10 Worldwide Known Armenians

Hovhannes Ayvazovsky

Ivan Aivazovsky (Hovhannes Aivazian) was an Armenian-Russian romantic painter who is considered one of the greatest masters of marine art.

Throughout his lifetime, Aivazovsky contributed over 6,000 paintings to the art world, ranging from his early landscapes of the Crimean countryside to the seascapes and coastal scenes for which he is most famous. Aivazovsky was especially effective at developing the play of light in his paintings. The most famous works are “The Ninth wave”, “The rainbow”, “The Black see”, “Descent of Noah from Ararat”, “The wave”.


William Saroyan

William Saroyan was an Armenian-American novelist, playwright, and short story writer. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1940, and in 1943 won the Academy Award for Best Story for the film adaptation of his novel The Human Comedy.

Saroyan wrote extensively about the Armenian immigrant life in California. His mastery of the vernacular makes his characters vibrantly alive. Most of his stories are based on his childhood and family. Some of his best-known works are “The Time of Your Life”, “My Name Is Aram” and “My Heart’s in the Highlands”.


Tigran Petrosyan

Known as “Iron Tigran,” Tigran Petrosian was a masterful defensive chess player and he reigned as world champion from 1963 to 1969. He became famous not for his flamboyance, but for his patience and methodology. Being the first Armenian world champion in history, he had a huge impact on the popularity of chess in Armenia (Chess has become a mandatory school subject across Armenia since 2011).


Charles Aznavour

The master of chanson. Aznavour, who was born Shahnour Vaghinag Aznavourian in Paris to Armenian parents, has became worldwide known singer, lyricist and diplomat. During his eighty year career he has played in over 80 films; has composed over 1000 songs, sung in eight different languages. Among the major works are ‘’La Boheme”, “Pour toi Armenie”, “She”, “Non Je n’ai rien oublie” and many others. Aznavour sang for presidents, popes and royal families and at a number of humanitarian events. He was a great artist not only for Armenia and France but for the entire world as well. Aznavour was awarded the highest state awards of France and Armenia. In 2017 Legendary singer-song-writer Charles Aznavour has been honored with the 2,618th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


Kirk Kerkorian

Kerkor “Kirk” Kerkorian was an Armenian-American businessman, investor, and philanthropist. He was the president and CEO of Tracinda Corporation, his private holding company based in Beverly Hills, California. Kerkorian was one of the important figures in the shaping of Las Vegas and, with architect Martin Stern, Jr. described as the “father of the mega-resort”. He built some of the world’s largest hotels: the International Hotel (opened in 1969), the MGM Grand Hotel (1973) and the MGM Grand (1993).  He was also the owner of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movie studios.



The international star known as Cher (Cherilyn Sarkisian) is a singer and actress whose successful career has spanned more than 50 years. She is among the few people that have won Emmy, Grammy, and Academy Awards. Her worldwide record sales have exceeded 100 million, and she has reached #1 on at least one Billboard chart every decade from the 1960s through the 2010s.


Serj Tankyan

A singer, poet, songwriter, composer, and activist; Serj Tankian has always created music as an outlet to express his thoughts and feelings with a level of passion and consciousness that few in today’s world of music can rival. He is best known as the lead vocalist for Grammy Award winning rock band System of a Down. Today, he’s widely considered one of the greatest vocalists in metal history. Since his success with SOAD, Serj has gone on to release critically acclaimed solo-albums, launch his own record label, create musical scores and compositions for films and video games, and co-found a non-profit organization, Axis of Justice. In addition to his activism for social justice and human rights, Serj is an environmental and animal protection advocate.


Kim Kardashian

Born in Beverly Hills, California, Kimberly Noel Kardashian West grew up under the glare and privilege of Beverly Hills, getting an up-close view of Hollywood’s pleasure and pitfalls. Time magazine included Kardashian on their list of 2015’s 100 most influential people, while Vogue described her in 2016 as a “pop culture phenomenon.” She was reported to be the highest-paid reality television personality of 2015. Kim Kardashian West has parlayed her reality TV career into successful beauty and shapewear businesses, served as a spokesperson for several charities and causes, blown up into a social media influencer with 164 million Instagram followers. Kim has become a global brand including her own perfume and is also popular for her make-up and beauty trends and distinct fashion style.


Alexis Ohanian

Alexis Ohanian is an Armenian-American internet entrepreneur, activist, and investor. He is best known as the co-founder of the popular social news website ‘Reddit’. He also co-founded the early-stage venture capital firm ”Initialized Capital”, helped launch the travel search website ”Hipmunk”, and started the social enterprise ”Breadpig”. He was also a partner at Y Combinator.  He is often referred to as the “start-up guy”. Forbes magazine calls Alexis Ohanian “Mayor of the Internet”, and has included him in its “30 Under 30” list as an important figure in the technology industry for two years in a row. Wired magazine featured him as a “Champion of Innovation” in 2013.


Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Henrikh Mkhitaryan is an Armenian professional footballer who plays for Italian club Roma, on loan from English club Arsenal, and captains the Armenian national team. He is the first Armenian to win a major European trophy, the UEFA Europe League 2017, when he scored the winning goal for Manchester United F.C. in the final in Stockholm. Since 2016, Henrikh is UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. In 2017, he has received a First-Class Order of Services to the Motherland from the President of the Republic of Armenia.

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