Famous Hoosiers

Born or Bred in Indiana

Yes, Letterman, Lincoln and Larry all hail from the Hoosier state. That’s long-time late-night talk show host David Letterman, who grew up in Indianapolis, went to Broad Ripple High School and Ball State University before heading to the national airwaves. It’s also Abraham Lincoln, who spent his boyhood days here – you can visit those sites in southern Indiana. And the current president of the Indiana Pacers, Larry Bird, first bounced the ball in his hometown of French Lick and then took Indiana State University to the NCAA National Championship in 1979.

So, do you know where “Hoosier” came from? For many decades the answer to this question has been up for debate. One explanation is maybe it was about dialect – “Who’s there?” (“Who’sh-‘ere?”). Another is maybe it was about corn – the Indian word for corn is Hoosa. But the most likely answer is that in the early 1800s a contractor by the name of Hoosier hired much of his workforce from Indiana, thus becoming known as “Hoosier’s men.”

Whatever the origin, Indiana is proud of these famous Hoosiers:

Johnny AppleseedJohnny Appleseed

Fort Wayne


John Chapman was a colorful character of Indiana’s 1800s frontier. Born in Massachusetts, he became a national folk hero after he traveled the countryside on foot planting orchards in Indiana and surrounding areas so that the new frontier could have apples. A 1948 Disney cartoon immortalized his life with a depiction of him wearing a tin pot for a hat. The Fort Wayne Tin Caps baseball team is named in his honor. Celebrate at the annual Johnny Appleseed Festival in September and see his gravesite marker, a National Historic Landmark.


Anne BaxterAnne Baxter

Michigan City


Anne Baxter was an actress, star of Hollywood films, Broadway productions, and television series. She won an Oscar and a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Emmy. The granddaughter of Frank Lloyd Wright, Baxter studied acting with Maria Ouspenskaya and had some stage experience before making her film debut in 20 Mule Team (1940). She played a role in Orson Welles' The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), one of her first important films. In 1947, she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Sophie MacDonald in The Razor's Edge (1946). In 1951, she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for the title role in All About Eve (1950). She worked with several of Hollywood's greatest directors, including Alfred Hitchcock in I Confess (1953), Fritz Lang in The Blue Gardenia (1953), and Cecil B. DeMille in The Ten Commandments (1956).


Joshua BellJoshua Bell



This world-renowned violinist came to national attention at the young age of 14 when he made his orchestral debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra. He then made his Carnegie Hall debut and recorded his first LP at age 18. As of 2012, he had recorded more than 36 CDs and won many awards including 2010 Instrumentalist of the Year by Musical America Bell and a Grammy Award. He has earned titles such as “classical music superstar” and “poet of the violin.” Bell was also one of the first classical artists to have a music video on VH1.


Larry BirdLarry Bird

West Baden Springs


Born in West Baden Springs, Larry Bird grew up in both West Baden and the adjoining town of French Lick. A strong basketball player, Bird enrolled at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana, and led the Sycamores to the NCAA championship game in 1979. He went on to pursue a 13-year career in the NBA with the Boston Celtics. From 1997 to 2000, Bird served as the coach of the Indiana Pacers and in 2003 assumed the role of the Pacers' President of Basketball Operations.


Hoagy CarmichaelHoagy Carmichael



Born in Bloomington, Carmichael attended Indiana University and maintained a lifelong affiliation with Indiana University. In 1937 he wrote the song "Chimes of Indiana," which was presented to the school as a gift by the class of 1935. It was made Indiana University's official co-alma mater in 1978. Carmichael was a star performer on records, radio and stage with a signature style, and appeared in several movies, most memorably in To Have and Have Not and The Best Years of Our Lives. In 1951 he won an Oscar for "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening."


Oscar CharlestonOscar Charleston



Voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976, Charleston played forty-three years of professional baseball, including for the Indianapolis ABCs and the Indianapolis Clowns. Known for his strengths as a hitter and center fielder, Charleston had a lifetime batting average of .357. Charleston lied about his age to enlist in the US Army at the age of just 15, serving three years in the Philippines, where he starred on his regiment's baseball and track teams. At the end of his tour of duty, he began his career, playing for the ABCs. He would play for 14 teams during his playing career. His career ended in 1954 as player-manager for the Clowns.


Scatman CrothersScatman Crothers

Terre Haute

1910 - 1986

Benjamin Crothers, known professionally as Scatman Crothers, was an actor and musician. He is known for playing Louie the Garbage Man on the TV show Chico and the Man and Dick Hallorann in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining (1980). He was also a prolific voice-over actor who provided the voices of Meadowlark Lemon in the Harlem Globetrotters animated TV series, Jazz the Autobot in The Transformers and The Transformers: The Movie (1986), the title character in Hong Kong Phooey, and Scat Cat in the animated film The Aristocats (1970).


