LEGEND: JASON MOMOA

Jason Momoa and action heroes are basically the same thing. The self-described “savage” has many different sides that the world doesn’t know. He is part artist, part big kid and overall softie. But what else do we not know about the rugged hunk?

A Softie Really

He was thrown into the public eye from the second he became Khal Drogo in the first season of Game of Thrones, but now the world knows him as Aquaman. The first Aquaman trailer has created a frenzy, so we will see what the future holds for this character. Yet for now, here are some fascinating facts about him to keep you enthused.

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Growing Up A Misfit

Momoa grew up feeling like a misfit, and this feeling never really left him, even when, he left for the big bright lights of Hollywood. But this would later change.

Game Of Thrones Got Him On The Map

After that season on Game of Thrones, he stated that many casting directors he met, didn’t think he could speak English. However, he says this was definitely an improvement from the years of trying, when casting directors didn’t even know he existed. “People think I just came out of nowhere,” he says, “but I’ve been hiding in plain sight for a long time.”

Back To Hawaii

Momoa’s father was a Native Hawaiian painter, and his mother was a photographer of mixed European and Native American ancestry. He was raised by his mother, and mostly grew up in Iowa, until he moved back to Hawaii to his dad in his twenties.

Love At First Sight

Momoa and his wife Lisa Bonet are couple goals personified, but how they met is an interesting tale. Momoa has had a crush on her since he saw her on TV at the ripe old age of eight, where he said to his mother ‘I want that one’. Years later in 2005, he ended up meeting her at a jazz club through mutual friends. He took her for a meal of Guinness and grits, and he says when he realised she loved Guiness too, it sealed the deal. Now they are now married with two stunning kids. #jealous

Coolest Step-Dad Award

While Momoa has two children with Bonet, he is also the stepdad to actress Zoe Kravitz, Bonet and Lenny Kravitz’s daughter. Zoe has spoken of the love she has for her family, and how their situation may not be conventional, but that they all love each other. Lenny and Momoa are friends and constantly post on social media supporting each other. If he was our step-dad we would be very happy.

Keeping Shtum

Momoa could have been a member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) if two other opportunities had worked out. Momoa auditioned for a role in Guardians of the Galaxy, where he auditioned with Chris Pratt. Momoa still hasn’t revealed what role he auditioned for, but we think it was probably Drax the Destroyer. He also remains tight lipped about the role he met with the Russo Brothers (directors of The Winter Soldier, Civil War, and Infinity War) to talk about. He did say he auditioned to be a villain.

Deep Roots

Momoa is proudly Hawaiian and is in actual fact, the first Hawaiian superhero on the big screen. As most Hawaiian mythological gods are water gods, he has said it is a dream to be able to bring Aquaman to life. We can’t really imagine it being anyone else.

Baywatch Babe

The beaches of Baywatch were Momoa’s home from 1999-2001. His role of lifeguard Jason Ioane spurred Momoa’s desire to pursue acting full time, but was desperate to rid himself of his Baywatch stigma, so went to study acting full time. The role of Khal Drogo in Game Of Thrones fixed that stigma for sure.

Children’s Names

Although Bonet and Momoa were officially married in 2017, they had two children almost ten years before. Both have Hawaiian names as a tribute to Momoa’s background. Daughter Lola Lolani (2007) means “royal hawk.” Son Nakoa-Wolf (2008) means brave warrior.

Real Life Aquaman

Even though he never finished his degree, some would say that it is somewhat fortuitous that the man who studied marine biology in university is now playing Aquaman. Momoa studied in Iowa for a short time, before transferring to Colorado.

Exercise Regime

Before his Conan role, Momoa never lifted heavy weights. His exercise regimen was running, boxing, surfing and climbing for fun. Momoa. For his diet, Momoa mainly eats lean meat and green vegetables, with some room  of course saved for Guinness. He says he wishes he could have roles that involved eating fries and drinking Guiness. As soon as he finished filming he was back on to bread and butter all day every day and dropped the weights.

Director’s Chair

Momoa’s directing ambitions have come to fruition. Frontier, a netflix series in which he plays a part-Irish, part-Native American outlaw, has been so successful, that the third season is on its way soon for release.  He of course plays his usual character, Game Of Thrones Meets Braveheart.

Hiding A Secret

Momoa Revealed that he found out in September 2013 that he got the part of the coveted role of Aquaman, but couldn’t tell anyone for years about it. He remembers that he was broke at the time, and it was very hard to keep a secret. Now 5 years later the movie is here and so are his abs.

Passion For Music

Momoa’s love of guitar led him to start his own collection, which includes a 1959 Gibson Les Paul previously owned by Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page. The guitar is a gift that he gave himself for earning the role of Aquaman. According to Momoa, there are only 100 of that particular guitar left in the world and he owns number nine.

Soft And Gentle At Heart

One of Momoa’s favorite past times is pastel painting, which he started while traveling in Paris. Momoa credits his mom for his interest in painting and traveling, since her role as a photographer made her someone who was “always searching, always seeing.” He’s more than just a pretty face and insane abs.

Guiness Lover

His Instagram followers will know that Momoa loves his Guinness, and this fact wasn’t lost on Guinness. The company created their first sour, “Mano Brew” specifically for Momoa back in 2016.

Antics Off Set

Nicole Kidman, who plays Aquaman’s mother in the movie, was one of only a few people who didn’t get the brunt of Momoa’s silliness during filming. Amber Heard had the habit of hiding in a book to avoid Momoa, so Momoa ripped out the last ten pages.

Steals Souvenirs

Momoa always keeps souvenirs from his characters. He still has a prop tongue Khal Drogo ripped out of someone’s mouth in Game of Thrones.

Lover Of The Outdoors

Momoa enjoys the nature when working. He likes the challenge of filming with the green screen, however, he much prefers filming in natural surroundings, “the rain and the dirt and the mud, it makes it easier to act. In comparison, green screen is just months of looking and waving at nothing. ”

Aqua Man Tatts

Aside from being incorporated into Aquman’s design, Momoa’s tattoos actually inspired the heavily tattooed look that some fans have complained about. Director Zack Snyder wanted Aquaman to have Polynesian tattoos since his connection that Polynesian cultures have to water: The kind of connection that led Momoa to say “I’m Hawaiian bro” when asked if he’s a good swimmer.

Never Give Up On Your Dreams

Before nailing a role in Stargate: Atlantis in 2005, Momoa lived in an Airstream trailer in Valencia and didn’t know what he was going to do for money. So if this is anything to learn from, it is never to give up on your dreams.

