Culture 19 Celebrities Who Were Orphaned as Children  

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List of Famous Orphans, loosely ranked by fame and popularity. Some very famous people were left orphaned after their parents died or abandoned their families. Famous political leaders, actors, authors and musicians have all been orphans. Some celebrities lost their parents when they were very young, while others became orphans when they were teenagers. These famous people were either raised by family or placed in orphanages and foster homes.

Who is the most famous orphan? Marilyn Monroe tops our list. There is some discrepancies about the identity of Marilyn Monroe's father, but by all accounts he was not present during her childhood. Her mother was mentally unstable and placed Monroe, then known by the name Norma Jean Baker, with a foster family. When Monroe was seven she was declared a ward of the state. She was raised by her mother's friend for a few years, but she later spent time in an orphanage, more foster homes and with other family members.

Malcolm X's father died when Malcolm X was just six years old. He died under suspicious circumstances in a streetcar accident, but the family suspected that he was murdered by a white racist group. When Malcolm X was 12, his mother suffered a nervous breakdown and spent the next 24 years in a state hospital. Malcolm X lived in foster homes for a few years and eventually he stayed with his half-sister.

Do you think that being an orphan played into the success of these famous folks. Share your thoughts in the comments section.
Eleanor Roosevelt is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 19 Celebrities Who Were Orphaned as Children
Photo: Metaweb (FB)/Public domain
Eleanor Roosevelt's mother, Anna Rebecca Hall, died from diphtheria in 1892. The next year, when Roosevelt was 9 years old, her father Elliott died from the same disease. She was raised by her maternal grandmother.

Age: Dec. at 78 (1884-1962)

Birthplace: New York City, Area code 917, Contiguous United States, New York, United States of America, + more

Also Ranked

#30 on The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models

#2 on The Most Loved American First Ladies

#7 on The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History

#11 on The Most Powerful Women Of All Time

see more on Eleanor Roosevelt
Malcolm X is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 19 Celebrities Who Were Orphaned as Children
Photo: Marion S. Trikosko/via Wikimedia Commons/Public domain
Malcolm X's father, Earl Little, died when Malcolm was just six years old. He died under suspicious circumstances in a streetcar accident, but the family suspected that he was murdered by a white racist group. When Malcolm was 12, his mother Louise suffered a nervous breakdown and spent the next 24 years in a state hospital. Malcolm X lived in foster homes for a few years, and eventually he stayed with his half-sister.

Age: Dec. at 40 (1925-1965)

Birthplace: North Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska, United States of America

Also Ranked

#98 on The Most Important Leaders in World History

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Edgar Allan Poe is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 19 Celebrities Who Were Orphaned as Children
Photo: Metaweb (FB)/Public domain
Edgar Allan Poe's father, actor David Poe, Jr., abandoned the family when Poe was an infant. His mother Elizabeth died from pulmonary tuberculosis when Poe was just two years old. He was raised by a foster family.

Age: Dec. at 40 (1809-1849)

Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America

Also Ranked

#6 on The Best Writers of All Time

#6 on The Best Novelists of All Time

#2 on The Greatest American Writers of All Time

#24 on People We Wish Were Still Alive

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Marilyn Monroe is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 19 Celebrities Who Were Orphaned as Children
Photo: Antonio MarĂ­n Segovia/flickr/CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
There is some discrepancies about the identity of Marilyn Monroe's father, but by all accounts, he was not present during her childhood.  Her mother was mentally unstable and placed Monroe, then known by the name Norma Jean Baker, with a foster family. When Monroe was seven, she was declared a ward of the state. She was raised by her mother's friend for a few years, but she later spent time in an orphanage, more foster homes, and with other family members.

Age: Dec. at 36 (1926-1962)

Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States of America

Also Ranked

#20 on The Most Beautiful Women of All Time

#60 on The Best Actresses in Film History

#31 on People We Wish Were Still Alive

#61 on The Hottest Celebrities of All Time

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