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Thirteen famous people you never knew were refugees

Thousands of families are forced to flee for their lives every day because of violence in their countries, according to the United Nations.

We look at some of the famous examples of refugees who have left their mark in the worlds of science, arts, politics and sport.

Freddie Mercury


The Queen frontman was born in Zanzibar but fled during the 1964 revolution when he was aged 17. He and his family resettled in the UK.

Mila Kunis

The Hollywood actress was born in Soviet-era Ukraine but left at the age of seven. She and her family moved to the US on a religious-refugee visa after facing anti-semitism.

Albert Einstein

The famous physicist moved to America in 1933 as he and thousands of other Jews fled persecution in Nazi Germany.

Rita Ora

The pop star was just one when she and her family moved to the UK from Kosovo, then part of Yugoslavia. It followed the persecution of Albanians under Slobodan Milosevic’s regime.

Gloria Estefan

The Latin pop singer was born in Cuba but fled the country during the Communist revolution in 1959. She and her family moved to Miami.


The supermodel and widow of David Bowie was forced to flee war-torn Somalia with her family in 1972 and moved to Kenya.

Sigmund Freud

The founder of pyschoanalysis became a refugee near the end of his life. He fled the Nazis when they took control of Austria in 1938 and moved to London with his wife. He died the following year.

Luol Deng

The basketball star fled war-torn Sudan as a five-year-old and moved to London. He went on to become a household name in the US playing for the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers.


The rapper – whose Sri Lankan father led a Tamil independence movement – fled the country with her family, moving to India and later London.

Lucian Freud

The Berlin-born painter moved to London in 1933 when he was 10 to escape the rise of Nazism, like his grandfather Sigmund five years later.

Henry Kissinger

The former US Secretary of State was 15 years old when he fled Nazi Germany with his family in 1938 as Jewish refugees. They briefly moved to London before travelling to America.

Saido Berahino

The Stoke City footballer arrived in Britain aged 10 after his father was killed during the Burundi civil war.

Andy Garcia

The Godfather Part III actor, who was born in Cuba, moved to Miami as a child after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, which attempted to overthrow Fidel Castro.

“Credit SkyNews”

News Reporter

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