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Some famous people who didn’t have kids . . .

June 2nd, 2010 · 21 Comments · Poetry, Politics, Real-life Adventure Tales, Weird Things About Me

Sans Sons —

a Song in Names Only





If you speak each name aloud or to yourself (rather than scan) it takes you on much more of a journey.
It starts in triplet, then opens up . . .


Jesus Christ 

Isaac Newton


Mary Magdalene

Mother Teresa

Florence Nightingale;

Joan of Arc

Lawrence of Arabia

Edward the Confessor,

Betsy Ross

Rosa Parks

Bert Parks

Susan B. Anthony

Arthur C. Clarke

Ralph J. Gleason

the Dali Lama

the Pope

the Babe

Howard Hughes

Amelia Earhart

and both the Wright brothers

Oliver Wendell Holmes

John Clellon Holmes

George Bernard Shaw




George Gershwin

George Balanchine

George Washington

Helen Keller

Helen Thomas

Helen Mirren

Louie Armstrong

Lionel Hampton

Lillian Hellman

Billie Holiday

Bonnie Raitt

Bettye LaVette




Salvador Dali

Jackson Pollock

David Hockney

Georgia O’Keefe

Mary Cassatt

Frida Kahlo











Tennessee Williams

Washington Irving

Mississippi John Hurt

Alexander Pope

William Blake

Henry Miller

Henry James

H.L. Mencken

T.S. Elliot

J.M. Barrie

Robert Louis Stevenson

Lewis Carroll

Noel Coward

Edward Albee

Virginia Woolf

George Eliot

Jane Austen

Simone de Beauvoir

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Emily Dickinson

Emily Bronte

Edith Wharton

Eudora Welty

Dorothy Parker

James Baldwin

Carlos Castaneda

Joseph Campbell

Raymond Chandler

Gore Vidal

Allen Ginsberg

Andy Warhol

Henri Cru

Sandy Koufax

Dr. Kellogg

Dr. Seuss

George Peabody

Edwin Hubble

Vaclav Havel







Queen Elizabeth I

Harriet Tubman I

Diane Sawyer

Annie Oakley

Molly Ivins

Gloria Steinem

Gertrude Stein

Edie Kerouac

Julia Child

Liza Minelli

Ginger Rogers

Mack Sennett

Billy Wilder

Victor Mature

Burgess Meredith

Montgomery Clift

Peter Ustinov

Rock Hudson

James Dean

Sal Mineo

Harry Dean Stanton

Patrick Swayze

Katherine Hepburn

Greta Garbo

Marilyn Monroe


Ava Gardner

Jacqueline Bisset

Bo Derek

Cameron Diaz

Lauren Hutton

Lara Flynn Boyle

Linda Evans

Daryl Hannah

Stockard Channing

Betty White

Bonnie Hunt

Marlo Thomas

Ellen Burstyn

Dick Cavett

Bill Maher

Bill Hicks

Jay Leno

Mitch Hedberg

Graham Chapman

Michael O’Donoghue

Gilda Radner

Rita Rudner

Brett Butler

Lily Tomlin

Chelsea Handler

Sarah Silverman

Joseph Haydn

Jimi Hendrix

Bill Monroe

Aaron Copeland

Cole Porter

Little Richard

Sonny Rollins

Charles Mingus

Garth Hudson

Lou Reed

Jim Morrison

Robert Hunter

Ron ‘Pigpen’ McKernon

Dave van Ronk

Tracy Chapman

Laurie Anderson

Dusty Springfield

Christine McVie

Debbie Harry

Dolly Parton

Stevie Nicks

and .. Janis


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


178   (and counting)  . . .  105 men /  73 women.


Researched and sequenced by Brian Hassett


Or here’s another cool list —  Great Americans” Not Born in America

Or the eternal life-afirming — Be The Invincible Spirit You Are

Or something to internalize — Love Is

Or if you just wanna dig the greatest live musical performances ever captured on film, there’s The Peaks from RockPeaks.