Friendship Rings

As a sign of respect and friendship, Lenny Kravitz and Jason Momoa always show support for each other. Lenny recently posted on his Instagram, that he was at the premiere of Aquaman, and Jason just bought friendship skull rings for them both. We love their family dynamics.

Getting Down On Screen

The big guy admitted that love scenes are difficult for him to do, and especially in GOT there was a rape scene that he said he apologised to Emilia Clarke for after.

Scarface

Momoa has a white mark on his left eyebrow, where scar tissue now prevents any hair from growing back. Momoa got the scar in 2008 when a man hit him with a pint glass, resulting in 140 stitches. Momoa suspected the attack was part of a gang initiation for the man who assaulted him. Momoa says it helped him to get more tough-guy roles.

The Haka

Jason Momoa just broke the internet, with his rendition of the Haka on the blue carpet of his Aquaman Premiere. He stood with his kids, being the cool father that he is, and orchestrated an impressive rendition of the tribal ritual. Standing there casually in his black vest and merman trident. The video has totally gone viral.

Coolest Dad Award

“My kids are always like, ‘Why do people always want to take pictures with you?’ and I’m like, ‘Because I’m your Dada, and you’re my daughter. That’s why.’ It’s definitely mostly because of Game of Thrones.”’

LEGEND: TOM CRUISE

1. We Could Be Watching The Latest ‘Tom Mapother’ Film

‘Cruise’ is actually Tom’s middle name, with his real last name being ‘Mapother’.

2. He Had An Abusive Father…

Cruise has described his father as an abusive one, “a bully coward”. He left his mum when he was young, so Tom took up local jobs (like mowing neighbours’ lawns) to help his mom with the bills.

3…And Was Bullied At School

Cruise was regularly bullied, and had to attend 15 different schools in 10 years.

4. He Could Have Been A Priest

Cruise didn’t always want to be an actor, in fact aged 14 he planned on becoming a Catholic Priest, attending a Seminary (basically a college where you study theology). It didn’t work out however as he got kicked out for stealing alcohol.

5. He Could Also Have Been A Wrestler

Cruise was a wrestler in high school and originally planned on going professional. However, a knee injury meant that he had to quit the wrestling team, and that’s when he took up drama classes and his interest in acting begun.

6. He Held A Number Of Regular Jobs…

Before he got his big break, Tom worked as a bus boy, porter and table cleaner.

7…And Claims Scientology Cured His Dyslexia

Yes, Cruise used to suffer from dyslexia, but says he was cured by Scientology.

8. He Dressed Up In A Bra And Heels To Accept An Award

In 1994, he was awarded man of the year by ‘Harvard’s Hasty Pudding Club’, known for its productions that feature Harvard men in drag. Rising to the occasion, he accepted the award wearing a bra and heels.

9. He Auditioned For A New Wife

Cruise split up with Penelope Cruz in 2004 because she was unwilling to fully embrace Scientology. It is understood that he then allowed the organization to audition actresses to be his future spouse, all under the guise of ‘casting’ for a Mission: Impossible film.

10. He Doesn’t Like Psychologists

It has been reported that when Cruise was filming War of the Worlds he overheard Steven Spielberg praising a psychiatrist who had helped a family member, causing him to send a Scientology group to picket the psychiatrist’s office. He has also publicly criticized Brooke Shields for her documented use of antidepressants. This is all because Scientology states that psychologists are ‘antisocial enemies of the people’.

11. He Was A Box Office First

Cruise is the first actor to appear in five consecutive films that grossed more than $100 million in the US. These were A Few Good Men, The Firm, Interview with the Vampire, Mission: Impossible and Jerry Maguire.

12. He Could End Scientology If He Wanted To

Tom Cruise is the main face of Scientology in the world today, and in early 2017, Leah Remini in an interview with Bill Maher stated that because of his high standing, he “has the power to end Scientology if he wanted to”.

13. He Could Have Been Iron Man…

Cruise was in talks to play the popular iron-clad Avenger, but can you imagine anyone other than Robert Downey Jr. in the role?

14…And He Has A Day Named After Him In Japan

Yes, in Japan the 10th of October is’ Tom Cruise Day’. This is mainly down to the large number of times he has visited the country.

LEGEND: TOM HOLLAND


British actor Tom Holland swung his way into theaters—and our hearts—with the release of Spider-Man: Homecoming earlier this summer. His comedic timing, swoon-worthy accent and acrobatic stunts have charmed moviegoers across the globe, and the film has made almost $600 million worldwide. Though this is hardly the start of his acting career, the 21-year-old has flown under the radar until now, and everyone wants to know more. Here are a few fun facts you might not have known about the Spider-Man star. 

1. His first role was in a West End musical 

The West End is London’s Broadway, but Tom nabbed a role in Billy Elliot the Musical without ever acting before. It did take him eight auditions and two years of training before he took the stage in 2008 in this show about a young boy discovering his love for ballet despite his father’s disapproval. Though he was originally cast as Billy’s best friend Michael, he began playing the title role full-time after only a couple months of performances. Not only could he dance, but he was also known for his acrobatics in the show, including a flip after running up a wall. He played Billy for two years, finishing his run just before his 14th birthday. 

2. He went to the same college as Adele

Tom attended the BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology, which is known for its notable alumni: Adele, Amy Winehouse, Jessie J and Leona Lewis, to name just a few.  

3. He’s part Irish

Despite his British AF accent, Tom isn’t 100 percent British. His “granny” lives in Tipperary, and he told RTÉ he has a “huge family back in Ireland.” He’s also spoken Gaelic in his film The Pilgrimage and calls Dublin one of his favorite cities. So who knows, maybe we’ll see him on-screen in a kilt someday.

4. He loves Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal”

When PEOPLE asked him what song always makes him dance, “Smooth Criminal” was the obvious choice. “If that song just came on now, you’d see an amazing routine,” he said. Unfortunately, he didn’t demonstrate.

5. His first film generated serious Oscar buzz

Tom’s first movie, The Impossible, was based on the real-life story of a family that got separated on vacation after a devastating tsunami hit their resort. Tom played oldest son Lucas, who spent much of the film trying to save his mother, played by Naomi Watts, from dying. Tom spent five months in Thailand and a water tank in Spain filming the incredible obstacles and journey this family undergoes to find each other again.

Naomi had nothing but praise for his performance, particularly since he was only 13 years old at the time. “Tom is a beyond gifted actor,” she said. “He’s just a raw, open talent that’s so easy to work with.”

6. Tom is the youngest actor to ever play Spider-Man

Tom is also the only teenager to play the role—his predecessors Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield were 27 and 26, respectively, when they were cast. 

