Dr. M.G. Ramachandran, endearingly known as M.G.R., was born on 17th January, 1917, at Kandy, Sri Lanka, to Marudhar Gopalan and Satyabhama. After his father's death, M.G.R. settled with his family at Kumbakonam in Tamilnadu. He could not pursue his studies beyond the primary stage and joined a drama troupe. Gaining considerable experience on stage, he entered the world of cinema, and gradually rose to enviable positions by persistent efforts and endurance. He became a great actor, director and producer. The Government of India honoured him with the national Award for the Best Actor for his acting in the film "Rickshakaran" in 1972.
In 1953, M.G.R. joined the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. He became a member of the state Legislative Council in 1962. He was first elected to the Tamilnadu Legislative Assembly in 1967, and subsequently in the elections of 1971, 1977, 1980 and 1984. In 1972, he founded the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), which contested and won the subsequent elections. In 1977, he became the first film actor in India to be the Chief Minister of a state. He continued as Chief Minister of the rest of his life. He was a popular Chief Minister and one of the most charismatic politicians of the country. Always the first to personally offer relief in disasters and calamities like fire, flood, drought, cyclone, etc., he was the first donor during the Chinese aggression of 1962, donating Rs.75,000/= to the war fund.
He founded the Tamil University. The Tamilnadu Dr. M.G.R. Medical University and the Women's University in Tamilnadu. In 1983, The Madras University conferred on him, Honoris Causa, the degree of Doctor of Laws. M.G.R. had traveled extensively and visited Sri Lanka, Burma, Singapore, Japan, Hong-Kong, France, Mexico, USA and USSR. M.G.R. passed away on 24 December, 1987. He was posthumously awarded the "Bharat Ratna" by the President of India
Text Courtesy Government of Tamilnadu