Jim DavisJim Davis



Growing up with asthma when you live on a farm is tough. Stuck indoors, Jim was lucky his mom gave him a pencil and stack of paper when he was young. He continued drawing and went on to study at Ball State University in Muncie. He first worked for an advertising agency but pursued the cartoon venture, drawing on memories of the farm cats he knew growing up. Hence, Garfield was born! The strip made its first appearance in 1978 and is now in almost every newspaper in the world – more than 2,600 of them.


James DeanJames Dean



Born in Marion, James Dean spent much of his adolescent life with his aunt and uncle in Fairmount, Indiana. After graduating from Fairmount High School, he went on to study drama at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is most famous for his role as Jim Stark in the film Rebel Without a Cause, which many consider to be the first film to seriously address the phenomena of teen angst.


Eugene V. DebsEugene V. Debs

Terre Haute


Debs was a political activist, union leader and advocate of social justice in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Eventually he aligned with the American Socialist Party and ran as that party’s Presidential candidate five times. He held memberships and official positions in two labor unions: the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and the American Railway Union. He later helped found the Industrial Workers of the World, promoting workers’ right to organize unions and to strike for better working conditions. A humanitarian, he also fought for the rights of women, children and African Americans. You can tour the Debs home in Terre Haute.


Theodore DreiserTheodore Dreiser

Terre Haute


The ninth of 10 children of German immigrants, Theodore Dreiser grew up in poverty, spent a year at Indiana University and became a newspaper reporter. His first novel, Sister Carrie, was published in 1900, followed by several others. His first commercially successful novel was An American Tragedy, published in 1925. The novel’s highly critical view of the American legal system made him the adopted champion of social reformers. In addition to eight books, Dreiser’s other works included short stories, plays and essays.


Adam DriverAdam Driver


1983 - 

Adam Driver is an actor who rose to prominence in the supporting role of Adam Sackler in the HBO comedy-drama series Girls (2012–2017), for which he received three consecutive nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. Driver gained wider recognition and acclaim for playing the main antagonist Kylo Ren in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, first in The Force Awakens (2015), followed by The Last Jedi (2017). He is set to reprise the role in Episode IX (2019). He is the founder of Arts in the Armed Forces (AITAF), a non-profit that performs theatre for all branches of the military, both in the United States and abroad. Driver has played supporting roles in a wide range of films, including Lincoln (2012), Frances Ha (2012), Inside Llewyn Davis (2013), and Silence (2016). He starred in While We're Young (2014) and won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival for his performance in Hungry Hearts (2014); he also received several accolades for his lead performance in Jim Jarmusch's Paterson (2016).


Pete DyePete Dye


1925 - 2020

Paul B. "Pete" Dye was a golf course designer and a member of a family of course designers. He was married to fellow designer and former amateur champion Alice Dye. Pete and Alice designed some of the most world's top courses, including 20 in the Hoosier State, seven of which make up the Pete Dye Golf Trail.


Kenneth "Babyface" EdmondsKenneth "Babyface" Edmonds



Kenneth Brian Edmonds, known professionally as Babyface, is an American singer, songwriter and record producer. He has written and produced over 26 number-one R&B hits throughout his career, and has won 11 Grammy Awards. Since 1999, a 25-mile stretch of Interstate 65 in Indianapolis has been named in Edmunds honor.


Mike EppsMike Epps


1970 - 

Mike Epps is a stand-up comedian, producer, and actor. He is best known for playing Day-Day Jones in Next Friday and its sequel, Friday After Next, and also appearing in The Hangover and The Hangover Part III as "Black Doug". He was the voice of Boog in Open Season 2, replacing Martin Lawrence, with whom he starred in the comedy Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins, playing "Reggie", cousin of Roscoe (played by Lawrence). As of 2010, Epps was the executive producer on a documentary about the life story of a former member of Tupac Shakur's Outlawz, Napoleon: Life of an Outlaw. 


Jenna FischerJenna Fischer

Fort Wayne

1974 - 

Jenna Fischer is an American actress best known for her portrayal of Pam Beesly on the NBC sitcom The Office, for which she was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 2007. She was also a producer for the show's final season. Since then, Fischer has appeared in such films as Blades of Glory (2007), Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007), The Promotion (2008), Hall Pass (2011), and The Giant Mechanical Man (2012), a film directed by her husband, Lee Kirk. She also appeared as Rhonda McNeil in the NBC's comedy-drama series You, Me and the Apocalypse. Fischer also starred in the ABC sitcom Splitting Up Together (2018–2019). Fischer's first book, The Actor's Life: A Survival Guide, with an introduction by Steve Carell, was published in November 2017.


Mick FoleyMick Foley


1965 - 

Michael "Mick" Foley is an actor, author, comedian, retired professional wrestler, and color commentator. Foley worked for many wrestling promotions, including the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE), World Championship Wrestling (WCW), Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), and National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), as well as numerous promotions in Japan. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wrestlers in the history of WWE, and participated in the main event of WrestleMania in 1999 and 2000 (as a special guest referee in the former). He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2013.


