In this special issue, LIFE.com looks at 20 legendary figures — in the arts, politics, science and sports — who have appeared in the pages of LIFE magazine.
Their status as legends was in no small part the result of personal struggles against prejudice or poverty or whatever their peers and rivals warned were the absolute limits of human potential. In the end, it’s that tenacity in the face of doubt and rejection; the drive to accomplish something breathlessly new — something that changes the way we live, think and dream — that we honor and remember.
Pictured: Margaret Bourke-White logged a staggering number of firsts. As a pioneering photojournalist, she was among the first staff photographers hired at LIFE and she took its first cover photo. (read more here)