In your humble opinion, who are your countries "national treasures"? (other countries, too, if you like!)

National Treasures are people that just mean so much to the whole country. People who when the die, the nation will and should properly mourn. I’ll start with my own thoughts on the United States. Treasures are usually older, people we have come to especially appreciate as they reach old age. Betty White was probably one for the US, though I never personally was too aware of her beyond her sitcoms, etc.

I would focus on people currently living, like actual national treasures we still have with us. I’d say for the United States, we have:

Jimmy Carter <–what a great man
Mel Brooks

Not sure who else belongs in the United States column. I will add a few I suspect or feel for other nations.


Werner Herzog


Queen Elizabeth II
David Attenborough

I’m sure my own opinions are just my own. Who would you list as national or perhaps even international treasures?

I’ll second Mel Brooks.
James Watson, co-discoverer of the DNA structure in 1953. He is 94 now.

For the UK I would add:
Jane Goodall. she’s 88 now.

For the United States, Stevie Wonder would qualify, I’d suggest.

Most of the heroes of the Civil Rights Movement and the Space Race have already passed, so I’m having a hard time coming up with others.

Thank you, I can’t believe I forgot.

For the US, perhaps a Bill Watterston or a Tom Hanks

Considering his questionable takes on women and minorities (and subsequent complaints about essentially being cancelled), I’m not sure how much the nation will generally mourn.

Mikhail Gorbachev for Russia. If it weren’t for him, we’d probably have had a nuclear war by now.

I watched Werner Herzog’s documentary on him last year and it was excellent. I’d recommend it to anyone.

If one were to include the arts, I’d suggest Paul McCartney for England, and perhaps Ian McKellen.

I agree with Jimmy Carter. Whatever one thinks about his presidency, he has lived his faith and his life in helping people, one house at a time, without fanfare or personal profit.

A great scientist, but a national embarrassment.

If you google “Dolly Parton is a…” guess what gets autofilled?

dolly parton is a national treasure - Google Search

I think she beats out everyone already mentioned for the U.S. by a country mile.

David Attenborough is correct, but Queen Elizabeth? You must be kidding. It’s obviously Kylie.

kylie minogue is a national treasure - Google Search

(Or possibly Kylie’s bum.)

For the UK Judi Dench, of course. And Joanna Lumley, who would probably make it on her absolutely fabulous body of work anyway, but whose status was cemented beyond debate by her role in the Gurkha Justice Campaign.

The box tells you most of what you need to know about the campaign. As for Lumley, who had become the face of the campaign:

On 5 May Joanna Lumley said that she had received private assurances of support from a senior member of the Royal Family, and attended a meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown at 10 Downing Street the following day. Afterwards she described the meeting as “extremely positive”, and praised Brown, saying, “I trust him. I rely on him. And I know that he has now taken this matter into his own hands and so today is a very good day”.

However, on the day following the meeting with Brown, five Gurkha veterans who had applied for residency in the United Kingdom received letters telling them that their appeals had been rejected. Lumley confronted [Minister For Immigration] Phil Woolas at the BBC Westminster studios about the issue and, after pursuing him around the studio, the pair held an impromptu press conference in which she pressured him into agreeing to further talks over the issue.

Here is that impromptu press conference. Always a pleasure to watch a Government Minister squirm.


ETA - and this is an excellent time to highlight Michael Eavis - founder of the Glastonbury festival (and organizer/promoter for decades), and all-round fine human being.

Well crap, I didn’t know about that. :frowning:

If people really believed in what they claim are their values, ours would be Jimmy Carter

John Glenn
Neil Armstrong

The Apollo 1 astronauts:
Roger Chaffee
Ed White
Gus Grissom

The unknown people who gave up their lives in other ways for he country, For example Apollo program manager who broke down and went to the hospital saying “I’ve got to get back, I’ve got to get back.” (Chariots for Apollo)

The nominations should be for living treasures.

Sadly John Glenn died in December 8, 2016
Neil Armstrong has been dead since August 25, 2012

Oops, I missed the OP’s restriction to people currently living.

Beat me to it. Not just for her music, but for her philanthropy and her unstinting commitment to giving back to her community.

Since the OP also included people that the nation should mourn, but probably won’t, I nominate Ani DiFranco; in my view, the finest songwriter in the past fifty years. Also an independent, feminist icon, a singer who turned down the traditional music industry track and instead founded her own label at 19, and built a career strictly via word-of-mouth and constant touring; an artist who from the early 90s loudly supported LGBTQ, women’s, and abortion rights, both with words and with money; yet who’s never been transgressive for its own sake.

Technically, the lack of a possessive apostrophe in the subject title (“countries”) makes this thread invalid, but I’m feeling generous just now, so…

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Buzz Aldrin

Ken Burns

Lynda Carter

Roger Corman

Richard Dawkins - England

“Nature Boy” Ric Flair

Buddy Guy

Leo Kottke

Jet Li – China

Hayao Miyazaki - Japan

John McLaughlin - England

Tatsuya Nakadai – Japan

MacKenzie Scott

William Shatner – Canada, originally

Donald Trump, sure to be looked at as a “National Treasure” in the future by supporters, those unduly impressed with the unprecedented scope, longevity and success of his cons (i.e., as the embodiment of “American know-how” in the service of the Capitalist impulse) or worshiped under compulsion as a deity by all U.S. citizens should his forces ultimately triumph.

Anne Sofie von Otter - Sweden

I would have added French actor Jean-Louis Trintignant to the list, but he passed away three days ago. Couldn’t the OP have posted this earlier?

Assuming the person(s) responsible still lives, the inventor(s) of the fast-forward button (possibly “mute” as well).

Tom Waits.

Maybe Dylan too.