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21 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Rob Salmon // Jun 12, 2010 at 8:38 PM

    Man, that is a LOT of musicians and movie stars … would not have ever guessed that!

  • 2 Linda Ranson-Smith // Jun 14, 2010 at 5:38 PM

    I can see how it makes sense that it’s the choice for you.

  • 3 Lisa Daniels // Jul 9, 2010 at 5:02 PM

    Nice compilation. Best one I’ve found. Thanks.

  • 4 Deb Reul // Sep 14, 2010 at 9:17 PM

    You’re right! You *can* read that like a song! It starts with a stable waltz grounding, and then solos. Thanks for hippng me to it. It’s got a total rhythm — just like *all* your poetry. :-)
    And it’s a real feel-good piece, too.
    I hear ya!

  • 5 Hugh Reilly // Oct 10, 2010 at 9:58 AM

    It’s a conspiracy!!!

  • 6 Nigel Milner // Nov 6, 2011 at 10:09 AM

    Nice list. Nice order.

  • 7 Bonnie Peers // May 3, 2012 at 8:42 PM

    I can see how some might be better off without, but having my two kids was definitely the best decision I ever made. People who don’t have kids never know the love that that is.

  • 8 Barry Floch // Jun 26, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    In the voice of Johnny Carson, “I did not know that.”

  • 9 Bernie Thompson // Aug 17, 2012 at 11:31 PM

    Marilyn Monroe, Ann-Margaret, Jacqueline Bisset, Bo Derek … how did THAT never happen??????

  • 10 Joe Myles // Aug 18, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    or Debbie Harry, Dolly Parton and Stevie Nicks!!!!

  • 11 Samantha Graham // Sep 24, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    Thanks for this.

  • 12 Lewis McDermott // Nov 12, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    That’s so weird about Lewis Carroll and Dr. Suess and J. M. Barrie (Peter Pan) and Robert Louis Stevenson …

  • 13 Emmett Pratt // Feb 21, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    WOW !!!! That is one hell of a list!!!
    Took me about an hour to scroll down it!

  • 14 Al Robinson // Jul 14, 2013 at 10:10 AM

    Screamin Jay Hawkins picked up the slack — he had somewhere between 55 and 75 children! (seriously, literally)
    And Brando and Ray Charles had 27 between them!

  • 15 Mary Jo Sullivan-Hicks // Aug 1, 2013 at 10:41 PM

    Love ya Brian – and I’m happy you are exactly who you should be. I wouldn’t be who I am without my kids. They ground me and make realize there really is such a thing as unconditional love.

  • 16 Gil Johnson // Aug 2, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    Maybe this is one reason why Helen Mirren still looks hot at 67. This list contains about 80% of my favorite people in history, such as Mencken, Shaw, Havel, Dorothy Parker, Raymond Chandler, Joseph Campbell and, of course, Sandy Koufax.

  • 17 Mark Goldhammer // Aug 2, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    7 billion miracles is enough.

  • 18 Brian Humniski // Aug 3, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    I really enjoyed this list of people without the burden of kids. An alternate view and amazing amount of great literature that I think was partially the result of a life devoted to discovery of more than diapers and dinner.

  • 19 Juliana Moreira Leite // Sep 20, 2013 at 9:05 PM

    Loved this list Brian!!! This is awesome! Thank you for posting!

  • 20 Juliana Moreira Leite // Sep 20, 2013 at 9:06 PM

    Ps. I loove so many people from this list, Mingus, Billie, Stevie…

  • 21 June King // Jan 24, 2014 at 10:51 PM

    I love falling down the wonderful rabbithole of colorful Brianland!
    Just so you know … I have grown children, but know so so many people who have elected not to have kids and, overpopulation being the root of much of the world’s hardship (the taproot, anyway), if I were twenty or thirty-something today, I’d probably elect not to add to the population. I very much respect the decision NOT to procreate! Having done so, however, I will say that my offspring are exceptionally loveable people who add much to the world around themselves. Characters!

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