John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, more popularly known by his pen name JRR Tolkien, is considered by many as one of the greatest British writers of recent times. In 2008, he was ranked sixth on a list of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945, multiple ranks ahead of CS Lewis (11th) and Salman Rushdie (13th).
Over the span of his 81-year life, the Fellow Of The Royal Society Of Literature and university professor, went on to revive the fantasy fiction genre and take it to a level that has not been surpassed even today. Known most famously for The Hobbit, The Lord Of The Rings and The Silmarillion – a body of connected works which feature poems, fictional histories, invented languages, and literary essays about a fantasy world – Tolkien has earned a vast fan following across the world.
His works have also been at the centre of a huge franchise of Oscar-winning films helmed by director Peter Jacksonwhich went on to revive interest in the original literary works.
On the occasion of his 125th birth anniversary on 3 January, IBTimes UK takes a look at some of the famous fans of the 'The Professor'.
Prince Charles is as much a fan of the books as he is of the films. According to the Telegraph,the British royal took the opportunity to get an early screen of The Hobbit during a tour to New Zealand and met Peter Jackson and visited the sets.
"The Prince is a great fan of children's literature and Tolkien is one of the great icons of children's literature," a source close to the royals told the newspaper. "He and the Duchess have seen Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings films and the Prince has said he is very much looking forward to seeing Bilbo Baggins's foot."
US President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama has already proved time and again that he is one of the coolest American leaders ever. During a meeting with two Scholastic News Kids Press Corps reporters, he revealed that he is also a fan of Tolkien.
"When I was your age... I'd probably gotten a little too old for the Hardy Boys and that stuff," Obama told the young reporters. "I think I was getting into the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit and stuff like that.
"They weren't just kind of adventure stories but they were stories that taught me about social problems," he said. "[They] taught me about how people interact with each other... about how some people are kind and some people are cruel."
Queen Margrethe II of Denmark
Queen Margrethe II of Denmark is such a big fan of Tolkien's works that as an artist she took inspiration from his literature. Her works are mentioned in the film documentary JRRT: A Film Portrait Of JRR Tolkien.
In the 1970s, she sent some of her illustrations of Lord Of The Rings to Tolkien and in 1977, the queen's drawings were published in the Danish translation of the book (redrawn by the British artist Eric Fraser).
The illustrations were also featured in a British edition of The Lord Of The Rings under the pseudonym Ingahild Grathmer and she gave permission for her illustrations to be used in the CD layouts for a musical interpretation of the poems and songs from The Lord Of The Rings by the Danish music group The Tolkien Ensemble.
In 2008, Pope Francis, then known as Cardinal Bergoglio, referenced Tolkien's writings in a sermon. He compared the journeys of Bilbo and Frodo to those of Aeneas, Odysseus and Biblical characters such as Abraham and the Israelites in the wilderness.
If you regularly watch Stephen Colbert's The Late Show, it will be hard to miss his references to Tolkien. An ardent fan of the writer and his works, the American comedian once entered into show down with James Franco over who was the bigger Tolkien lover.
George RR Martin
George RR Martin, the author of A Song of Ice and Fire on which the hit HBO series Game Of Thrones is based, has spoken out about his keen interest in Tolkien's works. While Martin has criticised some of the plot elements of the writer, he does acknowledge the influence he had on his own writing.
"I revere Lord of the Rings, I reread it every few years; it had an enormous effect on me as a kid. In some sense, when I started this saga I was replying to Tolkien, but even more to his modern imitators," he said at the 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival.
Atlético Madrid striker Fernando Torres
Atlético Madrid star Fernando Torres of is that big a fan of the author that he has his name tattooed in Tengwar, which is a constructed script invented by Tolkien.
Argentinian footballer Sergio Agüero has his nickname Kun Agüero also written in Elvish on his right arm.