Turks in The United States - Notable Individuals

Notable Individuals

Numerous Turkish Americans have made notable contributions to American society, particularly in the fields of education, medicine, music, the arts, science, and business. Muhtar Kent is Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of The Coca-Cola Company, a position he has held since April 2009.

Many prominent Turkish Americans have made lasting contributions to the American music industry. Ahmet Ertegün founded Atlantic Records, one of the most successful American independent music labels, in 1947. He was also a prime mover in starting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. In a music career marked by numerous lifetime achievement awards, he was inducted into the hall in 1987. In 1956, his older brother, Nesuhi Ertegün, joined Atlantic Records as vice-president of the company, attracting many of the most inventive jazz musicians of the era. By 1963, arranger, composer and record producer Arif Mardin joined the Ertegün brothers at Atlantic Records. Mardin was the winner of 12 Grammys, including two for best producer, nonclassical (in 1976 and 2003). He retired from Atlantic Records in May 2001 and began a new corporate relationship as senior vice president and co-general manager of the EMI label Manhattan Records. Mardin was considered one of the most successful and significant behind-the-scenes figures in popular music in the last half-century. His son, Joe Mardin is also a record producer and arranger.

Within academia, Feza Gursey was a Professor of Physics at Yale University and won the prestigious Oppenheimer Prize and Wigner Medal. Another influential Turkish American was Muzafer Sherif who was one of the founders of social psychology which helped develop social judgment theory and realistic conflict theory. Dr. Mehmet Oz is regarded as one of the most accomplished cardiothoracic surgeons. He has made frequent appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show. In the fall of 2009, Winfrey's Harpo Productions and Sony Pictures launched a daily talk show featuring Oz, called The Dr. Oz Show. "The Dr. Oz Show" has been an enormous success with an average of about 3.5 million viewers. His eldest child, Daphne Oz, is an author and television host.

Turkish Americans have also contributed to the arts; Tunc Yalman is the articistic director of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater whilst Osman Karakas received the 1991 National Press Award for best news photography.

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