Famous (non-game) People on the Geek
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We have a vast and growing database of people covering a huge variety of games. In amongst the cross-section of humanity, a few noble souls have slipped into the database that at first glance may surprise you.

Many of this contributors to the gaming world are artists or writers. There are separate GeekLists for these fine folk:
Famous (non-game) Artists on the Geek
Famous (non-game) Fiction Writers on the Geek
Comic Artists on the Geek

This GeekList gathers together everyone else famous that has been involved in various games, but who are not known primarily for their gaming work.

Criteria for inclusion:
Famous, a proxy for which is that they should be listed on Wikipedia.
Non-gaming, by which their claim to fame should not be for work on games.
Not primarily an artist; add these to Famous (non-game) Artists on the Geek.
Not primarily a fiction writer; add these to Famous (non-game) Fiction Writers on the Geek.
Game credits, by which they should be somehow linked to a board game, RPG, or video game.

Feel free to add more names to the list. People are sorted alphabetically.

See also:
Veterans Day tribute to game designers and artists
Gaming Icons R.I.P.
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1. RPG Artist: Lai Afong
RPG Artist: Lai Afong
Chris R.
United States
Unspecified
Missouri
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"Lai Afong (... c.1839 - 1890) was a Chinese photographer who established Afong Studio, one of the early photographic studios in Hong Kong. He is considered to be the most significant Chinese photographer of the nineteenth century. ...he was photographer to Sir Arthur Kennedy KCB and Grand Duke Alexis."

Source: Wikipedia, "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lai_Afong", available under the CC-BY-SA License.
 
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2. RPG Artist: Georgius Agricola
RPG Artist: Georgius Agricola
Chris R.
United States
Unspecified
Missouri
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"Georgius Agricola (24 March 1494 – 21 November 1555) was a German Catholic, scholar and scientist. Known as "the father of mineralogy", he was born at Glauchau in Saxony. His birth name was Georg Pawer (Bauer in modern German); Agricola is the Latinized version of his name, by which he was known his entire adult life; Agricola and Bauer mean "farmer" in their respective languages. ... His most famous work, the De re metallica libri xii long remained a standard work, and marks its author as one of the most accomplished chemists of his time. It was published the year after his death, in 1556, though apparently finished in 1550... He remained to the end a staunch Catholic, though all Chemnitz had gone over to the Lutheran creed, and it is said that his life was ended by a fit of apoplexy brought on by a heated discussion with a Protestant..."

Source: Wikipedia, "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgius_Agricola", available under the CC-BY-SA License.
 
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3. Board Game Designer: Akbar the Great
Board Game Designer: Akbar the Great
He went overloading on testing and coding and his name was
United Kingdom
Redhill
Surrey
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"Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar (جلال الدین محمد اکبر Jalāl ud-Dīn Muhammad Akbar), also known as Shahanshah Akbar-e-Azam or Akbar the Great (15 October 1542 – 27 October 1605), was the third Mughal Emperor. He was of Timurid descent; the son of Humayun, and the grandson of Babur, the ruler who founded the Mughal dynasty in India. At the end of his reign in 1605 the Mughal empire covered most of the northern and central India and was one of the most powerful empires of its age.

Akbar was thirteen years old when he ascended the Mughal throne in Delhi, following the death of his father Humayun. During his reign, he eliminated military threats from the powerful Pashtun descendants of Sher Shah Suri, and at the Second Battle of Panipat he defeated the newly self-declared Hindu king Hemu. It took him nearly two more decades to consolidate his power and bring all the parts of northern and central India into his direct realm. He influenced the whole of the Indian Subcontinent as he ruled a greater part of it as an emperor. As an emperor, Akbar solidified his rule by pursuing diplomacy with the powerful Rajput caste, and by marrying Rajput princesses.

Akbar's reign significantly influenced art and culture in the country. He took a great interest in painting, and had the walls of his palaces adorned with murals. Besides encouraging the development of the Mughal school, he also patronised the European style of painting. He was fond of literature, and had several Sanskrit works translated into Persian and Persian scriptures translated in Sanskrit apart from getting many Persian works illustrated by painters from his court. During the early years of his reign, he had an intolerant attitude towards Hindus and the other religions, but he exercised great tolerance after he began marriage alliances with Rajput princesses. His administration included numerous Hindu landlords, courtiers and military generals. He began a series of religious debates where Muslim scholars would debate religious matters with Jains, Sikhs, Hindus, Cārvāka atheists, Jews, and Portuguese Roman Catholic Jesuits. He treated these religious leaders with great consideration, irrespective of their faith, and revered them. He even founded a religion, the Din-i-Ilahi (Divine Faith), which included the teachings of major religions of the world, but it amounted only to a form of personality cult for Akbar and started dissolving after his death."

