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Living Legend

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For reference purposes, the fellow getting spooked by the richest-duck-in-the-world-to-be is Wyatt Earp.

"Everybody who is anybody in this business strives to be legendary, and we are legendary."
Malia Hosaka, summing up her newly expanded Power Stable.

Some people become famous. They're well known, even if not very much is known about them. The Living Legend attained fame during his life (as opposed to posthumously).

Some famous people are famous for specific things. Some are infamous. Regardless, they actually did, can do, or were present at specific events. The Living Legend is famous because of where he's been, who he's been, who he's been with, and/or what he can do.

The Living Legend is respected for these things. Wherever he goes, people recognize him and buy him drinks. They ask him if he really did all those things. They want to know what it was like being where he was. They ask him to demonstrate his prowess.

This is a person whose reputation makes him larger than life even in his own time. The Living Legend can run the gamut from hero to villain, truth to lie, professional to amateur. The point isn't whether his reputation is deserved, but that he has it.


For those who remember the legend before he was and still don't see him as one, see No Hero to His Valet. If he deliberately plays up a false reputation, he's Miles Gloriosus. If someone else is doing this for him, he's the Fake Ultimate Hero. If his reputation inspires fear rather than adulation, he may very well be The Dreaded.

If his reputation is based on having just been in the right place at the right time, he's the Accidental Hero. If he's a random guy thrown into it, he might be an Action Survivor.

Sometimes the Living Legend's reputation is non-specific and he's Shrouded in Myth. Sometimes it's very specific and everyone calls him "The Butcher of X".

When a character's deeds are remembered in subsequent works, he's Legendary in the Sequel.

When he shows up to ruin a protagonist's day, The Ace will often be hailed as a Living Legend by his legion of squeeing fans.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi Jack Rakan is a living legend able to destroy pocket dimensions by flexing as well as willing himself back into existence. Negi's father, Nagi "The Thousand Master" Springfield is also this by virtue of being the strongest mage around and saving the Magic World at least once.
  • In Delicious in Dungeon, the Lunatic Magician is an entity of legend and many don't even think she exists. Too bad the mage very much does.
  • One Piece:
    • There are several powerful pirates who fit in this category, most notably Silvers Rayleigh, the Number Two of Gold Roger himself.
    • The Marines have Garp and arguably Sengoku. It says something that Garp revealing that he's actually going to take part in a battle is one of the few things that actually made the Whitebeard Pirates hesitate. It's especially telling when their own captain, Whitebeard himself, also fits the bill, having been considered the only man to equal Gold Roger in sheer fight prowess and the current World's Strongest Man.
    • The Straw Hats as a group have reached this status by the time they enter the New World, with other pirates being fearful and awestruck by them.
  • Ricardo Martinez in Hajime no Ippo is the Mexican long-time featherweight world champion who never lost. He's actually called "The only living super-legend" and it's said that there's a higher chance that Mexican citizens know him than their own president.
  • This happens across the generations in Naruto:
    • Konoha had the Sannin, the Yellow Flash, the White Fang, the First Hokage etc., all definitely living legends when they were in their prime.
    • Kakashi the Copy Ninja is known all over the world, even to people like the Raikage. His contemporary Asuma had a bounty of 35 million ryō on the black market.
    • By the time of the Fourth Shinobi War, Naruto himself is not only a legend in Konoha but is even known to shinobi from other villages. It becomes even more prevalent after the war, where his status as the hero of the war goes on to encompass the entire continent — everyone knows who he is.
  • Kishou Arima from Tokyo Ghoul. A Ghoul Investigator feared and adored for his legendary prowess in battle, established when he defeated The Owl while still a teenager. His reputation has earned him titles such as "CCG's Grim Reaper" and "The Undefeated Ghoul Investigator", with the mere mention of his presence on a battle field sufficient to rally the troops and terrify Ghouls into fleeing. When he finally shows up in person, it quickly becomes clear his reputation is entirely deserved when he brutally defeats Kaneki and leaves him on the verge of death. Other Investigators seem to either worship him (younger generation) or hate him for making them all look bad in comparison (older generation).
  • Gin from Ginga Densetsu Weed as the surviving previous main character, the dog grew up into killing the nigh invincible killer bear Akakabuto, saving human villages from being terrorized by it and providing fellow wild dogs a peaceful homeland. Weed himself grows into one by the ending.
  • In Classi9, most of the cast is renown across the world for their talent and precocity, but the Wunderkind Mozartand the Master Musician Beethoven have a mythical status. Mozart became somewhat Shrouded in Myth after he stopped playing publically and Beethoven's magnificent work despite his hearing loss made him an international icon, so much he was impersonated by an imposter at least twice.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • Mr. Satan is a Fake Ultimate Hero version. To the people of Earth, he is their greatest hero and champion. He fought and defeated Cell and the demon Majin Buu. None of this is, of course, true. He shamelessly took credit for beating Cell after Gohan beat him. He did help with Buu, although it was Goku who gave the killing blow. He's so renowned, he gets military support with a phone call, have a city renamed after him, and the first person called when things go wrong.
    • Goku zig-zags this. On Earth, he is well known within the martial arts community. He is a champion of the World Martial Arts Tournament and two-time runner-up in legendary matches. Among some, he is known as the person who killed King Piccolo. However, Goku isn't well known by the general population thanks to him wanting no credit for his work and Mr. Satan stealing any he may gained. In the universe at large, he's much more well known. He's known as the Super Saiyan and is feared for defeating Frieza and Majin Buu. Even the Supreme Kai knew who he is.
    • The Muten Roshi. When he was introduced, he was revered as the God of Martial Arts and The Strongest Man In The World.
    • The Muten Roshi's rival, the Crane Hermit, is also well known within the martial's community. He is seen as the Muten Roshi's equal.
  • Kenshin from Rurouni Kenshin. He's a legendary swordsman who is considered the best in all of Japan. He is Shrouded in Myth and no one knows what he really looks like outside his 'X' scar on his cheek and flaming red hair.
  • Victor Nikiforov from Yuri!!! on Ice is a world-famous figure skater who can pull off routines that are Beyond the Impossible, such as his championship routine having four quads (most skaters would include one or two quads at most in their routines). Yuri Katsuki even uses the exact name of the trope to describe him.
  • My Hero Academia's All Might is the number one superhero in Japan, possibly the world - an impressive feat in a world where Everyone is a Super - is known as "The Symbol of Peace" and has radically changed Japan's society, eliminating crime almost completely. All the other superheroes and villains either look up to him or are driven mad with jealousy. However, all the other most popular superheroes are this to a lesser degree.
    • My Hero (2008) had the superhero Positive in this role. However, after a traumatic event nearly breaks him, he reinvents himself as "Snipe" and actively denigrates his older identity. It's only after an old fan of his discovers the truth that he eventually comes to terms with himself and returns as Positive once more.
  • Thorkell "The Tall" is this in Vinland Saga, being renown throughout Scandinavia and the Danelaw for being the World's Strongest Man. The Danish army has a collective Oh, Crap! moment when they're being told that he's decided to fight for the underdog English because Victory Is Boring, and having beaten Thorkell in a duel gives main character Thorfinn enough cred to have him saddled with the nickname "Karlsefni" (roughly translated as "Man of great skill") and Thorkell's allegiance grants Canute a huge legitimacy boost in standing up to his father.

