Over 150 Famous People From Oklahoma (Or Who Have Called Oklahoma Home)
Oklahoma is a state that is both fascinating and full of colorful people. Many of the great and powerful people of the United States has called Oklahoma home. From Astronauts to Actors, Athletes and Ambassadors, and yes, plenty of cowboys and Indians, Oklahoma is teeming with a rich and varied history of producing Famous Americans.
While this list of Famous Oklahomans is by no means complete, it serves as a who's who of Oklahoma. You'll find well known famous Oklahomans such as Chuck Norris and Brad Pitt, to those famous Oklahomans that aren't as well known, but still deserve a place on this list.
As you browse through this list, think about how far Oklahoma has came since 1907. Oklahoma has only been a state for little over 100 years, and yet, some of the most famous people in the world has come from here.
Table of Contents
Famous Outlaws in Oklahoma
Before statehood, Oklahoma was considered the Wild West. Both the Oklahoma Territory and the Indian Territory were considered "uncivilized". Many of the nations most famous outlaws traveled across the great state to escape justice. The only law for the white man was what came out of Ft. Smith. For the Native American's, each tribe was responsible for keeping law in order within the bounds of their respective nations, however, if a white man committed a crime on Native American land, he usually got away with it unless a U.S. Marshal happened to be near.
Following the Great Depression, another wave of lawlessness broke out across Oklahoma. During this period, outlaws such as Bonnie and Clyde began to make their way across the state. While they were not from Oklahoma, they had their last successful robbery here and met their final demise while trying to escape.
Bill Dalton of the Dalton Gang and later the Doolin Gang: Ardmore, Oklahoma: bank robber, train robber.
Belle Starr: Eufaula, Oklahoma: horse thief, Bootlegger.
Cole Younger: Part of the Younger Gang.
Tulsa Jack Blake: Tulsa, Oklahoma: bank robber, train robber.
Pretty Boy Floyd: Sallisaw, Oklahoma: bank robber.
Famous Cowboys in Oklahoma
A list of famous people from Oklahoma wouldn't be complete without the cowboys (and cowgirls) that helped make this state famous. The cowboy got his start during the 1860s. At this time, ranchers in Texas would drive their cattle across the open plains of Oklahoma and on up to Kansas, where they would be loaded on rail cars to be transported to the rest of the country. During this time, famous trails such as the Texas Road and the Chisholm Trail were born. Many games were invented along the trails to help pass the time. Some of these turned in to the same games that Cowboys compete in today.
Jim Shoulders: Henryetta, Oklahoma: World Champion Rodeo Star, known as the Babe Ruth of rodeo.
Lucille Mulhall: Mulhall, Oklahoma: Considered as the first show cowgirl.
Thomas Edwin ("Tom Mix"): Dewey, Oklahoma and Guthrie, Oklahoma: Cowboy actor.
George, Zack and Joe Miller: Lamont, Oklahoma: 101 Ranch Wild West Show.
Clem McSpadden: Chelsea, Oklahoma: Statesman, Rodeo announcer.
Pawnee Bill: Pawnee, Oklahoma: Actor, Wild West Show entertainer.
Tom R. Ferguson: Miami, Oklahoma: Rodeo star.
Jesse Chisholm: Geary, Oklahoma: Pioneer trader.
Native Americans From Oklahoma
During the early 1800s, the U.S. Government made a hard push to relocate Native Americans from their lands. While some went willingly, this was a brutal and forced relocation, often called the Trail of Tears. Some of the most famous Native Americans achieved status in part due to this. During that time, many of the tribes began to lose their identity. While striving to keep their heritage, they became great warriors, chiefs, and artists. Today, the tribes are once again thriving, but it has come at a tremendous cost. Some notable Native Americans are listed here.
Quanah Parker: Ft. Sill, Oklahoma: Last chief of the Comanches.
Geronimo: Ft. Sill, Oklahoma: Apache warrior.
Black Kettle: Cheyenne, Oklahoma: Cheyenne Chief.
Standing Bear: Ponca City, Oklahoma: Ponca Indian Chief, Statesman.
Wilma Mankiller: Tahlequah, Oklahoma: Cherokee Chief, first female chief of Cherokee Nation.
Iron Eyes Cody(Espera Oscar de Corti): Ft. Gibson, Oklahoma: American actor famous for playing Native Americans in Hollywood Films.
Stand Watie: Honey Creek, Indian Territory. Brigadier General of the Confederate States of America. Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation 1862-1866.
Sequoyah: Sallisaw, Oklahoma: Inventor of Cherokee alphabet.
Black Beaver: Anadarko, Oklahoma: Indian Scout
Al Momaday: Mountain View, Oklahoma: Indian artist well known for his paintings of Kiowa dancers and horses.
Joe Rector: Muskogee, Oklahoma: Indian artist, Champion weightlifter.
Jerome Tiger and Jeremy Tiger: Muskogee, Oklahoma: Indian artists.
Famous Astronauts from Oklahoma
Since the 1920s, Oklahoma has played a vital role in aeronautics. Much of this stems from famous aviators such as Wiley Post, as well as their supporters, such as Tulsa oilman William G. "Bill" Skelly. They helped drive aeronautical innovation that fueled a major industry in Tulsa. In many ways, this not only helped Oklahoma move to the forefront of the space exploration industry, but also encouraged a number of now famous astronauts to pursue the dream of space travel.
Leroy Gordon Cooper Jr (Gordo Cooper): Shawnee, Oklahoma: Engineer, Astronaut. He was one of the seven original astronauts in Project Mercury.
