Celebrities: Famous and Important People From Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois, dubbed "The Windy City," is an exiting place! It's the home of the world's first skyscraper built in 1885, and the first Aquarium was opened in Chicago in 1893. Several sports teams hold their roots there and the Sears Tower in Chicago is so tall, that you won't find another building taller on the whole North American continent!

Do you or someone you know live in Chicago? Did you know that many famous people have called Chicago their home? Let's look at a few and see how many names that you recognize!

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Jack Benny

Jack Benny Bio

Jack Benny, whose birth name was Benjamin Kubelsky, was born in Chicago, Illinois on St. Valentine's Day, (February 14), 1894. He was an accomplished violinist and at the age of 17, began playing in local theaters. In 1911 he played in the same theater as The Marx Brothers and eventually married their distant cousin, Mary Livingstone.

Jack was also a film actor and radio comedian and was best known for his radio show called "The Jack Benny Program" which was on the air from 1932 to 1948 on NBC and from 1949 to 1955 on CBS.

He died on December 26, 1974 at the age of 80 years old.

Visit the International Jack Benny Fan Club

Gillian Anderson

Gillian Anderson Bio

Well-known actress, Gillian Anderson, was born in Chicago on August 9, 1968. The actress started her career by joining an amateur actor group while in high school. The outgoing young lady earned the high school titles of "Class Clown" and "Most Bizarre Girl."

A tiny actress, only 5'3" in height, she measures big on the scale of worldly success. Although she had to stand on an apple box to shoot many of the scenes in X-files, the movie eventually brought her first big break. She spent her first paycheck from X-files on art.

MORE FACTS ABOUT GILLIAN:

  • Unlike most actresses, Gillian uses her birth name.
  • She has two siblings, one brother and one sister.
  • Hair is naturally blonde.
  • Chosen by "People" magazine as one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world.
  • Married her first husband, Clyde Klotz, on the 17th hole of a golf course by a Buddhist priest.

Walt Disney

Walt Disney Bio

Walt Disney, the one who helped bring fantasy to reality for may youngsters and adults alike was born in Chicago on December 5, 1901.

He came across a movie house for the first time on Marceline's Main Street and watched a black and white recreation on the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He attended McKinley High School in Chicago and shaped his skills in the areas of photography and drawing by contributing to the school's newspaper.

In 1918, Walt attempted to enlist for military duty but was rejected for being too young. (He was sixteen at the time). Instead he joined the Red Cross who sent him to France. He spent a year driving an ambulance transporting Red Cross officials and his ambulance was covered all over with Disney characters instead of camouflage.

On July 13, 1925 he married one of his first employees, Lillian Bounds, and they had two daughters, Diane and Sharon.

In 1928 the world famous Mickey Mouse made his debut. Then, on December 21, 1937, the first full-length animated musical feature premiered.

Bob Newhart

Bob Newhart Bio

The actor and comedian, Bob Newhart was born in Oak Park, Illinois on September 29, 1929 but later found himself in Chicago were he attended Loyola University. He was the star of The Bob Newhart Show in the 1970s and Newhart in the 1980s.

While originally an accountant, he had a hobby of doing comedy routines on the radio. Warner Brothers heard a demo tape of Bob and was truly impressed. They signed him to record a comedy album although he'd never before performed on concert stage. His first album was The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart and the success was astounding. It was only the beginning. Bob went on to star in his own show and made frequent guest appearances on popular television shows.

More Bob Newhart facts:

  • Married Virgina Quinn in 1963
  • Fathered four children, Robert, Timothy, Jennifer and Courtney
  • Served in 1952-1954 in the US army

Awards:

  • Emmy Award, 1962
  • George Foster Peabody Award, 1962
  • Sword of Loyola Award, 1975
  • Inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall Fame, 1993

Willian S. Paley

William S. Paley Bio

William S. Paley, broadcasting executive, was born in Chicago, Illinois on September 28, 1901. He was the chairman of CBS from 1946-1983.

He married Dorothy Hart Hearst on May 11, 1932. The couple had one son, Jeffrey and one daughter, Hilary. They divorced on July, 23, 1947.

On July 28, 1947, just five days after his divorce, he married Barbara Cushing Mortimer. They had one son, William and one daughter, Kate.

He authored the book, As It Happened, A Memoir in 1979.

Paley died on October 26, 1990 from kidney failure.

More on Paley:

  • The "S" in his name doesn't stand for anything.
  • BS, University of Pennsylvania
  • Served in the US Army (WWII, Colonel, Psychological Warfare Division

Gloria Swanson

Gloria Swanson Bio

Gloria Swanson, was born in Chicago on March 27, 1897. She was born Gloria May Josephine Svennson.

The petite actress measured at only 4'11.5" in height. However she was very lovely and used her provocative ways to seduce numerous lovers including Joseph P. Kennedy, father of former President John F. Kennedy. She also married 6 times.

Her collection of husbands included Wallace Beery, Herbert K. Somborn, ( who produced one child), Henri de la Falaise, Michael Farmer, (who produced one child), George William Davey and William Dufty.