  • It would be quicker and easier to list superheroes who are aversions of this trope. So many are famous in their respective universes that it's almost superfluous to list them. A special mention should be made, however, for characters such as Superman, Captain America, Batman, and the Justice Society of America, who are famous even amongst the other heroes.
    • The DC maxi-series Trinity showed people breathe a sigh of relief when they're in trouble and the Justice League shows up. The Justice League cheers when they're in trouble and Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman show up.
    • It has been implied by time-traveler characters such as Cable that Spider-Man will become one of these.
  • V, the titular protagonist from V for Vendetta, deliberately invokes this in order to bring down the Norsefire government.
  • Watchmen deconstructs this and explores both the positive and negative effects of Living Legends, particularly the dehumanizing and demoralizing presence of Doctor Manhattan.
  • Lucky Luke, the man who shoots faster than his own shadow, not only is this himself but also meets nearly all real life legends from the The Wild West across the series: Calamity Jane, Buffalo Bill, Roy Bean, Wyatt Earp and his brothers, Mark Twain, Jesse James and his gang, Billy the Kid... the list is simply endless.

    Fan Works 
  • In Codex Equus, there are many individuals who have made a name for themselves, which is easy given that the setting takes place in a World of Badass.
    • A conversation with BrutalityInc reveals that Golden Scepter, known as "The Radiant Emperor of Ponykind", is seen as a heroic legend among both Alicornkind and the rest of Equus, being not only a peerless genius and powerful psychic whose mind is said to be unmatched by even the mightiest of Alicorns, but also an incredibly competent ruler who founded three empires in his lifetime. He's also a beloved war hero who personally fought against Morning Star, and saved Alicornkind from extinction by protecting and hiding those who didn't participate in the war. However, he's not without detractors - many Alicorns see Golden Scepter as "eccentric" for choosing to stay behind and help rebuild Equus rather go into seclusion to help his people regain their former glory, and his actions during the Imperium era made him a very controversial figure even by the Alicorns' standards.
    • Prince Sparkling Wing, known as "The Royal Unifier", is noted in his entry that after leaving his childhood kingdom to travel with Luminiferous as his students, stories and legends about him would pop up throughout the Third Age, telling of a lavender-pelted pegasus stallion who would resolve conflicts all over Equus and manipulate the skies themselves. It's what later led to Sparkling Wing meeting Queen Dazzleglow in the Fourth Age post-Ascension, having heard of said legends and was interested in his potential role in breaking "The Cycle".
  • In What Might Have Been, Flourite implies that long after the Gem War ended, the Crystal Gems have since settled down and mingled among mankind, inspiring various legends and stories among humanity.
    • Garnet is considered to be the first openly-known cross-gem fusions among gem-kind, often sought after for her advice after the war ended. To humans, her story has long since become something of a fable, Ruby and Sapphire portrayed as magical beings of their own respective mythologies, one such legend portraying them as "a dwarf of fire and a mini-cyclops of ice."
    • Pearl is considered an idol among pearls for being one of the first pearls to embrace independence and warrior spirit, inspiring devotion in other pearls who turn renegade.

    Films — Animated 
  • The super heroes of The Incredibles are all well known. This bites them when they start getting sued by an angry populace and they're all forced into hiding.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Li Mu Bai is famous throughout China for his prowess with the Green Destiny.
  • Down with Love: Catcher Block - Ladies Man, Man's Man, Man About Town, is a Sex God.
  • El Cid: Don Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar becomes this when he forces his king to publicly swear his lack of involvement in the assassination of his brother. And his story just gets even more heroic and legendary from there.
  • Hancock is very well known as a less than popular hero.
  • Pai Mei, in Kill Bill, is presented, by Bill, as a figure Shrouded in Myth and incredibly proud and deadly.
  • The Princess Bride: The Dread Pirate Roberts is a mysterious and terrifying pirate who has long terrorized ... some maritime province.
  • The title character of You Don't Mess with the Zohan, at least in Israel and Palestine.
  • The eponymous hero of Robert Zemeckis' Beowulf turns into this in the latter half of the movie. At the same time he has aspects of No Hero to His Valet. And a small touch of Miles Gloriosus, as he likes to exaggerate his prowess.
  • By the end of Army of Darkness, Ash (housewares) has achieved legendary status, so he claims, among the people of Mercia. They wanted to make him king. In his own way, he is king.
  • El Mariachi. "We call him 'El'. It means 'The'."
  • Keyzer Soze of The Usual Suspects is a mysterious devil figure to the criminal underworld.
  • Die Hard gives us John McClane. In the second film (Die Harder), he's recognized by a rogue special ops officer for his interview on Nightline. In the third, a fed makes an immediate connection between the Villain Du Jour and "the thing in LA". In the fourth... he's John McClane, the Irish flatfoot who throws cars at helicopters when he runs out of bullets.
  • "People are always asking me if I know Tyler Durden"
  • In The Avengers, Captain America/Steve Rogers was already well-known in in the 1940s. But after being presumed dead, he wake up almost seventy years later as a living legend, literally. Iron Man/Tony Stark later remarks to Loki that Captain America is "a living legend who actually lives up to the legend".
  • In The Martian, this becomes Mark's status with students acknowledging them as such and saying it was an honor to meet them.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse: Mystique is greatly admired for saving President Nixon from Magneto in 1973, but she resents her fame, and she chooses to disguise herself in her blond Raven form so that people won't recognize her blue, scaly self.
    Raven Darkholme: I told you I'm not a hero.
    Jean Grey: You're a hero to us. Seeing you that day on TV changed my life.
    Kurt Wagner: Mine too.
    Peter Maximoff: Mine too.
  • John Wick is an assassin so dreaded among the criminal underworld, The Don acts as if his son pissing John off is practically a death sentence. Because it is.
  • Luke Skywalker in the Disney Star Wars films is this starting with The Force Awakens up until his death at the end of The Last Jedi. There are those that even believe that he really is just a legend, and not someone who actually exists. Rey, the main protagonist of this sequel trilogy is among these until she ends up learning of a map to him in The Force Awakens and then ends up meeting him at the end of it, having followed the map. Skywalker, himself, is not happy, as he believes that the Jedi need to end.
    Skywalker: It was a Jedi Master who was responsible for the training and creation of Darth Vader.
    Rey: And a Jedi who saved him. Yes. Your father was the most hated man in the galaxy. He caused so much death and destruction for many years. But you saw there was conflict inside him. You believed that he wasn't gone. That he could be turned.
    Skywalker: And I became a legend. For many years, there was balance and then I saw Ben. My nephew with that mighty Skywalker blood. In my hubris, I thought I could train him...
  • All About Eve: Margo Channing got her start at the age of four playing a fairy in A Midsummer Night's Dream. She entered stark naked and has been a legend ever since.