Vivica A. FoxVivica A. Fox

South Bend

1983 - 

Vivica A. Fox is an actress, producer and television host. Fox began her career on Soul Train (1983–1984). Then she eventually continued her career with roles on the daytime television soap operas Days of Our Lives (1988) and Generations (1989–1991), subsequently shifting to the prime-time slot starring opposite Patti LaBelle, in the NBC sitcom Out All Night (1992–1993). Fox's breakthrough came in 1996, with roles in two box-office hit films, Roland Emmerich's Independence Day and F. Gary Gray's Set It Off. Fox subsequently has starred in films Booty Call (1997), Soul Food (1997), Why Do Fools Fall in Love (1998), Kingdom Come (2001), Two Can Play That Game (2001), and Boat Trip (2002). Fox played Vernita Green in Kill Bill, and played supporting parts in films like Ella Enchanted (2004). Fox had the leading roles in the short-lived Fox sitcom Getting Personal (1998), and CBS medical drama City of Angels (2000). From 2003 to 2006, she co-starred in and produced the Lifetime crime drama series, Missing, for which she received an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series.


Jim GaffiganJim Gaffigan



Jim Gaffigan is a stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and producer. His material often addresses fatherhood, laziness, food, religion, and general observations. He is regarded as a "clean" comic, using little profanity in his routines. He has released several successful comedy specials, including Mr. Universe, Obsessed, Cinco, and Quality Time, all of which have received Grammy nominations. 


Bill GaitherBill Gaither



Bill Gaither and his wife, Gloria, have written more than 700 songs, produced hundreds of recordings, won numerous awards, written a dozen musicals and a collection of books. He formed his first gospel group, The Bill Gaither Trio, in 1956. After a stint as a teacher, he was married and began collaborating with Gloria on time-honored songs including “Because He Lives,” “He Touched Me” and “There’s Something About That Name.” Collectively they have won eight Grammy Awards, more than two dozen Dove Awards and have earned the title of Gospel Music Association’s “Songwriter of the Year” eight times. You can visit the Gaithers’ recording studio in Alexandria.


Ron GlassRon Glass



Ron Glass was a television actor most noted for his portrayal of Detective Ron Harris in the sitcom Barney Miller, which ran from 1975-1982. He had a double major in drama and literature at the University of Evansville, which later honored him with its Medal of Honor. Glass made his stage debut in Minneapolis before moving to Hollywood, where he began making appearances in 1972. His long career in TV and film also included providing the voice of Randy Carmichael in the popular Rugrats cartoon.


John GreenJohn Green


1977 - 

John Green is an author, YouTube content creator, and podcaster. He won the 2006 Printz Award for his debut novel, Looking for Alaska, and has had several of his subsequent books debut at number one on The New York Times Best Seller list, including his most popular novel, The Fault in Our Stars. The 2014 film adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars opened at number one at the box office and was a commercial and critical success. In 2014, Green was included in Time magazine's list of The 100 Most Influential People in the World. Another film based on a Green novel, Paper Towns, was released on July 24, 2015.


Virgil Ivan “Gus” GrissomVirgil Ivan “Gus” Grissom



Born in Mitchell, Grissom received a mechanical engineering B.S. from Purdue University in 1950 and then enlisted in the United States Air Force. Grissom was the second American in space as one of the original NASA Project Mercury astronauts. In 1967, Grissom was killed during an Apollo 1 mission pre-launch test at the Kennedy Space Center. The Grissom Memorial at Spring Mill State Park honors Grissom’s work in space exploration.


Benjamin HarrisonBenjamin Harrison



Benjamin Harrison was a politician and lawyer who served as the 23rd president of the United States from 1889 to 1893. He was a grandson of the ninth president, William Henry Harrison, creating the only grandfather-grandson duo to hold the office. He was also the great-grandson of Benjamin Harrison V, a founding father. Before ascending to the presidency, Harrison established himself as a prominent local attorney, Presbyterian church leader, and politician in Indianapolis. During the American Civil War, he served in the Union Army as a colonel, and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a brevet brigadier general of volunteers in 1865. Harrison unsuccessfully ran for governor of Indiana in 1876. The Indiana General Assembly elected Harrison to a six-year term in the U.S. Senate, where he served from 1881 to 1887.


William Henry HarrisonWilliam Henry Harrison


1773 - 1841

William Henry Harrison Sr. was a American military officer, a principal contributor in the War of 1812, and the ninth president of the United States. He was the last president born before the American Revolution, and died of pneumonia just 31 days into his term, thereby serving the shortest tenure in United States presidential history. He was the first president to die in office. Harrison was a son of Founding Father Benjamin Harrison V and in turn was the paternal grandfather of Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd United States President.


George D. HayGeorge D. Hay



George Dewey Hay was the founder of WSM’s Grand Ole Opry, playing a vital role in the promotion of country music. With a background as a newspaper columnist and late-night radio announcer, Hay found he had a natural flair for the radio business, bringing a sense of showmanship and style to it that others had not. In 1924 he won the Radio Digest poll as America’s most popular announcer. He had an idea to create a barn dance on the radio, and that’s what eventually became the Grand Ole Opry. Hay is rightfully included in the Country Music Hall of Fame, and others are thrilled when they are inducted into the George D. Hay Music Hall of Fame.


