Celebrities and Famous Armenians



Andre Agassi, Tennis Player
Andre Agassi was born April 29, 1970 in Las Vegas, Nevada. His Iranian-born Armenian father Mike Agassian was an Olympic boxer in 1948 and 1952. Andre, the youngest of 4 children, was deemed a tennis prodigy at age three. At age 18, tennis champion Andre Agassi became the youngest U.S. player to be ranked number one in the world. He first won at Wimbledon in 1992, the U.S. Open in 1994, and the Australian Open in 1995. When he won the French Open in 1999, he became the fifth man in tennis history to win all four Grand Slam events. Bred on the Las Vegas Strip, he was an entertainer on the court.

Charles Aznavour, Composer-Singer
Charles Aznavour was born in Paris on May 22 1924. In fact it was quite by chance that young Charles was born in the French capital. He should have been born in the United States, but his parents, Armenian immigrants, were temporarily based in France awaiting an American visa when their son unexpectedly arrived in the world. Sad-eyed, sinewy singer/composer Charles Aznavour started performing as a dancer at age nine. During the 1950s, Aznavour rose to stardom as a soulful interpreter of melancholy romance ballads. Charles Aznavour, the son of Armenian immigrants, struggled against all the odds to launch his singing career in France. Aznavour had neither stunning film star looks nor a remarkable voice, but he had two things in his favour - powerful on-stage charisma and incredible willpower ! It may have taken Aznavour twenty years to climb his way to the top, but when he did his extraordinary tenacity would certainly pay off! Today, Aznavour in his 70’s, is not only the most famous crooner in the world, he’s an international mega-star with record sales to match !
Eric Bogosian , Actor
He was born April 24, 1953 and raised in Woburn, MA. He graduated from Oberlin College. The author of the plays Talk Radio, subUrbia, and Griller, monologist Eric Bogosian also earned acclaim for his three Obie Award-winning one-man performances Drinking in America, Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll and Pounding Nails in the Floor with My Forehead. An actor whose work ranged from appearances in the Steven Seagal action thriller Under Siege 2 to the Woody Allen comedy Deconstructing Harry, Bogosian also dabbled in music, in 1986 collaborating with Frank Zappa on Blood on the Canvas.
Cher, Actress-Singer
Cherilyn Sarkisian was born in California in 1946; she was 17 when she first met Salvatore "Sonny" Bono, a songwriter and protégé of producer Phil Spector. Bono brought her to Spector, who used her as a backup singer and produced one single by her, a novelty Beatles tribute record called "Ringo I Love You" issued under the name Bonnie Jo Mason. Cher has had three careers that place her indelibly in the public consciousness, and two have been in association with her then-husband, composer/producer/singer Salvatore "Sonny" Bono (February 16, 1935-January 8, 1998). She charted major hit records in the 1960s and 1970s, working in idioms ranging from early- '60s girl group-style ballads to Jackie Deshannon folk-influenced pop, to adult contemporary pop in the manner of later Dusty Springfield.
Mike Connors (Krikor Ohanian), "Mannix"
Born Krekor Ohanian on August 15, 1925, Connors grew up facing the discrimination heaped upon the Armenian community of Fresno, CA. He served in the Air Force during World War II and then attended UCLA on a basketball scholarship. He studied law but wanted to become an actor after appearing in several plays. He had starring roles in television shows:
TIGHTROPE! as Nick 1959-60
MANNIX as Joe Mannix 1967-1975
TODAY'S F.B.I. (1981) as Ben Slater
CRIMES OF THE CENTURY (1989) host of this series

