Time Magazine Person of the Year

Time Magazine Person of the Year

For other uses, see Person of the Year.

Person of the Year (formerly Man of the Year) is an annual issue of the United States newsmagazine Time that features and profiles a person, group, idea or object that "for better or for worse, ...has done the most to influence the events of the year."[1]


The tradition of selecting a Man of the Year began in 1927 with Time editors contemplating newsworthy stories possible during a slow news week. The idea was also an attempt to remedy the editorial embarrassment earlier that year of not having aviator Charles Lindbergh on its cover following his historic trans-Atlantic flight. By the end of the year, it was decided that a cover story featuring Lindbergh as the Man of the Year would serve both purposes.[2]

Since then, individual people, classes of people, the computer (1982), and Planet Earth (1988) have all been selected for the special year-end issue. In 1999, the title was changed to Person of the Year.[3] However, the only women to win the renamed recognition individually have been "The Whistleblowers" (Cynthia Cooper, Coleen Rowley, and Sherron Watkins in 2002) and Melinda Gates (jointly with Bill Gates and Bono in 2005). Before that, four women were granted the title as individuals as Woman of the Year–Wallis Simpson in 1936, Soong May-ling (Madame Chiang Kai-shek) in 1937, Queen Elizabeth II in 1952, and Corazon Aquino in 1986. Several classes of people comprise both men and women or women only, namely Hungarian Freedom Fighter in 1956, "U.S. Scientists" in 1960, Twenty-Five and Under in 1966, The Middle Americans in 1969, "American Women" in 1975, "The American Soldier" in 2003, You in 2006, and "The Protester" in 2011 (represented on the cover by a woman).

Since the list began, every serving President of the United States has been a Person of the Year at least once with the exceptions of Calvin Coolidge, in office at time of the first issue, Herbert Hoover, the next U.S. president, and Gerald Ford. Most were named Person of the Year either the year they were elected or while they were in office; the only one to be given the title before being elected is Dwight D. Eisenhower, who won it in 1944 as Supreme Commander of the Allied Invasion Force, eight years before his election. He subsequently won the title again in 1959, while in office.

The December 31, 1999 issue of Time named Albert Einstein the Person of the Century. Franklin D. Roosevelt and Mahatma Gandhi were chosen as runners-up.[4]

Franklin D. Roosevelt is the only person to have received the title three times–in 1932, 1934 and 1941.

Despite the magazine's frequent statements to the contrary, the designation is often regarded as an honor, and spoken of as an award or prize, simply based on many previous selections of admirable people.[5] However Time magazine points out controversial figures such as Adolf Hitler (1938), Joseph Stalin (1939, 1942), Nikita Khrushchev (1957), and Ayatollah Khomeini (1979) have also been granted the title for their impacts.[6]

As a result of the public backlash it received from the United States for naming the Ayatollah Khomeini Man of the Year in 1979, Time has shied away from using figures that are controversial in the United States.[7] Time's Person of the Year 2001—immediately following the September 11, 2001 attacks—was New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani, although the stated rules of selection, the individual or group of individuals who have had the biggest effect on the year's news, made Osama bin Laden a more likely choice. The issue that declared Giuliani the Person of the Year included an article that mentioned Time's earlier decision to elect the Ayatollah Khomeini and the 1999 rejection of Hitler as Person of the Century. The article seemed to imply that Osama bin Laden was a stronger candidate than Giuliani, as Adolf Hitler was a stronger candidate than Albert Einstein. The selections were ultimately based on what the magazine describes as who they believed had a stronger influence on history and who represented either the year or the century the most. According to Time, Rudolph Giuliani was picked for symbolizing the American response to the September 11th attacks, and Albert Einstein picked for representing a century of scientific exploration and wonder.

