Maruthur Gopalan Ramachandran popularly known by his initials MGR, was an Indian film actor, producer and politician. Well known as a Tamil activist, he served as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu from 1977 until his death in 1987. He made his film debut in the 1936 film Sathi Leelavathi in a supporting role. He has also directed and produced films. He was a great philanthropist, and called by his followers as Puratchi Thalaivar. He got the highest civilian award of India, Bharat Ratna Award in 1988.
MGR was born in Kandy, Sri Lanka, to Melakkath Gopala Menon and Maruthur Satyabhama. His origin is from a Malayali. In his early days, MGR was a devout Hindu and a devotee of Murugan, and his mother's favourite god guruvayoorappan. Later, when he joined the DMK, a pro-rationalist party, he followed the rationalist ideology, though not appearing very aggressively atheistic. In later days after he founded his own party following his expulsion from the DMK, he seems to have shown some leaning towards religious faith. He had asked his followers to pray for the success of his AIADMK party. MGR's first marriage was to Chitarikulam Bargavi, also known as Thangamani who died early due to an illness. He later married for the second time, to Sathanandavathhi who also died soon after marriage due to tuberculosis. In 1965, M.G.R. married for the third time, this time to V. N. Janaki a former Tamil film actress. Janaki divorced her husband, Ganapati Bhatt, to marry MGR.
His debut film was Sati Leelavathi in the year 1936. The film that gave him big breakthrough was Rajakumaari in 1947 and Malaikkallan in 1954. Other famous movies he acted are Ali Baba and the forty thieves, Anbe Vaa, Aayirathil Oruvan, Panam Padaithavan, Ulagam Sutrum Vaalibhan, Richshakaran, Nadodi Mannan, etc. He won National Film Award for Best Actor for the film Rickshakaran. His last film was Madurai Meetta SundaraPandian. When he acted in this film he was the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
M. G. Ramachandran was initially the member of Congress party. He joined DMK in 1953 and became the member of the state legislative council in 1962. He was elected for the first time in 1967 to the Legislative Assembly. He was shot and injured by his fellow actor M. R. Radha on 12th January 1967. In 1972, he started All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) to oppose DMK. He became the chief minister of Tamil Nadu for the first time on 30th July 1977 and was there till his death. Some of his welfare measures are Midday Meal Scheme and Liquor ban. He died due to kidney failure on 24th December 1987.