  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
    • Galactic President Zaphod Beeblebrox is quite well known. Not necessarily for good things. He is a politician, after all.
    • The Guide notes that towels (in addition to several legitimate uses) let you cultivate this image: if you can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy and still know where your towel is, then obviously you're a badass, and others will think nothing of loaning you some other minor item that you happened to recently misplace.
  • Kit Carson, of Robert Asprin's Time Scout series. He was one of the very first men to take up the incredibly dangerous profession of stepping through a time portal to find out what's on the other side.
  • The leaders of various factions in C. J. Cherryh's Alliance/Union universe are generally presented as famous, larger than life, and incredibly competent.
  • The Dresden Files: Harry Dresden, who is considered to be The Dreaded by his enemies, has done everything from killing a faerie queen (who are technically immortal (it's complicated) and far beyond basically any mortal being) to raising a Zombie T-Rex. This is all before he is 40, and he is considered one of the top 30 most powerful wizards on the planet. Bear in mind Dresdenverse wizards don't really come into their full power until they're 100 years old at least.
  • The Han Solo Adventures: Gallandro has a very long and well-known list of accomplishments in his gunslinging career. Despite his overall villainous nature, he's actually the Hero of Another Story several times over. That said, Gallandro's fame is largely limited to the Corporate Sector worlds. Han, who spends most of his time in Imperial space, has never heard of Gallandro before their first meeting and thus doesn't realize how dangerous it is to aggravate him.
    Badure: Gallandro? Slick, you're talking about the guy who single-handedly hijacked the Quamar Messenger on her maiden run and took over that pirate's nest, Geedon V, all by himself. And he went to the gun against the Malorm family, drawing head bounty on all five of them. And no one has ever beaten the score he rolled up when he was flying a fighter with Marso's Demons. Besides which, he's the only man who ever forced the Assassins' Guild to default on a contract; he personally canceled half of their Elite Circle—one at a time—plus assorted journeymen and apprentices.
  • Hunter of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere. She's hunted down and killed incredibly deadly, legendary animals all over the world.
  • Richard Cypher, of the Sword of Truth series is a Living Legend first among the people of D'Hara, then the midlands and Westlands, then the old world.
  • Realm of the Elderlings:
    • FitzChivalry Farseer goes through several flavors of Living Legend. First he becomes famous as a warrior defending the shores of the kingdom from the Outisland raiders. Then he becomes infamous as a Wit-user and traitor. Then he becomes a symbol of the wit movement. Finally he becomes The Man Behind the Man, true ruler of the realm, mostly from the shadows. While on his last harrowing mission for the throne, he learns that not all despise him for his Wit, his apparent treachery, and his death by torture.
      Fitz: I think they are all men who know how to hold their tongue. And will do so, at Prince Dutiful's request.
      Longwick: Some might do so merely at Lord FitzChivalry's request.
      Fitz: Lord FitzChivalry would greatly appreciate that.
      Longwick: Very well. But I think it's a shame. You deserve better. What of glory? What of men knowing what you have done and who you are, and giving you the acclaim you deserve for your success? Don't you want to be remembered for what you've done?
      Fitz: I'd rather be forgotten for the things people think I've done. And I'd give it all if I could forget the things I failed to do.
    • In a similar fashion, Kennet, would-be King of the Pirate Isles, is well known among the isles as a particularly capable and professional pirate. Then he gains more and more fame and love for targeting slavers.
      • His reputation passes to his woman, erstwhile whore Etta and later Queen of the Pirate Isles, and his ward, Wintrow, their philosopher King.
    • Also, Malta and Reyn as the first of the new Elderlings.
    • Swift Witted and his father, Burrich, become famous through the Outislands in an almost incidental fashion as Demon-Slayers. Between them, through Burrich's mastery of the Wit-magic and Swift's use of a magic arrow, they slay the stone dragon form of Kebal Rawbread and freed thousands of Outislanders from mystical torment, and a song is fashioned for their feat before they even leave the ice island Aslevjal.
  • Several characters in the Wheel of Time series. Rand, Perrin, and Mat are most easily justified, what with being ta'veren.
    • Cadsuane is a more literal example, being a female mage of such age and prestige that most people think of her in the past sense, as a fabled example of Aes Sedai superiority, until she comes out of retirement and takes a part in the events of the books.
  • Quite a few from the various Dragonlance books.
    • Raistlin almost became a god.
    • Huma was famed for his exploits and piety even before his Heroic Sacrifice, though he became Shrouded in Myth eons later.
    • Most of the main characters from the original Chronicles trilogy are referred to as "The Heroes of the Lance" in the later books and everyone seems to know their stories.
    • Laurana became famous on both sides as the Golden General due to her miraculous rout of the evil army at the High Clerist's Tower and the repeated victories she won against numerically superior enemy armies during the Vingaard Campaign.
  • Sparrowhawk from A Wizard of Earthsea.
  • Aubrey-Maturin: Both Captain Jack Aubrey and Doctor Stephen Maturin become famous, though for very different things. Jack is famous throughout the navy as Lucky Jack for his martial exploits and later gains some renown for his work in mathematics and astronomy. Stephen is a very admired physician and biologist before he becomes a Magnificent Bastard in the intelligence community.
  • The Discworld, running as it does on the Theory of Narrative Causality, has a number of these.
    • Granny Weatherwax, whose name among the trolls is Aaoograha hoa ("She Who Must Be Avoided") and among the dwarfs is K'ez'rek d'b'duz ("Go Around the Other Side of the Mountain"). She has taught respect to vampires and elves as well.
    • His Grace, His Excellency, The Duke of Ankh, Commander Sir Samuel Vimes is known throughout his city as scrupulously honest and a man who, when upset, tends to spread his discontent around with a big shovel. The criminal element actively tries not to piss him off. So well known for inventing the first capable and honest police force of the city of Ankh-Morpork that cops throughout the plains are known as Sammies.
    • Similarly, Captain Carrot Ironfoundersson, the rightful heir to the throne of Ankh-Morpork (who just happens to like being a guard). His charisma is so strong it warps reality. Also, he has a punch that trolls respect.
    • Rincewind (a Wizzard) is famous among some communities for his ability to run away from anything. And scream in 27 languages. He's also saved the Disc multiple times when running was no longer an option. At one point, when two head wizards almost go nuclear, another realizes that the last time that happened, the Disc was almost destroyed and Rincewind stopped it with a half-brick in a sock. He looks around and sees Rincewind putting his sock back on.
    • Tiffany Aching is rapidly building herself a fearsome reputation.
    • Sergeant Jackrum of the Borogravian army has fought in every single war for forty years. The Sergeant knows everyone. Everyone knows the Sergeant. The Sergeant's reputation is such that generals will leave at the Sergeant's request.
    • When talking to Cohen the Barbarian, Rincewind says, "My grandfather used to tell me stories about you when I sat on his kne... Oh."
