English words to talk about cultural heroes

All of the following words can be used to talk about someone you admire for their brilliance, creativity and influence.

an icon = someone who was a symbol or a role model for other people

“David Bowie was a rock icon who influenced generations of young people to live their own lives.”

a legend (adjective “legendary”) = someone who had a great life and who everybody talks about

“He was a rock legend.”
“She gave legendary parties”

a hero: (adjective “heroic”) someone who you admire because they are brave, very strong, or very talented (also the main character in a film)

“He’ll always be one of my heroes.”

a star (film star / rock star / super star) = someone who is famous for their talent

“Have you ever met a rock star?”

a genius = someone who had a great mind or exceptional ability

“He was a musical genius.”

a giant = someone who achieved great success

“He was a giant of the silver screen.” (silver screen = cinema)

a visionary = someone who had an important vision for the future and who could see what would be important

“Some people say he was a visionary.”

a trailblazer (someone who “blazed a trail” = a person who was the first to do something new and to lead the way for other people (often in terms of culture, trends or politics)

“He was a trailblazer who showed us all that we could dare to be different.”