I had no idea there were so many famous Arizona Celebrities! The list of people may shock you, too.
There are many well-known Arizonans that were either born here or moved here later in their lives. Among them: Stevie Nicks, from Fleetwood Mac, Glenn Campbell, the famous country singer, singer Linda Ronstadt, rocker, Alice Cooper, and former anchor, Hugh Downs, who most will recognize from the program 20/20 that he was on with Barbara Walters.
Did you know that there are many people who were either born or raised in Arizona, or have lived for a notable period of time here?
Linda McCartney - Linda is the late wife of the Beetles, Paul McCartney, who spent a considerable amount of time in southern Arizona. She studied at at the U of A, The University of Arizona. I also heard that she had a love of horses and spent quite a bit of time riding them in the nearby Catalina Mountains, that surround Tucson, Arizona.
Steven Spielberg - You don't have to be a "movie buff," to know who Steven Spielberg is. Jaws, Schindler's List, Jurassic Park, War of the Worlds, Color Purple, and many more are the work of this very talented and another famous Arizona celebrity, who lived in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Joe Garagiola - You may know him as baseball's commentator for the Major League Baseball games, but before his broadcasting career, Joe Garagiola was a famous catcher for teams such as St. Louis, Giants, the the Cubs, or "cubbies," and also the Cardinals. Joe Garagiola lives in a very prestigious area, here in Arizona, known as Paradise Valley.
Wayne Newton - The younger crowd may not recognize this talented performer as one of the famous Arizona celebrities that come to mind, but Newton is said to be the highest paid nightclub performer in Las Vegas.
Wayne and his brother Jerry formed a rockabilly duo while still in their preteens and were featured on the Lew King Ranger Talent Show on station KOOL during the 1950's when the family lived in Phoenix.
Rex Allen - Famous Arizona celebrities also include a native of Willcox, Arizona, certainly made the town of Willcox famous. Rex Allen was famous for being the "Arizona Cowboy" and "Mister Cowboy."
Allen really was a real cowboy legend and he also starred in multiple western movies. he also made his mark with narrations that he did for Walt Disney's "Wonderful World of Color" nature shows. He was also a part of the 150 cartoon characters with Walt Disney.
David Spade - Famous Arizona celebrities include David Spade, a comedian and actor who grew up in Scottsdale. He first got his start doing stand-up routines right here in Scottsdale, Arizona at the local nightclubs. He later made it big when he was offered the opportunity to appear on Saturday Night Live.
Meadowlark Lemon - Growing up in the 70's, I remember Meadowlark Lemon on the Harlem Globetrotters cartoon that was aired every Saturday morning. I remember the show like it was yesterday. My friends used to pretend we were Meadowlark Lemon. Known for his talented basketball skills, he entertained many crowds throughout the United States.
Lemon was one of the most popular and perhaps the best-known of the Globetrotters. Several years ago, in 2000, Meadowlark Lemon was awarded the John Bunn award, from the Basketball Hall of Fame. He played in more than 16,000 games for the Globetrotters.
Meadowlark Lemon now lives in Scottsdale and is a born-again Christian and even an ordained minister.
Dick Van Dyke - How about Dick Van Dyke? I can remember watching this show as a kid in 1971-1974, when it was aired. Dick Van Dyke lived in Cave Creek and show was taped in Carefree at the old Southwestern Studios. Here is an extra tidbit of information. The studios were located on the Carefree/North Scottsdale town line located off of Tom Darlington Road. Dick Van Dyke appeared in the show called, "The New Dick Van Dyke Show."
Paul Harvey - "And now you know, The Rest of the Story...." as Paul Harvey, would always say. Famous Arizona celebrities also include famous Arizona personality and journalist, Paul Harvey. Paul Harvey's newspaper columns as well as his broadcasts, have been reprinted in the Congressional Record. This is more than any other commentator. Harvey's one of the original residents of Carefree, Arizona, a very beautiful area.