Filmmaker Michael Moore claims that director Mel Gibson cost him the opportunity to be Person of the Year alongside Gibson in 2004. Moore's controversial political documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 became the highest-grossing documentary of all time the same year Gibson's The Passion of the Christ became a box-office success and also caused significant controversy. Moore said in an interview "I got a call right after the '04 election from an editor from Time Magazine. He said,' Time Magazine has picked you and Mel Gibson to be Time 's Person of the Year to put on the cover, Right and Left, Mel and Mike. The only thing you have to do is pose for a picture with each other. And do an interview together.' I said 'OK.' They call Mel up, he agrees. They set the date and time in LA. I'm to fly there. He's flying from Australia. Something happens when he gets home... Next thing, Mel calls up and says, 'I'm not doing it. I've thought it over and it is not the right thing to do.' So they put Bush on the cover."[8]

Another criticized choice was the 2006 selection of "You", representing most if not all people for advancing the information age by using the Internet (via e.g. blogs, YouTube, MySpace and World Heritage Encyclopedia).[9]

Persons of the Year

Year Image Choice Lifetime Notes
1927 Charles Lindbergh  USA 1902–1974 Lindbergh was, in May 1927, the first person to fly a plane non-stop from New York City, USA to Paris, France.
1928 Walter Chrysler  USA 1875–1940 In 1928, Chrysler oversaw a merger of his company with Dodge, and began work on his eponymous building.
1929 Owen D. Young  USA 1874–1962 Young chaired a committee which authored the Young Plan, a program for settlement of German reparations debts after World War I.
1930 Mahatma Gandhi  British Raj 1869–1948 Gandhi was the leader of the Indian independence movement. In 1930, he led the Salt Satyagraha, a 240-mile march to protest the imposition of taxes on salt by the British Raj. Gandhi was also the first non-American to win the honor.
1931 Pierre Laval  France 1883–1945 Laval was a four-time Prime Minister of France.
1932 Franklin D. Roosevelt  USA 1882–1945 Roosevelt won the 1932 US Presidential election by a landslide, defeating the incumbent, Herbert Hoover.
1933 Hugh Samuel Johnson  USA 1882–1942 Johnson was then the director of the National Recovery Administration, an agency tasked by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt to bring industry, labor and government together to create codes of "fair practices" and set prices.
1934 Franklin D. Roosevelt  USA 1882–1945 Roosevelt was President of the United States from 1933 to 1945.
1935 Haile Selassie I 1892–1975 Selassie was the Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974. In October 1935, Italian forces invaded Ethiopia, starting the Second Italo-Abyssinian War.
1936 Wallis Simpson  USA 1896–1986 King Edward VIII abdicated his thrones to marry Simpson.
1937 Chiang Kai-shek 1887–1975 At the time, Chiang was Premier of the Republic of China.
Soong May-ling 1898–2003 At the time, Soong was the wife of Chiang Kai-shek.
1938 Adolf Hitler  Germany 1889–1945 1938 saw the unification of Germany with Austria and the Sudetenland after the Anschluss and Munich Agreement respectively.
1939 80px Joseph Stalin  USSR 1878–1953
1940 Winston Churchill  UK 1874–1965
1941 Franklin D. Roosevelt  USA 1882–1945
1942 Joseph Stalin  USSR 1878–1953
1943 George Marshall  USA 1880–1959
1944 Dwight D. Eisenhower  USA 1890–1969
1945 Harry S. Truman  USA 1884–1972
1946 James F. Byrnes  USA 1879–1972 Then-U.S. Secretary of State. His speech, "Restatement of Policy on Germany", set the tone of future U.S. policy as it repudiated the Morgenthau Plan and gave the Germans hope for the future.
1947 George Marshall  USA 1880–1959 Wrote the Marshall Plan
1948 Harry S. Truman  USA 1884–1972
1949 Winston Churchill  UK 1874–1965 Man of the half-century
1950 The American fighting-man  USA Representing Korean War troops
