Table of Contents

Notoriety is a fleeting entity; it's enigmatic, tantalizing, and it comes and goes. At its most cunning, it skillfully appears after those who are searching for it have perished. Not every household name on this list actively pursued celebrity; in fact, some of them (like Emily Dickinson, for example) may have studiously avoided it.

Nevertheless, none of them could have predicted how well-known they would become after death, whether they pursued fame or not. How moving it is to think about what unknowable legacy we might leave behind after we pass away.

What's the lesson learned? Never give up. Who knows, maybe after you pass away you'll become really renowned.

Top 12 Most Famous People After Death

1. Herman Melville

Top 12 Most Famous People After Death

This 19th-century American author was examining man's struggle to best nature in his work Moby-Dick long before Bear Grylls turned the concept of "man vs. wild" into a freakshow that involves sleeping inside camels. After the publication of his first novel, Typee, a highly dramatized description of his time living among the Polynesians, Herman Melville briefly dabbled in literary success.

However, the reviews for his later books—including Moby-Dick—were progressively worse, which led to his financial collapse.

His move into poetry turned out to be just as bad. None of his writings were still in print by 1876, and he passed away in 1891 barely recognized as a figurehead in American literature. But when his writing reappeared in the early 1900s to critical acclaim, he was elevated to the status of one of America's greatest writers.

2. Edgar Allan Poe

Despite Poe's lack of recognition, Lovecraft frequently mentioned him as one of his main inspirations. Poe's writing stands out in particular because it is unquestionably beautiful and horrifying at the same time—a rare combination in modern horror. He was somewhat poor for the majority of his adult life and made extra money by writing for magazines and journals. He became known in tiny circles as a recognized literary critic as a result of this work. "The Raven" was the only really successful piece he produced during his lifetime.

His poems and short fiction were translated into French after his death, where they were well-received before being read all over the world. Without ever naming it, Poe is also acknowledged as the creator of the detective fiction subgenre.

3. Galileo Galilei

Top 12 Most Famous People After Death

What an amazing period of history the Inquisition was. Though Galileo is now well-known, throughout his lifetime he was frequently the target of censorship, coerced into retracting his scientific claims, and spent the majority of his last ten years under house arrest. While others, including Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein, have referred to Galileo as the "father of science," Gregor Mendel may have been the "father of modern genetics."

He made incalculable contributions to the domains of engineering, physics, and astronomy. Unfortunately, the church repressed much of his work throughout his lifetime because they believed it to be heresy. But in the years following his passing, his outlawed writings were gradually made available, enabling the scientific community to fully benefit from his findings.

READ MORE: 15 Famous Celebrities Who Adopted Children

4. Vincent Van Gogh

Top 12 Most Famous People After Death

Although Vincent Van Gogh painted a great deal during his lifetime—roughly 2100 paintings in just over ten years—he was only able to sell one during his own lifetime.

He committed suicide at the age of 37 because he was thought to be crazy and a failure as an artist, in part due of the entire "ear thing." In addition to his significant posthumous contributions to contemporary art, his dramatic life and death have influenced the idealized portrayal of the tortured artist and the idea that an artist should suffer in order to create art. Here are a couple honorable mentions before we reveal our #1 choice. — Henry David Thoreau Karl Marx - Hans Christian Andersson

5. Anne Frank

Anne Frank is truly exceptional, even on this list. Even though she passed away in a German concentration camp at the young age of 15, her straightforward journal has gone on to become one of the most well-known works of literature ever. Written between 1942 and 1944, it tells the story of Anne's family's time spent in hiding before they were apprehended and taken to Auschwitz. Her father, the only member of her family still alive after World War II, found her diary, in which she wrote of her aspirations to become a journalist.

Despite being prevented from fulfilling her dream due to horrific acts of genocide, the one work of non-fiction literature she produced during her brief life has elevated her to a position of great historical prominence. Do you think our list is correct? Are there any other individuals that only gained notoriety after their deaths? Make sure to subscribe to for daily updates on more past top 10s.

6. H.P. Lovecraft

Aside from Stephen King, there’s unlikely no bigger name in horror than Lovecraft. But in his lifetime, the reclusive, self-conscious author never earned so much as a modest living from his written works, which were relegated to the pages of pulp magazines. His work was recognized within small circles of writers however, and over the years, an appreciation of his writing by other authors in the genre went on to establish him as a father figure in horror culture.

His influence has grown so great since his death, that Lovecraftian Horror is a subgenre of its very own. His creations and mythos, such as Cthulhu, have worked their way into the very fabric of pop culture, and are now seen in anime, film, television, tabletop games, music, and video games.

