20 Famous People Born in the Year of the Ox

By Ryan Gandolfo, February 9, 2021

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Spring Festival, or Chinese New Year, is upon us and when the clock strikes midnight on the night of Thursday, February 11 (or the morning of Friday, February 12) it will officially be the Year of the Ox.

Occupying the second spot in the Chinese zodiac, the Year of the Ox comes after the Rat and ahead of the Tiger. Hardworking, dependable, simple, honest, dedicated to their work, enduring, intelligent and disciplined, Oxen make great lawyers, doctors, teachers, authors, social workers, police officers, politicians and consultants.

Below, in no particular order, we give you 20 famous people born in the Year of the Ox:

1. Barack Obama

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Image via Wikimedia

Barack Hussein Obama II is an American politician and attorney who served as the 44th president of the US from 2008 to 2016. Born on August 4, 1961, Obama was elected by the people amid the Great Recession in 2008 and is perhaps best known for passing through the Affordable Care Act (commonly referred to as ‘Obamacare’) during his early years in office. His oratory finesse is highly regarded – along with a surprisingly good sense of humor as the leader of the free world.

2. Charles Lindbergh

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Image via Wikimedia

Born on February 4, 1902 – the day before the Chinese New Year – Charles Lindbergh is the first person to fly nonstop across the Atlantic Ocean. After quitting college, Lindbergh learned to fly planes and eventually went on to become a worldwide celebrity after completing his New York-Paris route in 1927. Idolized in the aviation world, Lindbergh grieved the death of his 20-month-old son after the toddler was abducted and put up for ransom (referred to it as the ‘Crime of the Century.’) Lindbergh was also an outspoken isolationist in the lead-up to World War II, and opposed supporting Great Britain in the fight against Nazi Germany, according to the History Channel.

3. George Clooney

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Image via Wikimedia

Born on May 6, 1961, this Kentucky native rose to TV stardom in the mid-90s with his role as pediatrician Doug Ross on acclaimed medical series ER. Since then, Clooney starred in numerous box office hits including Batman & Robin and the Ocean’s Eleven (etc.) series. Clooney’s fans would say he’s aged like fine wine, but given his roots – he’s probably a bourbon man.

4. Ada Choi

AdaChoi

Image via IMDb

Hong Kong actress Ada Choi was born on September 17, 1973, and got her big break after placing third in the Miss Hong Kong beauty pageant when she was 17 years old. Some of her best-known films include Tung Moon and Once Upon a Time in Triad Society 2. Choi reportedly helped pay off more than HKD100 million of her mother’s gambling debts over the years, and severed ties with her mom at a press conference in 2000. She’s married to Chinese actor Max Zhang, and has three children.

5. Walt Disney

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Image via Wikimedia

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them,” American entrepreneur Walt Disney is credited with saying. The Chicago native is most famously the creator of popular amusement parks Disneyland and Disney World. An innovative animator, Disney created the beloved cartoon character Mickey Mouse and won 22 Academy Awards during his lifetime. Born on December 5, 1901, Disney was a heavy smoker since World War I and would die from lung cancer in 1966. For those who believe Disney had his body frozen upon his death, Snopes debunked the claim in a 1995 article.

6. Malala Yousafzai

800px-Malala_Yousafzai_-_13008047475.jpgImage via Wikimedia

Born on July 12, 1997, activist for female education Malala Yousafzai (commonly referred to as Malala) is the youngest ever Nobel Prize winner. The Pakistan native was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for championing girls’ education since the age of 11. In 2012, Malala was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman, and made a strong recovery after being flown to the UK. Last year, she graduated from Oxford University and is “more dedicated than ever to [her] fight for girls.”