  • Harry Potter, who had a nickname, the Boy Who Lived, by the time he was one. Also, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, who was gaining a reputation in his youth, even before things like his defeat of the Dark Wizard Grindelwald. In a very negative way, Tom Riddle, AKA Lord Voldemort, has such a fearsome reputation that no one will even say his name.
  • Snow Crash: Raven — He's a one man nation with a nuclear bomb keyed to his heartbeat and an Absurdly Sharp Blade.
  • Memory, Sorrow and Thorn: Seoman Snowlock begins life as an orphan, adopted into the life of a scullion known only for mischief and day-dreamery. Then he... let's just say that fighting a dragon with an incredibly magic sword is among the least of what he becomes known for. When he learns that he's the descendant of, simultaneously, a king and a saint and thus one of the strongest candidates for the throne in the world (there's a princess available, but her father was kind of a douche), someone says that even if that weren't true, he'd be tempted to make it up. Not only would it be believed, but Seoman's incredibly beloved.
  • Mrs. Smith's Spy School for Girls: Abigail Hunter's mother, Jennifer, is considered to be the best agent the Center ever had. She hears it quite a bit from other agents.
  • Tailchaser's Song: Fritti Tailchaser helped fight off Cat Satan. He's as much a hero as cats can have. Grizraz (Cat Satan) and Lord Firefoot (Crystal Dragon Jesus) are immortal and feared/beloved, and Shrouded in Myth.
  • There's no evidence that Star Wars hero Luke Skywalker is anything but a war hero in the movies, prior to the Disney releases, but in the Expanded Universe his reputation is a bit more than that. In The Thrawn Trilogy, he's recognizable such that, when a random fight's about to break out in a bar, everyone looks to him, even the two about to fight, to settle it, based on nothing more than his reputation as a Jedi Knight. He steps up, everyone accepts his judgment, the day is saved. See the film section above for his status in the sequel trilogy released by Disney.
    • Similarly, to be made a Grand Admiral of the Empire requires that you be above and beyond normal military talents. When people find themselves pitted against a Grand Admiral, the result is usually despair. And then there was that brief time you could learn you were coming up against Grand Admiral Thrawn and know exactly what that meant...
  • Ciaphas Cain, Hero of the Imperium! Much to his regret, as he keeps getting sent into danger with people expecting him to pull off some crazy scheme when he would rather just run and hide (So he claims, anyway).
  • Skeeve of Myth Adventures is an Only One Name thief who ran away from his father's farm, only to become a widely renowned magician, somewhat feared across the dimensions.
  • Duke Alaric Morgan in the Deryni works. He helped King Brion Haldane defeat a Festillic Pretender at age 14, and rose to become Lord General of Gwynedd's armies. Although prequels are either published or in process, he was introduced as a Living Legend when he first appeared in Deryni Rising in 1970. Indeed, he is depicted as cultivating a reputation for dangerous power as a means of intimidating potential foes and thereby protecting himself.
  • Kvothe from The Kingkiller Chronicles books. This is partly because he's genuinely special (a natural magician with eidetic recall and a talent for Naming), partly because his quest puts him in situations that just happen to be legend-building status, and partly as a reputation he's deliberately cultivated.
    • Also the yet-to-be-seen Oren Velciter from the same books.
  • In a rare example, Amnesiac Hero Caeden from The Licanius Trilogy is a living legend as Big Bad Aarkein Devaed, though he doesn't know it yet. Once he finds out, he wisely keeps it a secret.
  • Heretics of Dune. Miles Teg had such an reputation as a military leader for the Bene Gesserit that he was once able to To Win Without Fighting.
    Teg's reputation was an almost universal thing throughout human society of this age. At the Battle of Markon, it had been enough for the enemy to know that Teg was there opposite them in person. They sued for terms.
  • Works from and about the Romance of the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history like to portray particularly skillful generals this way. One was trapped in a town with inadequate forces. Rather than run away he sat at the gates playing chess with his forces clearly standing down. The enemy saw him and, knowing his reputation for absolute guile, decided he was planning something and ran away instead.
  • Who is John Galt?
  • When Marasi from The Alloy of Law meets Wax (and to a lesser extent, Wayne), she is almost starstruck, telling him that he's a legend at least in criminology circles, anyway.
  • In Michael Flynn's Up Jim River, when Zorba, the greatest of the Hounds, appears, the harper is not afraid of her Honorary Uncle, but the Fudir is of his legendary status.
  • Axis SunSoar from The Wayfarer Redemption as the legendary StarMan who recreated Tencendor and saved it from Gorgeal the Destroyer. He then dies and is resurrected in The Darkglass Mountain Trilogy and is this in spades, no matter which part of the world he's in.
  • Inda of the Inda series attains this status for his prowess in fighting pirates and later his success in fighting the Venn who are invading his homeland. He's so famous as a commander that midway through the fourth book a coalition of kingdoms and trading ports choose a delegate to go beg him to help save them from the Venn, who are threatening to take over the strait that separates the two continents of Sartorias Deles.
  • Honor Harrington by the end of her first book is on her way to Living Legend status among the good officers of the Royal Manticoran Navy. At the end of the second book, she's achieved this for the planet of Grayson. Her growing fame to the civilian population of Manticore is mentioned in the next several books but explodes after she apparently returns from the dead after leading the largest prison break in human history. That event also cements her reputation among the Havenites as well.
  • In The Dinosaur Lords, Karyl Bogomirskiy is known throughout the continent as the best dinosaur commander there is, and his Shrouded in Myth past, as well as deeds of his adulthood, are already subjects of many a song and poem. It gets to the point that even the enemy dinosaur masters have moments of fanboy glee upon seeing him, and his own employers try to have him assassinated for fear of the following he's developing.
  • The Vagina Ass of Lucifer Niggerbastard: Lucifer is regarded as a legend by those who read the Prophecy Of The Vagina Ass.
    • Griswalda does not, as he was more of a fairy godfather to Lucifer.
    • Turnus also does not, because he is the antagonist.
  • Geralt of Rivia: The Witcher.
  • In Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson: After the death of her father, Tan-Tan is on the run, and turns to robbery, partly inspired by the childhood tales she used to hear of the great Robber King back on her home world of Toussaint. Soon, she begins to hear wildly'' exaggerated stories of herself. Apparently, the people of New Half-Way Tree were desperate for some legends to call their own, and are not at all ashamed to embellish events for the sake of a good story.
  • In military thriller Victoria, Captain John Rumford becomes one in right-wing circles for his brave (or at least perceived as such) anti-PC behavior and dismissal from the Corps—And then in a more traditionally heroic manner for his military leadership in the civil war and beyond.
  • In Warrior Cats, Graystripe becomes this by the time of the third arc, as he was the ThunderClan deputy who played a part in helping save all the Clans through his life, and as far as the Clans knew, sacrificed himself to save others from capture by Twolegs. When he finds his way back to the Clans in The Sight, Hollypaw is amazed at how all four Clans welcome him home with equal warmth. When everyone's crowding around him and Leafpool tells them to give him space, Hazelpaw even protests, "But he's a legend!"