James "The Ultimate Warrior" HellwigJames "The Ultimate Warrior" Hellwig


1959 - 2014

James Hellwig was a professional wrestler, who most famously wrestled under the ring name The Ultimate Warrior for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) from 1987 to 1991 and again in 1992 and 1996. During his 1998 stint in World Championship Wrestling (WCW), he was known as The Warrior. While in the WWF, Hellwig became a two-time WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion and won the WWF Championship once when he pinned Hulk Hogan in the main event at WrestleMania VI in Toronto, making him the first wrestler to hold both titles concurrently.


Florence HendersonFlorence Henderson



Born in Dale, Florence Henderson was one of 10 children and the daughter of a tobacco farmer. She was an actress and singer best known for her role as Carol Brady in the television program The Brady Bunch. She was also a mainstay as a performer at the pre-race ceremonies for the Indianapolis 500.


Tony HinkleTony Hinkle



The legendary Hinkle Fieldhouse at Butler University pays tribute to this great coach, teacher and athletic administrator. He began his almost-50-year career as Butler’s football, basketball and baseball coach, but was best known for basketball. His career record at Butler was 560-392, proving the worth of the “Hinkle System,” a disciplined offensive strategy focusing on motion, passing, picks and screens. Hinkle Fieldhouse was featured in the revered movie, Hoosiers. Hinkle invented the orange basketball and was inducted into both the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.


Mark C. HoneywellMark C. Honeywell



Born in Wabash on Dec. 29, 1874, Mark C. Honeywell attended Eastman Business College in New York – where he graduated in 1891. As a young engineer, Honeywell developed a water heating system and formed Honeywell Heating Specialties Co. based in Wabash and began making thermostats in 1906. Honeywell later merged his company with Minneapolis Heat Regulator Co. in 1927 to form Minneapolis Honeywell Regulator Company with Mark Honeywell as its president. The company eventually dropped the word “Minneapolis” and became known as Honeywell, Inc. Today, Honeywell Inc. is a Fortune 500, multi-national company based in New Jersey.


Robert IndianaRobert Indiana

New Castle

1928 - 2018

Robert Indiana, born Robert Clark, was an American artist associated with the pop art movement. His "LOVE" print, first created for the Museum of Modern Art's Christmas card in 1965, was the basis for the widely distributed 1973 United States Postal Service "LOVE" stamp. His media include paper (silk screen) and Cor-ten steel sculpture.


Janet JacksonJanet Jackson



Janet Jackson is a singer, songwriter, dancer, and actress. Known for sonically innovative, socially conscious records, and elaborate stage shows, she has been a prominent figure in popular culture for over thirty years. The youngest child of the Jackson family, she began her career with the variety television series The Jacksons in 1976 and went on to appear in other television shows throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, including Good Times and Fame. After signing a recording contract with A&M Records in 1982, she became a pop icon following the release of her third studio album Control (1986). 


Michael JacksonMichael Jackson



“The King of Pop” hailed from Indiana, starting his career with his brothers as The Jackson Five. Five of his solo albums are still among the top sellers of all time, including “Thriller,” the largest-selling album worldwide. Famous for the moonwalk and groundbreaking videos for “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” and “Thriller,” Jackson revolutionized the music industry in the early 1980s. His sound, style and dance moves continue to inspire pop, soul, R&B and hip-hop artists. He won 13 Grammy Awards and received the American Music Award’s Artist of the Century Award.


The Jackson 5The Jackson 5


The Jackson Five was an American popular music quintet from Gary. The group, fully active from 1966 to 1990, regularly played from a repertoire of R&B, soul, funk, and later disco. The Jackson Five was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. The group is also notable for launching the careers of their lead singers: pop icons Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson and Jermaine Jackson.


Greg KinnearGreg Kinnear



Born in Logansport, Kinnear launched a career in Hollywood filling many television roles before getting his big break as the original host of Talk Soup. for which he won a Daytime Emmy AwardHe is best know for his work on the silver screen, starring in films such as Dear GodYou've Got MailLittle Miss SunshineBaby Mama, Invincible and The Last Song. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1997 for his role in As Good As It Gets.


Adam LambertAdam Lambert


1982 - 

Adam Lambert rose to fame in 2009 after finishing as runner-up on the eighth season of American Idol. Later that year, he released his debut album For Your Entertainment, which debuted at number three on the U.S. Billboard 200. The album spawned several singles, including "Whataya Want from Me", for which he received a Grammy nomination for "Best Male Pop Vocal Performance". In 2012, Lambert released his second studio album Trespassing. The album premiered at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200, making him the first openly gay artist to top the album charts. In 2015, Lambert released his third album The Original High, which debuted at number three on the U.S. Billboard 200 and produced the single "Ghost Town". Alongside his solo career, Lambert has collaborated with rock band Queen as lead vocalist for Queen + Adam Lambert since 2011, including several worldwide tours from 2014 to 2020. Their first album, Live Around the World, released in October 2020, and debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart.