7. Naomi Osaka

Naomi-Osaka.jpgImage via Rob Keating/Wikimedia

Japanese pro tennis player Naomi Osaka is the first Asian player to be ranked No. 1 by the Women’s Tennis Association. Born on October 16, 1997 in Osaka to a Haitian father and a Japanese mother, Osaka has led a remarkable pro tennis career and she is still just 23. In 2018, she defeated Serena Williams in the US Open finals to become the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam singles title. Like a few other fellow Oxen, Osaka has been included on Time’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

8. Sachin Tendulkar

800px-Sachin_Tendulkar_drives_a_ball_2010.jpgImage via Wikimedia

It’s only fitting that Indian former international cricketer Sachin Tendulkar is an Ox, as the legendary batsmen tormented bowlers for over two decades on the Indian national team. Born in Mumbai on April 24, 1973, Tendulkar is the first cricketer in history to score 100 international centuries (100 run innings). After retiring from all forms of cricket in 2013, he would later be inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame in 2019.  

9. Li Bai

A_Painting_of_Li_Bai_with_his_poetry.jpgImage via Wikimedia

A famous Chinese poet from the Tang Dynasty, Li Bai is credited with propelling traditional poetic forms through clear imagery and expression. Li is considered to have been born in Central Asia on May 19, 701. Many of Li’s poems are still taught in classrooms in China today. Li and fellow famous poet Du Fu were both known as heavy drinkers – making it all the more amusing that their works are so highly regarded. “Among the blossoms waits a jug of wine. I pour myself a drink, no loved one near. Raising my cup, I invite the bright moon and turn to my shadow. We are now three,” wrote Li in his popular poem ‘Drinking Alone under the Moon.’

10. B.B. King

bbking.jpgImage via Soul Power/IMDb

The thrill will never be gone as long as B.B. King records are still playing. Born in Mississippi on September 16, 1925, Riley B. King (better known as B.B. King) is one of the most influential electric guitarists to ever play. King went on to win 15 Grammy Awards from 1970 to 2009, popularizing electric blues to a world audience. The unrivaled ambassador of blues was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and died in Las Vegas in 2015.

11. Malcolm X

MartinLutherKingMalcolmX-3.jpgMalcolm X (right) speaking with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr (left). Image via Wikimedia

An African-American leader in the civil rights movement, Malcolm X was a strong advocate for Black Nationalism in the US. Born in Omaha, Nebraska on May 19, 1925, Malcolm X’s childhood was tragic – his father was killed when he was very young and his mother was institutionalized for mental health issues. Despite accusations of preaching violence, Malcolm X is celebrated within African-American and Muslim American communities for pursuing racial justice. He was assassinated in 1965, and was posthumously honored with Malcolm X Day (the third Friday of May). The biographical drama film Malcolm X, directed by Spike Lee and stars actor Denzel Washington in the title role, was released in 1992, dramatizing key events in X’s life.

12. Boy George

701px-Boy_George_At_Ronnie_Scotts.jpgImage via Wikimedia

Born in Kent, England on June 14, 1961, George Alan O’Dowd (known as Boy George) is best known as the lead singer of pop band Culture Club, which reached its peak during the 1980s. The English singer, songwriter and record producer possesses a soulful voice on full display in classics such as ‘Do You Really Want to Hurt Me’ and ‘Karma Chameleon.’ His signature look includes heavy makeup and flamboyant clothing.

13. Song Dandan

Song-dandan.jpgImage via Wo ai wo jia(1993)/IMDb

Song Dandan won over the Chinese audience with her skit debut in the 1989 CCTV New Year’s Gala – now regarded as the world’s most-watched annual television program. Her most famous role in television was in I Love my Family in the 90s. Song was born in Beijing on August 25, 1961.

