Charles Lindbergh

Aviator

Born: 4 February 1902
Died: 26 August 1974 (cancer)
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan
Best known as:

The first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean

Name at birth: Charles Augustus Lindbergh

Charles Lindbergh made the first-ever solo airplane flight across the Atlantic Ocean. He left Roosevelt Field in New York on 20 May 1927, piloting a plane named The Spirit of St. Louis. 33 1/2 hours later he landed in Paris to a hero's welcome and global fame that stayed with him the rest of his life. During 1939 and 1940, Charles Lindbergh was a vocal opponent of American entry into World War II. However, after the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor he joined the war effort, eventually flying 50 combat missions in the Pacific. Lindbergh was also part of a famous criminal case: his son was kidnapped in 1932 and later found dead, and the case became a public sensation. A German immigrant named Bruno Hauptmann was convicted of the crime and executed, though in the years since some have claimed he was wrongly accused. In later years Charles Lindbergh and his wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, were widely known as advocates for environmental conservation. Charles Lindbergh's 1953 autobiography The Spirit of St. Louis won the Pulitzer Prize. 

Extra credit:

Charles Lindbergh was followed by Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean... DNA tests taken in 2003 confirmed that Charles Lindbergh was the father of three German siblings: David and Dyrk Hesshaimer and Astrid Bouteuil. The three, who requested the tests, said that Lindbergh had carried out an affair with their mother, Brigitte Hesshaimer, from 1957 until his death in 1974. It was later revealed that Lindbergh had four other children in Europe: Two by Hesshaimer's sister Marietta, and another two by his personal secretary, known only by the name of Veleska.

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More on Charles Lindbergh from Fact Monster:

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  • Lindbergh Kidnapping - On April 2, Lindbergh and Condon met a man claiming to be a kidnapper in a Bronx cemetery. Condon gave the man the ransom, $50,000 in marked U.S. gold certificates, which were to be withdrawn from circulation in 1933, making them hard to dispose of casually.
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