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Jon Snow. Being Back from the Dead and having killed a White Walker in single combat does god-like wonders for one's reputation.
    • From the end of Season 1, the remnants of Daenerys' khalasar most definitely believe this beyond her merely being the last female Targaryen. We also see from Season 5 that the red priests of R'hllor have proclaimed her a divine champion who will lead the world to victory in the Long Night. Her exploits are well known throughout Westeros by the time she and her armies makes landfall.
    • Barristan Selmy is the most respected swordsman of Westeros, treated with equal devotion by fearsome comrades-in-arms and former adversaries. Ned Stark, Jaime Lannister, Jorah Mormont and even Tywin Lannister speak of him with respect. A more subtle example is present when he's stripped of his rank by Cersei. The Hound, who stands beside the throne, is normally The Stoic even in the face of a threat, but when Ser Barristan draws his sword, The Hound immediately places his own hand on his hilt, indicating that even he considers Barristan a serious threat.
  • There's at least two examples in Our Miss Brooks:
    • In "The Big Game", there's former high school football star "Snakehips", whose high score in the big game won him a job as a vice-president.
    • In "Safari O'Tool" there's Miss Davis's beau, a famous jungle explorer. He's a fraud.
  • Burn Notice: Michael Westen is an Urban Legend throughout Russia. Several groups consider the name Michael Westen to be a codename for a team of operatives. In another episode some Russian gangsters find out who's after them, "He's Michael Westen! There are only four of us!"
  • In Chuck the title character was given the name Charles Carmichael to protect his identity. By the third season Carmichael was known throughout the spy community as an exceptionally dangerous spy.
  • In Heroes, Hiro Nakamura goes to medieval Japan to meet his hero, Takezo Kensei. Hiro then does everything he can to make Takezo live up to the legends about him, making him into the legend Hiro willen haven onen learned about.
  • Doctor Who: The Doctor. Some love him, some hate him but he's known throughout the universe. River mentions that he can make an army turn and run at the mere mention of his name and it has been shown that she was not exaggerating.
  • Firefly: Jaaayne, the man they call Jaaayne. Jayne became an Accidental Hero for a village of mudders. Their worship was boundless. He kind of cherished his position, yet he did not abuse it.
    Jayne: Eggs! The Living Legend needs eggs!
  • Battlestar Galactica (1978): In the episode "The Living Legend", the Galactica encounters the battlestar Pegasus, whose captain is the Colonial military legend Commander Cain.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Angelus and Spike are both legendary, and are known as two of the worst recorded vampires in history. Angelus became known for his sadistic nature and fondness for torture, whereas Spike became known for killing two slayers.
  • Parodied in The Rutles - the band are supposedly a living legend that will live long after other living legends have died.
  • White Collar:
    • Neal Caffrey is such a capable thief and Con Man that there's an entire unit on his alleged crimes in a college criminology class. When he shows up in person, the students and professor all squee, just a bit.
    • Mozzie became an Urban Legend by accident. He was so smart that, as a kid, he hired a man to be the face of his book-making operation, the Dentist of Detroit. The operation got pushed out by The Mafia, but the Dentist lived on.
  • There are hints that the crew of the Enterprise, and the ship herself, are considered this in Star Trek: The Original Series. Kirk is certainly a notorious figure among the Klingons, as demonstrated in "Errand of Mercy" (where Kor already knows him by reputation) and "The Trouble with Tribbles" (where even the trash-talking Korax has to give Kirk his due, albeit as a "tin-plated dictator with delusions of godhood"); and Spock, despite being only half-Vulcan, is explicitly described in the episode "Amok Time" as "a legend among our people" by his mate T'Pring. This is very prominent in the movies as well, particularly Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
    • Kirk expected to end up with this reputation, and beat the Kobayashi Maru test by reprogramming it so the simulated Klingons would react to him this way.
    • By the time of Star Trek: Voyager, Kirk and his entire crew have achieved this status. In the episode "Flashback" (featuring a cameo from Sulu), Captain Janeway and Harry Kim talk about the original crew like they're old folk heroes.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • Kang, Kor and Koloth, who were all introduced in Star Trek: The Original Series, are living legends in Deep Space Nine, at least until the episodes that feature their deaths.
    • Dax is an odd example. The symbiote named Dax has been alive for centuries although each host has a normal Trill lifespan. As a result, Dax is revered throughout the Klingon Empire because Curzon Dax brought peace between the Klingons and the Federation. Although Curzon dies two years before the start of the show, Jadzia Dax is accorded the honour due the reputation as if she were still Curzon precisely because Dax is still alive even if the host has changed.
  • Star Trek: Picard:
    • Jean-Luc Picard is famous across the Alpha and Beta Quadrants, although his reputation has been somewhat tarnished after he resigned from Starfleet because he chose to do absolutely nothing (other than caring for his family's vineyard and writing history books) during his retirement.
    • Rios is in awe when he finds out from Raffi that Seven of Nine is the notorious ex-Borg Fenris Ranger from the Delta Quadrant.
  • Andros and the other Space Rangers are this, demonstrated by "To the Tenth Power" ("You're Andros, the Red Ranger!"). Tommy Oliver and Jason Lee Scott are this at least among Rangers (since they kept their identities secret) in "Forever Red". Cole in particular goes fanboy over Jason.
    • By the time of Power Rangers Dino Thunder, Tommy's reputation has surpassed Jason's, due to having been four colors (green, white, red, and black), and having been leader of three teams of rangers. Both in and out-of-universe, he is considered the "Greatest Ranger Ever" and for good reason.
  • In an episode of Falling Skies, Col. Porter tells Tom Mason that he is quickly becoming one.
  • Most of the main cast of Person of Interest are something of one. Harold and Root are still well known and looked up to in the hacker community(though of course these people don't know their real names), John is known as an Urban Legend called 'The Man in the Suit' by the police, and Shaw is something of one for the ISA, with its operatives believing that no one could survive what she has.
  • John Sheridan in Babylon 5 is one, being not only the one human captain who won a battle against the Minbari but managed to blow up their flagship. Humans consider him a hero, while the Minbari call him Starkiller.
  • Horatio Hornblower: Some naval captains receive this treatment, and more often than not, it causes problems.
    • Captain "Dreadnought" Foster is ultra-famous and lots of people aboard the "Indy" admire him immensely, young Horatio included. Many sailors try to serve and indulge him, giving him blankets so that he can dry himself and alcohol to warm himself up. Pellew is reluctant to join in heaping praise on him and doesn't like that Horatio glorifies him. Hornblower's admiration for Foster is dashed when Foster insists on taking meat from a supply ship under Hornblower's command, which is still under quarantine for plague. Foster becomes a Broken Pedestal for him.
    • Captain Sawyer's one of Nelson's own and a national hero who distinguished himself at the Battle of Nile. He's also completely insane. Because of his reputation, Horblower and especially Mr Bush realize much later than they otherwise would have that he's unable to command and try to act for the good of the ship, which means The Mutiny. In addition, if Sawyer hadn't been a Living Legend, the court-martial could have been a mere formality or the jury wouldn't have been so hard-ass on the lieutenants. But since they felt they had to preserve Sawyer's reputation, they were looking for a scapegoat.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Bruno Sammartino was called "The Living Legend." Larry Zbyszko appropriated the name as "The New Living Legend" during a feud.
    • Zbyszko would later attempt to sue Chris Jericho, who had also appropriated the nickname. This did not go well for him.
  • Aside from those who actually used the name word-for-word, there are a number of wrestlers who became legends in their own time, perhaps most notably El Santo in Lucha Libre and Rikidozan in Japanese puroresu. After Sammartino, the American wrestler who most embodies the description might be Lou Thesz.
  • One of Mick Foley's many nicknames is the 'Hardcore Legend', and for good reason. See also the famous sign that said 'FOLEY is GOD'.
  • The Undertaker certainly has this reputation through his many years of service and spellbinding matches.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The Stormwrack sourcebook describes the Legendary Captain Prestige Class, geared around playing ship captains who have become figures of legend and dockside myth during their own lifetimes.
    • Forgotten Realms: Elminster, immortal Chosen of Mystra, goddess of magic. Becoming a Living Legend is easier, of course, when you're Really 700 Years Old.
  • As appropriate for the setting, BattleTech features numerous characters who were legends in their eras: Morgan Kell, Natasha Kerensky AKA The Black Widow, Victor Steiner-Davion, Kai Allard-Liao, and Aleksander Kerensky were all legendary characters known for their skill (and in Natasha's case, being a sex icon) when they were alive.
  • Pick any major leader from Warhammer 40,000, and they'll have a lengthy list of acomplishments and victories that will bring recognition and fear wherever they go. But a standout version of this would be Commissar Sebasian Yarrick, whose a legend not only among humans as the Hero of Hades Hivenote , but among the orks that he's slaughtered across his career. The Greenskins say "Old Yarrick" can kill with a glance and is so dead-'ard that not even death can touch him, and Ghazgkhull Thraka (the biggest, baddest ork in the galaxy) considers Yarrick his Worthy Opponent.