She made her debut as an extra in the film The Fable of Elvira and the Meal Ticket in 1915.

She died on April 4, 1983 at the age of 86. Her death was from natural causes.

Dorothy Hamill

Dorothy Hamill Bio

Dorothy Hamill, one of the world's best and most graceful ice skaters, was born on July 26, 1956.

Dorothy always had a shy disposition as a child and often felt intimidated by her older siblings and their athletic accomplishments. Her mother enrolled her in skating lessons at a very young age and Dorothy soon realized it was her passion. She would often spend hours skating on the ice and felt it was her release from the demanding world around her.

At the age of 19, the world stood awestruck as she claimed three overwhelming victories. The U.S. Championship, The World Championship, and the Gold Medal in the 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria.

Her hairstyle became a popular favorite in the late seventies and early eighties that women and girls alike would duplicate.

She was inducted into the Olympic Hall of Fame in 1996.

Raquel Welch

Raquel Welch

Raquel Welch, actress, was born September 5, 1940 as Jo Raquel Tejada.

She participated in numerous beauty contests, winning several titles.

She has married four times, and is the mother of two. Her first husband, James Westly Welch, is the father of her two children, They married on May 8, 1959 and divorced in 1964. Her other spouses include Patrick Curtis, André Weinfeld, and Richard Palmer.

She was awarded the Oscar for "Best Actress in a Supporting Role" in 1970.

More Famous From Chicago (Click to Read)

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Comments 62 comments

Tater2tot profile image

Tater2tot 8 years ago from ~~~

wow. I had no idea that all these people were from Chicago. Cool. I don't know of any celebs from there but My friend is from there and I know she wants to be famous one day! Good hub.

Tayler!


Thomas Temple 8 years ago

Mr. Burton Brown and the famous Gaslight Club, 13 E Huron was the mansion for many years. The Gaslight Club preceded the Playboy club.

Joe Kelly the great Trumpet player & Bandleader was there for almost 20 years.

Thank you, Check it out.


02SmithA profile image

02SmithA 8 years ago from Ohio

Wow I actually didn't know Walt Disney was from Chicago. Great City!


nick 7 years ago

wwe wrestler cm punk aka phil brooks is from chicago


Mike 7 years ago

Not even mentioning the bands from chicago, Styx, Earth wind and fire, Chicago, New colony six, American breed, Buckinghams, The list goes on and on. lol


Obama 7 years ago

WOW


unknown 7 years ago

john C. Reilly, Reo Speedwagon,and Gary Sinise (LT. Dan) now that's a great list


Matt 7 years ago

vince vaughn,denise richards,john cusack,bill murray, jennie garth,richard pryor,chris klein,robin williams,the list keeps going and going.


Anna Marie Bowman profile image

Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida

I had no idea that Gillian Anderson and Walt Disney were born in Chicago...strange that I didn't know that. I lived in the Chicago area all my life.


matthew 7 years ago

this is cool


redhead 7 years ago

this is cool but do you have any people from now


amber 7 years ago

why isn't there any african americans listed on this page there are plenty of people from chicago who are famous and black l


Ballin 7 years ago

Cool people got any more?


blessedmommy profile image

blessedmommy 7 years ago from Oklahoma City Metro, Oklahoma Author

Amber: Please supply the names and your resources and I will be glad to list them! Thanks!


Katherine Sanchez 7 years ago

cool i berly nothis walt disney was from chicago i lived her for the rest of my life and i domt now that


no name 7 years ago

may you please put some more people on there

1.MICHLLE OBAMA

2.HAROLD WASHINGTON


NO NAME  7 years ago

HI! IT'S ME AGAIN IWANT TO SAY THANK YOU TO AMBER WHY IS'T ANY AFRICAN AMERICAN ON THIS PAGE .I JUST LISTED TO FAMOUS BLACK PEOPLE MAY YOU PLEASE PUT SOME AFRCICAN AMERICANS ON THERE.NOT JUST COCIANS PEOPLE.

THANKYOU VERY MUCH!

P.S.THANKS FOR THE INFORMATION!


blessedmommy profile image

blessedmommy 7 years ago from Oklahoma City Metro, Oklahoma Author

No Name: Thanks! I will research these out and try to add them to my list within a day or two.


English Teacher profile image

English Teacher 7 years ago from Midwestern United States

This is a very informative article. Thanks for writing it.

As far as famed African-Americans who had success in Chicago, I did an article on "Chicago Music History: Singers and Musicians" http://hubpages.com/hub/Chicago-Music-History-Sing... which included many. While I'm not sure if they were all born in Chicago, I do know that all people in the article made their music careers in Chicago.

Also, Pat Sajak was born in Chicago's Little Village http://hubpages.com/hub/Chicagos-Little-Village---... which is another topic I wrote about recently.

As you can see, we have something in common, BlessedMommy... Loving to write about Chicago!


Kellie 7 years ago

Wow! This is amazing! And just what I needed for my research report about Chicago! Thanks so much, blessedmommy!!!


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