Famous Hungarians


Famous Hungarians and Inventions

This is a list of notable Hungarian Americans who either came to America, or were born in America to Hungarian parents. This list is far from inclusive, but exemplifies, along with the other sections, the Hungarian Genius!

Scientists and Inventors

Zoltan Bay
Physicist, First to use radar to take measurements of the moon

Antal Bejczy
Engineer, Developed Mars Rover “Sojourner,” and Pathfinder’s Remote Control System

Dennis Gabor
Nobel Prize 1971, Holographic Method

Joseph Galamb
Ford Chief Engineer, Designed the Model “T” and Model “A” Ford, the Fordson Tractor, invented the Ignition Plug and the Planetary Gearbox, and prepared the production of Liberty aircraft engines

Peter Goldmark
Engineer, CBS Chief Scientist – Invented the Color Television, 33 1/3 LP Record, and the Electronic Video Recorder. National Medal of Science

Dr. Andrew Grove
Founder, Intel Corporation. Time’s Man of the Year for 1998

John Harsanyi
Nobel Prize 1994, Game Theory. “For his pioneering analysis of equilibrium in the theory of non-cooperative games.” Shared prize with A Beautful Mind’s John Nash

George Olah
Nobel Price 1994, Hydrocarbon research

Ferenc Pavlics
Developer of Moon-vehicle

Leo Szilard
Helped develop the atomic bomb

Edward Teller
Father of Hydrogen bomb

Theodore Von Karman
Aeronautical Engineer & Mathematician. The Father of the Supersonic Flight and a founder of the aeronautical and astronautical sciences. Developed the B-52 bomber, Titan and Minuteman missiles.

John Von Neumann
Father of computer science, Physicist, Logician, and Computing Pioneer: Co-developed the Atomic Bomb. Father of Binary Code and the Stored Program Computer, Father of Game Theory. Key in development of U.S. ballistic missile program

Eugene Wigner
Nobel Prize for Theory of Atomic Nucleus

Mária Telkes the „sun queen”. She worked as a biophysicist in the United States, designing the first solar heating system for the Dover Sun House in Dover, Massachusetts in 1947. She was a prolific inventor of practical thermal devices, including a miniature desalination unit for use on lifeboats, which used solar power and condensation to collect potable solar still. The still saved the lives of airman and sailors who would have been without water when abandoned at sea.


Georg Von Bekesy
Nobel Prize 1961, Differentiate various forms of deafness

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Renowned Psychologist, Father of “Flow Theory,” former Chair of University of Chicago’s Department of Psychology, and Bestselling Author

Bela Schick
Nobel Prize, Father of Modern Pediatrics

Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
Nobel Prize, Effects of Vitamin C


Victor Vasarely
Contemporary Artist

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy
Designer, Founder of the Chicago Art Institute, Avant-Garde Painter, designer, and experimental photographer: A Founder of Constructivism, Professor and Director at the Bauhaus School of Design, Chicago,

Marcel Breuer
Architect, Designer, Founded Whitney Museum of American Art

Andre Kertesz

Cornell Capa
Established the International Center of Photography in New York


Ernest Istook
US Congressman, Republican from Oklahoma, Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee, Co-Chair of the Hungarian Caucus in the US House of Representatives

Tom Lantos
Former U.S. Congressman from California

George Pataki
Former Governor of New York; father was Hungarian

Musicians and Composers

Bela Bartok
Composer, Ethnomusicologist

Antal Dorati
Conductor, Minneapolis Orchestra, Composer

Mark and David Knopfler
Legendary, Grammy Award-winning Rock Musicians of Dire Straits: “The Sultans of Rock” and “the finest British band of all time.”

Zoltan Kodaly
Composer, educator, ethnomusicologist, linguist, author and philosopher

Desmond Child
Musician, songwriter, and producer.  Member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame

Eugene Ormandy
Conductor, Philadelphia Orchestra

Tommy Ramone
Drummer and Producer of the Legendary, Pioneering Punk Rockers, the Ramones

Fritz Reiner
Conductor, Cincinnati Orchestra and Metropolitan Opera

Miklos Rozsa
Triple Oscar Winning Film Composer

Gene Simmons
KISS Legendary Rock-n-Roller!