  • In virtually every universe, Optimus Prime and Megatron are the living legends. There are sometimes others—Overlord, Arcee, Starscream, Grimlock—but they're more often notorious. Only Optimus and Megatron are universally respected and/or feared.

    Video Games 
  • Fatal Fury's Terry Bogard is well known on the streets of South Town, where he achieved his status by defeating Geese Howard. He went on to make a name for himself in the rest of the world, by facing even tougher opponents such as Wolfgang Krauser, the Jin Twins, and Kain. Which has earned him such distinctions as: "The Legendary Lone Wolf" and "Hungry Wolf Bogard".
  • Snake from Metal Gear Solid, although he doesn't think himself as one.
    • Also in the Metal Gear series, there is "The Boss" the Legendary Soldier that definitively won World War 2, "Big Boss" the Legendary Mercenary who ended up establishing the general political atmosphere of the Cold War Era, and Solid Snake's own title was the "Legendary Hero" for defeating countless rogue terrorist cells among others. When they were still alive, utmost respect, fear, and admiration is giving to them until they were succeeded by the next Living Legend.
  • Dante in Devil May Cry is known as the Legendary Devil Hunter starting some time after the original game. He takes after his father, Sparda, who was known as the Legendary Dark Knight in his glory days.
  • By the end of any of the Fallout games, the hero will have altered the face of whatever wasteland he/she happens to inhabit, for better or for worse.
    • This is discussed in Fallout: New Vegas in the Lonesome Road DLC in regards to Legate Lanius. According to Ulysses, Lanius' greatest weapon is his personal legacy as an indomitable warlord feared both by the NCR and the Legion, with Caesar going out of his way to make him more mysterious (thus justifying the conflicting details of his past). However, this also means that Lanius is deeply afraid of defeat since a single loss will damage his reputation, meaning that by sowing doubt within his mind he can be convinced to retreat.
  • Many of the Bhaalspawn of Baldur's Gate toil in anonymity, unaware of their divine parentage. Sarevok and the PC are among the few who truly stand out.
  • The many incarnations of Planescape: Torment's the Nameless One have had and deserved every kind of reputation.
  • Half-Life: The Free Man - Opener Of The Way, Gordon Freeman. Started a revolution in Half-Life 2 just by showing up.
  • Heavy Metal F.A.K.K.²: Julie - She Who Slays Gods. Well deserved as she put an end to Tyler's ravage across the galaxy in the animated movie prequel.
  • Many characters of the Star Wars video games have reputations.
  • StarCraft has a number of war heroes who grow to legendary reputation during the games.
    • Jim Raynor, one of the few to be known by all three races: By the zerg as an old associate of the Queen of Blades (now turned dangerous foe), by the Terrans as one of Mengsk's most valuable allies once, now turned infamous rebel leader, and by the Protoss as the human that helped Tassadar bring down the Overmind. The latter is particularly valuable, as he's essentially the only human the Protoss properly respect.
    • Artanis grows into one over the course of StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. He saves Nerazim Protoss from the extermination, protects Terrans on Korhal, allies with Tal'darim and Purifiers and reintegrates them into Protoss society, reclaims his homeworld and ultimately leads all three races into the Void to destroy Amon once and for good. It ultimately reaches the point where multiple Protoss cry "En taro Artanis"note , something reserved for the greatest heroes of their race - and Artanis is the only living Protoss to be honored this way.
  • Diablo: The hero of the first game was only really known in the one very small town. Of the second, much more widely known and thus deserving of the title Living Legend.
  • In Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, Sabrina (the former Saffron City Gym Leader from the original Pokémon Red and Blue) has started an acting career and has become quite a celebrity in Unova because of it. A lot of people at PokeStar Studios admire her, and a guy at the PWT calls her "Queen Sabrina".
    • Another Pokémon example: Red certainly qualifies, as by the time of Generation II he has earned admiration throughout the land for single-handedly defeating Team Rocket and becoming the Champion of Kanto. In Pokémon Masters, his Sync Move is literally "Living Legend Blast Burn."
  • Halo:
    • The Spartan-IIs as a whole can be considered this (the few who are still alive, anyways); the Halo Wars manual even describes them as "A walking legend". In particular, series protagonist Master Chief John-117 is almost unanimously regarded as humanity's greatest soldier.
    • Arbiter Thel 'Vadam is regarded as this from Halo 2 onward, due to being the Elites' greatest hero during the Great Schism; in the post-war era, his popularity leads to him becoming his species's most prominent leader.
  • Each Fable game introduces a Hero who becomes very famous. Or infamous.
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City: Tommy Vercetti was sent to Vice City because, as "The Harwood Butcher", he was too hot for Liberty City.
  • In Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, the Prince returns to his home and becomes beloved by the people as a liberating hero.
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • Assassin's Creed I: Altaïr was famous among the Assassins for being a prodigy, although he let that reputation go to his head, making him respected by all, but liked by few. After the events of his game, he's earned the enmity of everyone involved in the Crusades, and also the loyalty of every Assassin outside of their citadel. His legacy extends even to Assassins in the modern day, who hold him in high regard for rewriting the rules of the order and implimenting many changes to their equipment and training methoods.
    • Ezio Auditore likewise earns the love of the Assassins and the fear of the Templars, though he's anonymous to the general public.
  • Mass Effect: Commander Shepard starts the game as somewhat famous, enough to warrant the Council having taken interest in them for several years for possible Spectre candidacy, as well as earn themselves a rather over-eager Loony Fan. Depending on your choices at the start of the game, Shepard can also be hailed as "The Hero of Elysium" or feared as "The Butcher of Torfan". By the end of the first game, s/he is ridiculously famous after saving the galaxy. In the second game, it's mentioned that during the two year interim while they were being resurrected by Cerberus, most worlds erected memorial gardens dedicated to them and with the Colonist background, their image now adorns the colonial seal of their homeworld, while a Broken Base has formed over those who feel joy and betrayed by their return from the dead. In the third game, when the Reapers do return and Shepard's warnings are vindicated, s/he becomes a living inspiration and symbol of hope to humanity and all of the other species involved in the war effort. The epilogue of the third game has it revealed that Shepard is remembered and venerated far into the future as "The Shepard", although the precise details of their legend have been lost to time.
    • Those who serve with Shepard tend to become legends as well. Some even start this way, such as;
    • Urdnot Wrex, who killed a Thresher Maw on foot, was the youngest war leader ever and one of the rare, powerful Krogan battle masters and a mercenary with centuries of experience even before teaming up with Shepard and killing a Reaper.
    • Samara is a Justicar of the Asari, basically a living Avatar of Law.
    • After the events of the first game, Garrus Vakarian goes to Omega and takes on the persona of Archangel. That is to say, he went to Space Gotham and became Space Batman.
  • Final Fantasy X: Yuna starts out known as the daughter of the last summoner to defeat Sin. She's famous as the one to permanently defeat it after that.
    • Auron is also an example since he was the guardian of the last summoner to defeat Sin. Since he's become an Unsent in the time between Braska's pilgrimage and Yuna's, he skips the "living" part a bit.
  • Duke Nukem is famous as of Duke Nukem Forever.
  • As a group, the Third Street Saints, in the third game.
    • The Boss, in particular, is incredibly famous. So much so that, by the fourth game, s/he becomes President of the United States.
  • By the end of their respective games, the Warden in Dragon Age: Origins and the Champion in Dragon Age II are internationally famous, in a quasi-medieval society that can't use magic for fast communications. That's impressive just for its difficulty.
    • Additionally there are Paragons, also known as living Ancestors, who are this to the dwarves.
  • After you've played a few missions in City of Heroes, NPCs start recognizing you and calling you by name. A passing civilian will say "Nice costume, (your name here)!" or an opponent will say "Cheezit, it's (your name here)!" when you approach.
  • In Red Dead Redemption we get Landon Ricketts.
    I was the fastest in my time. I must've been - I'm the only one left.
    • Made more evident in the Undead Overrun game of why he has earned this title. There are three areas that can never be taken over by the undead. Two are heavily walled with an army inside and the third one is just him in a wide open area keeping the town zombie free single-handedly.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • By the end of the main quest of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, the player character is widely recognised as Nerevarine and Hortator, a reincarnation of the legendary hero Nerevar and champion of Morrowind's people.
    • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the player character becomes one once he/she is revealed to be the last Dragonborn, early in the main quest.
  • Athos from Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade is specifically referred to as a Living Legend in-game, as one of the Eight Legends who fought the dragons in the Scouring nearly a millennium before the game starts. He passes away at the end of the game, living just long enough to help the current generation save the day and give them a cryptic prophecy about their future.
  • Mario in any of the RPG spin offs will always be marveled at by most of the population due to his previous achievements (defeating Bowser, saving the princess, can jump really high, etc.)
  • Samus Aran is treated as this by both Space Pirate mooks and Galactic Federation soldiers in some entries, particularly during her early career in the Prime series of games. Many low-ranking members of both groups are often disbelieving of the various feats that "The Hunter" has accomplished, and responses to the confirmation of her existence range from absolute terror on the part of the former and stunned awe on the part of the latter.
  • BlazBlue:
    • The Six Heroes, at least those who are alive, are well-known historic figures that defeated the Black Beast and saved the humanity from extinction. Anyone who recognizes them as a member of the Six Heroes either shows deep respect or fear towards them.
    • Jin Kisaragi is praised as the "Hero of Ikaruga War" because he the turned the civil war in Ikaruga around and ended it.
  • The Phantom Thieves of Hearts in Persona 5 start out being seen as a prank, then they take down a Mafia Boss that the police could not touch, a hacker organization threatening the entirety of Japan, become the first criminal organization to ever evade and defeat the SIU, reveal The Conspiracy that had practically taken over said country and cap it off by defeating a God, solidifying them as this by the end of the game.
  • Kazuma Kiryu, the Dragon of Dojima and lead protagonist for much of the Yakuza series. Anyone that doesn't know of him and crosses him does so at their own peril, and those who do know of him do their best not to, for Kiryu is a One-Man Army who has trashed multiple crime syndicates, triads, and rogue government agencies when they pissed him off. And even if he was only Chairman for fifteen minutes, he's still respected as a leader of one of the most powerful yakuza clans in Japan, even though he's not even an official member for most of the series.
  • Death Stranding: Sam already starts the game as an accomplished porter, known for delivering absurd amounts of cargo very quickly and in perfect condition. His status is cemented at the end of the game, after he reconnects the entirety of the UCA thanks to the chiral network and manages to avert the apocalypse.
  • Cyberpunk 2077: V becomes one in the "Path of Glory" ending, where they're known as the person who single-handedly took down the Arasaka tower and weakened the corporation holding the city by the throat.
    • On the other side of that conflict, there's Adam Smasher, an edgerunner whose efficiency is only matched by his sadism and fetishistic interest in cybernetics. Jackie mentions his name alongside legendary edgerunners Morgan Blackhand and Weyland Boa-Boa, but also says that Smasher's legend is "a fucking bleak one".
  • The Witcher: Geralt of Rivia, the legendary witcher.