George Deukmejian , Ex. Governor of CA
Born and raised in New York, George Deukmejian attended the local college and was nick-named "Duke" by his fellow students. He went on to earn his law degree at St. John's University and practiced law in New York before serving with the U.S. Army in Paris. Returning to the U.S., Deukmejian established a law practice in Southern California, and eventually served as State Assemblyman, State Senator, and Attorney General prior to assuming the office of Governor. As a legislator, he sponsored the "Use a gun, go to jail" law. Asked why he ran for the office of Governor, Deukmejian replied, "Attorneys General don't appoint judges - Governors do." During his eight- year term, Deukmejian appointed 1,000 judges, and by the time he left office, he had appointed the majority of California State Supreme Court Justices then serving on the bench.
Atom Egoyan, Filmmaker
Cairo-born, Canadian-bred and of Armenian descent, Atom Egoyan is one of the most celebrated contemporary filmmakers on the international scene. Egoyan was born to Joseph and Shushan Yeghoyan in Cairo, Egypt and was raised in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. As a teenager, he became interested in reading and writing plays. He graduated from the University of Toronto. Egoyan is now based in Toronto, where he lives with his wife, Arsinée Khanjian, an actress who appears in many of Egoyan's films, and their son, Arshile.
Egoyan has directed a dozen full-length films, several television episodes, and a few shorter pieces. His early work was based on his own material, and he received some notice for the film Exotica (1994), but it was Egoyan's first attempt at adapted material that resulted in his most well-known work, The Sweet Hereafter (1997).
Filmography: Next of Kin (1984) - Family Viewing (1987) - Speaking Parts (1989) - The Adjuster (1991) - Calendar (1993) - Exotica (1994) - The Sweet Hereafter (1997) - Felicia's Journey (1999) - Ararat (2002)
Garry Kasparov, Chess Player
Garry Kimovich Kasparov was born 13 April 1963 in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. His father was named Kim Moiseyevich Wainshtein, but died when Garry was seven, and the boy later adopted the Russian version of his mother's Armenian maiden name, Kasparian. Kim Moiseyevich Weinstein, his father, was a teacher and Klara Shagenovna Kasparova, his mother of Armenian ancestry, was an engineer.
While the World Championship may be the most visible indication of Kasparov's success, it is not the only one. His reign as World Champion from 1985 to 2000 fell within his unbroken ranking (except for a brief period when he shared the honor with Kramnik) as the world's no.1 rated player, which started in 1984. In 1989 he was the first player to achieve a stratospheric 2800 FIDE rating.
Bob Keeshan , "Captain Kangaroo"
Born in New York City, New York, U.S.A., 27 June 1927. Attended Fordham University, 1946-49. Served in United States Marine Corps Reserve, 1945-46. Bob Keeshan is the actor and producer responsible for the success of the long-running children's program, Captain Kangaroo. As the easy-going Captain with his big pockets and his bushy mustache, Keeshan lured children into close engagement with literature, science, and especially music, adopting an approach which mixed pleasure and pedagogy.
Armen Keteyan, Sports Announcer
He was born March 6, 1953, in Detroit and lives in New Canaan, Conn., with his wife, Dede, and their two daughters. He is a six-time Emmy Award-winning correspondent for CBS and HBO Sports. A New York Times bestselling author and coauthor of eight books.
Dr. Jack Kevorkian, Euthanasia Advocate
May 26, 1928 in Pontiac, Michigan to refugees who had survived the Armenian holocaust and migrated to America. Retired Pathologist, Author, and Advocate of Physician Assisted Suicide. Dr. Kevorkian's books include: Medical Research and the Death Penalty, Prescription: Medicide: The Goodness of Planned Death, The Story of Dissection (a medical history), and Slimmeriks and the Demi-Diet.
Aram Khachaturian, Composer
Aram Ilich Khachaturian (Armenian: Արամ Խաչատրյան) (June 6, 1903 – May 1, 1978) was a composer of classical music.
Khachaturian was born in Tiflis, Georgia, Russia (now Tbilisi, Georgia) to a poor Armenian family (the influence of Armenian folk music is prominent in his work).