7. He found out he got the role from an Instagram post

“I was in my bed scrolling through Instagram,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “It had been about a month since my audition. And Marvel just posted a photo saying go to our website and find out who the next Spider-Man is. I went on the Marvel website on my computer and there it was: The new Spider-Man is Tom Holland. I went ballistic, like absolutely nuts.” Who wouldn’t?

8. He loves his dog Tess

His Instagram is full of photos of his adorable pitbull. Tom FaceTimes her when they’re apart, and he’s brought her to interviews before. He even has a painting of her, which he calls “the best present ever.” So adorable.

9. His favorite Spider-Man prop was super expensive

It was the Lego Death Star! “It was delicate and we only had seven of them and we had to break them,” Tom told IGN. “And Jacob [who played Ned] kept breaking them too early.” Plus, they were $500 each.

10. His comedian dad wrote a book about him 

The humorous memoir, Eclipsed, chronicles Tom’s rising career and how it began to outshine his dad’s before he was even a teenager. For a sneak peek into Tom’s childhood, find the book on Amazon.

11. Spider-Man: Homecomingwasn’t the first time Tom played Spider-Man

Tom made a cameo in Captain America: Civil War to show off his new suit and dip his toes into the Marvel Cinematic Universe before starring in his own film. “I was lucky that I had the opportunity to just test the water a little bit and see what the fans wanted to see. It just turns out they wanted to see my version,” he said in an interview with Newshub

12. He’s been bullied before 

At a press conference in Italy, Tom shared, “I was not a cool kid in school. I got bullied pretty badly. Mainly because if I did my homework, I was called ‘keen,’ and being good at work wasn’t cool…So I think it’s a really good thing for kids to see someone they can look up to, but that someone they look up to is a geeky kid, not your typical jock who’s a quarterback, you know.”

13. He runs a charity 

Tom and his three younger brothers (Sam, Harry and Patrick) run The Brothers Trust, which donates money to medical research, fighting hunger and supporting children suffering from life-threatening illnesses.

14. Tom and Zendaya had an epic lip sync battle

Tom drew on his musical theater experience for a lightning-fast costume change to transform from Gene Kelly into Rihanna as he sang a mash-up of “Singin’ in the Rain” and “Umbrella.” He also got to do a killer dance routine. As one commenter wrote, “We need to start a petition for Tom Holland to get on Dancing with the Stars.” ASAP.

15. His favorite part of playing Spider-Man is too cute

Tom says the best part of playing Spider-Man is visiting children in the hospital. Above, he’s seen visiting kids (and performing a few flips) at the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles. He’s also visited Egleston Children’s Hospital in Atlanta and the New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley in upstate New York. As if we didn’t love him enough already. 

LEGEND: BRUCE LEE

1-5 Interesting Facts About Bruce Lee

Pallbearer-Interesting Facts About Bruce Lee

1. Steve McQueen, James Coburn and Chuck Norris were amongst the pallbearers at Bruce Lee’s funeral. – Source

2. Bruce Lee had the ability to snatch a dime off a person’s open palm before they could close it, and leave a penny behind. – Source

3. In 1962, Bruce lee landed 15 punches, a kick and knocked out his opponent in a fight that lasted only 11 seconds. – Source

4. Bruce Lee’s kicks were so fast that while filming for one scene in Enter the Dragon, they had to re-film it in slow motion (34 frames) so that it wouldn’t appear fake. – Source

5. Bruce Lee was a fan of The Great Gama, the only undefeated wrestler in the world. Great Gama’s career spanned 50 years. – Source

6-10 Interesting Facts About Bruce Lee

Cha-Cha-Interesting Facts About Bruce Lee

6. Bruce Lee was known to be a great Cha-Cha dancer. He had won the Hong Kong Cha-Cha Championship in 1958. – Source

7. A statue of Bruce Lee was placed in Mostar, Bosnia because he was something that all ethnicities liked and could agree on. The statue was later vandalized and destroyed. – Source

8. Bruce Lee’s speed in terms of reacting + punching from a distance of three feet away was found to be around five hundredths of a second (0.05 second). – Source

9. Bruce Lee was a big Muhammad Ali fan and used to would watch his fights on film obsessively. – Source

10. Bruce Lee died from an allergic reaction to a pain killer. – Source

11-15 Interesting Facts About Bruce Lee

Red Tailed Hawk-Interesting Facts About Bruce Lee

11. The San Francisco Giants eradicated their Seagull problem with a Red Tailed Hawk named “Bruce Lee.” – Source

12. Yip Man who taught Bruce Lee opened his own martial arts school so that he could afford opium. – Source

13. Bruce Lee had the ability to catch a grain of rice in mid-air with chopsticks. – Source

14. Bruce Lee kicked a man so hard that it broke a bystander’s arm when the man fell into him. – Source

15. Bruce Lee’s last movie (Game of Death) contains footage of his actual funeral with close ups of Lee in his coffin.

16-20 Interesting Facts About Bruce Lee

Chuck Norris Bruce lee-Interesting Facts About Bruce Lee

16. When asked who would win in a fight to the death, Chuck Norris once said “Bruce [Lee] of course, nobody can beat him.” – Source

17. Bruce Lee was able to perform 50 reps of one-arm chin-ups and it has been said that he performed pushups with upto 125lb of weight on his back. He only weighed approx. 130lbs. – Source

18. Jackie Chan began his film career as a stuntman in the Bruce Lee films, Fist of Fury and Enter the Dragon. – Source

19. Bruce Lee’s first notable film (Golden Gate Girl) was shot in the USA, but wasn’t released in the USA until 5 years after it was released in China. He was just 1 at that time.- Source

20. Bruce Lee was part German (his mother is half German). – Source

21-25 Interesting Facts About Bruce Lee

Wing Chun-Interesting Facts About Bruce Lee

21. Bruce Lee was taught “wing chun” by Grandmaster “Y”Ip Man when Bruce was 13. – Source

22. Bruce Lee was one of Hong Kong’s most prominent child actors, with 20 movies to his name by the time he was 18.

23. There was a cultural phenomenon called Bruceploitation, in which numerous Bruce Lee look-alikes starred in cheap knock-off movies to cash in on the obsession with Lee after he died. – Source

24. Bruce Lee’s secret hobby was writing poetry, and he was actually pretty good at it. – Source

25. Bruce Lee was born in San Francisco. – Source

LEGEND: DAVID BOWIE

David Bowie was born in London on January 8, 1947 as David Robert Jones. But as he readied to embark on his musical career as a teen, there was a problem: Davy Jones, the lead singer of The Monkees, was already a known quantity in the music industry, and the aspiring artist was afraid they might be confused. So David Jones changed his name to David Bowie.

