Stacy Schiff, author, The Witches: Salem, 1692
God creates her merely to keep Adam company; he doesn’t burden her with a name. Nor does he speak to her directly, which may have been a mistake. Really, it’s all about Eve, who steals the show and reroutes history. She leaves us hungering for knowledge and thirsting for transgression. We owe her for art, drama, and literature—as well as clothes.
June Squibb, actress
Without Tonto, the Lone Ranger is just a guy in a mask.
Lenny Pickett, bandleader, Saturday Night Live
Anna Magdalena Bach, the second wife—and a copyist—of Johann Sebastian Bach. She transcribed much of her husband’s music, while raising his children from his first marriage and the 13 they had together. (She was also a gifted vocalist with her own singing career.)
Josh Charles, actor
In the span of just six years, before John Cazale’s life was cut short at age 42, he co-starred in The Godfather, The Godfather: Part II, The Conversation, Dog Day Afternoon, and The Deer Hunter. All were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture; three of them won. We never met, yet I miss him whenever I watch him.
Richard Norton Smith, historian and author
Without Martha Washington’s love, fortune, management skills, and self-denying patriotism, the Father of His Country might have remained a minor member of the Virginia plantocracy. She ran Mount Vernon during his long absences; acted as his wartime secretary, sounding board, and surrogate; and charmed members of Congress who agreed on little else. Her discretion matched her hospitality: Because she burned most of her and George’s personal correspondence, we’ll never know the extent of her supporting role.