Source: Wikipedia, "Akbar", available under the CC-BY-SA License.
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4. Board Game Designer: Ethan Nathan Allen
Board Game Designer: Ethan Nathan Allen
Chris R.
United States
Unspecified
Missouri
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"Ethan Nathan Allen (January 1, 1904 - September 15, 1993) was an American center fielder in Major League Baseball... Allen also became the baseball coach at Yale University, serving from 1946 until the late 1960s. Reaching the College World Series finals in both 1947 and 1948, his players included future U.S. president George H. W. Bush."

Source: Wikipedia, "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethan_Allen_%28baseball%29", available under the CC-BY-SA License.
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5. Board Game Designer: Steve Allen (I)
Board Game Designer: Steve Allen  (I)
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Redhill
Surrey
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"Stephen Valentine Patrick William "Steve" Allen (December 26, 1921 – October 30, 2000) was an American television personality, musician, actor, comedian, and writer. Though he got his start in radio, Allen is best-known for his television career. He first gained national attention as a guest host on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts. He graduated to become the first host of The Tonight Show, where he was instrumental in innovating the concept of the television talk show. Thereafter, he hosted numerous game and variety shows, including The Steve Allen Show, I've Got a Secret, The New Steve Allen Show, and was a regular panel member on CBS' What's My Line?

Allen was a "creditable" pianist, and a prolific composer, having penned over 14,000 songs, one of which was recorded by Perry Como and Margaret Whiting, others by Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Les Brown, and Gloria Lynne. Allen won a Grammy award in 1963 for best jazz composition, with his song The Gravy Waltz. Allen wrote more than 50 books and has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame."

Source: Wikipedia, "Steve Allen", available under the CC-BY-SA License.
 
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6. Board Game Designer: Johann Baptist Allgaier
From gallery of BoardGameGeek
Chris R.
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Missouri
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"Johann Baptist Allgaier (June 19, 1763, Schussenried – January 3, 1823, Vienna) was a German-Austrian chess master and theoretician. He was also the author of the first chess handbook in German –- Neue theoretisch-praktische Anweisung zum Schachspiel."

Source: Wikipedia, "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_Baptist_Allgaier", available under the CC-BY-SA License.
 
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7. Board Game Designer: Norman Angell
Board Game Designer: Norman Angell
Chris R.
United States
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Missouri
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"Sir Ralph Norman Angell (26 December 1872 - 7 October 1967) was an English lecturer, journalist, author, and Member of Parliament for the Labour Party. ... He was knighted in 1931 and awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1933. ... While still only a young man of 17, he took the bold decision to emigrate to the West Coast of the United States, where he was for several years to work as a vine planter, an irrigation-ditch digger, a cowboy, a California homesteader (after filing for American citizenship), a mail-carrier for his neighbourhood, a prospector, and then, closer to his natural skills, as reporter for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat and later the San Francisco Chronicle. ... From the mid 1930s, Angell actively campaigned for collective international opposition to the aggressive policies of Germany, Italy, and Japan. He went to the United States in 1940 to lecture in favour of American support for Britain in World War II, and remained there until after the publication of his autobiography in 1951."

Source: Wikipedia, "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Angell", available under the CC-BY-SA License.
 
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8. Board Game Designer: David Arnott
Board Game: Pass-Ackwords
Chris R.
United States
Unspecified
Missouri
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"David Arnott is an American actor, screenwriter and musical composer living in Southern California. Among his credits, Arnott co-wrote The Last Action Hero, and starred in The Last Man with Jeri Ryan."

Source: Wikipedia, "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Arnott", available under the CC-BY-SA License.
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9. Board Game Designer: Elizabeth Irene Banks
Board Game Designer: Elizabeth Irene Banks
Chris R.
United States
Unspecified
Missouri
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"Elizabeth Irene Banks (née Mitchell;[1][2] born February 10, 1974)[ is an American actress, director, and producer. ... As of July 2018, Box Office Mojo ranked Banks as the 30th-highest-grossing actor of all time, and the ninth-highest-grossing female actor."