In 1967, 14-year-old Sandra Dodd sent Bowie what would be his first fan letter from America, in which she asked him about his name. Bowie quipped: “In answer to your questions, my real name is David Jones and I don’t have to tell you why I changed it. ‘Nobody’s going to make a monkey out of you’ said my manager.”

2. NO, HIS EYES WERE NOT TWO DIFFERENT COLORS.

While people often claim that Bowie had heterochromia, a genetic condition that results in having two different colored eyes, that is incorrect. Both of his eyes are blue; the ocular oddity that you do notice is what is known as aniscoria, or a permanently dilated pupil—which happened when Bowie was 15 years old and got into a fight with his friend, George Underwood, over a girl. “I was so aggrieved I walked over to him, basically, turned him around and went ‘whack’ without even thinking,” Underwood explained. (His fingernail sliced into Bowie’s eye.)

Fortunately, there were no hard feelings; the two later collaborated on an album as The King Bees and Underwood went on to design the album covers for some of Bowie’s most famous records, including The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

3. THAT WASN’T THE ONLY TIME BOWIE’S EYE TOOK A BEATING.

In 2004, while performing in Oslo, Norway, a “fan” threw a lollipop onto the stage, which somehow managed to strike Bowie in the eye—and get stuck. A member of his crew was able to remove it, and Bowie went on with the concert. Rebel rebel indeed.

4. HE WAS BOYHOOD FRIENDS WITH PETER FRAMPTON.

Despite Bowie being more than three years older than Peter Frampton, the two struck up a friendship as youngsters. Both attended Bromley Technical High School, where Frampton’s dad was Bowie’s art teacher. The two shared a unique bond over music, and remained close friends until Bowie’s death. “He really introduced me, along with George Underwood, to Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran, people I wasn’t aware of at that age,” Frampton once said of his childhood friend. The two would collaborate a number of times over the years.

5. BOWIE AND ELTON JOHN WERE PALS AS TEENS, TOO.

Back in their teens—when Bowie was still known as David Jones and Elton John went by Reginald Kenneth Dwight—the two future rock icons became fast friends and would frequently get together to talk about music. But shortly after Bowie’s death, John admitted that they had a falling out and hadn’t talked much in about 40 years.

“David and I were not the best of friends towards the end,” John said. “We started out being really good friends. We used to hang out together with Marc Bolan, going to gay clubs, but I think we just drifted apart. He once called me ‘rock ’n’ roll’s token queen’ in an interview with Rolling Stone, which I thought was a bit snooty. He wasn’t my cup of tea. No; I wasn’t his cup of tea.”

6. AS A TEEN, BOWIE FOUNDED THE SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO LONG-HAIRED MEN.

In 1964, when he was just 17 years old, Bowie formed The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long-Haired Men, an organization aimed at protesting the treatment that he and other men with long hair received on the streets of London. He took the matter seriously, as you can see from the BBC interview above.

That BBC spot led to an interview with the London Evening News, where Bowie explained that the organization was “really for the protection of pop musicians and those who wear their hair long. Anyone who has the courage to wear their hair down to his shoulders has to go through hell. It’s time we were united and stood up for our curls.”

7. HIS FIRST HIT, “SPACE ODDITY,” WAS PERFECTLY TIMED.

On July 11, 1969, Bowie released the single “Space Oddity.” The timing could not have been more perfect. Nine days after its release, the BBC ran the song over its coverage of Apollo 11’s lunar landing. It would end up being his first big hit in the UK.

8. HIS BROTHER WAS A MAJOR INSPIRATION FOR HIS MUSIC.

In 1985, Bowie’s half-brother Terry Burns, who battled mental health issues throughout his life, escaped from the hospital where he had been admitted and killed himself. In Nicholas Pegg’s The Complete David Bowie, the writer revealed that Burns had quite an impact on Bowie’s writing. He was reportedly the inspiration for a number of his songs, including “Aladdin Sane,” “All the Madmen,” and “Jump They Say.”

9. BEING ZIGGY STARDUST LED HIM TO QUESTION HIS SANITY.

3rd July 1973: David Bowie performs his final concert as Ziggy Stardust at the Hammersmith Odeon, London. The concert later became known as the Retirement Gig

EXPRESS/GETTY IMAGES

Though Bowie had many alter egos over the years, Ziggy Stardust was the most famous of them. From 1972 to 1973 he toured in character as the glam rock persona until he abruptly announced that he would be retiring Ziggy during a concert in 1973. “Not only is this the last show of the tour, but it’s the last show that we’ll ever do,” Bowie said of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

He later admitted that Ziggy “wouldn’t leave me alone for years. That was when it all started to go sour … My whole personality was affected. It became very dangerous. I really did have doubts about my sanity.”

10. FOR A TIME, HE FEARED A WIZARD MIGHT STEAL HIS URINE.

Four years after his Ziggy Stardust period, Bowie became the Thin White Duke. It was during this period that he struggled with both drug and emotional problems. In David Buckley’s book, Strange Fascination: David Bowie—The Definitive Story, the author wrote that by 1975, Bowie was “living a cocooned existence [in Los Angeles], disconnected from the real world.” He was apparently subsisting on a diet of peppers and milk, and exhibited some truly strange behaviors—like keeping his urine in his refrigerator so that “no other wizard could use it to enchant him.”

LEGEND: HUGH JACKMAN

Ever since making his professional acting debut in the Australian drama Law of the Land nearly 25 years ago, and appearing as Wolverine for the first time in Bryan Singer’s X-Men (2000), Hugh Jackman has rightfully earned his title as “one of the nicest guys in Hollywood.”

Whether flexing his action muscles as Wolverine, getting emotional (and musical) in Les Misérables, or showing off his dance moves in The Greatest Showman, Jackman can seemingly do it all.

In celebration of the Oscar nominee’s 50th birthday, here are 10 things you might not have known about Hugh Jackman.

1. RUSSELL CROWE WAS THE FIRST CHOICE TO PLAY WOLVERINE.

Actors Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe attend the UK Premiere of 'Noah' at the Odeon Leicester Square on March 31, 2014 in London, England

DAVE J HOGAN, GETTY IMAGES FOR PARAMOUNT PICTURES INTERNATIONAL

After all these years, it’s hard to imagine Wolverine as anyone other than Hugh Jackman. However, it’s all thanks to Russell Crowe—who was actually the first choice for the role—that Jackman got the role.

Crowe instead suggested that his friend, a then-unknown Australian actor named Hugh Jackman, take his place. Despite the recommendation, Dougray Scott was selected to play Wolverine, but due to last-minute scheduling conflicts with his role in Mission: Impossible 2, Scott was forced to drop out. Finally, Jackman was given the role—and the rest is history. (Looks like the third time really is the charm.)