His works include concertos for violin, cello and piano (the latter originally including an early part for the flexatone), concerto-rhapsodies for the same instruments, three symphonies the third containing parts for fifteen trumpets and organ, and the ballets Spartak (Spartacus) and Gayane, the latter featuring in its final act what is probably his most famous movement, the 'Sabre Dance'. He also composed some film music. The cinematic quality of his music for Spartacus was clearly seen when it was used as the theme for a popular BBC drama series, The Onedin Line, during the 1970s. Since then, it has become one of the most popular of all classical pieces for UK audiences. He died in Moscow, short of his 75th birthday.
Kirk Kerkorian, Entrepreneur
US-born Kerkorian is the world's richest Armenian. American financier; chairman and major stockholder of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corporation; real estate investor; purchaser of the Las Vegas Strip's Flamingo Hotel; builder of the International Hotel, which opened on July 2, 1969, and was at the time the largest in the world; and founder of Trans International Airlines Corporation.
At age 15, he had been imprisoned in Turkey. He escaped and sailed to America in steerage at age 18 and was soon working as a dishwasher in a San Francisco speakeasy.. He eventually bought the place and built it into the renowned Omar Khayyam restaurant. "I was born on November 7, but I celebrate my birthday on July 24" he said. "That's the day I began to live, the day I saw the Statue of Liberty."
George Mardikian's interest in the welfare of the American soldier led him to volunteer his time and energy in an effort to improve the food
service for combat troops in Korea. For his "selfless devotion to his mission and his singular accomplishments" to the success of the Armed Forces, Mardikian was awarded the Medal of Freedom, the country's highest civilian award. A portion of the citation reads, "with vigorous energy, keen powers of observation and analysis and a dynamic personality, he enlisted the enthusiastic interest of commanders and soldiers alike in the preparation and service of food under varying conditions in the combat zone." Mardikian would accept no pay for his services.
Alex Manoogian, Delta Faucets
Born in 1901, Manoogian emigrated to the United States at the age of 19 and moved to Detroit in 1924. He married the late Marie Tatian in 1931. She was his constant companion until her passing in 1992. Manoogian was born in Smyrna (Izmir) and under the supervision of his parents, Tacvor and Tacoohie Manoogian, Alex received his primary and secondary education in local Armenian schools. He worked in an auto parts manufacturing plant to gain experience, and then founded his own company in 1929, which was to grow into the multi-national Masco Corporation with annual sales of over $3 billion.
Ara Parseghian, Football Player
Born March 10, 1923, was head coach for the University of Notre Dame football team from 1964-1974. During his 11 seasons as head coach, he compiled a 95-17-4 record, for a .836 winning percentage, making him the most successful Notre Dame coach of the modern era.
Raffi, Children's Folk Singer
Children's music was revolutionized by the recordings of Egypt-born and British Columbia-based singer-songwriter Raffi. Raffi had his greatest success when he directed his performances and recordings to youngsters during the 1980s. Raffi's albums of children's music have sold more than eight million copies worldwide and have led to him being called, "The Bruce Springsteen of the younger set".
William Saroyan, Author
Novelist, short-story writer, dramatist, and essayist, William Saroyan was born in Fresno, California in 1908. A high-school dropout, Saroyan was largely self-educated and decided at an early age to pursue a career as a writer, drawing on his experience as an Armenian-American growing up in California. His first published works were sketches in The Overland Monthly in 1928, which inspired him to seek his fortune in New York City.
Garo Yepremian, Football Player
Born in Larnaca, Cyprus in 1944, 5' 7'' kicker for NFL's Detroit Lions and Miami Dolphins. He was the Miami Dolphins place-kicker from 1970 to 1978, which included their 17-0 season in 1972 and 14-7 Super Bowl VII victory over Washington. He also was voted the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Kicker of the Decade. He was known  as the "little Cypriot tie maker."
Armand Zildjian, Percussion Cymbals
Born in Quincy, Mass., he attended local schools including Thayer Academy and Colgate University until called to serve in the Philippines in 1942. Upon his return, he entered the family business, the world's largest cymbal manufacturer and the oldest company in America. Armand Zildjian, President and Chairman of the Zildjian Company in Norwell, Mass., died Thursday, Dec. 26, at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona. He was 81.





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Revised: 09/24/13 10:19:45 -0400.