Lynda Carter - Remember the show, "Wonder Woman?" Carter starred in this series from 1976-1979. Carter later starred in a very popular Las Vegas club act and also recorded her first album. Linda grew up in Phoenix.
Valerie Perrine - Valerie appeared as a model for Playboy magazine in 1972, but she also appeared in many movies. She first got her debut in 1971 when she appeared in the movie, Diamonds Are Forever She was nominated for the Academy Award for the Best Actress in a Leading Role for her role as Honey Bruce in Lenny in 1974, when she was also nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Actress for Drama. She was also nominated for the 1979 Saturn Award as Best Supporting Actress in the 1978 movie, Superman. Perrine grew up in Phoenix and attended Camelback High School.
Nick Nolte - This actor was born in Nebraska, but grew up in Phoenix. He also attended Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, Phoenix College, and also Eastern Arizona College. He has appeared in various movies and is also known for being featured in the "ladies only" magazine, known as Playgirl.
Leslie Nielsen - Famous Arizona celebrities include comedian actor, Leslie Nielsen. Also another famous celebrity who resides in Paradise Valley. He first starred in the movie, Forbidden Planet in 1956, later appearing in the Naked Gun and others.
Most recently, I have seen him on local television commercials for a financial institution.
Charles Mingus - Famous Arizona celebrities also include a jazz musician, known as Charles Mingus. Mingus was born in Nogales, Arizona, and was a well known for his talent as a virtuoso bassist. Also known as an innovative composer. Mingus also worked with Louis Armstrong, Lionel Hampton, and Red Norvo. He formed his first band in 1954, but was also just as passionate for the civil rights movement. He also wrote an autobiography, titled, Beneath the Underdog.
Marty Robbins - If you are familiar with the old-time country music, you must know that Marty Robins was one of country music's most popular singers back in the 1950's. Robbins he was also born here in Arizona, in a suburb west of Phoenix, in Glendale.
Kerri Strug - Famous Arizona celebrities include such athletes as a gymnast, known as Kerri Strug. Strug is from Tucson, and won an Olympic gold medal back in 1996.
Gary Hall, Jr.- Olympic gold medalist Gary Hall, Jr. is also on the Famous Arizona celebrities list. Hall an olympic swimmer won a Bronze, Silver & a Gold medal in 1996. Born in Phoenix and believed to still reside in the Phoenix area.
Gary's father, Gary Hall, Sr., is a prominent valley eye surgeon, and was a three time Olympic swimmer, himself.
Tanya Tucker - Famous Arizona celebrities indlude another country singer, Tanya Tucker, having grown up in Willcox, Arizona.
Heather Farr - She was an outstanding golfer, and most will remember her as a LPGA star. Farr was also an All-American player at Arizona State University.
Unfortunately, her life was cut short after a four and a half year battle with breast cancer.
Ted Danson - Probably best known for being the star of the very famous sitcom "Cheers." Danson grew up in Flagstaff, Arizona.
I also learned that famous author and reporter, Erma Bombeck, moved here to Paradise Valley back in 1971. (Bombeck died some time ago, in 1996.)
Thanks to Wikipedia, I had quite the learning experience while researching the many notable figures who have come to Arizona!
And, Sandra Day O'Connor, the American jurist who was the first female Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1981 to 2006. She wasn't born here in Arizona, but she grew up in southeastern Arizona, in Duncan, on a cattle ranch.
If you are a sports fan, did you know that Major League Baseball player, Curt Schilling attended Shadow Mountain High School, who helped the Arizona Diamondbacks win the 2001 World Series.
Chandler, Arizona, a suburb of Mesa, Arizona, was named after the first veterinary surgeon in Arizona, known as Dr. Alexander John Chandler. (By the way, if you like ostriches, Chandler holds an annual ostrich festival every March.) I could go on and on about famous Arizona celebrities, as there are too many to try to count!
There are so many more famous Arizona celebrities, and probably many more yet to come! To see other famous Arizona celebrities,visit Other Famous Arizona Celebrities