Famous People Born in the Chinese Year of the Monkey

Tourists and New Yorkers of all races and nationalities crowd Chinatown in New York for the continuation of the Chinese New Year festivities on Saturday, February 20, 2016. The gala features dragon dancing troupes and other festivities ushering in the Year of the Monkey, 4714 in the Lunar calendar.
Richard Levine/Corbis/Getty Images

One of humanity’s greatest inventors, one of its first dictators and Britain’s most famous spy are just a few of the famous people born in the year of the monkey.

You can call yourself a monkey if you were born in 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004 Not your year? Find out which Chinese zodiac sign you are and read this year’s Chinese New Year horoscopes

Confident and charismatic, monkeys are usually sociable and outgoing – they like nothing better than swinging around with friends. They are also creative and don’t follow the pack, although this can make them prone to temper tantrums when things don’t go their way.  Monkeys are also willing to lend a hand when their friends need them, and you’ll find plenty of famous monkeys who have done the right thing when the going gets tough.

Discover which big names you share with famous people born in the year of the monkey and see if their personality traits match up to their star sign. Or take a look at our full guide to Chinese New Year

Politicians and Leaders


Monkeys often walk a fine line between self-confident and arrogant and there are few leaders in history who had more belief in their own abilities than Julius Caesar who managed to wangle himself the snazzy title ‘dictator in perpetuity’. Sadly, not everybody shared his enthusiasm – including Brutus.

It’s said that Monkeys are the most sociable sign in the Chinese horoscope calendar, and always willing to help friends. Monkey Harry S Truman helped Europe get back on its feet after World War Two with his Marshall master plan while also finding time to launch a small project called the United Nations at the same time.

He was joined at the United Nations by another monkey famous for her willingness to help others, Eleanor Roosevelt. The original first lady of the United States stood up for civil rights, women’s rights and the working poor both during and after her husband’s time in office.

Actors and Actresses

Those born in the year of monkey are also said to have the sex appeal to set pulses racing. Back in the day Elizabeth Taylor was pin up number one after her star turn in Cleopatra, while Kim Cattrall and Jennifer Aniston have few rivals in sending men weak at the knees. Giving the knee wobble to the ladies is Daniel Craig and his Bond-sized muscles, and Mr. Fresh Prince of Bel Air himself, Will Smith. Long the leading man in many female fans hearts, Michael Douglas is also a monkey.

And if you’re looking for proof of the monkey’s creativity then look no further than a man who dreamt up a movie that featured a princess, a walking teddy bear and an old man teaching a young kid how to swipe around with a laser sword. Thank you, George Lucas.

Musicians, Artists, and Writers

Most of us think getting through Monday without spilling coffee on ourselves counts as a success, but Leonardo Da Vinci could knock up the design for a tank in the morning, throw some paint on paper and create a masterpiece in the afternoon and spend the evening writing a treatise on plate tectonics. Most impressive of all…no coffee required.

And he is just one of many monkeys who demonstrate that this is a star sign full of people who don’t mind rolling up their sleeves. Take Charles Dickens; he must have been writing with both hands at some point because he scribbled out nearly two dozen books and short story collections during his lifetime.

Equally prolific has been monkey Celine Dion – sadly.

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