Famous People With Secret Talents

That Many People Have Never Heard About

Most celebrities tend to be remembered purely as one-note characters, but many of them also have other hidden talents that people may not be aware of.

We hear incredible stories of some of the historical or celebrity figures and what they are renowned for. However, many of these people also have other hidden talents that we may not know about.

Here is a list of 10 famous historical figures with hidden talents that may surprise you.



10. Sir Winston Churchill - A Painter


Sir Winston Churchill, a British politician and former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom was forty before he started painting. Over a 50 year period Churchill produced 500 works of art. His impressionist landscapes, were often painted while on holiday in exotic locations. Churchill had a genuine talent and his art work was demonstrated at an auction and 15 original pieces belonging to his late daughter in 2014. His most famous piece, ‘The Goldfish Pool at Chartwell’ went for £1.8 million and his ‘Tapestries at Blenheim’ sold for £1 million.


9. Ian Fleming - A Real Spy


Ian Fleming the author and creator of James Bond, the famous 007 Agent took inspiration from his own experience. During World War II, Ian Fleming was a Lieutenant Commander with the Naval Intelligence Division (NID) for British Navy. Fleming conducted projects for the Navy, including Operation Golden Eye, a top secret plan that provide defense support for Gibraltar.

Fleming used the name for his home in Jamaica where he wrote the Bond series. It was also later used for one of the films starring Pierce Brosnan as Agent 007.


8. James Stewart - An Air Force General


When World War II started, James Stewart was already a Oscar-winner. Even so, Stewart decided to put his Hollywood career on hold and join the Air Force, to use his skills as a pilot. His first application was rejected for being underweight. So he did everything to gain extra pounds and was able to join the Air Force as a private in his thirties.

He became a Pilot Instructor then took part in multiple high-risk missions. He earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses, achieved rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Even after the war, Stewart continued his military career and was promoted to Brigadier General. He finally retired from duty in 1968. In 1985 he was presented with the Medal of Freedom and the rank of Major General by President Ronald Reagan.

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7. Gerald Ford - An NFL Player


If Gerald Ford had not gone into politics, he could have been an NFL player. His university’s football team, the Wolverines, won national championships in 1932, 1933, and 1934. Ford was named the team’s most valuable player.

Ford received offers from two professional football teams, the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers, but Ford decided to forgo his football career and attend Yale University. Political opponents often referred to Ford’s athletic past. President Johnson wrote he “played too much football without a helmet.”


6. Emperor Hirohito - A Marine Biologist


History does not look too kindly upon Hirohito, the 124th Emperor of Japan, who ruled Japan between 1926 and 1989 and was in charge during World War II. However, politics aside, Hirohito favorite subject was, marine biology. It was his passion from a youngster and it continued even as an Emperor.

Emperor Hirohito was an expert as a Marine Biologist and even had a marine laboratory at the palace with several marine biologist on staff. He also specialized in hydrozoans and published several scientific papers.


5. Benjamin Franklin - Great Chess Player


Benjamin Franklin, the Founding Fathers of the United States, was also a polymath excelling in many areas including a great chess player, responsible for many firsts in the game. In 1999, his contributions were solidified when he was inducted into the US Chess Hall of Fame.

Franklin was also the first American player identified by name and his playing was documented in his autobiography. In addition, Franklin also wrote “The Morals of Chess,” an influential essay on the topic published in 1786, and is still used for reference today.


4. Paul Revere - A Forensic Dentist


In colonial times, sons normally take on the father's trade. So, the patriot, Paul Revere most famous for his Midnight Ride during the American Revolution, became a silversmith like his father. But economy forced him to study Dentistry and his notable client was Major General Joseph Warren. In the Battle of Bunker Hill, Major Warren was killed and was buried in a mass grave with other soldiers.

Warren’s family wanted to give him a proper funeral, and identification was only by his dental prosthetic that Revere made for him - the first case of identification through forensic dentistry.


3. Nostradamus - Wrote A Cookbook


Michel de Nostredame (aka Nostradamus) a 16th-century French philosopher predicted many tragic events throughout history, which matched up to certain events in hindsight. However, Nostradamus also wrote several books on Gastronomy - most notable on Jam. Although he gathered recipes from other sources, he included his own jam recipes. He also included several laxative based on rhubarb and roses, and how to turn hair blonde.


2. Lewis Wallace - A Bestselling Novelist


Lew Wallace was a lawyer and a Union General during the American Civil War. After the war, Wallace became a politician, then Governor of the New Mexico Territory. He made correspondence with outlaw William H. Bonney, or Billy the Kid. During peacetime, Wallace spent his free time writing. He first wrote a novel then a play.

His second novel, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, became the most successful novel of the 19th century. Beside the Bible, it was the best-selling book, until 1936, when 'Gone with the Wind' came out. To this day, it has never been out of print.


1. Thomas Jefferson - An Archaeologist


Thomas Jefferson, the Funding Fathers and the third President of the United States, was a man of many interests and talents. His interest and influence was also in Archaeology. In Virginia, he found a tribal burial mound, and inside were thousands of human remains of people, both adults and children.

From a scientific perspective, Jefferson employed systematic methods of unearthing and exploring the burial mound. He took notes of the discovery. Notes on the State of Virginia, officially marking the first published paper on archaeology in America.

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