Source: Wikipedia, "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Banks", available under the CC-BY-SA License.
 
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10. RPG Artist: Sabine Baring-Gould
RPG Designer: Sabine Baring-Gould
Chris R.
United States
Unspecified
Missouri
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"The Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould (... 28 January 1834 – 2 January 1924) of Lew Trenchard in Devon, England, was an Anglican priest, hagiographer, antiquarian, novelist, folk song collector and eclectic scholar. His bibliography consists of more than 1240 publications, though this list continues to grow. ... He is remembered particularly as a writer of hymns, the best-known being 'Onward, Christian Soldiers'... One grandson, William Stuart Baring-Gould, was a noted Sherlock Holmes scholar..."

Source: Wikipedia, "https://rpggeek.com/rpgartist/105671/sabine-baring-gould", available under the CC-BY-SA License.
 
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11. Board Game Designer: Eric Berne
Board Game Designer: Eric Berne
Chris R.
United States
Unspecified
Missouri
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"Eric Berne (May 10, 1910 – July 15, 1970) was a Canadian-born psychiatrist who, in the middle of the 20th century, created the theory of transactional analysis as a way of explaining human behavior. Berne's theory of transactional analysis was based on the ideas of Freud but were distinctly different. Freudian psychotherapists focused on talk therapy as a way of gaining insight to their patient’s personalities. Berne believed that insight could be better discovered by analyzing patients' social transactions. ... He was the son of David Hillel Bernstein, MD, a general practitioner... Berne received his baccalaureate degree in 1931[3] and an M.D. and C.M. (Master of Surgery) from McGill University Medical School in 1935. ... In 1943 he changed his legal name from Eric Lennard Bernstein to Eric Berne."

Source: Wikipedia, "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Berne", available under the CC-BY-SA License.
 
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RPG Artist: William Thomas Blanford
Chris R.
United States
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Missouri
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"William Thomas Blanford (7 October 1832 – 23 June 1905) was an English geologist and naturalist. He is best remembered as the editor of a major series on The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma."

Source: Wikipedia, "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Thomas_Blanford", available under the CC-BY-SA License.
 
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13. Board Game Designer: Dr. Bon Blossman
Board Game Designer: Dr. Bon Blossman
Chris R.
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Missouri
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"Bonnie 'Bon' Lynn Blossman, PhD (born 3 February 1970 Fort Worth) is an American reality television personality... Blossman is an American author, professor, television personality, recording artist and entrepreneur. She is currently an adjunct professor in biology at The University of North Texas, where she teaches Contemporary Biology, Principles of Biology, Biochemistry, and Parasitology. ... In 2006, Blossman founded the company, My Mystery Party, serving as the initial webmaster, author, marketing and advertising manager as well as the only customer support representative. It rapidly grew to be the Murder Mystery Party company. Dr. Bonnie has published over 100 murder mystery party games and 50 scavenger hunt games and is the world's leading murder mystery game author."

Source: Wikipedia, "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonnie_Blossman", available under the CC-BY-SA License.
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14. RPG Designer: John Boardman, Ph.D.
Periodical: Arēs
Chris R.
United States
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Missouri
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"Jack Melton Boardman, commonly known as John Boardman, (born September 8, 1932) is an American physicist from Brooklyn. He is a former professor of physics at Brooklyn College; a noted science fiction fan, author and fanzine publisher; and a gaming authority. ... He is one of the most noted figures in the game of Diplomacy, having established the original play-by-mail setup in 1961, and also the system of numbering each game for statistical purposes. ... Boardman started the first successful postal Diplomacy zine, Graustark, in 1963 as an offshoot from his science fiction fanzine Knowable. ... Boardman's wife, Perdita, was once married to (science fiction author) Ray Nelson."

