It's one thing to be famous. It's quite another to be notorious, which is defined as "widely and unfavorably known." Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife, Sandi, demonstrated that last week when they were sentenced for financial crimes. Here are 10 other unpopular pairs:
1 History's first rule breakers, Adam and Eve, got in trouble for eating an apple, right? Not necessarily. The Bible doesn't stipulate which forbidden fruit they ate. Scholars have speculated that it might have been an apricot, a peach, a pomegranate or a fig. If Adam and Eve lived in the Middle East, as some assume, apples were not on their menu, since they didn't grow there in ancient times, according to archaeologists.
2 Bonnie and Clyde's murderous rampage through America's heartland in the early 1930s became a huge story when photos were found showing Bonnie Parker holding guns and clenching an unladylike cigar in her mouth. A letter writer claiming to be Clyde Barrow threatened violence against the staff of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram if the newspaper kept referring to Parker as a cigar smoker. The paper relented — until the desperadoes' death.
3 Chinese leader Mao Zedong and his politically ambitious wife, Jiang Qing, are responsible for the Cultural Revolution, a murderous campaign to reinforce communist purity and banish Western influences. Yet Jiang, a former actress, loved a decidedly Western film called "Gone With the Wind." When Jiang lost power and was put on trial after Mao's death, the Chinese media ridiculed her by saying that Scarlett O'Hara was her "foreign sister."
4 Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale, inept foreign spies, were regularly thwarted by Rocky the Flying Squirrel and Bullwinkle Moose in the late 1950s and early 1960s TV cartoon series. Unfortunately, nobody stood in the way of the 2000 live-action/part-animated movie "The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle," starring Jason Alexander and Rene Russo as Boris and Natasha (and Robert DeNiro as Fearless Leader!). A CNN reviewer was succinct: "It is painful."
5 Patti Blagojevich was never charged with wrongdoing in the corruption case that sent her husband, Rod, to prison. But there is no doubt she was involved in some of the discussions that got Illinois' governor in trouble. Patti was secretly recorded weighing in after Tribune editorials blasted her husband while the newspaper's parent company sought his help to sell Wrigley Field. In a tirade unbecoming of a first lady, she said the state should "hold up that f------ Cubs s---! F--- them! F--- them! Why should you do anything for those a-------?"
6 One of William Shakespeare's greatest plays, featuring a murderous husband and wife, has a title whose mere mention is considered bad luck. Theater people prefer to call it "the Scottish play." Tales of peril are associated with the play, including Abraham Lincoln reciting lines shortly before his assassination and Laurence Olivier nearly getting crushed by a falling stage weight. Twenty-two people died in New York in an 1849 riot over which of two actors was better in the lead role. Why so much silly superstition about a play that starts with "M" and ends with "acbeth"? Perhaps it's the depiction of witchcraft. But some say it stems from the play's popularity as a quick replacement when another play flopped. If actors heard rumors about the Scottish play, it might mean that their current production was getting the hook.
7 What did it take to get Pope Pius XII to agree with Nelson Algren, Pablo Picasso, Albert Einstein, Bertolt Brecht and Jean-Paul Sartre? The execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. The pope and his unlikely allies urged mercy for the Rosenbergs, believing they were innocent of giving atomic secrets to the Soviets or that the death penalty was excessive. Records and testimony later proved Julius' guilt; Ethel seemed less central to the plot but appeared to know what her husband was doing.
8 John Dillinger was famously betrayed by Anna Sage, the "lady in red," but his true love was Evelyn "Billie" Frechette. When the French-native American beauty was on trial in St. Paul for helping to harbor the infamous outlaw, she boldly tried to slip out of court during a lunch recess. Amazingly, she simply stood up, mingled with departing jurors and spectators and left the courtroom. If not for a sharp-eyed bailiff near the exit, she would have walked right out of her own trial. When she was returned to the courtroom, the other bailiffs hadn't yet noticed she was missing.
9 Gen. Benedict Arnold was vilified as an American traitor after plotting to surrender West Point, N.Y., during the Revolutionary War. But his wife, Peggy Shippen Arnold, a Philadelphia socialite half his age, was declared innocent by such patriots as George Washington and Alexander Hamilton. More than a century later, British documents came to light showing that Arnold's wife was a key part of the plot. Some even suspect that it was her idea in the first place.
10 The reign of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, who turned the Philippines' democracy into a dictatorship in the 1960s, '70s and '80s, is remembered for its bizarre extravagance. While many people cite Imelda's 1,000-plus pairs of shoes, it's also worth noting that she ordered construction of a palace built with the shells of 100,000 coconuts.
Mark Jacob is a deputy metro editor at the Tribune; Stephan Benzkofer is the Tribune's weekend editor. Jacob is co-author (with Stephen H. Case) of the 2012 biography "Treacherous Beauty: Peggy Shippen, the Woman Behind Benedict Arnold's Plot to Betray America."
SOURCES: "A to Z of Women in World History" by Erika A. Kuhlman; "Ghosts of Manila" by Mark Kram; "Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde" by Jeff Guinn; "Verdict in Peking" by David Bonavia; "Nixon and Mao: The Week That Changed the World" by Margaret MacMillan; "Golden: How Rod Blagojevich Talked Himself Out of the Governor's Office and into Prison" by Jeff Coen and John Chase; "Black Cats & Four-Leaf Clovers" by Harry Oliver; "A Thousand Times More Fair: What Shakespeare's Plays Teach Us About Justice" by Kenji Yoshino; "Paul Robeson: Film Pioneer" by Scott Allen Nollen; cnn.com; imdb.com; nyhistory.org; merriam-webster.com; Tribune archives.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun