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

June 2nd, 2010 · 36 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 Happy Hooker

Howard Hughes

Amelia Earhart

and both the Wright brothers

Oliver Wendell Holmes

John Clellon Holmes

George Bernard Shaw




T.S. Elliot

W.H. Auden

H.L. Mencken

George Gershwin

George Balanchine

George Washington

Louie Armstrong

Lionel Hampton

Lillian Hellman

Helen Keller

Helen Thomas

Helen Mirren

Billie Holiday

Bettye LaVette

Bettie Page




Salvador Dali

David Hockney

Jackson Pollock

Lee Krasner

Mary Cassatt

Frida Kahlo











Tennessee Williams

Washington Irving

Mississippi John Hurt

Robert Louis Stevenson

Alexander Pope

William Blake

Thomas Hardy

Henry James

D.H. Lawrence

E.M. Forster

J.M. Barrie

George R.R. Martin

Lewis Carroll

Noel Coward

Edward Albee

Virginia Woolf

George Eliot

Isak Dineson

Jane Austen

Willa Cather

Margaret Mitchell

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Alice B. Toklas

Joyce Carol Oates

Katherine Anne Porter

Katherine Mansfield

Flannery O’Connor 

Emily Dickinson

Emily Bronte

Edith Wharton

Eudora Welty

Harper Lee

Amy Tan

Anaïs Nin

Dorothy Parker

Raymond Chandler

James Baldwin

Joseph Campbell

Carlos Castaneda

Ricky Jay

Jean Genet

Jerzy Kosinski

Seymour Hersh

John Ashbery

Lester Bangs

Gore Vidal

Allen Ginsberg

Henri Cru

Ralph Nader

Jerry Brown

Andy Warhol

Keith Haring

Merce Cunningham

Ahmet Ertegun

Brian Epstein

Sandy Koufax

Dr. Kellogg

Dr. Seuss

George Peabody

Amy Clampitt

Son House

Nikola Tesla

Edwin Hubble

Vaclav Havel











Queen Latifah

Queen Elizabeth I

Eva Perón

Ma Rainey

Harriet Tubman

Nina Totenberg

Diane Sawyer

Dian Fossey

Annie Oakley

Angela Davis

Molly Ivins

Maggie Estep

Edith Head

Emma Goldman

Gertrude Stein

Gloria Steinem

Georgia O’Keefe

Alberta Hunter

Candace Bushnell

Carson McCullers

Camille Paglia

Fran Lebowitz

Simone de Beauvoir

Helen Gurley Brown

E. Jean Carroll

Edie Kerouac

Jan Kerouac

Joanne Kyger

Julia Child

Janet Reno

Liz Smith

Rachael Ray

Suze Orman

Monica Seles

Billie Jean King

Martina Navratilova

Jackie Joyner-Kersee

Big Mama Thornton

Big Joe Turner

Blind Lemon Jefferson

Liza Minelli

Ginger Rogers

Imogene Coco

Coco Chanel

Mack Sennett

Billy Wilder

Burgess Meredith

Montgomery Clift

Peter Ustinov

Hal Ashby

Jim Nabors

Rock Hudson

River Phoenix

James Dean

Sal Mineo

Bud Cort

Patrick Swayze

Sam Rockwell

Terence Stamp

Mickey Rourke

Ralph Fiennes

Alan Rickman

Charles Laughton

Christopher Walken

Harry Dean Stanton

Katherine Hepburn

Greta Garbo

Jean Harlow

Mae West

Carole Lombard

Paulette Goddard

Claudette Colbert

Tallulah Bankhead

Elsa Lanchester

Lillian Gish

Marilyn Monroe


Anita Ekberg

Elke Sommer

Ava Gardner

Linda Evans

Lauren Hutton

Jacqueline Bisset

Stephanie Powers

Morgan Fairchild

Cameron Diaz

Carmen Electra

Samantha Fox

Bo Derek

Ashley Judd

Jane Lynch

Kim Cattrall

Eva Longoria

Marisa Tomei

Portia de Rossi

Renee Zellweger

Lara Flynn Boyle

Jennifer Aniston

Winona Ryder

Fran Drescher

Frances Farmer

Daryl Hannah

Shelley Duvall

Valerie Perrine

Brenda Vaccaro

Stockard Channing

Shirley Booth

Julie Christie

Betty White

Bonnie Hunt

Jennifer Tilly

Kathy Bates

Linda Blair

Carol Kane

Madeline Kahn

Marlo Thomas

Cicely Tyson

Sandra Oh

Leslie Bibb

Swoozie Kurtz

Sarah Paulson

Kristy McNichol

Wendi McClendon-Covey

Allison Janney

Carla Gugino

Marsha Mason

Anjelica Huston

Dick Cavett

Oliver Hardy

Buck Henry

Bill Hicks

Bill Maher

Jay Leno

Mitch Hedberg

Ricky Gervais

Garry Shandling

Graham Chapman

Michael O’Donoghue

Gilda Radner

Brett Butler

Lily Tomlin

Kathy Griffin

Jan Hooks

Nora Dunn

Cheri Oteri

Chelsea Handler

Janeane Garofalo

Ellen DeGeneres

Elayne Boosler

Lizz Winstead

Megan Mullally

Margaret Cho

Susie Essman

Sarah Silverman

Syd Barrett 

Sid Vicious

Johnny Winter

Edgar Winter

Bill Monroe

Guy Lombardo

Glenn Gould

Aaron Copland

Cole Porter

Charley Patton

Eddie Cochran

Little Richard

Sonny Rollins

Louis Jordan

Lee Morgan

King Curtis

Sidney Bechet 

Billy Strayhorn

Stephane Grappelli

Luther Vandross

Johnny Mathis

Freddie Mercury

Nick Drake

Dobie Gray

Tim Hardin

Garth Hudson

Gram Parsons

Mike Bloomfield

Rory Gallagher

Bob Welch

Lou Reed

Jim Morrison

J.J. Cale

John Cage

Jeff Beck

Jeff Buckley

Joey Ramone

Johnny Ramone

Dee Dee Ramone

Tommy Ramone

Vince Welnick

Ron ‘Pigpen’ McKernon

Stevie Ray Vaughan

Sonny Boy Williamson

Long John Baldry

Dave Van Ronk

Nash the Slash

Robert Smith

Tupac Shakur

Billy Preston

Burton Cummings

Nicky Hopkins

Ellie Greenwich

Bessie Smith

Bonnie Raitt

Mavis Staples

Marcia Ball

Tracy Chapman

Laurie Anderson

Karen Carpenter

Mary Chapin Carpenter

Gloria Gaynor

Amy Winehouse

Dusty Springfield

Dolly Parton

Debbie Harry

Fiona Apple

Nanci Griffith

Nona Hendryx

Stevie Nicks

Christine McVie

Joan Armatrading 

Joan Jett

Janis Ian


and .. . .. Janis.


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


365  (and counting)  . . .  179 men /  186 women


Researched and sequenced by Brian Hassett


We strive for accuracy.
Any corrections or additions appreciated
in the comments below
or at:

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =


Criteria for exclusion / inclusion:

If someone ever sired or birthed a child, obviously they’re not included.

If someone adopted a child, they’re not included.

If someone died as a teenager too young to have really lived the possibility — say, Anne Frank or Ritchie Valens — they’re not included.

If someone died childless, but had begun procreation — say, Charlotte Bronte who died while pregnant with her first, or Buddy Holly whose wife was pregnant when his plane went down — they’re not included.

If someone never sired / birthed a child, or adopted, but married someone with children — say, George Washington or Marlo Thomas — they are included since they didn’t personally birth kids or adopt before or after marrying someone who happened to have children.

