Having someone on your side who gets what you do and can be a sounding board for the highs and lows of your professional career can be priceless. And just because you’re super successful or famous, doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from the mutual support and shared understanding that only a peer can offer.
To prove this point, we’re rounding off our series on famous peer partnerships with a look at some longterm peer relationships (both real and fictional) that have entertained us, inspired us, and have maybe even changed the course of history...
Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg - while another nuclear physicist is currently under the spotlight due to an eponymous movie, scientists Bohr and Heisenberg arguably played just as big a role in the course of WWII. The long term peer research partners were separated by the conflict, and reunited for a secretive meeting in Bohr’s Danish hometown of Copenhagen in 1941, where it’s said that German Heisenberg warned Bohr, perhaps intentionally, of the Nazi plans for an atom bomb. That warning, allegedly along with a sketch of a nuclear reactor, eventually made its way to Los Alamos, and the rest is Oppenheimer’s history.
Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine - rapper Dre and record exec Iovine were both successful within the music industry before they came together to collaborate on a range of musical projects which culminated in the creation of electronics brand Beats by Dre, eventually acquired by Apple for $3 billion in 2014. Hailing from different musical backgrounds, Dre introduced the then rock-focused Iovine to hip-hop in the late 1980s, sparking a long term creative partnership, which amongst other things, saw Iovine urging Dre to sign an unknown rapper called Eminem… Then in 2006 they turned their focus to electronics for their most successful collaboration to date.
Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker - Schoonmaker, a legendary editor, and Scorsese, an equally legendary director, have collaborated on scores of films since meeting at film school in the 70s, and have won multiple Oscars between them for films including Raging Bull, the Aviator and the Departed. Originally introduced to each other by an NYU professor who suggested Schoonmaker step in to save an early Scorsese film that was turning into a disaster, they have gone on to forge a ‘spectacular partnership’ and Scorsese even introduced Schoonmaker to her late husband, director Michael Powell. Their latest film, Killers of the Flower Moon is due for release later this year.
Taylor Swift and Lena Dunham - While Swift famously surrounds herself with a rotating ‘squad’ of high-profile gal pals, who have publicly supported her through many of her much talked about career and relationship highs and lows, her more understated relationship with fellow creative Lena Dunham appears to carry more weight and has endured over the years. With both women frequently subjected to media scrutiny and criticism, the pair have cultivated a longstanding, supportive one-to-one friendship and confidence, and often come out to bat in the other’s defence. Swift was even a bridesmaid at Dunham’s 2021 wedding!
Maverick and Iceman - while the bond between Maverick and Goose was seemingly at the heart of Top Gun, it’s arguably Mav’s relationship with Iceman that had the most impact. Two complete opposites, charismatic risk-taker Maverick and clinical perfectionist Ice, constantly clashed and pushed each other to ‘be the best’ - the moral of the story being that they need each other, especially when tragedy strikes. Fast forward almost 40 years to the sequel and it’s clear their bond and mutual respect has endured, so beautifully summed up in the most touching scene of the film, and Maverick’s sign off: "Thank you, Ice, for everything."
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