2. JACKMAN CREATED A FOUNDATION TO HELP FARMERS.

The Laughing Man Foundation“supports coffee farming communities by investing in programs that clear the way to health, growth, and success for coffee farmers and their families.” The Foundation was started by Jackman after he met an Ethiopian coffee farmer named Dukale his family. The meeting inspired Jackman to create Laughing Man Coffee and The Laughing Man Foundation to support families like Dukale’s.

3. HE MET HIS WIFE ON THE SET OF HIS FIRST MAJOR ACTING JOB.

Jackman’s first real TV break was in 1995 on a one-season, 10-episode prison drama called Correlli. In the series, Jackman played an inmate named Kevin Jones, who had an ongoing flirtation and romance with his psychologist, played by his now-wife, Deborra-Lee Furness. Jackman and Furness’s romance blossomed both on and off-screen, and the two tied the knot one year later. They have been married ever since, and have two children together.

4. JACKMAN’S MOTHER LEFT HIS FAMILY AT AN EARLY AGE.

Although Jackman was born in Australia, his parents are natives of England. Jackman is the youngest of five children, and when he was eight years old, his mother left his family and moved back to England, leaving his father to raise him and his siblings alone.

Five years later, Jackman’s father went to England in the hopes of reconciling with his wife. “”Dad went off to England to bring her back, but by this point she was married to someone else, with a kid,” Jackman told The Hollywood Reporter. “It was really complicated. So when Dad arrived back—not three weeks later, as planned, but five days later—I just knew. I was old enough to go, ‘This is not happening.'”

Jackman has admitted that he used the anger he felt about that abandonment, especially how strongly he felt it as a teenager, to help him play Wolverine.

5. HE DREAMED OF BEING A JOURNALIST.

Hugh Jackman (C) gives a televison interview at the Japanese premiere of 'The Wolverine' in Tokyo on August 28, 2013

KAZUHIRO NOGI, AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Jackman attended the University of Technology in Sydney, where he studied communications in the hopes of becoming a journalist. Back then it was his goal to become an international freelance journalist. However, by the time Jackman’s senior year rolled around, he found he was a few credits short. He added a drama class to his schedule, and we think you can guess what happened next.

6. HE PLAYS SEVERAL INSTRUMENTS AND PRACTICES MEDITATION AND YOGA TO RELAX.

Though it’s probably not surprising given his obvious musical talent, Jackman plays three instruments: the piano, the guitar, and the violin. Additionally, given how stressful life in the spotlight can be, Jackman says he has been practicing Transcendental Meditation for nearly 30 years now. Jackman’s Kate and Leopold co-star, Meg Ryan, turned him on to yoga, another source of relaxation for the actor.

7. HE’D LOVE FOR TOM HARDY TO BE HIS WOLVERINE SUCCESSOR.

JAMES MANGOLD – © 2017 MARVEL. TM AND © 2017 TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION.

In 2015, MTV UK asked Jackman who he’d like to replace him for the role of Wolverine if there were to be a reimagined, younger version of the character. Though Jackman joked about not wanting to give the producers any ideas to replace him so easily, without skipping a beat, he said Tom Hardywould be his pick.

8. JACKMAN HOLDS A SUPERHERO WORLD RECORD.

As of 2016, Jackman has held the record for playing the same superhero the most times in a live-action film franchise, as he was the only character/actor to appear in all seven chapters of the X-Men series.

9. HE HAS BEEN A FAN OF MUSICALS SINCE HE WAS A KID.

Jackman’s love of musical theater started blossoming when he was just 10 years old. He saw a high school performance of Man of La Mancha, which started it all. Since then, he has had major roles in musical films including Les Misérables and The Greatest Showman.

10. HE HAS A MAN CRUSH ON GEORGE CLOONEY.

Lastly, and probably the most entertaining fact about Jackman, is that if he were a woman, he’d like to date George Clooney. Yes, this is a question the actor was asked back in 2015, which he quickly answered. Ever the gentleman, he offered his apologies to Clooney’s wife, Amal.

