- The prophet Samuel of the Hebrew Bible, in the transition from the period of the biblical judges to the institution of a Kingdom of Israel under Saul, and again in the transition from Saul to David
Chanakya in the Mauryan Empire
The Praetorian Guard in the Roman Empire
Yeon Gaesomun in Goguryeo
Tonyukuk in the Second Turkic Khaganate
Sayyid Brothers in the Mughal Empire
Vidyaranya in the Vijayanagara Empire
Ricimer in the Late Western Roman Empire – magister militum who appointed a series of puppet emperors
Nogai, Mamai, and Edigu in the Golden Horde
Janissaries, Midhat Pasha in the Ottoman Empire
Godwin, Earl of Wessex in late Anglo-Saxon England
Baron Carl Otto Mörner in the House of Bernadotte (King of Sweden)
Henry of Blois, Bishop of Winchester during The Anarchy
Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick – wealthiest peer in England during the Wars of the Roses, who overthrew King Henry VI and then restored him over his successor King Edward IV
Wiremu Tamihana in the Māori King Movement
Hato Hasbún in El Salvador
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi – a pre-eminent political and ideological leader of India during the Indian independence movement under whose influence were all the major political leaders of the Indian freedom struggle including Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhai Patel
James Farley – orchestrated the gubernatorial and presidential elections of Franklin D. Roosevelt (1928–1940)
Che Guevara - accompanied Fidel Castro in the Revolution and later helped him attain power
K. Kamaraj – instrumental in making Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi as Prime Ministers of India in 1964 and 1966, respectively
Ayya G. K Moopanar – The 'kingmaker' who rose to prominence in the Indian national scene during the post-Emergency days of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. He was the General Secretary in charge of the Congress Working Committee, a body of High Command in the ruling Congress Government. Moopanar, who decided the fate of Congress Chief Ministers in the state of India, was more than any other responsible for the elevation of Rajiv Gandhi to the Prime Ministership on the assassination of his mother, Prime Minister Indra Gandhi. He was the longest serving Gen. Secretary of All India National Congress (1980 - 1988), and served with Prime Minister Indra Gandhi, Sanjay Gandhi and Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Dick Morris – orchestrated the gubernatorial and presidential elections of Bill Clinton, as well as encouraging his Third Way policies.
Girija Prasad Koirala – described as a kingmaker in Nepal with the election of Madhav Kumar Nepal
Fred Malek – described as a kingmaker for the Republican Party in the United States
David Axelrod – former Chicago Tribune reporter described by U.S. News and World Report as a "reporter turned kingmaker" with respect to Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.
Bakili Muluzi – described as a kingmaker in Malawi
Muhammad Ali Jinnah – an influential politician who became an ideological leader of All-India Muslim League and the first Governor-General of Pakistan; widely regarded as the founder of Pakistan.
Stefan Cardinal Wyszyński – Primate of Poland who was highly instrumental in the 1978 papal election of Karol Wojtyła, Archbishop of Kraków, as Pope John Paul II
Abdul Rashid Dostum in Afghanistan – Afghan Army Marshal, leader of the Afghan Uzbek community, and founder of Junbish-e Milli known for frequently backing the winning factions and political parties of Afghanistan's wars and elections.
Rupert Murdoch – a media tycoon in ownership of News Corp and the Fox Corporation who has consistently backed every winning Prime Minister of the United Kingdom since the 1979 general election
Sheldon G. Adelson, a Las Vegas gambling entrepreneur, had tremendous influence in the American and Israeli political spectrums and often made large donations especially to Donald Trump’s political campaigns and Administration
Nick Clegg – described as a kingmaker in the 2010 British general election as the leader of the Liberal Democrats following a hung parliament
Richard J. Daley as Mayor of Chicago and Chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party was the leading figure in the Illinois Democratic Party. As such, he controlled a large bloc of delegates at Democratic National Conventions and provided crucial support to the Democratic Party's presidential nominees, including Adlai Stevenson, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Hubert Humphrey.
Jarosław Kaczyński, Poland's kingmaker according to The Financial Times on February 2016.
Democratic Unionist Party and its leader Arlene Foster became regarded as a kingmaker after the June 2017 general election resulted in a hung parliament in the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Winston Peters and his party New Zealand First, New Zealand's kingmaker after both the 1996 and 2017 elections.
Avigdor Lieberman and his party Yisrael Beiteinu in the September 2019 Israeli legislative election.
Devlet Bahçeli and his party the Nationalist Movement Party, Turkey's kingmaker according to The Financial Times.
Albanian parties are said to be Northern Macedonia's kingmaker.
Kurds in the Middle East.
Turkey, Libya's kingmaker.
Andrew Asiamah Amoako after the 2020 Ghanaian general election.
It also mentions that the term is also used in game theory. Overall pretty cool article and its probably feels vindicating to read for any conspiracy minded folks as well.