1951 Mohammad Mossadegh  Iran 1882–1967
1952 Elizabeth II Commonwealth realms[n 1] 1926–
1953 Konrad Adenauer  West Germany 1876–1967
1954 John Foster Dulles  USA 1888–1959
1955 80px Harlow Curtice  USA 1893–1962 Head of General Motors from 1953 to 1958.
1956 The Hungarian freedom fighter  Hungary
1957 Nikita Khrushchev  USSR 1894–1971
1958 Charles de Gaulle  France 1890–1970
1959 Dwight D. Eisenhower  USA 1890–1969
1960 American Scientists  USA Represented by George Beadle, Charles Draper, John Enders, Donald A. Glaser, Joshua Lederberg, Willard Libby, Linus Pauling, Edward Purcell, Isidor Rabi, Emilio Segrè, William Shockley, Edward Teller, Charles Townes, James Van Allen, and Robert Woodward
1961 John F. Kennedy  USA 1917–1963
1962 80px Pope John XXIII  Holy See/ Italy 1881–1963
1963 Martin Luther King, Jr.  USA 1929–1968
1964 Lyndon B. Johnson  USA 1908–1973
1965 William Westmoreland  USA 1914–2005
1966 The Inheritor A generation: the man—and woman—of 25 and under.
1967 Lyndon B. Johnson  USA 1908–1973
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The Apollo 8 astronauts  USA William Anders, Frank Borman, and Jim Lovell
1969 The Middle Americans  USA Also referred to as the Silent Majority[10]
1970 Willy Brandt  West Germany 1913–1992
1971 Richard Nixon  USA 1913–1994
1972 Richard Nixon  USA 1913–1994
Henry Kissinger  USA 1923–
1973 John Sirica  USA 1904–1992 Judge who ordered Richard Nixon to turn over Watergate-related recordings.
1974 King Faisal  Saudi Arabia 1906–1975
1975 American women  USA Represented by Susan Brownmiller, Kathleen Byerly, Alison Cheek, Jill Conway, Betty Ford, Ella Grasso, Carla Hills, Barbara Jordan, Billie Jean King, Carol Sutton, Susie Sharp, and Addie Wyatt
1976 Jimmy Carter  USA 1924–
1977 Anwar Sadat  Egypt 1918–1981
1978 Deng Xiaoping  China 1904–1997
1979 Ayatollah Khomeini  Iran 1902–1989
1980 Ronald Reagan  USA 1911–2004
1981 Lech Wałęsa  Poland 1943–
1982 The Computer Machine of the Year
1983 Ronald Reagan  USA 1911–2004
Yuri Andropov  USSR 1914–1984
1984 Peter Ueberroth  USA 1937–
1985 Deng Xiaoping  China 1904–1997
1986 Corazon C. Aquino  Philippines 1933–2009
1987 Mikhail Gorbachev  USSR 1931–
1988 The Endangered Earth Planet of the Year
1989 Mikhail Gorbachev  USSR 1931– Man of the Decade
1990 George H. W. Bush  USA 1924–
1991 Ted Turner  USA 1938–
1992 Bill Clinton  USA 1946–
1993 The Peacemakers Palestinian territories Palestinian Authority
 South Africa
Represented by Yasser Arafat, F.W. de Klerk, Nelson Mandela, and Yitzhak Rabin
1994 Pope John Paul II  Holy See/ Poland 1920–2005
1995 Newt Gingrich  USA 1943–
1996 David Ho  Taiwan/ USA 1952– Scientist, AIDS researcher.
1997 Andrew Grove  Hungary/ USA 1936–
1998 Bill Clinton  USA 1946– Time Magazine held its first online poll to decide the Person of the Year. Wrestler and activist Mick Foley won with over 50% of votes. Foley was removed from the poll, and the award was given to Clinton and Starr.[11]
Kenneth Starr  USA 1946–
1999 Jeffrey P. Bezos  USA 1964– See also: Person of the Century
2000 George W. Bush  USA 1946–
2001 Rudolph Giuliani  USA 1944–
2002 The Whistleblowers  USA Represented by Cynthia Cooper (WorldCom), Coleen Rowley (FBI) and Sherron Watkins (Enron)
2003 The American soldier  USA
2004 George W. Bush  USA 1946–
2005 The Good Samaritans  Ireland
Represented by Bono, Bill Gates, and Melinda Gates
2006 You[9] Represented by the individual content creator on the World Wide Web
2007 Vladimir Putin[12]  Russia 1952–
2008 Barack Obama[13]  USA 1961–
2009 Ben Bernanke[14]  USA 1953–
2010 Mark Zuckerberg[15]  USA 1984– Creator and founder of social-networking website Facebook
2011 The Protester[16] Representing many global protest movements – for example, the Arab Spring, the Indignants Movement, Tea Party movement and Occupy Movement – as well as protests in Greece, India, Russia and 2011–12 Chilean student protests among others
2012 Barack Obama[17]  USA 1961–

See also


External links

  • Life magazine