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Celebrities: Famous and Important People From Chicago, Illinois

Updated on May 4, 2015

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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    • profile image

      danilla 2 years ago

      I like to leearning about new people im from paris and i liked new thangs ddomdom

    • profile image

      Kashari Suggs 3 years ago

      I am from Chicago,IL to cool right!!!

    • profile image

      Poopie 3 years ago

      Midnight Cowboy actor Jonathan Kramer was from Chicago. Died in 1976 and is buried there now..

    • profile image

      Ellisthedestroyer101 4 years ago

      Wow! I didn't know Walt Disney was from Chicago!

    • profile image

      amber 5 years ago

      there are so may wemen!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      Dorelyn 5 years ago

      Chaka Khan. KANYE WEST. ROBERT KELLY. AALIYAH. SOME famous black artists from Chicago. Please add.

    • profile image

      justin 5 years ago

      do not forget derrick rose ya boy

    • profile image

      georgia 5 years ago

      The great Lou Rawls ! Even has a street named after him !

    • profile image

      dave inger 5 years ago

      why is al capone not on the list. or even why is he not on the top of it

    • chicagoguy profile image

      Raj Lally Batala 5 years ago from Chicago ,USA

      great informations !! i did not know about Walt Disney !! thanks !!

    • profile image

      Tony Taylor 5 years ago

      Tony Booker Spencer 11-11-61 was also born in Chicago!!!

    • profile image

      gaga girl 5 years ago

      gillan anderson is in the sieries "x-fiels"and it is cool

    • The Jet profile image

      The Jet 6 years ago from The Bay

      Hey, it's Scully from X-files! Cool.

      The Straight Edge Savior CM Punk should be on your list. 3-time World Champion and one the best wrestlers in the business today. He's from Chicago.

      Cool hub.

    • profile image

      Peter 6 years ago

      CM PUNK

    • profile image

      JASMINE 6 years ago

      jENNIFER HUDSAN

      OBAMA

      LUDACRIS

      RICHARD PRYOR

      RED FOX

      SAM COOK

      ALBERTINA WALKER

      JANE ADAMS

      WALTER PAYTON

      KANYE WEST

      LUPE

      TWISTA

    • profile image

      Suzieq 6 years ago

      Edward Zwick Oscar winning director for Glory

    • profile image

      Alexis 6 years ago

      ONG! This helped me with my report like A LOT!!!! THANKS!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      MArissa 6 years ago

      walt disney... chicago???

    • profile image

      joe edwards  7 years ago

      went to crane tech. hight school on the west side

    • profile image

      none 7 years ago

      Cool! Awesome! Great info!! :)

    • profile image

      no name at all 7 years ago

      WOW!!!!!! :) :0

    • profile image

      name-none 7 years ago

      is it ok if i use your hub for info on a paper of mine?

    • profile image

      nameless 7 years ago

      Michael Jordan is from Chicago! Anyway, the hub is great!

    • profile image

      love-chi 7 years ago

      plz ADD CMPUNK tooooooooooooooooo!!...:)

    • ceholmes profile image

      ceholmes 7 years ago from Chicago

      great great facts, I really enjoyed reading this...I've heard and even came across a lot of factoids about the ppl you mention, but I totally forgot Disney came from Chi. Yes, the others are right, there are a lot more high public, famous ppl, but this is a good start!!

    • profile image

      geno  7 years ago

      forgot to mention but norman is from chicago the west side.i believe he went to farogut high school.but his son brian is from lincoln.il

    • profile image

      geno stancle 7 years ago

      famous basketball player from the boston celtic's norman cook who just died 1 1/2 years ago almost he is the father of former lakers player brian cook.norman died here in lincoln.il,were he lived after his basketball career.ended about 28 yers ago.he suffered for years with mental illness.he was a great friend of mine.

    • profile image

      nitchkid#1 7 years ago

      WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!! You should think about adding the talkshow

      host Oprah Winfrey.

    • profile image

      Danny B. 7 years ago

      Robin Tunney star of The Mentalist is from Chicago.

    • profile image

      Danny B. 7 years ago

      George Wendt from Cheers was born in Chicago

    • profile image

      desiree 7 years ago

      Wow thats really not cool

    • profile image

      Donna 7 years ago

      thanks =O =P =F

    • profile image

      bob 7 years ago

      abe lincoln was born in springfield

    • profile image

      no name 7 years ago

      Cool!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      crystal 7 years ago

      OMG i did not know Walt disney was born in chicago lmao i was also born in chicago. if someone is looking for where to get the best real mexican tacos i recomend Little Village Chicago its in the south londale side of the city just look up Los Gallos mmmm...i grew up going there and the owner knows my grampa so...yeahh i really recomend that restauraunt but make sure you atleast know how to say some words in spanish :] really recomend it

    • profile image

      happy frog 7 years ago

      this is really helpful to me. im writing this letter is dedicated to my teacherfor helping out. thiswasactually helpful

    • profile image

      cherry 7 years ago

      more facts about walt disney

    • profile image

      7 years ago

      Lauren Keyana "Keke" Palmer Harvey,Illinois

      Richard Marvin "Dick" Butkus born in chicago,illinois

      played for chicago bears,and has his own award.

      Dwayne Wade

      Plays for Miami Heat. Born in Chicago Illinois

      Deron Williams from illinois

      Plays NBA basketball for Utah Jazz

      Kevin Garnett

      plays NBA basketball for Boston Celtics,from Chicago Illinois.

      Derrick Rose

      plays NBA basketball for Chicago Bulls, and also from Chicago,Illinois

    • profile image

      Derek Francis 8 years ago

      What about Michael Madsen? aka ''Mr Blonde''

    • profile image

      unknown 8 years ago

      What about Kanye West

    • profile image

      kewl girl 8 years ago

      thanks for writen that i needed it for my report on famous people from chicago :o)

      KEWL GIRL

    • profile image

      pill 8 years ago

      wow

    • profile image

      Kellie 8 years ago

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

    • English Teacher profile image

      English Teacher 8 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!

    • blessedmommy profile image
      Author

      Carisa Gourley 8 years ago from Oklahoma City Metro, Oklahoma

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

    • profile image

      NO NAME  8 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!

    • profile image

      no name 8 years ago

      may you please put some more people on there

      1.MICHLLE OBAMA

      2.HAROLD WASHINGTON

    • profile image

      Katherine Sanchez 8 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

    • blessedmommy profile image
      Author

      Carisa Gourley 8 years ago from Oklahoma City Metro, Oklahoma

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

    • profile image

      Ballin 8 years ago

      Cool people got any more?

    • profile image

      amber 8 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

    • profile image

      redhead 8 years ago

      this is cool but do you have any people from now

    • profile image

      matthew 8 years ago

      this is cool

    • Anna Marie Bowman profile image

      Anna Marie Bowman 8 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.

    • profile image

      Matt 8 years ago

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

    • profile image

      unknown 8 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Obama 8 years ago

      WOW

    • profile image

      Mike 8 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

    • profile image

      nick 8 years ago

      wwe wrestler cm punk aka phil brooks is from chicago

    • 02SmithA profile image

      02SmithA 9 years ago from Ohio

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

    • profile image

      Thomas Temple 9 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.

    • Tater2tot profile image

      Tater2tot 9 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!