    Web Animation 
  • The titular Reds and Blues become this, after they finally put an end to Project Freelancer and The Director in season ten of Red vs. Blue.

  • Girl Genius:
    • Othar Trygvassen, GENTLEMAN ADVENTURER is well known. The commonfolk think he's great but he runs afoul of other heroes, especially our heroes.
    • Baron Klaus Wulfenbach also has a reputation, somewhat more negative.
    • Agatha Heterodyne, Gilgamesh Wulfenbach, and Tarvek Sturmvoraus are all rapidly earning reputations. By the time Agatha get to Paris, two and a half years after she first becomes famous, there is a Heterodyne hat, an opera based on her and Gil's romance, "Naughty Agatha Steam Pantalettes - in seven scandalous colours!", and multiple volumes of multiple series of romance novels/erotica about her - of the two series mentioned, one is on Volume 12 and the other on Volume 14.
    • The Heterodyne Boys were beloved, in no small part because their family was not.
    • As "Ol' Man Death" himself said, explaining the excess of attention he still receives from Jägerkin — "This old hat has become the stuff of legend."
  • The Shufflers:Hiddenite comes from a tribe of mages called the Harvesters who were Shrouded in Myth and dismissed as fairy tales. He has the unique ability of having his own world in his cloth. When he confirms he’s a descendant, Märchen outright calls him a walking legend.
  • Sluggy Freelance: Torg earned a reputation in the Dimension of Lame during "That Which Redeems".
  • The rogue vampire Seth in Sorcery 101 cultivates this kind of reputation, including stories that he Escaped from Hell and became the only known Daywalking Vampire out of personal awesomeness. A lot of it is a smokescreen to throw off the many people who want him dead: he spreads rumours about himself, stole the name and reputation of a much older vampire, and owes his sun immunity to a protective amulet.

    Web Original 
  • Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: Country Mourns Whatshername. Both the Doctor and Captain Hammer are widely known, with squeeing fans. Likewise the Evil League of Evil, and maybe other heroes.
  • Spectre from Noob is explicitly stated to have reached that status with his first avatar.

