Celebrities ~ Famous People From St. Louis, Missouri

When you think of St Louis, does your mind go immediately to sports, such as the first U.S. Olympic games in 1904, or the St. Louis Cardinals? Maybe your first thought is its importance in U.S. history; the Gateway Arch or the Mississippi River. However, for many Americans, including a host of famous people and celebrities, St. Louis is just home sweet home.

Although no persons life, famous or not, can be condensed to a few short lines, I will try to highlight a few key areas in some well-known people's lives that I hope you'll enjoy reading. So why not kick off your shoes and take the time to read about so many that have come from St. Louis and have made a name for themselves. How many people do you recognize? Did I miss someone that you would like to add? If so, please visit the comment box below and add your favorite people!

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"Yogi" Berra
"Yogi" Berra

Yogi Berra

Lawrence Peter (Yogi) Berra, baseball player/coach/manager, was welcomed into this world on May 25, 1025, in St. Louis, MO, and grew up on Elizabeth ST..

He married his wife, Carmen on January 26, 1949. The couple had three children. Two of his sons, Dale and Tim, also played pro sports.

His got his nickname as a teen from friend and co-player, Bobby Hoffman, who called him a "yogi," (as in a Hindu monk), after seeing him sitting on the ground cross-legged. The lovable and mischievous cartoon character, "Yogi Bear," was named after him.

Berra performed military service in the Navy when he was 18 and was part of the D-day invasion, belonging to an amphibious crew. He also served in North Africa and Italy.

Upon his return from the military, he joined the New York Yankees in 1946 and played the game until the year until 1965. He coached and managed the Yankees for the years 1976-1985. Then, from 1986-1989, Berra coached for the Houston Astros, this finishing off his baseball career,

Among his many accomplishments, Yogi was a fifteen-time All-Star, won the American League MVP three times, hit 358 home runs and was in 14 World Series games. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.

Yogi Berra on Amazon!

Josephine Baker
Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker and Her Adopted Children

Josephine Baker

Freda Josephine McDonald was born June 3, 1906, in St. Louis MO. She was a successful African-American that entertained her audiences as a dancer and singer.

She took the name, Baker, from her second husband, Willie, whom she married at the age of fifteen. The couple adopted twelve multi-racial children from around the world.

In the earlier 1920s Josephine moved to New York and entertained and performed before traveling to Paris in 1925. France opened up its arms to her and she became increasingly popular among the French. She became a citizen of France in 1937 because she felt far less racial pressure than she had in the States.

She died on April 12, 1975, from complications of a brain hemorrhage.

William Bent
William Bent

William Bent

William Bent, American frontiersman, was born in St. Louis, MO on May 23, 1809. He was the son of a Missouri Supreme Court Justice.

Once, while with a fur trapping party, Bent rescued two Cheyenne Indians from a Comanche attack. This began a long term relationship between Bent and the Cheyenne Indians. His association with the Cheyenne helped to prevent war with the Americans settlers. He was on a friendly basis with Cheyenne Chief, Black Kettle, who fondly referred to him as "Little White Man."

In 1935, Bent married a Cheyenne woman, Owl Woman, and the couple raised four children. After the death of Owl Woman, Bent married her sister, Yellow Woman. Bent fathered another child giving him a total of five in all.

William Bent died May 19, 1869, just four days before his sixtieth birthday.

Betty Grable
Betty Grable

Betty Grable

Elizabeth (Betty) Ruth Grable was born December 19, 1916 in St. Louis, MO. She was a singing actress, dancer and saxophone musician.

In 1929, after a family holiday trip to California, Betty's mother, Lillian, stayed behind with Betty with hope the girl would find fame.

At the tender age of thirteen, Betty was selected for the chorus, 'Let's Go Places.' Although the minimum age requirement to perform was fifteen at the time. She made the part by using forged documents and disguising her true age. However, by her next show, Betty's deceit was discovered and she was terminated.

As the girl became a woman, work started pouring in and she began gaining popularity. The U.S. Treasury made a note of the fact that she was the highest paid star of that time bringing in earnings of around $300,000 annually. So great did the world of stardom value her that Twentieth Century Fox had her legs insured with Lloyd's of London for the mind boggling amount of $1,000,000. Another source claims it could've been as high as $1.25 million.

Betty spent her World War II days entertaining troops.

She married twice. She married her first husband, Jackie Coogan, in 1937. The couple began having multiple disagreements over money which finally led them to divorce in 1940.

Betty married her second husband, a bandleader, Harry James, in 1943. The couple had two daughters together, Victoria Elizabeth, in 1944, and Jessica in 1947.

In 1973, Betty Grable passed away after battling with lung cancer for at least a year.

Dick Gregory

Richard Claxton "Dick" Gregory, famous comedian, was born in St. Louis in 1932 on October 12. He was raised in poverty and began working to help support his family at an early age. As a teen, he played sports and was involved in social causes. In 1953, he left college and joined the military where he would often entertain his comrades in comedy military shows.