LEGEND: KOBE BRYANT

Here’s a look at the life of former NBA player Kobe Bryant, who played 20 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Personal:
Birth date: August 23, 1978
Birth place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Birth name: Kobe Bean Bryant
Father: Joe Bryant, a professional basketball player
Mother: Pam Bryant
Marriage: Vanessa (Laine) Bryant (April 18, 2001-present)
Children: Bianka, December 2016; Gianna, May 2006; Natalia, January 2003
Other Facts:
Bryant is 6 feet, 6 inches tall.
His parents named him after a type of steak. The beef is from a species of cattle, Wagyu, raised in the Kobe region of Japan.
Bryant lived in Italy for eight years while his father played in the Italian Professional Basketball League. He speaks Italian fluently.
Nominated for one Academy Award and won.
He entered the NBA straight out of high school.
In 1996, Bryant was the youngest player in NBA history at that time, at 18 years, 2 months and 11 days.
He played his entire professional career for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Bryant has two Olympic gold medals for men’s basketball.
Bryant is third on the NBA all-time scoring list.
He has won five NBA championships.
Timeline:
1996 – Finishes his high school career as the all-time leading scorer in the history of southeastern Pennsylvania basketball. He leads the Lower Merion Aces to a season record of 31-3 and the Class-AAAA state championship.
1996 – USA Today names him the National High School Player of the Year and he wins the Naismith Player of the Year.
June 26, 1996 – Bryant is selected by the Charlotte Hornets as the 13th pick in the first round of the NBA draft.
July 11, 1996 – Is traded by Charlotte to the Los Angeles Lakers for Vlade Divac.
1996-2016 – Guard for the Los Angeles Lakers.
1996-1997 – Is named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team.
February 1997 – Wins the All-Star Weekend slam dunk competition, but does not play in the All-Star game.
1998 – He is the youngest starter, at 19, in his first All-Star game.
2000-2002 – The LA Lakers win the NBA Championship three years in a row.
2002 – First of four times being named All-Star MVP. He’s also named in 2007, 2009 and 2011.
July 18, 2003 – Bryant is charged with one count of sexual assault in a case involving a 19-year-old hotel worker. The charge accuses Bryant of “sexual penetration or intrusion and (that) he caused submission of the victim through actual physical force,” according to District Attorney Mark Hurlbert.
January 19, 2004 – McDonald’s announces that it will not renew Bryant’s endorsement contract, which expired in December 2003.
August 10, 2004 – The same woman from the criminal court case files a lawsuit in federal court in Denver. The woman, under the name of “Jane Doe,” claims Bryant raped her in his hotel room in a Vail-area resort in 2003 – the same incident alleged in the criminal charge against him. The suit is for an unspecified amount of damages.
September 1, 2004 – The criminal sexual assault charge is dropped.
January 22, 2006 – Bryant scores 81 points in the Lakers’ 122-104 win over Toronto. Only Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game in 1962 tops this performance.
March 2, 2005 – The accuser agrees to settle her civil lawsuit. The terms of the settlement have not been disclosed. 
May 2008 – Wins the NBA regular season MVP award.
August 24, 2008 – Bryant wins a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics as a member of the US men’s basketball team. 
2009-2010 – The Lakers win back-to-back NBA championships.
June 14, 2009 – Is named the NBA Finals MVP.
February 1, 2010 – He surpasses Jerry West’s career record of 25,192 as the Los Angeles Lakers’ all-time leading scorer, with 25,208 points.
June 17, 2010 – For the second year in a row is named the NBA Finals MVP.
April 13, 2011 – Bryant is fined $100,000 by the NBA for making an anti-gay slur at a referee during a game on April 12. 
December 16, 2011 – Vanessa Bryant files for divorce.
August 12, 2012 – Is a member of gold medal-winning US men’s basketball team at the 2012 London Olympics. 
January 11, 2013 – Announces on Facebook he and Vanessa have reconciled. 
April 12, 2013 – Tears his left Achilles tendon in game against Golden State Warriors. Successful surgery to repair the injury will leave him unable to play for six to nine months. 
May 8, 2013 – Files a lawsuit to stop his mother, Pamela Bryant, from auctioning off memorabilia from the beginning of his basketball career. Bryant claims he did not give his mother permission to sell the items. A settlement is reached in June.
December 8, 2013 – Bryant returns from his Achilles injury. 
December 17, 2013 – Breaks a bone in his left knee in a game against the Memphis Grizzlies and will be out for six weeks. 
March 12, 2014 – The Lakers announce that Bryant will not play the rest of the season, after team doctors determine the fractured lateral tibial plateau of his left knee has not healed. 
March 23, 2014 – Bryant launches Kobe Inc. He also announces the company’s first investment is a 10% stake in the sports drink BodyArmor.
October 28, 2014 – Bryant plays for the first time since December 2013, in the regular season opener. 
December 14, 2014 – Surpasses Michael Jordanto become third on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, with 32,310 career points. 
January 28, 2015 – Undergoes surgery to repair his torn right rotator cuff and is expected to be out nine months.
July 28, 2015 – Lakers Coach Byron Scott announces that Bryant may play a power forward position instead of his usual guard position, when he returns in October. Kobe has played the guard position since he was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets in 1996.
October 4, 2015 – Makes his return in a preseason game against the Utah Jazz after undergoing season-ending surgery in January. 
November 29, 2015 – In a post on The Players’ Tribune, announces he intends to retire at the end of the NBA season.
February 2016 – Bryant announces the launch of Granity Studios (formerly known as Kobe Studios), a multimedia original content company.
April 13, 2016 – Scores 60 points in his final game, helping the Lakers defeat the Utah Jazz 101-96.
December 18, 2017 – The Lakers retire Bryant’s jersey numbers, No. 8 and No. 24, during a ceremony at halftime.
March 4, 2018 – Wins an Academy Award for best short animated film for “Dear Basketball.”

LEGEND: JAMES DEAN

Very few young actors in Hollywood history have been able to reach the legendary status of James Dean. The rebellious actor only starred in three films during his short career, but the impression he made on brooding teenage audiences was unmatched. His sensitive bad boy image has captivated both men and women for decades. In fact, over 60 years have passed since his tragic death, and yet he is still remembered as one of the greats, a cultural icon for the troubled and disillusioned.

James Dean’s life was short and stormy. The image above is reputed to be the last official photo taken of the actor, taken on the day of his death. In it, he sits in the driver seat of his Porsche 550 Spyder with friend and mechanic Rolf Wutherich. We’ve rounded up a few facts about the enigmatic star, so read on to discover 22 things you didn’t know about James Dean.

1. James Byron Dean was born on February 8, 1931.

James Dean

2. He was only 24 years old when he died in a car accident in 1955.

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3. James Dean’s parents were of mostly English ancestry, with smaller amounts of Scottish, German, Irish and Welsh.

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4. His mother enrolled him in tap dance lessons at the age of three, and she also taught him to play the violin.

James Dean ballet

5. Dean was very close to his mother, and she was the only person capable of understanding him. She died of cancer when he was 9 years old.

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6. After his mother died, he was sent to Indiana to live on his aunt and uncle’s farm.

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7. He rarely talked to his father.

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8. Dean’s performance in school was exceptional, and he was a popular student.

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9. He played baseball and basketball in his early days.

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10. Dean’s first television appearance was in a Pepsi Cola television commercial.

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11. He quit college to act full-time.

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12. In New York City, Dean worked as a stunt tester for the game show Beat The Clock, but was fired for performing the tasks too quickly.

James Dean facts

13. For a time, Dean dated Liz Sheridan, an actor who later become well-known for her role as Helen Seinfeld, Jerry’s mother on “Seinfeld” .

14. In 1954, Dean became interested in developing a car racing career.
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15. One of Dean’s favorite instruments to play was the bongo drums.

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16. He had a difficult time reading.

James Dean reading

17. When he wasn’t acting or racing cars, Dean liked to practice magic tricks.

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18. Dean was extremely near-sighted and could barely see without his glasses.

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19. Dean died less than one month before the release of his most well-known and iconic film “Rebel Without a Cause”.

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20. He got a speeding ticket two hours before his death.

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21. He was the first actor to ever get a posthumous acting nomination in Academy Awards history. He was nominated for Best Actor for his role in “East of Eden”.

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22. He later received his second posthumous Best Actor Academy Award nomination for his role in “Giant”.

LEGEND: JOHN WAYNE

Although he never fired a bullet in combat or rescued a damsel in distress, John Wayne is remembered as a hero, the kind of guy your grandfather looked up to. Wayne had a vast filmography, appearing in nearly 250 movies. Some of his best roles were taken on when he was in his late sixties. Below are 10 facts about an American icon, from his brush with the KGB to rumors about his colon.

10Stalin Ordered His Death

Joseph Stalin was quite the film buff and found himself outraged at the anti-communist sentiments Wayne expressed in the late 1940s. Reportedly, he ordered a hit on the movie star, dispatching two KGB assassins in 1951. But the FBI were wise to the plot and intercepted the two hit men. The agency also allegedly foiled other plots to kill Wayne, including a sniper attack when he visited Vietnam in 1966.

