Maruthur Gopala Ramachandran (January 17, 1917 – December 24, 1987), popularly known by his initials MGR. , was a Tamil film actor, producer and politician. As a well known humanist, he served as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu from 1977 until his death in 1987.
MGR was born in Nawalapitiya near Kandy, British Ceylon (present day Sri Lanka), to Gopalan and Maruthur Satyabhama. His family was originally from Vadavannur, Palakkad which was a part of the Madras Presidency (later Madras State and then part of Kerala after The States Reorganisation Act, 1956) , but his father had migrated with his family to Sri Lanka. After the passing away of his father MGR along with his mother and brother came back to India and settled in Kumbakonam (Madras Presidency now part of Indian State of Tamil Nadu). He studied till his third class (Five years of primary education) and due to extreme poverty had to go for work to earn a living. He joined a drama troupe called Original Boys Company. Later, he entered the world of cinema, becoming an actor, and later a director, producer and editor, acting in more than 125 movies and becoming a great actor. He went on to win many awards for his performances including the National Award for Best Actor for his performance in a Tamil Language Movie "Rikshawkaran" in 1972. He was also awarded the India's Fourth Highest Civilian Honor "Padma Shri" by the Government of India in 1960 which he declined to accept.
He was initially a member of the Indian National Congress but later joined the Dravida Munnetra Kalazham (Dravidan Progressive Federation) led by Dr.C.N.Annadurai. Till 1972 he worked very hard for the success of the DMK and later founded a new political party Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (ADMK) which was later renamed as All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). MGR served as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu from 1977 to 1987 for three consecutive terms. He was awarded a Honorary Doctorate by the University of Madras . After his passing away in 1987, he was posthumously awarded the India's Highest Civilian honour "Bharat Rathna" in the year 1988.