Character Listing


Characters of fiction, who helped to incite wars, revolutions, social upheaval, and more.  Some capture essential personality types: the miser, the obsessive leader, the womanizer, the matriarch, the victim, the hero.

"The 101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived is a riot. It's a brilliant concept, charmingly executed. Even when you disagree with their choices-and disagreeing is half the fun-Messrs. Lazar, Karlan, and Salter make such good, solid, and clever cases for their nominees that you have to nod in agreement or at least in admiration. From Odysseus to Bond, James Bond and Lilith to Mouse, Mickey Mouse, the selections are provocative, the writing lively, the discussion animated and engaging. Any book that can bring together Othello, Hiawatha, and Kermit T. Frog gets my vote. Over and over again, I found myself musing, why didn't I think of this? I'm insanely jealous. And grateful."

Tom Foster, author of How to Read Literature Like a Professor


Move your cursor over an underlined name in the list below to get a peek at what influence that character might have had.

The Marlboro Man 51 James Bond
Big Brother 52 Hansel and Gretel 
King Arthur 53 Captain Ahab 
Santa Claus (St. Nick) 54 Rick Blaine
Hamlet 55 The Ugly Duckling
Dr. Frankenstein's Monster 56 Loch Ness Monster (Nessie)
Siegfried 57 Atticus Finch
Sherlock Holmes 58 Valentine (St)
9  Romeo and Juliet 59 Helen (of Troy)
10 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 60 Batman
11 Uncle Tom 61 Uncle Sam
12 Robin Hood 62 Nancy Drew
13 Jim Crow 63 J. R. Ewing
14 Oedipus 64 Superman
15 Lady Chatterley 65 Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn
16 Ebenezer Scrooge 66 HAL 9000 (2001: A Space Odyssey)
17 Don Quixote 67 Kermit the Frog
18 Mickey Mouse 68 Sam Spade
19 The American Cowboy 69 Pied Piper
20 Prince Charming 70 Peter Pan
21 Smokey Bear 71 Hiawatha
22 Robinson Crusoe 72 Othello
23 Apollo and Dionysus 73 The Little Tramp
24 Odysseus 74 King Kong
25 Nora Helmer 75 Norman Bates
26 Cinderella 76 Hercules (Heracles)
27 Shylock 77 Dick Tracy
28 Rosie the Riveter 78 Joe Camel
29 Midas 79 Cat in the Hat
30 Hester Prynne 80 Icarus
31 The Little Engine That Could 81 Mammy
32 Archie Bunker 82 Sindbad
33 Dracula 83 Amos 'n' Andy
34 Alice in Wonderland 84 Buck Rogers (and Flash Gordon)
35 Citizen Kane 85 Luke Skywalker
36 Faust 86 Perry Mason
37 Figaro 87 Dr. Strangelove
38 Godzilla 88 Pygmalion
39 Mary Richards 89 Madame Butterfly 
40 Don Juan 90 Hans Beckert
41 Bambi 91 Dorothy Gale (Wizard of Oz)
42 William Tell 92 Wandering Jew
43 Barbie 93 Jay Gatsby
44 Buffy the Vampire Slayer 94 Buck (Jack London - Call of the Wild)
45 Venus and Cupid 95 Willy Loman
46 Prometheus 96 Betty Boop
47 Pandora 97 Ivanhoe
48 G. I. Joe 98 Elmer Gantry
49 Tarzan 99 Lilith
50 Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock 100 John Doe
101 Paul Bunyan


The 101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived