Liberality tagged me for this. Due to time constraints, I'm only going to select ten instead of the twenty she suggested. Since the word "influential" is a highly subjective term just by its very existence, I'm going to pick the men who were most highly influential in my life.
1. Peter Cook
Comedic genius and wit extraordinary.
2. Charlie Chaplin
An autodidact Vaudevillian who through his own hard work and creativity rose from utter poverty to become phenomenally popular and influential to the current day.
3. C. Vann Woodward
A brilliant historian, scholar, and writer whose prescient insights still amaze me.
4. James Thurber
Member of the Algonquin Round Table, Thurber's darkly comedic worldview, cartoons, and self-designed genres of creative fiction greatly popularized The New Yorker magazine.
5. Lou Reed
A rock musician whose inventive guitar tunings, sonic effects, and literate, often sordid lyrics completely revolutionized the genre.
6. Franklin Delano Roosevelt
A hero to my grandparents and a hero to me.
7. Hieronymus Bosch
A Dutch painter of the fifteen and early sixteenth centuries whose bizarre, demented imagery had no equal in its time or since.
8. Thomas Eakins
A multi-talented painter, photographer, sculptor, and educator.
9. Che Guevara
A physician, revolutionary, guerrilla leader, and writer. He espoused a socialistic philosophy that called for the unity of Hispanic America and an end to the crippling poverty of the region. A deeply flawed, but still admirable man.
10. Eugene Debs
Labor leader, unapologetic socialist, and frequent Presidential candidate.