60 Years Of Heroes

They've battled tyrants and conquered their own fears, scaled mountains and reached peaks of perfection. TIME looks back on 60 years of outstanding individuals, and celebrates their contribution to making the world a better place


Nelson Mandela

Age has not weakened his urge for justice any more than prison could contain his profound influence

Charles de Gaulle

Twice he took center stage at decisive moments in French history and twice he saved the Republic

Andrei Sakharov

Scientist and dissident, he built the bomb and worked for peace

Mikhail Gorbachev

The former Soviet leader opened a dialogue with the West and helped to end the deadlock of the cold war

Jean Monnet

The architect of European unity, his vision still serves as a blueprint for integration today

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

His powerful account of life in the Soviet Gulag gave a voice to victims of oppression

Imre Nagy

An idealist, his beliefs brought about revolution — and his death

Petra Kelly

She stirred up German politics and helped make green issues go mainstream

Yitzhak Rabin

He inspired admiration — and hatred — with his determination to achieve security and a lasting peace in the Middle East

Helmut Kohl

George H.W. Bush on how the German Chancellor unified his own country and helped to reshape the Continent of Europe

Shirin Ebadi

The Iranian lawyer has faced death threats and persecution, but her campaign against injustice continues

Lech Walesa

He fought for workers' rights and won a much larger battle

Linus Torvalds

By giving away his software, the Finnish programmer earned a place in history

Margaret Thatcher

Her political philosophy provided a model for postcommunist countries

King Juan Carlos

Groomed to take over from a dictator, he used his power to transform Spain into a democracy

Simone de Beauvoir

For better and for worse, she set the agenda for the feminist movement


The Beatles

The Beatles changed musical history forever. The wellspring of their creativity was their hometown of Liverpool

Rem Koolhaas

The Dutch architect and urban visionary spotted a wealth of potential in our congested cities

Galina Ulanova

As prima ballerina she danced into legend — and took Russian ballet to new audiences

Paul Bocuse

Grounded in traditional regional cooking, this great innovator has shaken up French cuisine

Pablo Picasso

Painter, sculptor and celebrity, genius and innovator — he even had trouble keeping up with himself

Enzo Ferrari

Tough on himself and others, the carmaker pushed for perfection

Francis Bacon

Iconoclastic British painter's emotionally charged images of afflicted humanity revealed the beast within

Barbara Hulanicki & Mary Quant

It was the British designer Mary Quant who first married fun and fashion and lit the fuse of the insurrection that Hulanicki brought to the high street

Maria Callas

The glamorous star is a role model for every female opera singer

Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Armed with a camera and a mean streak, the rebel filmmaker shook up German cinema with stories that were as tragic as his own life

Naguib Mahfouz

The soul of his own nation, the father of the Arabic novel entranced readers worldwide

J.K. Rowling

She has conjured up a fantasy that is loved by kids of all ages

John Lydon

As the frontman of definitive British punk band the Sex Pistols, he inspired a new generation — and terrified an old one

Henry Moore

Reclining figures, abstract forms, bronzes and stone — whatever the shape or the medium, his sculptures pull in the crowds

Sophia Loren

An eternal beauty, she has graced cinema screens for more than half a century

Fela Kuti

His revolutionary sound track lifted the spirits of his oppressed compatriots

Coco Chanel

The ultimate arbiter of chic, she released women from the tyranny of fashion by combining style with comfort

Samuel Beckett

He made theater audiences queue to watch nothing happening — twice

Nadine Gordimer

During her lifelong fight against injustice, the South African author has shown the true power of words

François Truffaut

A key influence in modern cinema, his passionate filmmaking still seduces

Chinua Achebe

With his modern take on traditional culture, the African novelist recast the image of his continent

Freddie Laker

A British entrepreneur, he took on the airline giants and made flying affordable

Hasso Plattner

The software pioneer created a platform for business — and for Germany


Princess Diana

Expected to keep quiet and fit in, she instead learned to speak out and became more potent a symbol than the royal house she joined

Yuri Gagarin

Despite a humble upbringing, he became the first man in space and sparked a new era of exploration

Martina Navratilova

The tennis legend won her place in history by refusing to play by conventional rules

Natasa Kandic

The human-rights activist continues in her relentless fight against war crimes

Bernard Kouchner

A humanitarian-activist poltician, he puts himself in the front line of conflicts

Pope John Paul II

By taking his ministry straight to the faithful, the Pontiff reshaped his own church and helped to give it new symbolic force in the modern world

Queen Rania

The Queen of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a key interlocutor between Arabs and the West

Christiane Amanpour

CNN's chief international correspondent doesn't just report on world affairs — she hopes to influence them

Peter Benenson

The founder of Amnesty International shone a light on human-rights abuses

Jean-Claude Killy

The French ski champion grabbed Olympic gold and shook up the slopes with his daredevil style

Reinhold Messner

The world's greatest mountaineer pushed the limits of human endurance

Franz Beckenbauer

The Kaiser rewrote football's playbook, and won glory for club and country

Jacques-Yves Cousteau

Pioneering filmmaker and environmentalist, he showed the world the wonders of the deep

Abebe Bikila

Ethiopia's legendary marathon runner blazed a trail for African athletes

Bono & Bob Geldof

After two decades, the odd couple of campaigning are still rocking the establishment

Mother Teresa

The Saint of Calcutta spread her love to the unwanted, the homeless and the abandoned

Anna Politkovskaya

Killed because of her commitment to the truth, the Russian journalist exposed the horrors of Chechnya


Holes in a Hard Line

The chances of a resolution to the long dispute over Cyprus look as slim as ever


A Changing Climate

As an influential report warns of economic meltdown from global warming, the insurance industry plans to go greener. Is the change more than just hot air?


Hungry For More

Geling Yan serves up a tasty tale of desire and corruption in China


Wales Tales (Time Traveler)

Take a trip round South Wales with Archaeotours and visit ancient tombs and medieval castles

Paradise Found (Check In)

For a truly serene vacation visit the Maldivian Baros resort

A Supergroup Effort (Design Watch)

Architect-designed furniture is proving a hit for British furniture maker Established & Sons

Eat Their Greens (Local Fare)

Cape Town's Azure restaurant uses varieties of fynbos, the local woody vegetation, to give an unusual twist to traditional dishes