Source: Wikipedia, "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Boardman", available under the CC-BY-SA License.
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15. RPG Artist: Franz Bonn
RPG Artist: Franz Bonn
Chris R.
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Missouri
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"Franz Bonn (born July 18, 1830 in Munich, Germany , July 7, 1894 in Regensburg) was a German writer, humorous poet, lawyer and politician. ... In 1880 he joined the Princely House of Thurn and Taxis, most recently as President of the Domänenkammer and Director of the Civil Court in Regensburg. He was a member of the Bavarian parliament from 1881 to 1886. The versatile Franz Bonn wrote numerous novels, short stories, dramas, opera texts and poems under various pseudonyms..." (Translated from German)

Source: Wikipedia, "https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_Bonn", available under the CC-BY-SA License.
 
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16. RPG Artist: Henry R. Bowers
RPG Artist: Henry R. Bowers
Chris R.
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Missouri
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"Lieutenant Henry Robertson "Birdie" Bowers (29 July 1883 – 29 March 1912) was one of Robert Falcon Scott's polar party on the ill-fated Terra Nova expedition (1910–1913), all of whom died during their return from the South Pole. Bowers was born on 29 July 1883 in Greenock, of Scottish descent. ... In his diary, Scott wrote of Bowers that 'he is the hardest traveller that ever undertook a Polar journey as well as one of the most undaunted'."

Source: Wikipedia, "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Robertson_Bowers", available under the CC-BY-SA License.
 
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17. Board Game Designer: Gyles Brandreth
Board Game Designer: Gyles Brandreth
Chris R.
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Missouri
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"Gyles Daubeney Brandreth (born 8 March 1948) is an English writer, broadcaster, actor, and former Conservative Member of Parliament. Brandreth was born in Wuppertal, Germany, where his father, Charles Brandreth, was serving as a legal officer with the Allied Control Commission."

Source: Wikipedia, "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyles_Brandreth", available under the CC-BY-SA License.
 
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18. Board Game Designer: "Captain" Robert Brown
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Bruce McG
United States
Lawrenceburg
Indiana
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"Robert Brown (AKA "Captain Robert") is the leader and lead vocalist of the steampunk band Abney Park."

Source: Wikipedia, "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Brown_%28musician%29", available under the CC-BY-SA License.
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19. Board Game Designer: James Cooke Brown
Board Game Designer: James Cooke Brown
Dr Caligari
United States
King of Prussia
Pennsylvania
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Dr. James Cooke Brown (July 21, 1921 – February 13, 2000) was a sociologist and science fiction author. He is notable for creating the artificial language Loglan and for designing the Parker Brothers board game Careers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Cooke_Brown
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RPG Artist: Isambard Kingdom Brunel
He went overloading on testing and coding and his name was
United Kingdom
Redhill
Surrey
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"Isambard Kingdom Brunel, FRS (9 April 1806 – 15 September 1859), was a leading British civil engineer, famed for his bridges and dockyards, and especially for the construction of the first major British railway, the Great Western Railway; a series of famous steamships, including the first propeller-driven transatlantic steamship; and numerous important bridges and tunnels. His designs revolutionised public transport and modern engineering.

Though Brunel's projects were not always successful, they often contained innovative solutions to long-standing engineering problems. During his short career, Brunel achieved many engineering "firsts", including assisting in the building of the first tunnel under a navigable river and development of SS Great Britain, the first propeller-driven ocean-going iron ship, which was at the time (1843) also the largest ship ever built.

Brunel set the standard for a very well-built railway, using careful surveys to minimise grades and curves. That necessitated expensive construction techniques and new bridges and viaducts, and the famous two-mile-long Box Tunnel. One controversial feature was the wide gauge, a "broad gauge" of 7 ft 0 1⁄4 in (2,140 mm), instead of what was later to be known as 'standard gauge' of 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm). The wider gauge added to passenger comfort but made construction much more expensive and caused difficulties when eventually it had to interconnect with other railways using the narrower gauge. As a result of the Railway Regulation (Gauge) Act 1846 (and after Brunel's death) the gauge was changed to standard gauge throughout the GWR network.

Brunel astonished Britain by proposing to extend the Great Western Railway westward to North America by building steam-powered iron-hulled ships. He designed and built three ships that revolutionised naval engineering."

Source: Wikipedia, "Isambard Kingdom Brunel", available under the CC-BY-SA License.
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21. Board Game Designer: Claude Buffier
From gallery of BoardGameGeek
He went overloading on testing and coding and his name was
United Kingdom
Redhill
Surrey
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"Claude Buffier (25 May 1661 – 1737), French philosopher, historian and educationalist, was born in Poland, of French parents, who returned to France, and settled at Rouen, soon after his birth.