The African-American loyalist attacked the predjudice against his race and was supportive of the Civil Rights Movement. He was also a spokesperson for health issues; especially concerning the diets of African-Americans. He would generate attention for by going on extended hunger fasts. He became a vegetarian, a marathon runner and a nutrition expert.

He left his life as a comedian in the early 1970s so that he could better focus on his political interests. He wrote many books as well, including his own personal biography.

Dick Gregory on Amazon

Redd Foxx
Redd Foxx

Redd Foxx

Redd Foxx was born in St. Louis on December 9, 1922 and his birth name was John Elroy Sanford. He was the star on the popular TV sitcom, Sanford and Son.

Besides his television popularity, Foxx performed as and an actor and comedian in African American theatres and nightclubs.

By the 1980s, his career slowed down but not before he had influenced a host of other African American comedians. In 1991 he began working in a new sitcom, The Royal Family. However, later that year he suffered a heart attack which brought about his death while on the series' set. He died on October 11, 1991.

Redd Foxx on Amazon!

Eugene Field
Eugene Field

Eugene Field

Eugene Field, The Children's Poet, was born in St. Louis on September 2, 1850. He had one brother, Roswell, and a sister that died shortly after her birth. Eugene and Roswell were about as opposite as two brothers could be. When Eugene was six and Roswell was five, their mother, Francis passed away and their father sent them to live with their cousin, Mary French, so that they could receive the proper care of a mother-like figure.

When Eugene was fifteen he attended a private school where there were only five boys total enrolled. It was at this school that Eugene was often found to be the ringleader of mischief. After the private schooling, Eugene attended three different colleges. The first one, in Massachusetts, was a short lived experience since he dropped out after his father's death after only nine months. Next, he attended Knox college but only stayed there a year. Finally, he attended the university where his brother Roswell attended, The University of Missouri. It was at this school that Eugene met his future bride, Julia Comstock, who was age fourteen.

When Julia turned sixteen, the couple married and went on to have 8 children, two of which died at birth and another as a small child. The other five lived normal lives.

Although Eugene worked for numerous newspapers, including the Chicago Daily News, he will always be best known for his children's poetry. "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod" and "Little Boy Blue" were among some of his most famous poems.

Eugene Field passed away in the year 1895.

Eugene Field on Amazon!

T.S. Eliot
T.S. Eliot

T. S. Eliot

Thomas Stearns Eliot was born in St. Louis, MO on September 26, 1888 and was the last of six surviving children. He was best known for his poetry and also the writing of numerous plays. He was very intelligent and Harvard was among the places that he was educated. He even won a scholarship to Oxford. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948.

Eliot settled in England and eventually became a British citizen at the age of 39 and entered the Anglican church. Once at England he worked as a schoolmaster, a bank clerk and eventually a literary editor. He showed his allegiance to the British by making the statement, "My mind may be American but my heart is British.

T.S. Eliot married twice. He married his first wife, Vivienne Haigh-Wood on June 26, 1915. It didn't take long to realize the marriage was loveless and had only come about through selfish reasons. He had wanted an excuse to be committed to stay in England. To Vivienne, the marriage didn't bring happiness. Eliot finally arranged a formal separation. Vivienne was sadly committed to a mental hospital in 1938 and died in1947.

On January 10, 1957, when Eliot was 68, he married his second wife, Esmé Valerie Fletcher. She was only 32. Since the pair already knew each other well before marriage, they seemingly got along much better than Eliot and his first wife. Also, Valerie, (as she went by), was committed to preserving his legacy.

Eliot was a heavy smoker and it caused him numerous health issues. He developed emphysema which finally took his life on January 4, 1965.

Vincent Price

Vincent Leonard Price was born in St. Louis on May 27, 1911. He was son of the owner of the National Candy Company and the grandson of the inventor of baking powder.

Price was highly intelligent and proved this by graduating from the distinguished Yale University in 1933. The following year he also enrolled in the University of London but his love of the theatre won over. He began pursuing an acting career and easily landed several lead roles and worked with such prestigious theatre enthusiasts such as Orson Wells. Although horror films was his main source of popularity, Price didn't limit himself to this genre. He also worked in one of the first films to be shot in 3D.

Price married three times. He and his first wife, April 23, 1938 and they had one child together. They divorced on June 4, 1948. Mary Grant, his second wife, joined him in marriage on August 25, 1949. This marriage also produce one child but a divorce was finalized on August 15, 1973. Then, on October 24, 1974, he married Coral Browne and the couple remained married until her death in May of 1991.

Vincent Price passed away on October 25, 1993 from emphysema and lung cancer.

Vincent Price on Amazon!

Grace Bumbry
Grace Bumbry

Grace Bumbry

African-American, Grace Ann Bumbry, was born in St. Louis on January 4, 1937, to Benjamin James and Melzia Bumbry.. Shae had two brothers, Benjamin and Charles.

