David Bowie named greatest entertainer of 20th century by British public

He's a starman, after all

The British public have crowned David Bowie as the greater entertainer of the 20th century.

In a poll conducted by BBC Two for its historical series Icons, members of the public championed the pop star and actor above Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin, and Billie Holiday in the entertainer category.

Bowie, who died in January 2016, will now compete against the likes of Nelson Mandela and Ernest Shackleton in an additional poll for the greatest icon of the 20th century overall.


Actress Kathleen Turner submitted Bowie, Chaplin, Monroe and Holiday as the nominees in the entertainer category. She advocated passionately for all the names, and in her appraisal of Bowie said: “[He] raised the creative bar for all entertainers and that is why he truly deserves to be crowned the ultimate icon of the 20th century by the British public.”

David Bowie statue
David Bowie

The activists category is featured in the next episode, which airs at 9pm this Monday, January 21, with sports stars in the following week. Alan Turing was recently voted the greatest scientist.

A final public vote will follow the series’ conclusion for the greatest icon of the 20th century overall.

In other Bowie news, a vinyl box set that features nine of his unreleased recordings will be released later this year.


To mark what would have been the late music icon’s 72nd birthday, Parlophone will release ‘Spying Through A Keyhole’ a box set of nine 7″ singles that includes the earliest known versions of the now legendary ‘Space Oddity.’