As evidence that Stalin was responsible, we have, first, the word of an unnamed Soviet source. But we also have the word of Stalin’s successor, Premier Nikita Khrushchev. When Khrushchev met John Wayne in 1958, he apologized for the incident, telling him, “That was the decision of Stalin in his last mad years. I rescinded the order.” 

Read more fascinating stories about John Wayne’s incredible life in the official biography John Wayne: The Life and Legend at Amazon.com!

9Cancer

Photo via Stanford School of Medicine

Wayne’s greatest film successes came as a Wild West lawman. His most inappropriately cast role, on the other hand, was surely the Mongol warlord Genghis Khan in the 1956 film The Conqueror. The movie was excruciatingly unwatchable on its own, and its ugly legacy makes it even worse.

Much of the film was shot on location in Utah, downwind of Nevada’s nuclear test sites. In the years that followed, nearly half of the people on set were diagnosed with cancer, including two of Wayne’s own sons. John himself battled cancer in his later years (he coined the term “The Big C”). In 1964, pulmonary cancer cost him four ribs and his entire left lung. He died of stomach cancer on June 11, 1979, aged 72. 

Wayne dismissed the “Curse of The Conqueror.” He believed his cancer was a consequence of smoking. This makes perfect sense; he had a six-packs-a day-habit. 

In 1985, Wayne’s estate allowed the use of his name for the John Wayne Cancer Foundation, which advocates various programs to fight the disease.

8Marion And The Duke

Photo credit: Fox Film Corporation

John was born Marion Robert Morrison on May 26, 1907. His parents had a strange affinity for the name “Robert,” and they decided to squirrel it away for the next child, so Marion’s middle name was changed to Michael. 

When Marion roamed the neighborhood, he never went anywhere without his Airedale terrier Duke at his side. The two were such constant companions that local firefighters began calling the boy “Little Duke.” The nickname stuck for life. He certainly preferred it to the feminine “Marion.” (Another famous Marion who hides behind a nickname is Death Row Records founder Marion “Suge” Knight). 

When the man began working in film, studio bigwigs were no more impressed with his name than he was. He appeared as “Duke Morrison” in 1929’s Words and Music, and in 1930, director Raoul Walsh and Fox Studios executive Winfield Sheehan started billing him as “John Wayne.” The young actor had no say in the matter, and he was largely ambivalent about the name. He preferred to go by “Duke” with those in his inner circle.

7Football Career

Photo credit: John Wayne Enterprises

John Wayne stood at 193 centimeters (6’4″). That’s tall today, and for a man born over 100 years ago, it was massive. Young Marion easily scored a football scholarship to the University of Southern California, playing as an offensive tackle. Then, as now, college athletes weren’t paid, and Coach Howard Jones found him a job working for Fox Studios as a laborer and prop man. 

While out body surfing with a friend on Balboa Beach just before the start of his junior year, Marion got caught up in a huge wave and smashed against the sand, badly injuring his shoulder. He tried to continue football, but he was too hurt to play well. Coach Jones moved him down on the roster and denied him his meals. Hungry and strapped for cash, the young man quit football and devoted all his time to Fox Studios. 

6Draft Dodging

Many of John Wayne’s major roles showed him as a war hero, but he never actually served in the military. Born in 1907, he was too young to participate in World War I. By the time the US entered World War II, he was 34 years old and just beginning to become famous. 

He also had health issues, including a bad back (from performing his own stunts), chronic ear infections, and the torn shoulder muscle that derailed his football career. Had he actually undergone a physical, he might have been classified as 4-F, or unacceptable for military service. Instead, his studio successfully applied for him to receive a 3-A deferment (“hardship to dependents”) because he had a family. 

Given his fame, Wayne would likely have been granted a ceremonial role if he had enlisted. Yet he likely he did more for the war effort by appearing in films that glamorized the military. He also applied to work for the OSS during the war, and he spent months doing USO appearances for the troops.

5Chess

One of Wayne’s favorite pastimes was playing chess. He was a skilled player but was not beyond using duplicitous means if he could get away with it. 

While shooting 1970’s Chisum, he became friendly with Christopher Mitchum, the son of Hollywood legend Robert Mitchum. John invited Christopher to play chess, and the young man was flabbergasted to find Wayne was cheating, moving two pieces simultaneously while using his big hands to block Chris’s view. 

At first, Christopher didn’t know what to do, and he complained to veteran actor Ed Faulkner, who’d worked with Wayne on several projects. Ed advised Christopher to call John out on it. 

The next game, John was up to his old tricks, and Christopher told him, “Excuse me, Duke, but you’re cheating.” Wayne was unperturbed, responding, “Well, I was wondering when you were going to say something. Set ’em up. We’ll play again.” 

4Wayne’s Boxer Relative

Photo credit: Túrelio/Wikimedia

American boxer Tommy Morrison briefly held the WBO and ICB heavyweight championship titles. He portrayed mulleted Tommy “The Machine” Gunn, the main antagonist, in Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky V. He also happened to be John Wayne’s grandnephew, and he went by the nickname “The Duke.”

While Morrison had some success in the ring, he seemed almost doomed from the start. His father was an abusive alcoholic, and his mother had gone on trial for murder. His older brother Tim did 15 years in prison on a rape conviction. In 1996, Morrison announced that he’d contracted HIV due to a “permissive, fast, and reckless lifestyle.” 

In the years that followed, he dropped out of boxing and had frequent brushes with the law. He also went through a survivalist phase in which he slept in a cave, convinced the world would soon end. In 2006, he emerged to say that the original HIV tests had actually been false positives, and he was free of the disease. He tested negative in 2007, likely due to tampering with blood samples. In 2011, Quebec required him to take a supervised blood test if he wanted to box in the province, and he refused. 

Morrison in fact still had HIV, and he did very little to fight his infection. HIV-positive Magic Johnson reached out to him, but he didn’t respond. He only spent a month taking the AZT antiviral drug. Morrison withered away and died of AIDS-related complications in 2013 at age 44 after spending over a year bedridden. 

3Yakima Canutt

Photo credit: United Artists

Many stuntmen in Western films were former rodeo workers. The most legendary of them all was no doubt Yakima Canutt, a rodeo world champion. Canutt worked closely with John Wayne over the years, and perhaps their greatest innovations were in creating methods to produce exciting, realistic fight scenes. Fights in early films had been noticeably lame, generally no more than stiff, one-punch knockouts.

But John Wayne owes an even deeper debt of gratitude to Canutt. Many of his signature mannerisms—the squinting, the towering saunter, the drawling, deliberate speech pattern—were copied directly from Yakima. 