The entire Bumbry family had a love and a talent for singing. The parents would sing in their church choir while Grace and the boys would sing in the youth chorus. There was always singing and music in the Bumbry home and neighbors would often stop by to rehearse. When Grace was just eleven years old, she already had much recognition and applause for her singing abilities,

During high school, Grace pushed herself in her singing and fine-tuned her ability with the help of her vocal coach, Kenneth Billups. After seeing Grace show great potential, Billups encouraged Grace to enter a radio station's singing talent contest for teens. To both of their delight, Grace won and was given a $1,000 war bond, a free trip to New York City, and a $1,000 scholarship to the St. Louis Institute of Music.

Sadly, racial prejudice interfered with the scholarship as the board of trustees tried offering private lessons in the place of school admission. Grace's mother didn't want her daughter subject to this pain and went and let the board have it with her words. The radio station was extremely embarrassed over the entire situation and worked to get another door opened for Grace. They arranged for her to perform on a televised Talent Scouts program which turned out to be an outstanding performance.

By 1960, Grace's career began taking root and she made her debut at the Paris Opera as Amneris in Verdi's Aida. She also signed a two-year contract with the Opera House of Basel in Switzerland. Her big break came a year later and success followed her from that point.

She was married for a time to Edwin Andreas Jaeckel but the marriage ended in divorce in less than a decade.

Grace Brumbry on Amazon!

William Burroughs
William Burroughs

William Seward Burroughs

William Seward Burroughs, an American writer, was born to a wealthy family in St. Louis on February 5, 1914. His parents owned shops and social status was important to them.

Much of Burroughs writings were novels although he also wrote essays. A lot of his works hinted toward his own life indirectly. Many, in his lifetime especially, found his writing style and genre offensive and it was often the subject of controversy.

He graduated from Harvard University in 1936 and then traveled to Europe which was common for someone of his social standing.

Burroughs engaged in homosexuality and contracted syphilis. He once cut off part of his finger to impress a homosexual lover. He lived with a woman and she became his common law wife although the relationship was never satisfying for either of them because of his sexual orientation. He also became addicted to drugs and even was arrested at one point for forging a narcotic prescription. He accidentally killed his common law wife after a drunken game. He spent almost two weeks in jail before the death was ruled accidental.

He was an eccentric and possibly drowned himself in his literature writings to help mask his pain.

Burroughs died after complications from a heart attack on August 2, 1997.

William Burroughs on Amazon!

Charles M. Russell
Charles M. Russell

Charles M. Russell

March 19, 1864 was the birth date of the renowned cowboy painter, Charles M. Russell.

Russell created more than 2,000 paintings in his lifetime as well as some bronze sculptures. The settings of his paintings were Western United States landscapes and most often would contain pictures of Indians and cowboys. Because of this he was often called, 'the cowboy artist.'

His famous mural, Lewis and Clark Meeting the Flathead Indians now hangs in Montana's state capitol building. Also, one of his 1918 paintings sold at a 2005 auction for the amount of $5.6 million.

Russell married his wife, Nancy, in 1896 and it was she that would often get the credit for promoting her introvert husband's work which eventually made him known as an international artist.

On October 24, 1926, Charles Russell passed away at the age of 62.

Charles M. Russell on Amazon!

Sara Teasdale
Sara Teasdale

Sara Teasdale

Sara Trevor Teasdale was born in St. Louis, MO on August 8, 1884. Sara suffered poor health through much of her life and was even kept from attending school until she was of the age of nine years old.

The poet, Vachel Lindsay tried in vain to win her heart and she opted instead to marry a businessman, Ernst Filsinger in 1914. However, she never seemed to find satisfaction in her marriage and divorced him against his will. It's possible that her dissatisfaction breeding because most of her poetic themes were on love and she never found the passion that she fantasized about.

Sara's health continued to decline and she overdosed on sleeping pills and never woke again. Her death was on January 29, 1933.

Roy Wilkins
Roy Wilkins

Roy Wilkins

Civil Rights Leader, Roy Wilkins, was born in St. Louis MO on August 30, 1901. He grew up with his aunt and uncle and the family survived on a low income. Roy worked his way through college, determined to make something of his life, and successfully made it through his years at the University of Minnesota, receiving his diploma in 1923.

After graduation, he joined the staff of a newspaper created for the African-American and became their managing editor. Eventually, he joined with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He was given the job of editing the organization's magazine and in 1955 was made executive director.

In 1977, he retired from the organization and in 1982 wrote his own story in a book titled, Standing Fast: The Autobiography of Roy Wilkins.

Roy Wilkins passed from this life on September 8, 1981 at the age of 80 years old.

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Comments 4 comments

LKMore01 profile image

LKMore01 3 years ago

Great list! Two of my favorite celebrities from Missouri are NASCAR driver Carl Edwards(Columbia) and author/CEO of the Mission Continues, Eric Greitens (St. Louis). There must be something special in the water.


Judi Morris 2 years ago

I would like to see the actor/comedian, John Goodman added to your list as I believe he was a native of St. Louis. Thank you.


Judi Morris 2 years ago

You might also want to add Chuck Berry and Robbie Montgomery, former Ikette to the list.


Johnny Elvis Foster 2 years ago

I was born in St. Louis First Elvis Emulator in the world , now lives in Ca check me out on google , or E- mail me @ fortheloveofelvis001@hotmail.com

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