14. Simone Biles

Simone_Biles_Rio_2016e.jpgImage via Wikimedia

The Texas native is a trailblazer for woman’s gymnastics and considered the most decorated US women’s gymnast ever. Born on March 14, 1997, Biles started gymnastics at age 6 and broke onto the Olympic scene at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

15. Tyra Banks

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Image via
Wikimedia

“I was rooting for you! We were all rooting for you!” If you know this quote, you know it’s from no other than supermodel and mogul Tyra Banks. She taught us how to ‘smize,’ and created 24 seasons of binge-able reality TV, America’s Next Top Model. Banks was born on December 4, 1973 in California and started modeling at the age of 15. She started modeling in Europe, and quickly booked 25 shows during the 1991 Paris Fashion Week, her first runway season. Banks continued to find success, being the first model of African-American descent to grace the cover of GQ and Sports Illustrated. She shot to stardom as a Victoria’s Secret Angel in 1997 and walked the VS runway for eight years, becoming one of the world’s top-earning models in the early 2000s.

16. Enya

enyaScreengrab via YouTube

Enya Patricia Brennan, born on May 17, 1961, is Ireland’s biggest-selling solo artist of all time. Her music career began when she joined her family’s Celtic folk band Clannad in 1980. Through the mid-80s and 90s, Enya took the music world by storm with international notoriety and stellar album sales. Her fame reached the US after her hit single ‘Only Time’ accompanied scenes of the collapse of the World Trade Center, aired on CNN. The song resonated with viewers seeking solace from the tragic event; Enya later produced a remix of ‘Only Time’ and donated the earnings to the families of firefighters in the aftermath of 9/11.

17. Dennis Rodman

Dennis_Rodman_ToPo.jpgImage via Wikimedia

If you didn’t get an appreciation for the complex character of Dennis Rodman while watching The Last Dance, you just don’t get it. Denis Rodman was born on May 13, 1961 in Trenton, New Jersey. He’d go on to become a fixture in the NBA throughout the 80s and 90s – playing alongside greats such as Isiah Thomas, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, among others. Rodman is also famous for his hang out sessions with North Korean dictator Kim Jung Un.

READ MORE: I Spent a Week in North Korea with Dennis Rodman

18. Morgan Freeman

Black_Film_Festival_Morgan_Freeman_Cheryl_R_Riley.jpgImage via Wikimedia

Everyone’s favorite voice, Morgan Freeman brings a calm demeanor to the Year of the Ox celebrity list. Born on June 1, 1937 in Memphis, Tennessee, Freeman’s career as an actor, director and narrator is widely celebrated by the entertainment industry and fans alike. An Academy Award winner, Freeman’s classic films include The Shawshank Redemption, Invictus, Driving Miss Daisy and Million Dollar Baby. According to IMDb, his movies have grossed a combined USD10.24 billion worldwide – what a legend.

19. Keira Knightley

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Image via Wikimedia

Hailing from the UK, Keira Knightley reached stardom with her performances in movies like Bend it Like Beckham and Love Actually, as well as Pirates of the Caribbean. The actress, born in London on March 26, 1985, also went on to play in multiple period dramas and earned the nickname ‘Queen of Period Pieces’ – receiving an Academy Award nomination for ‘Best Actress’ in Pride & Prejudice

20. Princess Diana

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Image via John Matthew Smith/Wikimedia 

The Princess of Wales lived a life in the spotlight – and rounds out an impressive list of Oxen. Born July 1, 1961, Princess Diana was known for her beauty and shy demeanor, and spared no efforts to use her platform to assist charitable causes, including children’s issues and AIDS. In her personal life, Diana battled low self-esteem and eating disorders, and was constantly hounded by ‘royal-watchers’ and paparazzi. News of Diana’s untimely death in Paris in 1997 shocked the world, with more than one million people attending her funeral and 2.5 billion people tuning in.

Honorable Mentions

George Floyd, Joko Widodo, Sergey Brin, Sammy Davis Jr., Heidi Klum, Langston Hughes, Gal Gadot, Billy Joel, Eddie Murphy, Bruno Mars, Kylie Jenner

Tyra Banks bio by Phoebe Kut.

READ MORE: 10 Infamous People Born in the Year of the Ox


[Cover image via John Matthew Smith/Wikimedia, [12] Wikimedia]

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