1881 births

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List of famous people who were born in 1881
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See also 1880s births, 1881

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  1. Anna Pavlova

    Anna Pavlova


    Anna Pavlovna (Matveyevna) Pavlova (Russian: Анна Павловна (Матвеевна) Павлова; February 12 [O.S. January 31] 1881 – January 23, 1931) was a Russian prima ballerina of the late 19th and the early 20th centuries. She was a principal artist of the Imperial Russian Ballet and the Ballets Russes of Sergei Diaghilev. Pavlova is most recognized for the creation of the role The Dying Swan and, with her own company, became the first ballerina to tour ballet around the world.

  2. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

    Mustafa Kemal Atatürk


    Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (19 May 1881  – 10 November 1938) was a Turkish army officer, revolutionary, and the first President of Turkey. He is credited with being the founder of the Republic of Turkey. His surname, Atatürk (meaning "Father of the Turks"), was granted to him in 1934 and forbidden to any other person by the Turkish parliament.

  3. Boy Capel

    Boy Capel


    Captain Arthur Edward "Boy" Capel CBE (1881 – 22 December 1919) was an English polo player, possibly best-remembered for being a lover and muse of fashion designer Coco Chanel.

  4. Pablo Picasso

    Pablo Picasso


    Pablo Ruiz y Picasso, also known as Pablo Picasso (/pɪˈkɑːs, -ˈkæs/; 25 October 1881 – 8 April 1973), was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, stage designer, poet and playwright who spent most of his adult life in France. As one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century, he is known for co-founding the Cubist movement, the invention of constructed sculpture, the co-invention of collage, and for the wide variety of styles that he helped develop and explore. Among his most famous works are the proto-Cubist Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907), and Guernica (1937), a portrayal of the Bombing of Guernica by the German and Italian airforces at the behest of the Spanish nationalist government during the Spanish Civil War.

  5. Gaby Deslys

    Gaby Deslys


    Gaby Deslys (4 November 1881 – 11 February 1920) was a danseuse, singer, and actress of the early 20th century from Marseilles, France. She selected her name for her stage career. It is an abbreviation of Gabrielle of the Lillies. During the 1910s she was exceedingly popular worldwide, making $4,000 a week in the United States alone. During the 1910s she performed several times on Broadway, at the Winter Garden Theater, and performed in a show with a young Al Jolson. Her dancing was so popular that The Gaby Glide was named for her.

  6. Cecil B. DeMille

    Cecil B. DeMille


    Cecil Blount DeMille (/dəˈmɪl/; August 12, 1881 – January 21, 1959) was an American filmmaker. Between 1913 and 1956, he made seventy features, both silent and sound films. He is acknowledged as a founding father of the Hollywood film industry, the most commercially successful producer-director in cinema history.

  7. Asta Nielsen

    Asta Nielsen


    Asta Nielsen (11 September 1881 – 24 May 1972), was a Danish silent film actress who was one of the most popular leading ladies of the 1910s and one of the first international movie stars. Seventy of Nielsen's 74 films were made in Germany where she was known simply as Die Asta (The Asta). Noted for her large dark eyes, mask-like face and boyish figure, Nielsen most often portrayed strong-willed passionate women trapped by tragic circumstances. Due to the erotic nature of her performances, Nielsen's films were heavily censored in the United States and her work remained relatively obscure to American audiences. She is credited with transforming movie acting from overt theatricality to a more subtle naturalistic style. Nielsen founded her own film studio in Berlin during the 1920s, but returned to Denmark in 1937 after the rise of Nazism in Germany. A private figure in her later years, Nielsen became a collage artist and an author.

  8. Louella Parsons

    Louella Parsons


    Louella Parsons (August 6, 1881 – December 9, 1972) was the first American movie columnist. She was retained by William Randolph Hearst, possibly because she had praised Hearst's mistress Marion Davies, and her columns were read by 20 million people in 400 newspapers worldwide.

  9. Julian Eltinge

    Julian Eltinge


    Julian Eltinge (May 14, 1881 – March 7, 1941), born William Julian Dalton, was an American stage and screen actor and female impersonator. After appearing in the Boston Cadets Revue at the age of ten in feminine garb, Eltinge garnered notice from other producers and made his first appearance on Broadway in 1904. As his star began to rise, he appeared in vaudeville and toured Europe and the United States, even giving a command performance before King Edward VII. Eltinge appeared in a series of musical comedies written specifically for his talents starting in 1910 with The Fascinating Widow, returning to vaudeville in 1918. His popularity soon earned him the moniker "Mr. Lillian Russell" for the equally popular beauty and musical comedy star.

  10. Béla Bartók

    Béla Bartók


    Béla Viktor János Bartók (ˈbɑrtɒk; March 25, 1881 – September 26, 1945) was a Hungarian composer and pianist. He is considered one of the most important composers of the 20th century; he and Liszt are regarded as Hungary's greatest composers (Gillies 2001). Through his collection and analytical study of folk music, he was one of the founders of comparative musicology, which later became ethnomusicology.

  11. Leo Carrillo

    Leo Carrillo


    Leopoldo Antonio Carrillo (August 6, 1881 – September 10, 1961), was an American actor, vaudevillian, political cartoonist, and conservationist.