David LettermanDavid Letterman



A graduate of Broad Ripple High School in Indianapolis and Ball State University in Muncie, David Letterman began his career in broadcasting in his hometown. He worked in radio as a talk-show host and also worked in television as an announcer and weekend weatherman. He now hosts The Late Show with David Letterman on CBS.


Colonel Eli LillyColonel Eli Lilly



The founder of the giant pharmaceutical company bearing his name, Eli Lilly was also a soldier and industrialist. He moved to Indiana with his family in 1852 when he was 14. Though he apprenticed as a printer, he became interested in chemicals at an early age when he visited an apothecary. He became a pharmacy apprentice in Lafayette, where he learned both how to mix chemicals as well as how to operate a business. He enrolled in Asbury University (now DePauw) to study pharmacology. Sometime after the Civil War, where he served in the Union Army, he began his manufacturing venture, with the first innovation being gelatin coating for pills and capsules. Sales of all the products expanded rapidly, and by the late 1890s the company was creating tens of millions of capsules and pills per year. Lilly retired a millionaire and was extremely involved in philanthropic endeavors.


Abraham LincolnAbraham Lincoln

Spencer County


"There I grew up," said Abraham Lincoln of his boyhood home in Indiana. Yes, America's 16th President moved to Indiana at the age of 7 and spent 14 years in what is now Spencer County in southern Indiana. It was in Indiana that Abraham Lincoln formed his early ideas about character and honesty and developed a love of learning that stayed with him the rest of his life. This man of humble Hoosier heritage will long be remembered for his presidency and for his leadership in ending slavery in the United States.


Carole LombardCarole Lombard

Fort Wayne


Born Jane Alice Peters, Carole Lombard was a 5’2” beauty and a comedy hit in 1930s and 40s movies. She was spotted by a director playing baseball in the street when her mother had moved the family to L.A. and was cast as a tomboy at age 12 in the silent film, A Perfect Crime. She signed with Fox and had the lead in Hearts and Spurs in 1925. At the height of her career she commanded one of the top salaries in the business. She was married to her second husband, Clark Gable, when she was killed in a plane crash in 1942.


Shelley LongShelley Long

Fort Wayne


Her role as Diane Chambers in the wildly popular 1980s sitcom, Cheers, earned Shelley Long an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series and two Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress. Her acting career began in Chicago when she was a member of the Second City troupe. She also wrote, produced and co-hosted a Chicago magazine program called “Sorting It Out.” Her movie credits include Irreconcilable DifferencesThe Money Pit and The Brady Bunch Movie.


Mick MarsMick Mars

Terre Haute

1951 - 

Robert Alan Deal, known professionally as Mick Mars, is a musician and the lead guitarist and co-founder of the rock band Mötley Crüe. He is known for his aggressive, melodic solos and bluesy riffs.


Jon McLaughlinJon McLaughlin



Singer/songwriter Jon McLaughlin won a school competition at Anderson University, where he was studying piano, that allowed him to release his self-titled debut album in 2004. After another release, he auditioned for major labels, which led to the nationwide release of Indiana in 2007. His career got a boost later that year when his Oscar-nominated song, “So Close,” was featured in the Disney film, Enchanted. Popular singles have included “Industry,” “Beautiful Disaster,” “Human,” “Beating My Heart” and “Summer is Over” (featuring Sara Bareilles).


Steve McQueenSteve McQueen

Beech Grove


Born in Beech Grove, he was the ultra-cool male film star of the 1960s, and rose from a troubled youth spent in reform schools to being the world's most popular actor. Over 25 years after his untimely death from cancer in 1980, Steve McQueen is still considered hip and cool, and he endures as an icon of popular culture. 


John MellencampJohn Mellencamp



A native of Seymour, John Mellencamp is a seasoned musician and painter. Hits like "Crumblin Down," "The Authority Song," "Small Town," "Lonely Ol Night," "R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A." and "Cherry Bomb” remain popular today many years after their release in the 1980s. Over his multi-decade career he has won a Grammy Award, Billboard Century Award and the Woody Guthrie Award. He continues to call Indiana his home, currently residing in Bloomington. You may see the only public display of a private collection of his paintings at the Southern Indiana Center for the Arts in Seymour.


Dylan MinnetteDylan Minnette


1996 -

Dylan Minnette is an actor, singer, and musician. He is known for his role as Clay Jensen in the Netflix drama series 13 Reasons Why. He has made guest appearances in several TV series, such as Lost, Awake, Scandal, Grey's Anatomy, Supernatural, Prison Break and Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.


Wes MontgomeryWes Montgomery



Wes Montgomery was born in Indianapolis to a musical family. Today he is often considered the greatest of modern jazz guitarists. While many jazz players are regarded as virtuosos, Montgomery was unique in his wide influence on other virtuosos who followed him, and in the respect he earned from his contemporaries. Montgomery’s hometown of Indianapolis has named a park in his honor.


