley, Aaron Burr, Andrew Jackson, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Voltaire.

Simon Sebag-Montefiore is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Famous Biographers
age 53 Biographies written: Joseph Stalin and Grigory Potyomkin Simon Jonathan Sebag Montefiore is a British journalist, historian, and award-winning author of popular history books.

Max Brod is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Famous Biographers
Died at 84 (1884-1968) Biographies written: Franz Kafka Max Brod was a German-speaking Czech Jewish, later Israeli, author, composer, and journalist. Although he was a prolific writer in his own right, he is most famous as the friend and biographer ...more

Alanna Nash is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Famous Biographers

Vincent Cronin is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Famous Biographers
Died at 87 (1924-2011) Biographies written: Catherine the Great, Napoleon, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette Vincent Archibald Patrick Cronin FRSL was a British historical, cultural, and biographical writer, best known for his biographies of Louis XIV, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, Catherine the ...more