7. Emily Dickinson

"A little demon is released whenever something is done for the first time." The poet's prescient words sum up her existence to a tee because society wasn't prepared for such a mystery. Only seven of her poems were published before she passed away in 1886 from Bright's disease, and even then, they had undergone extensive editing to conform to social mores. However, around 1800 of her well-known poems were discovered and published following her passing, receiving a great deal of praise.

READ MORE: Top 15 Most Beautiful Celebrities In The World

8. Henry David Thoreau

This well-known philosopher passed away in 1862. His political writings have influenced a number of notable figures, including Leo Tolstoy, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mahatma Gandhi. After his wife passed away, Henry turned to alcoholism because he had little money from his job at a pencil factory and his occasional lectures while he was still living. These days, everyone appreciates his distinct aesthetic and naturalistic beliefs.

9. Anne Frank

German by birth, Annelies Marie Frank wrote diaries. For short, Anne. The Diary of a Young Girl, a posthumous account of her life in hiding from 1942 to 1944 during the German occupation of the Netherlands during World War II, made her one of the most talked-about Jewish victims of the Holocaust. On August 4, 1944, she was found with her group and taken into custody. She was informed to be transferred to the Coculation Camp in Bergen-Belsen after surviving Aushewiz. There, in March 1945, she and her sister Margot Betti Frank passed away from typhus.

10. Johannes Vermeer

Sometime between 1670 and 1672, Vermeer painted 'Young Woman Seated at the Virginal'. Johannes Vermeer via Wikimedia Commons (public domain)

During his lifetime, the renowned Dutch painter, who gained popularity for his depictions of everyday domestic settings, enjoyed some degree of success as a local painter. However, he was not well-known outside of Delft and was undoubtedly never wealthy. He painted and worked as an art dealer and innkeeper in addition to being a father of eleven children, but it was not enough; his wife blamed the burden of financial strain for his passing.

After his death, he swiftly fell into obscurity and was forgotten for generations in surveys of Dutch art - that is, until a 19th-century collection of paintings was found that were claimed to be by him. He is today regarded as one of the greatest Dutch painters of all time; the work "Young Woman Seated at the Virginal" (shown here) brought $30 million at auction in 2004.

11. Johann Sebastian Bach

Given that Johann Sebastian Bach, a German-born musician, was highly regarded for his organ skills, it would be inaccurate to argue that he passed away before becoming well-known. He wasn't well-known for his compositions, however that is currently his most well-known attribute. During his lifetime, very few of his writings were published.

Not until German composer Felix Mendelssohn revived Bach's "Passion According to St. Matthew" in 1829 did Bach start to get recognition for his musical masterpieces after his death. He is now recognized by most as one of the most important Baroque composers, if not the greatest composer of all time.

12. Oscar Wilde

Top 12 Most Famous People After Death

Like Melville, Oscar Wilde enjoyed some measure of fame and notoriety during his lifetime. After working for years as a journalist, editor, and writer of essays, poetry, short stories, and novels, he began writing plays in the 1890s, one of which was an immediate smash, "The Importance of Being Earnest."

He lived his final years as a destitute exile in France after serving a two-year prison sentence due to court fights around his homosexuality, notwithstanding his late career success. When it was first published, many of his works were not well received. One such example is "The Picture of Dorian Gray," which was written off as immoral homoeroticism. However, he gained far more notoriety after his death thanks to his collected works, life narrative, and lyrically tragic demise. This notoriety only increased with the passing of time.

In Summary

These twelve individuals gave the world priceless works of art and knowledge. Regretfully, they passed away impoverished and unaware of their value.

However, the posthumous fame these individuals attained confirms that talent never fades. Thus, even if you are dismissed, keep working since you never know what the future holds.

Of course, a lot of people in world history rose to fame after their deaths. In the space provided for comments below this article, please tell us about them.

Top 12 U.S Celebrities Who Became Politicians Top 12 U.S Celebrities Who Became Politicians

Lots of celebrities like actors, actresses, businessmen have become politicians. What motivated to engaged in the political sector? Check out the list of Top 12 ...

Top 14 Billionaires of Hollywood - Richest Celebrity Billionaires Top 14 Billionaires of Hollywood - Richest Celebrity Billionaires

Forbes has announced a list of billionaires, which includes Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, and numerous actors and directors.

Top 10 Most Beautiful Transgender Women in the World 2024 Top 10 Most Beautiful Transgender Women in the World 2024

Let's look at ten stunning transgender women's faces from 2024. Many of them are gifted young people.