Ryan MurphyRyan Murphy


1965 - 

Ryan Murphy is a television writer, director, and producer. He is best known for creating and producing a number of television series, such as Popular (1999–2001), Nip/Tuck (2003–2010), Glee (2009–2015), American Horror Story (2011–present), Scream Queens (2015–2016), American Crime Story (2016-present), Pose (2018–2021), 9-1-1 (2018–present), The Politician (2019–present), 9-1-1: Lone Star (2020–present), Ratched (2020–present), and American Horror Stories (2021-present). Murphy also directed the 2006 film adaptation of Augusten Burroughs' memoir Running with Scissors, the 2010 film adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir Eat, Pray, Love, the 2014 film adaptation of Larry Kramer's play The Normal Heart, and the 2020 film adaptation of the musical The Prom. Murphy has received six Primetime Emmy Awards from 36 nominations, a Tony Award from two nominations, and two Grammy Award nominations. He has often been cited as "the most powerful man" in modern television, including having signed the largest development deal in television history with Netflix. Murphy is noted for having created a shift in inclusive storytelling that "brought marginalized characters to the masses".


Dean NorrisDean Norris

South Bend

1963 - Present

Dean Joseph Norris is an actor. He is best known for his role as Drug Enforcement Administration agent Hank Schrader on the AMC series Breaking Bad (2008–2013). He also portrayed town councilman James "Big Jim" Rennie on the CBS series Under the Dome (2013–2015)[1] and currently plays mob boss Clay "Uncle Daddy" Husser on the TNT series Claws. Norris has appeared in films such as Lethal Weapon 2 (1989), Hard To Kill (1990), Total Recall (1990), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), Starship Troopers (1997), The Cell (2000), Little Miss Sunshine (2006), Evan Almighty (2007), Sons of Liberty (2015), and The Book of Henry (2017).


Jane PauleyJane Pauley



Margaret Jane Pauley was born in Indianapolis and graduated from Indiana University in Bloomington, with a bachelor's degree in political science. At the age of 21, she worked as a daytime and weekend newscaster at WISH-TV in Indianapolis. Pauley has had continued success in broadcast media and is best known for her role as a morning correspondent on NBC's Today Show and Dateline NBC. Currently she hosts a monthly feature on the Today Show called Your Life Calling, a series produced by AARP.


Mike PenceMike Pence



Mike Pence became Vice President of the United States on January 20, 2017. He was selected while he was serving as the 50th Governor of the State of Indiana, a position he had held since 2013. He is a lifelong Hoosier with legal, small business and policy experience. Prior to being elected governor, Pence represented Indiana’s Sixth Congressional District in Congress. Pence was graduated from Hanover College in 1981 and earned his J.D. from Indiana University School of Law in 1986.


Cole PorterCole Porter



One of the greatest popular songwriters of the 20th century, Cole Porter wrote more than 800 songs. Dozens became standards, still being recorded today. Anything Goes is a good example of a Broadway show by Porter recently revived. Other hit musicals were Kiss Me, KateCan-Can; and Fifty Million Frenchmen.


Ernie PyleErnie Pyle



Pyle was born on a tenant farm near Dana and briefly attended Indiana University. He became an American journalist who wrote as a roving correspondent. His articles, about the out-of-the-way places he visited and the people who lived there, were told in a folksy style much like a personal letter to a friend. He enjoyed a loyal following in as many as 200 newspapers. Pyle won the Pulitzer Prize in 1944 for his wartime writings during World War II.


Dan QuayleDan Quayle



Born in Indianapolis and raised in Huntington, Dan Quayle received his bachelor's degree in political science from DePauw University. He later became the youngest person ever elected to the U.S. Senate from the state of Indiana. Quayle went on to become the 44th vice president of the United States. In 1993 the Dan Quayle Center and Museum opened in Huntington. Today, it is known as the Quayle Vice Presidential Learning Center and teaches the history, responsibilities and contributions of the Office of the Vice President in government.


Orville RedenbacherOrville Redenbacher



Orville was born on a farm in Brazil and spent most of his life in the agriculture industry, serving as a Vigo County Farm Bureau Extension agent in Terre Haute and at Princeton Farms in Princeton. He perfected his popcorn hybrid in 1965 and to this day it is considered by some to be the best-selling brand of popcorn. He is still celebrated in his Indiana hometown with the annual Popcorn Festival of Clay County.


Oscar RobertsonOscar Robertson



This basketball superstar first learned to play basketball growing up extremely poor in a segregated housing project in Indianapolis. He played for Crispus Attucks High school, where he averaged 24 points per game and was named Indiana’s Mr. Basketball his senior year. He then played for the University of Cincinnati, followed by a 14-year NBA career where he became the top-scoring guard of all time. He paved the way for other African American players and was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1980.


