We only find out about famous people when they get, well, famous… so it’s often surprising to see who they were before the spotlight hit. Here we bring you a collection of youthful photographs, capturing some of the most influential figures of the past century. There are revered leaders, infamous dictators, talented musicians and more – all before their unique abilities and upbringing made an impact on the world.
Once someone becomes truly famous, they are forever known for the accomplishments that brought them that fame. Here we get a peek into a world free of that pigeon-holed view, and a look at these people in more simple times. The images also let us see how much their appearance changed over the decades. Did the years treat them well or let them down? We’ll let you be the judge.
Above: a dapper young John F. Kennedy.
A young Elvis Presley. He might be blonde, but he’s already got that famous lip snarl.
Albert Einstein before his family moved from Germany to Italy.
Barack Obama smoking a joint.
A thin Hugo Chavez in military academy.
Who knew Osama Bin Laden had a black belt in Judo? He’s on the right.
Kim Jong-il with his parents.
Michelle Obama sporting some fantastic hair in high school.
Bill and Hillary Clinton at Yale University.
Bill f-ing Murray in his high school yearbook (top center).
George W. Bush at Yale University.
A 12 year old Muhammad Ali when he was known as Cassius Clay.
Nelson Mandela in 1961.
Karol Wojtyla, before he was Pope John Paul II, has a shave in 1960.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.
A young, beardless Fidel Castro.
Is this a modern hipster or a young Joseph Stalin?
Kim Jong Un, already in uniform.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio as a teenager (you might know him as Pope Francis).
Queen Elizabeth looking young and glamorous.
Richard Nixon playing for Whittier football.
Vladimir Putin as a young teenager, looking pretty much like Vladimir Putin today.