List of orphans and foundlings

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"Famous orphans" redirects here. For other uses, see Orphan.

Notable orphans and foundlings include world leaders, celebrated writers, entertainment greats, figures in science and business, as well as innumerable fictional characters in literature and comics. While the exact definition of orphan varies, one legal definition is a child bereft through "death or disappearance of, abandonment or desertion by, or separation or loss from, both parents".[1] According to the United nations, the definition of an orphan is anyone that loses one parent, either through death or abandonment.

Figures from classical history and religious scripture[edit]

  • Aandaal, Tamil saint, found in a temple garden.
  • Aristotle, Greek philosopher and scientist, orphaned in early childhood.
  • Beowulf, mythical hero-king of the Geats, raised by his grandfather.
  • Cyrus the Great, Persian emperor, orphaned in childhood.
  • Oedipus, mythical Greek king, abandoned on a mountain.
  • Moses, major prophet in Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, given up as an infant.
  • Muhammad, prophet of Islam, orphaned at age 6.
  • Saint Nicholas, patron saint of children, orphaned early in childhood.
  • Romulus and Remus, traditional founders of Ancient Rome, orphaned in infancy.

Civic leaders[edit]


Musicians and singers[edit]

Artists, actors, and entertainers[edit]

Ingrid Bergman, in her first film, Munkbrogreven (1934) at age 19.
Ivian Sarcos,6th Venezuelan woman to win Miss World


Babe Ruth in 1918.

Scientists and scholars[edit]

Business people[edit]

Fictional characters[edit]

Santa Claus, a fictional personification of the orphaned Saint Nicholas.

See also Category:Fictional orphans

In literature[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

Related lists[edit]

See also Category:Adoptees for lists of notable people who have been adopted (including by step-parents): many adoptees are neither orphans nor foundlings.


  1. ^ Iii. Eligibility For Immigration Benefits As An Orphan