    Western Animation 
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Avatar Aang became a living legend after defeating Firelor...uh...Phoenix King Ozai.
  • In The Legend of Korra, Many characters are living legends.
    • Much of the cast (that is still alive) from the original series Avatar: The Last Airbender are living legends, most notably Zuko, who became famous for his help in founding the United Republics, and Toph, who became famous for inventing metalbending and had many statues constructed in her honor. Bolin, one of the main characters, will usually also react as if he is standing in front of a legend. A less notable example is Katara, who despite being the wife of Avatar Aang, seemingly didn't get the same fame as the rest of the original cast; however in "The Spirit of Competition" Korra mentions Katara while healing Bolin, suggesting that most people at least know who she is.
    • The entire Beifong family can be considered living legends to a degree, notably Suyin, who founded the city of Zao Fu, and Lin, who is the chief of police in Republic City.
    • Korra herself also becomes a living legend, as the name of the series suggests. By season 4 she is widely adored by the public to the point of a park being renamed in her honor and a statue of her posing also being constructed. Of course she is also a living legend by default because she is the Avatar.
  • By the sequel Ben 10: Alien Force, Ben Tennyson has achieved this status amongst aliens for saving the universe multiple times. And he continues doing more as the story goes on. It reaches a point where, in Ultimate Alien, he actually convinces an overwhelming force of Forever Knights to stop a murdering spree by delivering to their leader a speech that sums it all up:
    "Maybe you forgotten something: I'm Ben Tennyson, wielder of the most powerful weapon in the universe. I stopped the Highbreed invasion, I defeated Vilgax in hand-to-hand combat and I've beaten the Forever Knights more times that I can count. Here's what's going to happen: you're going to release these prisoners, you're going to crawl back to whatever hole you came from and you're going to stop hunting down aliens because if you don't, I promise, you'll regret it for the rest of your very short lives."
  • Danny Phantom became one among ghosts after defeating Pariah Dark.
  • DuckTales (2017): Surprisingly, an entire family has this as a bag by season 2. Going off the canon of the page image, Scrooge Mcduck became legendary for his adventures through the old west, while also becoming The Richest Duck in the World, and his returning with a treasure for the city is generally met with approval on his first return to the public eye. His nephew and Niece Donald and Della Duck also became known in the world as bold and daring adventurers too, though their long absences from the spotlight did diminish this some. But, through the course of the series, not only does Scrooge reassert his legendary status, but begins giving credibility to his grand nephews and their friend so that even ordinary citizens recognize them as strong adventurers in their own rights.
  • Aaahh!!! Real Monsters: All the monsters know who Ickis' Dad is, even before Slickis visits the class. They even have biographies of him in the school library, and he's won numerous awards. Apparently, he's the source of at least one urban legend about the Bermuda Triangle, though Ickis cuts his father off before Slickis can tell that story again.
  • Tron is one to the programs of the Grid in TRON: Uprising, even though many think he's probably dead.
  • Kim Possible. Even though she doesn't get that much glory, everyone knows who she is, and most people appreciate what she does.
  • The Bots Master: In episode "ZZ Come Home", Ziv Zulander's sister used the expression "living legend" to describe him.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode Equestria Games, Spike is seen as this by the crystal ponies for the part he played in saving the Crystal Empire.

    Real Life 
  • While many try to exemplify this trope, Salvador Dalí is one of the few artists to use it. Many artists become popular only after their death, but Dalí lived to see his work appreciated extensively and even a museum erected in his honour. Even outside of the art world, he was a well-known personality and socialite in his time, sure to be recognized wherever he went (although his iconic appearance probably helped with that).
  • Gekiga pioneer Yoshihiro Tatsumi covered this in his autobiography "A Drifting Life": Osamu Tezuka was considered a god-like genius by his peers even before he hit age 30 or became a national icon. Nowadays Tezuka is considered the Father of Manga and is credited with creating, codifying, and laying the foundations for much, if not most, of modern Japanese comics and animation. His eventual death almost overshadowed the death of Emperor Hirohito, who died the month before him. He is strongly associated in Japanese history with the Showa period and, as the 90s were coined by recession, his death is coincident with the End of an Era.
  • Most of the marshals who survived The Napoleonic Wars became this in France, especially under the July Monarchy, as Louis-Philippe wanted to appropriate the Napoleonic legacy. They were known as illustres épées, and some of them (Soult, Mortier and Gérard) became Prime Ministers and were very popular among the general public, although they had trouble asserting their authority in governments mostly made up of professional orators.
  • To the women's gymnastics fans of the world — and its athletes — Oksana Alexandrovna Chusovitina is this. While it is these days not unusual for an athlete to compete for around a decade, or even longer — see Beth Tweddle, Catalina Ponor, etc. for proof — nobody has been around as long as "Mama Chuso". Her first international elite competition was in 1989. She has since gone to seven (read that again: seven) Olympic Games, the first in 1992, and in 2019 successfully qualified for her eighth. And her performance hasn't gone downhill whatsoevernote ; she won silver on the vault at the 2011 world championships and made the Olympic vault finals in both London and Rio. At 37 and 41. In a sport where women's careers have roughly the lifespan of a gnat and tend to be over by the time the gymnast hits her mid-20s, she is not just extraordinary but in fact in violation of all known laws of physics. To put this in perspective, when she made her international debut, most of her current competition had not yet been born.note  She can literally say that she's been doing this since her opponents were in diapers.
    • Chusovitina has competed under four flags in her elite career: the USSR, the Unified Team (made up of Russia and certain post-Soviet countries that did not have time to form Olympic Committees before the 1992 games), her native Uzbekistan and for a time Germany (where her family moved in order to better get treatment for her son, who had leukemia).
  • Davy Crockett. The guy was practically mythical before he became a politician and fought at the battle of the Alamo.
  • While the above-mentioned Chusovitina is one of the biggest examples since her longevity is so unlike most gymnasts, every sport often sees its oldest and most distinguished players and coaches acquire this reputation.
  • While teaching at Berkeley in the 1960s, folklorist Richard Dorson collected dozens of legends about a nebulous acid dealer called "Owsley". These stories had Owsley popping up in exceedingly unusual places to dispense LSD, perhaps most audaciously a county jail where, dressed as a priest, he handed off an entire Bible of blotter acid to the beleaguered "heads" (drug users) therein. Further research verified that all these stories were in fact based on the exploits of Owsley Stanley, an occasional sound technician for The Grateful Dead and the grandson of a Kentucky senator.
  • Men's singles figure skating has Yuzuru Hanyu. Wikipedia has a staggering list of his professional achievements. Podiums and national teams have changed since his senior debut in 2010, but Hanyu remains a constant face as of 2021, still on top of his form despite various (repeated) injuries (that have ended others' careers) and severe asthma. His second consecutive Olympic medal (2018 Pyeongchang) was won with his Seimei routine on a reinjured ankle and painkillers. He is also a survivor of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. His aim at this time of writing is to be the first man to land the quadruple axel in competition, an Up to Eleven difficult jump that might be Beyond the Impossible. His competitors have spoken about the "psychological warfare" of skating right after Hanyu, because he is guaranteed to turn in such a good performance that the next skater would have a tough act to follow, not to mention the rain of Winnie-the-Pooh bears that typically ensues. Even though he hasn't retired yet, there have been multiple direct tributes by younger athletes.


Video Example(s):


Planet Hulk - Halls of Asgard

Beta Ray Bill explains how the Hulk's rage is legendary even among the gods.

How well does it match the trope?

3 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / LivingLegend

Media sources:

Main / LivingLegend