Top 10 Immortals

Top 10 Immortals

Top 10 Immortals

(Image credit: public domain)

The dream of living forever is an old one for humanity, as evidenced by characters in our myths, literature and movies. From Tithonus to Dorian Gray and Highlander, LiveScience reviews some of our culture's most famous immortals.

Arwen

Arwen

(Image credit: © MMV New Line Productions, Inc.)

A half-elven maiden in J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" who renounces eternal life to marry her mortal sweetheart, Aragorn, the human king of Gondor. Arwen dies shortly after Aragorn, at the ripe old age of 2,901.

Grail Knight

Grail Knight

(Image credit: Copyright © 2006 by Paramount Pictures, IndianaJones.com)

A knight of the First Crusade who, in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," is tasked with guarding the Holy Grail, a crucible that grants eternal life to any who drink from it. When Indy chooses the correct Grail from multiple imposters, the knight warns him that it cannot be taken beyond the temple, because that is the price of immortality.

Highlander

(Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

In the 1986 movie "Highlander," Connor MacLeod is a member of the immortals, a mysterious race who die only when their heads are lopped off. The immortals must battle each other until only one is left to claim The Prize: The gift of mortality and the ability to die like everyone else.

Dorian Gray

(Image credit: Dorian Gray, 2009, Presented by Ealing Studios / Alliance Films / Fragile Films / UK Film Council and in association with Aramid Entertainment Fund and Prescience)

An Oscar Wilde character that remains young and handsome while his portrait ages. Dorian slowly becomes corrupt, but his crimes and his true age show only in the face of the painting, which grows progressively more monstrous and withered.

Tithonus

(Image credit: public domain)

When the Greek goddess Eos asks Zeus to grant her mortal lover, Tithonus, eternal life, she forgets to also ask for eternal youth. Tithonus indeed lives forever, but he grows old and frail, and begs for death. Some stories say that Tithonus eventually became a grasshopper.

Nicolas Flamel

In "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," Nicolas Flamel is a good friend of Hogwart's headmaster Albus Dumbledore. Author J.K. Rowling based Flamel's character on a real-life French 15th-century alchemist who legend claims successfully created the Philosopher's Stone, a mythical elixir that turns lead into gold and grants eternal life.

Methuselah

(Image credit: public domain)

Methuselah is the oldest person whose age is mentioned in the Old Testament of the Bible. He is the grandfather of Noah of "Ark" fame. Methuselah became a father at the age of 187, lived to be 969 and died the day the Great Flood appeared.

Lazarus Long

(Image credit: Time Enough for Love by Robert A. Heinlein. Publisher: Baen.)

A character in many of Robert Heinlein's science fiction novels, Lazarus' long life is the result of a selective breeding program and occasional blood rejuvenation treatments. Lazarus lives to be over 2,000 years old; he travels to distant planets and even through time, and works every conceivable job, from doctor to slave.

Dracula

dracula

(Image credit: public domain)

If you're really desperate to live forever, you could try getting bitten by Dracula or one of his vampire underlings. But then you'll have to avoid Italian food and do nasty things like drink blood, avoid sunlight and sleep in coffins.

Peter Pan

(Image credit: Peter Pan (Special Edition) (1953). Studio: Walt Disney Video)

The famous boy who never grows up (or old), prefers instead to cavort with fairies and fight one-handed pirates on the magical isle of Neverland.