Do good looks help people win fame, fortune, and power? Well, you might think so by looking at these historical titans! And yet many of these men and women are hardly remembered for their appearances. Think of people like Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, or Rosa Parks; we're mostly familiar with images of them from later in their lives. But if you dig through the archives, you’ll find that some of the most influential people in history were actually pretty dashing in their hay days. Ready to find out your ultimate historical crush?
1. Hermann Rorschach
No, this isn't a photo of Hollywood icon Brad Pitt in costume for a period drama. It's Hermann Rorschach, the inventor of the inkblot test used in psychological evaluations. Historians speculate that his father, who painted and taught art, inspired young Rorschach to examine the influence of art on the human mind. Though many experts of his day dismissed his inkblots as quackery, today Rorschach is hailed as a scientific pioneer.
2. Princess Fawzia Fuad of Egypt
Elegance personified, Princess Fawzia Fuad of Egypt is a picture of regal serenity. This scion of the Egyptian royal family – her brother was King Farouk – married Iran’s Crown Prince Muhammad Reza Pahlavi in 1939 when she was 17. He became the Shah two years later and she took the title of Empress. Yet it was not a happy marriage and divorce came in 1948. Fawzia subsequently returned to Egypt, remarried, and lived on until 2013.
3. Joseph Stalin
It may surprise you to see that the ruthless Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin once sported debonair good looks. You can see them in this police mugshot of the 23-year-old firebrand revolutionary from 1902. Apart from the appalling persecution of his own people, particularly during his subjugation of Eastern Europe, the diehard Communist is best remembered for his part in the defeat of the Germans in World War II.
4. Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin is, of course, most famed for his clown-like hobo character in the many silent films he made in the early days of Hollywood. But his strangely baggy pants, battered bowler hat, and unflattering toothbrush mustache actually disguised his notably handsome looks. Chaplin was born in the U.K. capital of London in 1889 and made his first visit to America 21 years later with a touring vaudeville company. Success came quickly after his first silver screen appearance in 1914. The comic tramp persona that brought him worldwide fame first appeared later that year in a short titled Kid Auto Races at Venice.