All living persons of childbearing age are excluded — with the occasional exception of someone in their later years who never had a child and made clear they do not intend to have one.


= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =


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

Or the eternal life-affirming — 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



Or here’s my latest book if you wanna check that out

full_cover12 copy


You can read tons of people’s raving reviews and reactions here or here.


Or here’s a video “performance” version of the list above . . . 



by Brian Hassett      


Tags: ·····

36 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!

  • 22 Joe Myles // Oct 30, 2014 at 1:23 AM

    wow … this is quite the list!!!

  • 23 lutus // Mar 28, 2017 at 8:25 PM

    Good list but some wrong, Dostoievski had 4 children.

  • 24 Brian // Mar 28, 2017 at 8:45 PM

    Thank you so much! Removed.

    I don’t know how that happened. But it’s the first mistake anyone’s caught in about 5 years — and this page is read by a ton of people every day. 🙂

    If you — or anyone else — notices any errors, please let me know and I’ll remove immediately.

    Or, of course, has any additions.

    Good thing I just added ol’ Jerzy Kozinski last week — traded one male Eastern European author for another. 🙂

    Thanks again!

  • 25 Jojo // Jul 19, 2017 at 2:35 AM

    There are some that shouldn’t be in the list
    Henry Miller had three children
    Florence Griffith Joyner had a daughter
    Jim Croce had one son

  • 26 Brian // Jul 19, 2017 at 2:46 AM

    Fantastic! Thanks!
    All 3 checked, confirmed and removed.

  • 27 Jojo // Jul 19, 2017 at 4:25 AM

    And these too:
    Fergie/one son
    Noel Redding/one son
    Charles Mingus/four children
    Jimmy Reed (blues musician)/eight children
    Rita Rudner (adopted)
    Ellen Burstyn (adopted)

  • 28 Brian // Jul 21, 2017 at 11:22 PM

    Wow! Thanks! Well done. Coulda used you 7 years ago when I started this thing. 🙂

  • 29 Brandon // Aug 9, 2017 at 1:47 AM

    I noticed Jimi Hendrix is on the list, but DNA has proved that he had at least two children, Tamika Laurice James-Hendrix and James Sundquist.

    And Victor Mature had a daughter named Victoria.

    Great list otherwise!

  • 30 Brandon // Aug 9, 2017 at 3:44 AM

    Unless I’m mistaken, here are some possible additions that I don’t believe are listed:

    Glenn Gould (classical pianist)
    Bob Welch (musician)
    Louis Jordan (musician)
    Jeff Beck (musician)
    Steve Miller (musician)
    Lee Morgan (jazz musician)
    Terence Stamp (English actor)

  • 31 Brian // Aug 9, 2017 at 3:36 PM

    Hey Brandon —

    Thanks for the corrections and additions!
    They all check out . . . and page updated. 🙂

  • 32 Episode 79-part two, 11 Childless not by Choice Women who Changed the World - Childless Not By Choice // Jan 22, 2018 at 12:25 PM

    […] […]

  • 33 Marissa // Sep 3, 2018 at 1:33 PM

    Hey Brian, I have some more to add to the list:
    Elsa Lancaster
    Wendi McClendon Covey
    Jennifer Tilly
    Sarah Paulson
    Carla Gugino
    Sam Rockwell
    Leslie Bibb
    Katherine Hepburn
    Jay (and wife Mavis) Leno
    Robert Smith (the Cure) & wife Mary Poole

  • 34 Brian // Sep 5, 2018 at 9:27 AM

    Thanks! Good ones! All duly checked out and added.

  • 35 Sagalina // Nov 14, 2018 at 11:25 PM

    You forgot Ralph Fiennes, I have such a crush on him, he was so beautiful in The English Patient

  • 36 Brian // Nov 21, 2018 at 6:34 PM

    Okay — Thanks for the update! Now added. 🙂

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