Famous Twins

Astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly are preparing for a historic meet-up in space. From the Olsens and the Barclays to the Doublemint girls, VIEW OUR GALLERY of the most successful sets.

Scott and Mark Kelly

The Kelly brothers occupy a unique niche in American history—they’re the only blood relatives to ever orbit in space. They’ll achieve an ever greater milestone in February when they meet up at the International Space Station, where Scott will be the station commander and Mark will join him with supplies. Born and raised in a New Jersey suburb, the twins have always followed a similar path: They co-captained their high-school swim team, and each went on to pilot planes during Operation Desert Storm.

Gregory Bull / AP Photo

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss

The Winklevii, as they are referred to by the Mark Zuckerberg character in The Social Network, are a pair of 6’5”, 220-pound rowers who were members of the Porcellian Club–the most exclusive final club at Harvard University. The pair, along with classmate Divya Narenda, co-founded HarvardConnection (later re-named ConnectU) and enlisted Zuckerberg to help create the site. As the story goes, Zuckerberg dodged the trio for over a month, instead creating his own social-networking site TheFacebook.com. Zuckerberg was later sued by the ConnectU trio for intellectual-property theft, and they were awarded a settlement worth a reported $65 million. The busy twins also created the society website Guest of a Guest and placed sixth in the men’s coxless pair rowing event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Henny Garfunkel / Retna Ltd.

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen

Almost since infancy, this pair of fraternal twins has been steadily building a merchandising empire. In 1987, they began their acting career—at nine months—on the classic TV series Full House playing the character Michelle Tanner. They formed the company Dualstar in 1993 to brand their image and soon become a cottage industry, cornering the market on pre-teen clothes, books, fragrances, magazines, movies, and posters. The duo has recently expanded their entertainment empire into the realm of high fashion, running a couture label called The Row, and Mary-Kate will appear in the upcoming Hollywood fantasy film Beastly opposite Vanessa Hudgens and Neil Patrick Harris.

Michael Stevens, AFP / Getty Images

Sir David Barclay and Sir Frederick Barclay

Born within 10 minutes of one another in 1934, these reclusive British businessmen control substantial business interests in media, retail, and real estate. They own the Howard Hotel overlooking the Thames, the Ritz Hotel in London’s Piccadilly, numerous breweries, casinos, and shipping companies—and even the island of Brecqhou, one of the Channel Islands. Their Shop Direct Group is the United Kingdom's leading online retailer as well as its largest home shopping company, and the pair purchased media company The Telegraph Group in 2004, which includes The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph, and The Spectator. The Barclays’ wealth shot up from £1 billion in 2009 to £1.8 billion in 2010, according to MediaWeek, making them the wealthiest media moguls in the U.K.

AP Photo

Robin and Maurice Gibb

Two-thirds of iconic disco trio the Bee Gees along with their older brother Barry, the Gibbs emerged as stars of the late-'70s disco era with their soundtrack to the popular 1977 film Saturday Night Fever. Their albums have sold more than 100 million copies worldwide, and their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame citation says: “Only Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Michael Jackson, Garth Brooks, and Paul McCartney have outsold the Bee Gees.” Maurice died due to complications from a twisted intestine in 2003, but the two surviving brothers still perform as a duo, playing the Season 9 finale of American Idol in May 2010.

John Gaps III / AP Photo

Abigail Van Buren and Ann Landers

Ann Landers was the pen name created by Chicago Sun-Times advice columnist Ruth Crowley in 1943 for the syndicated advice column “Ask Ann Landers,” and was assumed by Eppie Lederer from 1955-2002. Landers was a revolution for her time; she was pro-choice, fought for the rights of homosexuals, and supported the legalization of prostitution. Just a few months after Lederer took over for Landers, her twin sister, Pauline Phillips, introduced a similar advice column called “Dear Abby,” assuming the pen name of Abigail Van Buren. Between them, the columnists received a reported 15,000 letters each week from an estimated 200 million readers, according to The Des Moines Register. Lederer died of cancer in 2002, but Phillips is still going strong at 92.

Ronen Zilberman / AP Photo

Ronde Barber and Tiki Barber

Tiki was a star running back for the New York Giants from 1997-2006, leading the team to Super Bowl XXXV in 2001, where they lost to the Baltimore Ravens. He has since become an author and, until May 2010, a correspondent for the Today show. Ronde has been a cornerback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers since ‘97. Still an active player, he and his Bucs won Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003 over the Oakland Raiders, and Ronde was voted on to the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team roster at the cornerback position.

Elise Amandola / AP Photo

Barbara and Jenna Bush

These fraternal twins are the only children of former U.S. President George W. Bush and his wife Laura. As their father was serving his first term as U.S. president, both girls began attending college—with Barbara at Yale and Jenna at the University of Texas. The sisters were constantly targeted by the press–and local authorities–for a series of underage drinking offenses while at school. They’ve since cleaned up their act. Jenna went on to marry her longtime beau Henry Chase Hager in 2008, and Barbara now works for the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York City. Fun fact: Their Secret Service code names were “Twinkle” (Jenna) and “Turquoise” (Barbara).

Charles Rex Arbogast / AP Photo

Paul and Morgan Hamm

The buff, diminutive Hamm brothers competed in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, where they helped the American team win the silver medal in the team gymnastics competition. Paul also won the silver medal in the horizontal bar at the 2004 Olympics, before becoming the only American man in history to win the gold medal in the individual all-around competition—though the ruling was not without controversy. Though Morgan had to pull out of the 2008 Olympics, Paul competed, then retired, and is now rumored to be eying a comeback for the 2012 Olympics in London.

Sang Tan / AP Photo

Bob and Mike Bryan

The Williams sisters aren’t tennis’ only triumphant twins; the Bryans once held the No. 1 spot in doubles for an amazing 201 weeks. They hold a number of tennis records, including the most matches won in the Open Era (600 and counting), a record 65 tour titles, and nine Grand Slam Men’s Doubles titles. Bob is taller by about three centimeters and hits with this left hand, while Mike is two minutes older than his brother and hits righty. The pair were named the ATP Doubles Team of the Decade for the 2000s, and most sports writers say their doubles records will never be eclipsed.

Doublemint

Then-21-year-old twin models from Hammond, Indiana, the Boyds were chosen in 1959 to be the first Doublemint twins—bicycling, playing tennis, and skipping their way through 12 “double your pleasure” TV commercials for Wrigley’s Gum. To this day, they remain pop-culture icons. But rumor has it that the twins actually weren’t athletic at all, and during one commercial shoot they went sailing over the handlebars of a tandem bike.