Sir George Solti
Conductor, Chicago Orchestra

George Szell
Conductor, Cleveland Orchestra


Larry Csonka
Pro-Football Player

Jimmy and Charlie Gogolak
Pro-Football Players, New York Giants

Lou “The Toe” Groza
NFL Football Player, Record-setting Tackle and Placekicker for the Cleveland Browns. 9 Pro-Bowls, Hall of Famer

George “Papa Bear” Halas
Legendary Hall of Fame Football Coach, Father of the NFL

Bernie Kosar
Superbowl winning Quarterback. Played for the Browns, Cowboys and the Dolphins

Joseph Nagy
Olympic Gold Medalist and Swimming coach

Joe Nemeth
Football, Quarterback, Super Bowl Quarterback and MVP (New York Jets), and Hall of Famer

Tom Orosz
NFL Football Player. Superbowl Punter for the Miami Dolphins #3

Don Shula
Football Coach, Miami Dolphins

Monica Seles
Tennis Superstar. She has won 9 Grand Slam singles titles and bronze in Sydney 2000!


Michael Curtiz

Oscar Winning Director of “Casablanca”

George Cukor
Double Oscar-Winning Director

Gabor Csupo
Leader of the new generation of animation. 5 EMMYS and 2 CABLE ACE Awards. Animator of Rugrats and the early Simpsons

Frank Darabont
Director/Writer, 2 Oscar Nominations for The Green Mile, “One of the best writer/directors of his generation”

Joe Eszterhas
Prolific Screenwriter, Basic Instinct, Sliver, Flashdance

William Fox
Producer and Hollywood Mogul, Founder of Fox Studios

Eva Gardos 
Acclaimed Screenwriter, Director, and Editor

Robert Halmi, Sr.
Producer, “Tele-Visionary,” Chairman of Hallmark Entertainment, the most prolific producer in TV history: multiple Emmy Award winner and 1999 Peabody Award winner

Alexander Korda
Oscar Nominated Producer / Director: A “Hollywood Renegade” & Founding Member of The Society of Independent Motion Picture Producers.

Joe Pasternak
MGM Producer

Darryl F. Zanuck
Head of 20th Century

Adolph Zukor,
Founder, Paramount Pictures

Andrew G. Vajna
Producer, Hollywood Legend: President of Cinergi Productions, co-Founder of Carolco Pictures

Vilmos Zsigmond


Vilma Banky

Drew Barrymore
Actress, Model, Producer, Philanthropist, “America’s Sweetheart”

Adrien Brody 
Actor. Oscar Nominated for “The Pianist”

Jamie Lee Curtis

Tony Curtis
Oscar-Nominated Actor, Artist, and Hollywood Legend

Eva and Zsazsa Gabor

Mariska Hargitay
Actress, Law and Order, ER, Leaving Las Vegas

Goldie Hawn
Actress and Academy Award Nominee for Private Benjamin. Tentative honoree

Bela Lugosi
Actor, The Original Dracula

Ali McGraw

Paul Newman
Oscar Winning Actor, Eight Oscar Nominations

Other Contributing Hungarian Americans

Michael De Fabritzky Kovats
Colonel in the Revolutionary War, US Military Hero, Founding Father of the US Cavalry,
Lincoln’s Hungarian Heroes. The participation of Hungarians in the Civil War

Alexander Asboth
General, US Chief-of-Staff, US Minister to Argentina

Philip Figyelmessy
US Inspector General

Lajos Kossuth
Hungarian war hero. He gave speeches in America about democracy.

Huba Wass de Czege 
Brigadier General, US Army Founding Director of the US Army’s School of Advanced Military Studies and Architect of AirLand Battle Doctrine

Joseph Pulitzer
Creator of the Pulitzer Price in 1912. Founder of the Columbia School of Journalism.

Agoston  Haraszty
Colonel, “Father of California Wine Culture!” – Ronald Reagan

Ladislao Biro
Inventor, Developed Bic Ballpoint Pen in 1938 and the automatic gearbox for automobiles.

Charles Fleischmann
Founder of the famous Standard Brands Yeast Company of Fleischmann’s Yeast fame

Eugene Fodor
Founder of “Fodor’s Travel Guides”

Milton Friedman 
Nobel Prize 1976 “for his achievements in the fields of consumption analysis, monetary history and theory and for his demonstration of the complexity of stabilization policy”.

George Soros

Erno Rubic
Inventor, Rubic’s Cube

Harry Houdini
The “Greatest Magician on Earth,” Actor, Pioneer Pilot

Estee Lauder
Founder of the current world cosmetics leader

Adrienne Vittadini
Designer of sportswear, glasses and perfume

Tommy Ramone
Drummer and Producer of the Legendary, Pioneering Punk Rockers, the Ramones

Ford Model T