Canutt suffered innumerable injuries, including broken ribs and legs. A horse fell on top of him, severing his intestines, and a bull’s horn ripped his face open. Yet despite all that, he died of natural causes, aged 89. 

2Bald

John Wayne would seem the last person to adopt the typical Hollywood affectation over appearance. You would have never seen him at the plastic surgeon trying to preserve his youth with Botox. But after his hair began thinning in the 1940s, he did begin wearing a wig for movies and certain public appearances, probably at the request of the studio. Yet he made no secret that he was bald; when hanging out with family and friends, he would always go au naturel, and he was not shy about being filmed or photographed without his hairpiece. 

In 1974, he appeared at Harvard University, where he unflinchingly stood up to a fusillade of questioning from the student body. Though pushing 70, he had a ball with the kids. One student asked, “Where did you get that phony toupee?” He replied, “It’s not phony. It’s real hair. Of course, it’s not mine, but it’s real.” 

1Red Meat

Photo credit: RKO Radio Pictures

Perhaps the most laughably disturbing rumor about John Wayne was that, upon his death, an autopsy found several pounds (40, say some sources) of undigested red meat lodged in his digestive tract. 

The story checks all the boxes of a tantalizing urban legend—a famous personality, death, dietary excess, bowel movements (or lack thereof). However, it can be immediately dismissed without even considering the biological impossibilities. John Wayne was 72 years old when he died and had been ravaged by cancer for a long time. There was little doubt that he’d succumbed to natural causes, so he didn’t receive an autopsy. 

Unfortunately, this story could be applied to Elvis Presley, who died at the young age of 42. Elvis had a congenital twist in his colon and a history of drug and laxative abuse. When he died, he had a great deal of chalky feces lodged in his colon.

LEGEND: PETE SAMPRAS

Pete Sampras is second in the list of most number of Grand Slam Titles along with Rafael Nadal with 14 titles. He was considered a supreme tennis player before Roger Federer and Nadal came onto the scene. Sampras’ game was similar to Federer’s as he too used to carry out the serve and volley play a lot and was almost unbeatable at fast grass courts. The American finished his career by defeating fellow countryman and rival Andre Agassi at the finals of US Open in 2012. We bring you some amazing stats by about the Legend Sampras is:

1. Sampras moved from ranked 893 to ranked 97 in his first year:

Pete Sampras had turned pro in 1988, when he was just 16 years old. Sampras was ranked 893 at the start of the year but ended it 97. He lost his first professional match to Sammy Giammalva, Jr. at the February Ebel U.S. Pro Indoor in Philadelphia.

2. Sampras won his first Grand Slam singles match at French Open in 1989:

Sampras won the first round match but he lost to 17 year old Micheal Chang 1-6, 1-6, 1-6 in the second round. Michael Chang went on to become the eventual winner of the tournament and both him and Sampras shared some sort of rivalry in the years to come.

3. Huge Jump in Ranking again in 1990

By the end of 1990, Sampras was World No.5 after starting the year as world no. 61 before the Australian Open. Later that year, Sampras won his first Grand Slam by winning the US Open at the edge of 19.

4. First Professional Singles Title, February 1990:

Sampras won his first professional singles title, in February 1990 when he won the Ebel U.S. Pro Indoor in Philadelphia. He defeated sixth-ranked Andre Agassi, eighth-ranked Tim Mayotte on the way to the final and eighteenth-ranked Andrés Gómez in the final. This title elevated his ranking into the top 20 for the first time.

Breaks Ivan Lendl’s streak of eight consecutive US Open Finals

On way to his maiden Grand Slam title in US Open, 1990, Sampras defeated Thomas Muster (sixth ranked) in the fourth round and third-ranked Ivan Lendl 6-4, 7-6, 3-6, 4-6, 6-2 in a five-set quarterfinal, and thus breaking Lendl’s streak of eight consecutive US Open finals.

6. Becomes US Open’s youngest ever male champion:

When Sampras came past Agassi in straight sets in the US Open Finals of 1990, he became the youngest ever male champion at US Open aged 19 years and 28 days.

7. ‘Relieved about not defending title’

in 1991, Sampras entered the US Open as the defending champion, and he caused controversy when, after losing in the quarterfinals to Jim Courier, said that he was not disappointed and felt relieved that the pressure to defend his title was no longer on him. This led to widespread criticism, which included disparaging remarks from Courier and Jimmy Connors.

8. 1992: Only appearance in the Summer Olympics

The event was played on clay, a surface on which he struggled a lot. But, Sampras still advanced to the third round before giving up a two-set lead and losing to Andrei Cherkasov of Russia.

First Player to serve 1000 aces in a season.

In 1993, Sampras not only attained the World no. 1 ranking, but also won his first Wimbledon Championships along with the Second US Open title. He finished the year as the clear no. 1 and set a new ATP Tour record that year by becoming the first player to serve more than 1,000 aces in a season.

10. Record for most Wimbledon Titles

Sampras won all Wimbledon titles from 1993- 2000 except for the one in 1996 where he lost to in the quarter finals. He lost to Richard Krajicek, who was the eventual winner that year. Roger Federer, too has 7 Wimbledon Championships to his name.

11. Sampras never progressed beyond Semi Finals at French Open.

Sampras always used to struggle at clay courts because the slow pace of surface didn’t really cater to his fast serve and volley play. But not even playing the finals of French Open would have certainly hurt him badly.

12. Sampras held the number one ranking for 5 consecutive years

When Sampras ended year 1997 as World number 1, he became the second player after Jimmy Connors (1974-1978) to hold the number ranking for five years in a row.

13. 24-match winning streak in 1999

The year 1999 didn’t start too well for Sampras as he had to withdraw from the Australian Open and couldn’t win any title in the early part of the season. But then he went on 24-match winning streak, including the Stella Artois Championships, Wimbledon (equaling Roy Emerson’s record of 12 Grand Slam singles titles), Los Angeles, and Cincinnati.

14. ATP Player for the year for 6 years consecutively:

Sampras was named the ATP player of the year from 1993-1998, out of which from 1993 to 1997, he held the number one ranking.

15. Sixth Oldest Player to win a Grand Slam

When Sampras beat Agassi at the US Open in 2002, his last Grand Slam title, he became the sixth oldest player in the history of men’s tennis to win a Grand Slam. Also, he was the oldest player to win the US Open after Ken Rosewall in 1970.

16. Held the record for winning a Grand Slam for 8 years consecutively:

When Sampras won the Wimbledon in 2000, it was his 8th consecutive year when we won a Grand Slam starting from Wimbledon in 1993. The record was surpassed by Rafael Nadal, when he won the French Open in 2013.