As a writer, I certainly know that Wikipedia isn’t the most reliable source of information. On the other hand, I do use it on a regular basis to “geek out.” (You know, if I’m suddenly very curious about how long snails live or what other movie that one lady was in.) When it comes to researching with a higher purpose, I sometimes use Wikipedia as means to pique my curiosity and I jump off from there in search of more legitimate information.
I say all this for a reason: I was faffing about on Wikipedia in my quest to learn more about Armenian culture when I ran across this list of prominent Armenians. I thought I would copy/paste some of the ones I found most interesting. Sadly — and isn’t this often the case? — the names I recognized the most (or the prominent Armenians I already knew about) weren’t exactly the ones who have made the most dramatic contributions to the world. I won’t judge you if you discover the same thing about the ones YOU recognize the most.
(Musicians, Actors, Producers, Famous-for-Being-Famous people, etc…)
Howard Kazanjian – Producer of Star Trek
Creg Mooradian – producer of The Twilight Saga (film series)
Dita Von Teese – Armenian-American actress, burlesque artist, The Death of Salvador Dali
Andy Serkis – actor, The Lord of the Rings
Kim Kardashian (and family) – actress, socialite and model
Rick Bayan – (born 1950) essayist, humorist and philosopher
William Saroyan – (1908–1981) short story writer, novelist, playwright, essayist and memoirist
Albert Hughes and Allen Hughes – (Hughes Brothers) famous Film Directors (From Hell, The Book of Eli)
Raffi Cavoukian – (born 1948) stage name Raffi, Canada, children’s singer, songwriter, musician.
Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. – (1919–1972) USA, pseudonym “David Seville”; creator of Alvin and the Chipmunks.
Ross Bagdasarian, Jr. – (born 1949) USA, continues work of his father for Alvin and the Chipmunks.
Cher (Cherilyn Sarkisian) – USA; (born 1946) singer, songwriter, actor, director.
Sib Hashian – (born 1949) drummer, was a member of the rock band Boston during their first and most successful lineup.
System of a Down – USA, alternative metal band:
–John Dolmayan – (born 1973) USA, drums
–Daron Malakian – (born 1975) USA, guitar, vocals
–Shavo Odadjian – (born 1974) USA, bass
–Serj Tankian – (born 1967) USA, vocals, keyboards.
John Roy Carlson – (1909–1991) best-selling author of Under Cover
Ben Bagdikian – (born 1920) former editor in chief of Washington Post
David Ignatius – (born 1950) associate editor of Washington Post
Kevork Ajemian – (1932–1998) prominent Armenian writer, journalist, novelist, theorist and public activist, one of the founders of ASALA military organization.
Lara Setrakian – journalist and political analyst for Bloomberg Television and ABC News
George Aghajanian – physician, neuropharmacologist and pioneer in serotonin receptor research.
Roger Altounyan – asthma researcher, pharmacologist who pioneered use of cromolyn sodium inhalation therapy for asthma
Raymond V. Damadian – inventor of MRI, inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame
Ara Darzi, Baron Darzi of Denham – surgeon, pioneer in minimally invasive and robot-assisted surgery
Varaztad Kazanjian – Father & Pioneer of Plastic surgery
Michel (Michael) Ter-Pogossian – inventor of PET scan, which has revolutionized the understanding of how the brain functions
John S. Najarian – developed the practice of organ transplantation in medicine, “a giant of 20th century medicine” whose intelligence, genius, and skill in the operating room have allowed him to pioneer an entire field of medicine.
Zaven Khatchaturian – neuroscientist; Alzheimer’s disease researcher
Edward Khantzian – Harvard psychiatrist; developed self medication hypothesis of substance abuse
Leon Orbeli – (1882–1958) physiologist, who known as the founder and pioneer of the Evolutionary Physiology.
Stephan Ariyan – reconstructive surgeon, originator of the pectoralis major flap, which has become the most commonly used flap for head and neck reconstruction worldwide
John Kebabian – neuroscientist and pioneer in dopamine receptor research
Hovhannes Adamian – inventor of the color television
Artem Alikhanian – one of the founders of experimental nuclear and cosmic-ray physics in USSR, discoverer of the first artificial radioactive element which ejects electrons, first to mark the existence of new elementary particles in cosmic rays etc.
Emil Artin – one of the leading algebraists of the 20th century, one of the founding fathers of modern algebra
Daron Acemoğlu – among the 20 most cited economists in the world, winner of the 2005 John Bates Clark Medal
Hagop S. Akiskal – psychiatrist best known for his pioneering research on temperament and bipolar disorder (manic depression).
Levon Chailakhyan – physiologist, in 1986 with his soviet colleagues got the world’s first successfully cloned mammal – mice “Masha”, 10 years before famous “Dolly”
Anna Kazanjian Longobardo – author of contributions to the aerospace engineering field, the first woman to receive the Egleston Medal for Distinguished Engineering achievement
Armen Takhtajan – botanist, one of the most important figures in 20th century plant evolution
Avadis Tevanian – computer scientist, the architect of Apple’s OS X
Politics and Military
George Deukmejian, Republican politician, the thirty-fifth Governor of California (1983–1991), and a former California Attorney General (1979–1983).
Charles Pashayan, Republican Congressman from Fresno, California
Anna Eshoo, Democratic Congresswoman (Armenian mother)
Paul Krekorian, California State Assemblyman
Ivan Bagramian – (1897–1982) Soviet Marshal; Deputy Minister of Defense, World War II Commander of a Front.
Paul Ignatius – (born 1920) United States Assistant Secretary of Defense (Installations and Logistics); US Secretary of the Navy.
Garegin Nzhdeh – (1886–1955) Freedom fighter and World War I General.
Sergei Khudyakov – (1901–1950) Chief-Air-Marshal, USSR; commander of the Anti-aircraft warfare of Moscow, World War II.