King Ludwig II of Bavaria mysteriously drowned in Lake Starnberg at the small town of Berg nearby, on the evening of 13 June 1886.
Oskar Maria Graf, the socially conscious writer, was born in Aufkirchen near Starnberg in 1894. He fought for the Bavarian Soviet Republic (or Räterepublik) in Munich in 1919. He fled his homeland in 1938 with his Jewish wife for the U.S.A., when National Socialism gripped Germany. Graf was never fully able to adjust to life in the United States or, more to the point, away from his homeland, Bavaria.
The Austrian writer Gustav Meyrink was a resident of Starnberg from 1911 until his death in 1932 and is buried in the local cemetery.
The philosopher and sociologist Jürgen Habermas has long lived and worked in Starnberg as a director of the "Max-Planck-Institut zur Erforschung der Lebensbedingungen der wissenschaftlich-technischen Welt".