  12. Noble Johnson

    Noble Johnson


    Noble Johnson (April 18, 1881 – January 9, 1978) was an African-American actor and film producer.

  13. P.G. Wodehouse

    P.G. Wodehouse


    Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, KBE (/ˈwʊdhs/; 15 October 1881 – 14 February 1975) was an English author and one of the most widely read humorists of the 20th century. Born in Guildford, the son of a British magistrate based in Hong Kong, Wodehouse spent happy teenage years at Dulwich College, to which he remained devoted all his life. After leaving school he was employed by a bank but disliked the work and turned to writing in his spare time. His early novels were mostly school stories, but he later switched to comic fiction, creating several regular characters who became familiar to the public over the years. They include the feather-brained Bertie Wooster and his sagacious valet, Jeeves; the immaculate and loquacious Psmith; Lord Emsworth and the Blandings Castle set; the Oldest Member, with stories about golf; and Mr Mulliner, with tall tales on subjects ranging from bibulous bishops to megalomaniac movie moguls.

  14. Jimmy Walker

    Jimmy Walker


    James John Walker, often known as Jimmy Walker and colloquially as Beau James (June 19, 1881 – November 18, 1946), was Mayor of New York City from 1926 to 1932. A flamboyant politician, he was a liberal Democrat and part of the powerful Tammany Hall machine. During a corruption scandal he was forced to resign.

  15. Francis Ford

    Francis Ford


    Francis Ford (born Francis Feeney, August 14, 1881 – September 5, 1953) was a prolific film actor, writer, and director. He was the mentor and elder brother of film director John Ford. He also appeared in many of John Ford's movies, including Young Mr. Lincoln and The Quiet Man.

  16. Pope John XXIII

    Pope John XXIII


    Pope Saint John XXIII (Latin: Ioannes XXIII; Italian: Giovanni XXIII) born Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, 25 November 1881 – 3 June 1963) reigned from 28 October 1958 to his death in 1963 and was canonized on 27 April 2014. Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was the fourth of fourteen children born to a family of sharecroppers who lived in a village in Lombardy. He was ordained to the priesthood on 10 August 1904 and served in a number of posts, including papal nuncio in France and a delegate to Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey. In a consistory on 12 January 1953 Pope Pius XII made Roncalli a cardinal as the Cardinal-Priest of Santa Prisca in addition to naming him as the Patriarch of Venice.

  17. Dave Williams

    Dave Williams


    David Owen Williams (February 7, 1881 – April 25, 1918) was a relief pitcher in Major League Baseball who played briefly for the Boston Americans during the 1902 season. Listed at 5 ft 11.5 in (1.82 m), 167 pounds (76 kg) Williams batted right-handed and threw left-handed. He was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

  18. Phelan Beale

    Phelan Beale


    Phelan Beale (May 23, 1881 – June 12, 1956) was a wealthy attorney and sportsman in New York City.

  19. Artur Phleps

    Artur Phleps


    Artur Gustav Martin Phleps (29 November 1881 – 21 September 1944) was an Austro-Hungarian, Romanian and German army officer who held the rank of SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS (lieutenant general) in the Waffen-SS during World War II. An Austro-Hungarian Army officer before and during World War I, he specialised in mountain warfare and logistics, and had been promoted to Oberstleutnant (lieutenant colonel) by the end of the war. During the interwar period he joined the Romanian Army, reaching the rank of General-locotenent (major general), and also became an adviser to King Carol. After he spoke out against the government, he was sidelined and forcibly retired from the army.

  20. Madge Syers

    Madge Syers


    Florence Madeline "Madge" Syers (née Cave, 16 September 1881 – 9 September 1917) was a British figure skater. She became the first woman to compete at the World Figure Skating Championships in 1902 by entering what was previously an all-male event and won the silver medal, which prompted the International Skating Union (ISU) to create a separate ladies' championship. Syers was the winner of the first two ladies' events in 1906 and 1907, and went on to become the Olympic champion at the 1908 Summer Olympics, the first Olympic Games to include figure skating. She also competed as a pairs skater with her husband Edgar Syers, winning the bronze medal at the 1908 Olympics.

  21. Lou Tellegen

    Lou Tellegen


    Lou Tellegen (November 26, 1881 – October 29, 1934) was a Dutch-born silent film and stage actor, director and screenwriter.

  22. Elsa Wagner

    Elsa Wagner


    Elsa Wagner (1881–1975) was a German actress.

  23. Axel Wenner-gren

    Axel Wenner-gren


    Axel Lennart Wenner-Gren (5 June 1881 - 24 November 1961) was a Swedish entrepreneur and one of the wealthiest men in the world during the 1930s.

  24. Leon Errol

    Leon Errol


    Leon Errol (July 3, 1881 - October 12, 1951), was an Australian-born American comedian and actor, popular in the first half of the 20th century for his appearances in vaudeville, on Broadway, and in films.

  25. Dot Farley

    Dot Farley


    Dot Farley (February 6, 1881 – May 2, 1971) was an American film actress. She appeared in 280 films between 1910 and 1950. Mainly known for her roles in short comedies, prolific with Mack Sennett in the silent days; she was later notable as the Mother-in-law of Edgar Kennedy in most of his series of short films at the RKO studios. She was born in Chicago, Illinois and died in South Pasadena, California.

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