Axl RoseAxl Rose



Born William Bruce Rose, Jr., he changed his last name to Bailey after his father left and his mother remarried. Though he grew up active in the Pentecostal church, he began to get in trouble in high school before he dropped out and headed to L.A. to follow a guitarist friend, Jeff Isbell (now known as Izzy Stradlin). By then he was calling himself W. Axl Rose, and the band that became Guns N Roses was formed with him on vocals, Stradlin on rhythm guitar, Slash on lead guitar, Duff McKagan on bass and Steven Adler on drums.


David Lee RothDavid Lee Roth



Best known as the lead singer of the rock group Van Halen, David Lee Roth is also a songwriter, actor, author and former radio personality. He had moved to California by his late teens, where he was singing solo as well as with a group called the Red Ball Jets. Alex and Edward Van Halen had another group, and they invited Roth to sing with them. Soon Van Halen was formed. Their first album sold more than two million copies and was followed by five more successful albums over the next seven years.


Colonel SandersColonel Sanders



Harland Sanders had many jobs during his life: farmhand, mule-tender, locomotive fireman, railroad worker, insurance sales, amateur obstetrician and even a gas station operator. Throughout it all, though, he enjoyed cooking and eventually became a restaurateur. At the age of 65, a new interstate highway took the traffic away from his restaurant. With his secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices in hand, he devoted himself to developing a chicken franchising business. In under 10 years, he had more than 600 KFC franchises in North America. The “colonel” title? That was bestowed upon him in 1935 by the Kentucky governor in recognition of his contributions to the state’s cuisine.


Chris SchenkelChris Schenkel



“It was Chris Schenkel who put ABC Sports on the map,” said a former ABC executive. Indeed, his versatility and genial style made him one of the most important sports broadcasters from the 1950s to 70s. His career began when he was the television voice of the Giants football team, and he went on to cover horse races, the Masters golf tournament, basketball and even bowling.


Richard Bernard “Red” SkeltonRichard Bernard “Red” Skelton



Richard Bernard Skelton was born to humble circumstances in Vincennes but went on to become one of the best known comedian-entertainers of the 20th century. Early in his career, Red traveled and performed in a Vaudeville show across the nation and in Canada. In 1952 Skelton won an Emmy and tried to give it to Lucille Ball, his supporting actress. The Red Skelton Museum of American Comedy is located next to the Red Skelton Performing Arts Center at Vincennes University.


T.C. SteeleT.C. Steele

Owen County


A member of the noted "Hoosier Group" of American Impressionist painters, T.C. Steele was attracted to Brown County by the scenery he encountered while hiking in the area. The area now known as the T.C. Steele State Historic Site includes 211 acres of wooded hills and ravines that inspired the artist to paint some of his most famous works. As Indiana's premier portraitist of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Steele also painted many of Indiana's "rich and famous." He became a nationally recognized painter in the 1890s.


Tony StewartTony Stewart



Stewart is a Columbus native who grew up with dreams of racing at Indianapolis. Stewart's racing career began at age seven behind the wheel of a go-kart, with his father, Nelson, serving as car owner and crew chief. He has won 12 championships in his career, including three times at the Sprint Cup Series, two times at the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard and six times at the NASCAR Nationwide Series race. Stewart is the first and only driver to win championships in stock cars, Indy cars and open-wheel Midget, Sprint and Silver Crown cars. Stewart still resides in Columbus as well as Mooresville, North Carolina.


Izzy StradlinIzzy Stradlin



Jeffrey Dean Isbell grew up in Lafayette in the 1960s and 70s. He loved listening to Alice Cooper, Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones, but his biggest influence was his grandmother, who was in a band. He switched from drums to guitar in high school, where he started playing in a band with his friend, William Bailey (see Axl Rose above). He headed to L.A. to join the music world, where he was eventually joined by Axl Rose, and they formed Guns N Roses.


Gene Stratton-PorterGene Stratton-Porter



An American author, early naturalist, nature photographer, and one of the first women to form a movie studio and production company, Gene Stratton-Porter Productions, Inc. She wrote several best-selling novels and well-received columns in national magazines, such as McCall's. Her works were translated into several languages, including Braille, and Stratton-Porter was estimated to have had 50 million readers around the world. She used her position and income as a well-known author to support conservation of Limberlost Swamp and other wetlands in the state of Indiana. Her novel A Girl of the Limberlost was adapted four times as a film, most recently in 1990 in a made-for-TV version.


Booth TarkingtonBooth Tarkington



Booth Tarkington was graduated from Princeton University in 1893 after also having attended Purdue University, and he went on to become one of the most popular American novelists of his time. The Two Vanrevels and Mary’s Neck appeared on the annual bestseller lists nine times. He won the Pulitzer Price in 1919 for his novel The Magnificent Ambersons and then again in 1922 for Alice Adams. His novels explored middle-class America, romantic illusions and the power and corruption of wealth.


