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George Bernard Shaw


26 July 1856 – 2 November 1950 (Aged 94)

Bernard Shaw was a prolific Irish playwright, who became the first person to ever win a Nobel Prize and an Academy Award.

He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1925 and the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 1938.

Shaw continued to write until his death from renal failure at the age of 94.

Throughout his life, Shaw refused all state honours, including the Order of Merit in 1946.

Often outspoken in his political views, he promoted eugenics, opposed vaccination and organised religion, and expressed admiration for both Mussolini and Stalin.

Bernard Shaw is rated among the greatest playwrights in history.

George Orwell


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25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950 (Aged 46)

Orwell was a hugely influential British author, best known for his novels Animal Farm, and Nineteen Eighty-Four.

His descriptions of life and practices under an authoritarian regime have been given the term ‘Orwellian’, such has been the impact of his work.

Orwell had been suffering from tubercolosis in his final years, before an artery burst in his lungs, killing him at the age of 46.

In November 2017, a statue of George Orwell was unveiled outside the headquarters of the BBC.

The wall behind the statue is inscribed with his proposed preface to Animal Farm: “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear”.

Walter Huston


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5 April 1883 – 7 April 1950 (Aged 67)

Huston was a prolific Canadian-American actor.

In 1948, he won an Academy Award for his role in the Treasure of the Sierra Madre and is also a member of the American Theater Hall of Fame.

Two days after his 67th birthday, Huston died of an aortic aneurysm in his hotel suite in Beverly Hills, California.

Huston’s legacy in film has lived on through his director son, John, his granddaughter, Angelica, and great-grandson, Jack.

They are responisble for three generations of Academy Award winners.

Carter G. Woodson


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December 19, 1875 – April 3, 1950 (Aged 74)

Woodson was an African-American historian who is credited as being the founder of Black History Month.

Woodson, who was one of the first African-Americans to get a doctorate from Harvard, devoted his life to historical research and the history of African Americans.

Woodson died suddenly from a heart attack in his office at home at the age of 74.

Al Jolson


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26 May 1886 – 23 October 1950 (Aged 64)

Jolson was a Russian-born American actor, singer, and comedian, who was regarded as one of the best, and most loved, entertainers in the world.

Jolson is renowned for his role in 1927’s ‘The Jazz Singer’, the first film with synchronized sound.

He died of a heart attack shortly after returning from serving as an entertainer during the Korean War.

It is thought the physical exhaustion of his time in Korea contributed to his death.