A list of famous and celebrity Freemasons.
Freemasons come from all backgrounds, all belief systems, and all walks of life. So it’s no surprise that the list of famous Freemasons is very long—and varied. It includes everyone from actors and celebrities to artists and politicians. Let’s meet a few.
Celebrity Freemasons Throughout History
Here are a few famous Freemasons whose names you might recognize.
- Founding fathers like George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Aaron Burr, and other leaders of the American Revolution.
- Other U.S. presidents including Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Gerald Ford.
- Civil rights activists like Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, Thurgood Marshall, and Medger Evers.
- Explorers like Davy Crockett, Lewis and Clark, Charles Lindbergh, and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin
- Scientists like Edward Jenner, Joseph Lister, and Nobel Prize-winner Alexander Fleming.
- Musicians including J.S. Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and William “Count” Basie.
- Writers including Jonathon Swift, Oscar Wilde, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Mark Twain.
- Athletes including “Sugar” Ray Robinson, Jack Dempsey, John Elway, and Scottie Pippin.
- Entertainers and actors including John Wayne, Harry Houdini, and Richard Pryor.
- Entrepreneurs and business leaders including Charles Hilton, Colonel Harland Sanders, Walter Chrysler, J. C. Penny, Dave Thomas, Forrest Bird, and Chuck Williams (founder of Williams-Sonoma).
List of Famous “33rd-degree” Masons
The 33rd degree of Freemasonry is an honorary degree awarded by the Scottish Rite, an appendant Masonic order that typically bestows the fourth through 32nd degrees. In order to receive the degrees of the Scottish Rite, you must first receive the first three “craft” degrees of Freemasonry. The degree has earned celebrity status partly thanks to its sensationalized role in Dan Brown’s 2009 bestseller The Lost Symbol. In real life, it celebrates a Mason’s outstanding commitments to the fraternity.
In the U.S., about 100 Masons are awarded the 33rd degree each year. Throughout history, some well-known recipients include:
- President Harry Truman
- FBI director Edgar Hoover
- Michigan Supreme Court Justice George E. Bushnell
- Businessman Henry Ford
- Golfer Arnold Palmer
- Astronaut John Glenn Jr.
- South American liberator and political leader Simón Bolívar
- Civil rights activist Medgar Evers
- Roots author and Malcolm X biographer Alex Haley
It’s worth noting: While the 33rd degree is an immense honor, it’s not considered any higher in rank than the third degree of Master Mason.
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