Major TaylorMajor Taylor



Marshall Walter "Major" Taylor was a track cyclist who began his amateur career while he was still a teenager in Indianapolis. He became a professional racer in 1896, at the age of 18, and won the sprint event at the 1899 world track championships to become the first African American to achieve the level of world champion and the second black athlete to win a world championship in any sport. Taylor also set numerous world records in the sprint discipline in race distances ranging from the quarter-mile (0.4 km) to the two-mile (3.2 km). Taylor was an American sprint champion in 1899 and 1900, and completed races in the U.S., Europe and Australasia. Throughout his athletic career Taylor challenged the racial prejudice he encountered on and off the velodrome and became a pioneering role model for other athletes facing racial discrimination. Taylor was inducted into the United States Bicycling Hall of Fame in 1989. Other tributes include memorials and historic markers in Indianapolis, as well as the Major Taylor Velodrome in Indianapolis.


Kurt VonnegutKurt Vonnegut



Vonnegut was one of the most influential writers in America in the 20th century. He blended satire, black comedy and science fiction into well-known works such as Slaughterhouse-FiveCat’s Cradle and Breakfast of Champions. Prior to launching his writing career, Vonnegut served in the U.S. Army, where he was captured in Europe and held as a prisoner of war. Those experiences definitely influenced his writing. Vonnegut was known for a unique writing style, employing long sentences and little punctuation.


Madam C.J. WalkerMadam C.J. Walker



Though her life started rough as an orphan, Madam C.J. Walker went on to become the first self-made female millionaire after she cornered the market on African American women’s hair care. In 1905 she invented a method for straightening her own kinky hair. At that time she moved from St. Louis to Denver, which was her home base as she traveled the country selling her products. She settled in Indianapolis in 1910, where she established the headquarters of Madam C.J. Walker Laboratories. “Walker Agents” were trained as sales beauticians at this manufacturing plant, and they promoted her products throughout the U.S. and the Caribbean.


General Lew WallaceGeneral Lew Wallace



This Mexican War and Civil War soldier is best known for his great literary work, Ben-Hur, one of the most popular novels of the 19th century which was made into a movie starring Charlton Heston in 1959. He also wrote poetry and a play, but his reputation lies upon Ben-Hur and two other historical novels: The Fair God and The Prince of India. You may visit his Crawfordsville home where he wrote Ben-Hur.


James Whitcomb RileyJames Whitcomb Riley



James Whitcomb Riley was born in a log cabin in 1849 and grew up among simple-living, kind people. That upbringing was the source of inspiration for many of his famous poems such as “Raggedy Man” and “Orphant Annie.” He became known as The Hoosier Poet as well as America’s Children’s Poet. His poems were reproduced in beautifully illustrated books that became popular nationally and internationally, making him the wealthiest writer of his time.


Deniece WilliamsDeniece Williams


1951 -

Deniece Williams is a singer, songwriter and producer. Williams has been described as "one of the great soul voices" by the BBC. Williams has won four Grammys with twelve nominations altogether. She recorded a Billboard No. 1 hit with "Let's Hear It For the Boy" in 1984 and won Grammys for her Gospel recordings "I Surrender All", "They Say", "I Believe in You" and "This Is My Song."


Robert WiseRobert Wise



When his family couldn't afford his second year at Franklin College, Robert Wise left for Hollywood to find work. During his long career, he was a film director, producer and editor. Wise won four Academy Awards, including Best Director and Best Picture for West Side Story (1961) and The Sound of Music (1965). He worked on many films from 1934-2000. Wise was born in Winchester and then moved to Connersville, where he went to high school.


John WoodenJohn Wooden



John Wooden was one of the most revered basketball coaches of all time, after he took the UCLA Bruins from being one of the weakest teams in the Pacific Conference to winning the conference multiple times, and then going on to win the NCAA championship in both 1964 and 1965. Wooden played college ball for Purdue University, then went on to teach and coach at the high school level followed by a stint at Indiana State Teachers’ College (now Indiana State University). The basketball court there is named in his and his wife’s honor.


Wilbur WrightWilbur Wright



Born in Indiana in 1867, Wilbur Wright was the elder brother of Orville Wright, with whom he developed the world's first successful airplane. On December 17, 1903, the Wright brothers succeeded in making the first free, controlled flight of a power-driven airplane. An extraordinary achievement, Wilbur flew the plane for 59 seconds over a distance of 852 feet. Today, the Wright brothers are regarded as the "fathers of modern aviation."


Fuzzy ZoellerFuzzy Zoeller

New Albany


Frank Urban (Fuzzy) Zoeller won 10 tournaments on the PGA Tour, including The Masters and the U.S. Open. Zoeller is one of only three golfers to have won The Masters in his first appearance. He is known for talking with the galleries and kidding his competitors. He’s still active on the Champions Tour and is involved in charity work, corporate golf outings and golf course design. In fact, Fuzzy’s Charity for Kids has raised more than $2 million to aid children in Indiana and Kentucky.






Advertise with Us

Boost your listing's visibility to 200,000+ monthly views! Talk to our team about purchasing an advertisement with…