Depending on who you are, you will have a different answer.
If I were feeling flippant, I might name Eve. The ultimate scene stealer, she wanted knowledge and experiences. I owe her a lot: art, music, literature. And clothes.
Or if I were feeling patriotic, I might name Martha Washington. Her love, fortune and management skills played a large part in George's launch as a successful revolutionary.
Without doubt, I would name Eleanor Roosevelt. She was FDR's goad as well as support. She pushed, unsuccessfully, for the integration of the armed services and against the internment of Japanese citizens. She arranged, successfully, for Marion Anderson to sing at the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday.
And, speaking of singers, Anna Magdalena Bach (1701-1760) definitely qualifies as Bach's greatest supporting player of all time.
Anna Magdalena Wilcke Bach had been born into a musical family. Her father was a trumpet player and her mother was an organist's daughter. In June 1721 she was employed as a star singer at the court in Cothen, where Bach was the music director. She was the first full-time female m
mber of court music ensemble and the highest paid musician after Bach.
At the time of Anna Magdalena's arrival in Cothen, Bach was a widower burdened with unfathomable sorrow. His first wife, Maria Barbara Bach, had died suddenly in 1720. Her death had been preceded by the deaths of their three infants born between 1717 and 1720. In December 1721, Anna Magdalena married Bach, sixteen years her senior.
While she occasionally performed publicly during the decade after her marriage, Anna Magdalena focused most of her energy on her domestic household. Four children from Bach's first marriage had survived. Anna Magdalena gave birth to thirteen more children, seven of whom survived.
An invaluable partner to Johann Sebastian, Anna Magdalena copied and transcribed reams of his music, including his six organ sonatas; no copy of these pieces in Johann Sebastian's hand survives. Other of his manuscripts exist only in her hand.
The organ sonatas are ranked among Bach's most difficult and masterful pieces for the organ. Each sonata has three movements, with three independent parts in the two manuals and obliggato pedal. They were composed as practice pieces to prepare Bach's eldest son, Willhelm Friedemann, for a career as an organist. Anna Magdalena may also have been an organist, trained by her grandfather. Bach may have written the Fantasia in C Major for her, his collaborator as well as spouse.
Widowed in 1750, Anna Magdalena inherited only a small portion of Johann Sebastian's modest estate and survived on alms. She lived in a room in a Leipzig Inn, caring for her two youngest daughters.
An image of Anna Magdalena and Johann Sebastian Bach survives from the happy years of their partnership; it shows Anna Magdalena as an elegant woman at the clavier. Fittingly, it was she who copied
The Well-Tempered Clavier, one of the most important works in music history.