He was educated at the Jesuit college there, and was received into the order at the age of nineteen. A dispute with the archbishop compelled him to leave Rouen, and after a short stay in Rome he returned to Paris to the college of the Jesuits, where he spent the rest of his life. He seems to have been a good teacher and lucid expositor.

His object in the Traité des vérités prèmieres (1717), his best-known work, is to discover the ultimate principle of knowledge. This he finds in the sense we have of our own existence and of what we feel within ourselves, He thus takes substantially the same ground as Descartes, but he rejected the a priori method. In order to know what exists distinct from the self, common sense is necessary. Common sense he defined as that disposition which nature has placed in all or most men, in order to enable them, when they have arrived at the age and use of reason, to form a common and uniform judgment with respect to objects different from the internal sentiment of their own perception, which judgment is not the consequence of any anterior judgment."

Source: Wikipedia, "Claude Buffier", available under the CC-BY-SA License.
 
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22. RPG Artist: Luis Buñuel
RPG Artist: Luis Buñuel
Chris R.
United States
Unspecified
Missouri
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"Luis Buñuel Portolés (...22 February 1900 – 29 July 1983) was a Spanish filmmaker who worked in Spain, Mexico and France. When Luis Buñuel died at age 83, his obituary in The New York Times called him 'an iconoclast, moralist, and revolutionary who was a leader of avant-garde surrealism in his youth and a dominant international movie director half a century later'. ... Often associated with the surrealist movement of the 1920s, Buñuel created films from the 1920s through the 1970s."

Source: Wikipedia, "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luis_Bu%C3%B1uel", available under the CC-BY-SA License.
 
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23. Board Game Designer: Larry Burkett
Board Game Designer: Larry Burkett
Chris R.
United States
Unspecified
Missouri
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"Larry Burkett (March 3, 1939 - July 4, 2003) was an American author and radio personality whose work focused on financial counseling from an evangelical Christian point of view. Burkett was born the fifth of eight children. After completing high school in Winter Garden, Florida, he entered the U.S. Air Force where he served in the Strategic Air Command. Upon completion of his military duties, Burkett and his wife Judy returned to central Florida, where he worked in the space program at Cape Canaveral. He spent the next several years at the Space Center in charge of an experiments test facility that served the Mercury-, Gemini-, and Apollo-manned space programs."

Source: Wikipedia, "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Burkett", available under the CC-BY-SA License.
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24. Board Game Designer: Elaine Burton
Board Game Designer: Elaine Burton
Chris R.
United States
Unspecified
Missouri
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"Elaine Frances Burton, Baroness Burton of Coventry (2 March 1904 – 6 October 1991) was a politician in the United Kingdom. Burton stood twice to become a Member of Parliament, before being elected on her third candidacy. ... Burton was elevated to the peerage in April 1962 as Baroness Burton of Coventry, of Coventry in the County of Warwick, where she spoke on topics including women's opportunities in business and public life, and campaigned for the creation of an independent grant-supported body for sport, leading to her appointment to the newly formed Sports Council in 1965..."

Source: Wikipedia, "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elaine_Burton,_Baroness_Burton_...", available under the CC-BY-SA License.
 
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25. Board Game Artist: Tim Burton
Board Game Artist: Tim Burton
He went overloading on testing and coding and his name was
United Kingdom
Redhill
Surrey
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"Timothy W. Burton (born August 25, 1958) is an American film director, film producer, writer and artist. He is famous for dark, quirky-themed movies such as Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Sleepy Hollow, Corpse Bride and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, and for blockbusters such as Pee-wee's Big Adventure, Batman, Batman Returns, Planet of the Apes, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland, his most recent film, that is currently the second highest-grossing film of 2010 as well as the sixth highest-grossing film of all time. Among Burton's many collaborators are Johnny Depp, who became one of his most esteemed friends since their first film together, musician Danny Elfman (who has composed for all but five of the films Burton has directed and/or produced) and domestic partner Helena Bonham Carter. He also wrote and illustrated the poetry book The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories, published in 1997, and a compilation of his drawings, entitled The Art of Tim Burton, was released in 2009."

Source: Wikipedia, "Tim Burton", available under the CC-BY-SA License.
 
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