Owen Garriott: Enid, Oklahoma: American Astronaut. He spent 60 days aboard Skylab and 10 days aboard Spacelab-1.
Shannon Lucid: Bethany, Oklahoma: Biochemist, Astronaut. Held the record for longest duration stay in space. Flown in space 5 times, including a prolonged mission aboard the Mir space station.
Stuart Roosa: Claremore, Oklahoma: Astronaut. Was the command module pilot for the Apollo 14 mission, and was the third mission to land astronauts on the moon.
Thomas Stafford: Weatherford, Oklahoma: Astronaut, Air Force general. Was the first General Officer to fly in space, and one of only 24 people to have flown to the moon.
Famous Athletes from Oklahoma - Major Sports
Oklahoma is no stranger to sports. The state is home to both the Sooners and the Cowboys, as well as the professional basketball team The Oklahoma City Thunder. Many of the states best athletes originated around the excitement of Bedlam. Others, such as Mickey Mantle, grew up during a time when the greatest recreational activity around was to play the game of Baseball. Oklahoma has created some of the best athletes that the world has ever seen!
Troy Aikman: Henryetta, Oklahoma: Football player. Former quarterback that played for the Dallas Cowboys.
Johnny Bench: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Baseball player. Former catcher that played for the Cincinnati Reds.
Barry Switzer: Norman, Oklahoma: Football coach. Coached both college and professional ranks. Holds one of the highest winning percentages of any college football coach in history.
Mickey Mantle: Spavinaw, Oklahoma: Baseball player. Famous former player for the New York Yankees. Most World Series home runs record holder.
Brian Bosworth("The Boz"): Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Football player, Actor. Former linebacker that played for the Seattle Seahawks.
Joe Carter: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Baseball player. Former right fielder. Played for the Toronto Blue Jays and the Philadelphia Phillies. Famous for his plays that helped win the 1993 World Series.
Tony Casillas: Tulsa, Oklahoma: Football player. Former defensive lineman that played for the Atlanta Falcons and the Dallas Cowboys.
Jim Thorpe: Prague, Oklahoma: Athlete. Olympic gold medalist in pentathlon and decathlon. Professional football player, baseball player, and basketball player.
Wayman Tisdale: Moved to Oklahoma from Texas: All American basketball player, jazz musician.
Alvin Dark: Comanche, Oklahoma: Baseball player
Billy Sims: Norman, Oklahoma: Football player
Steve Largent: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Football player and U.S. Congressman. Formerly played for the Seattle Seahawks.
Steve Davis: Sallisaw, Oklahoma: Football announcer for ABC.
Darryl Royal: Hollis, Oklahoma: Football player
Paul Dean: Holdenville, Oklahoma: Baseball player
Jackie Shipp: Muskogee, Oklahoma: Football player.
Curt Gowdy: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Sports reporter.
Steve Owens: Miami, Oklahoma and Norman, Oklahoma: Football player.
Jerome Dean ("Dizzy Dean"): Holdenville, Oklahoma: Baseball player
Carl Hubell: Meeker, Oklahoma: Baseball player.
Ferguson Jenkins: Guthrie, Oklahoma and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Baseball player.
Henry Iba: Stillwater, Oklahoma: Basketball player.
Gil Morgan: Wewoka, Oklahoma: Golfer.
Tommy Morrison: Jay, Oklahoma: Boxer and actor.
Nancy Lopez: Tulsa, Oklahoma: Golfer.
Dale Mitchell: Colony, Oklahoma: Baseball player.
Bobby Mercer: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Baseball player.
Allie Reynolds: Bethany, Oklahoma and Stillwater, Oklahoma: Baseball player.
Darryl Porter: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Baseball player.
Warren Spahn: Hartshorne, Oklahoma: Baseball player.
Bertha Frank Teague: Byng, Oklahoma: Basketball coach. First female in National Basketball Hall of Fame.
Billy Vessels: Cleveland, Oklahoma: Football player
Paul and Loyd Waner: Harrah, Oklahoma: Baseball players. Paul was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Bud Wilkinson: Norman, Oklahoma:. Football player.
Ralph Terry : Chelsea Ok, Oklahoma: Baseball Player. Former pitcher that played for the New York Yankees.
Famous Athletes from Oklahoma - Other Sports
Shannon Miller: Edmond, Oklahoma: Olympic gymnast. Olympic Hall of Fame.
Maria and Marjorie Tallchief: Fairfax, Oklahoma: Ballerinas. Maria Tallchief was the first American Prima Ballerina. She was in the New York ballet for 18 years.
Yvonne Chouteau: Norman, Oklahoma and Vinita, Oklahoma: Ballerina.
Bart Conner: Norman, Oklahoma:. Gymnast.
Famous Writers and Speakers from Oklahoma
The tranquil pace of life in Oklahoma sets the perfect conditions to create notable writers. Such legendary figures as Dick Tracey originated in the state. Some of these authors and speakers have stayed with the Oklahoma "Wild West" theme, while others have gone on to have a great impact throughout the nation.
Ralph Ellison: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Writer. Wrote "Invisible Man".
Judy Woodruff: Tulsa, Oklahoma:. News anchor and journalist, White House correspondent.
Tony Hillerman: Sacred Heart, Oklahoma: Author of detective novels. Wrote Skin Walkers, A Thief of Time and The Shape Shifter among others.
Bill Moyers: Hugo, Oklahoma: Journalist. Lifetime achievement award, 300 Emmy Awards, Lifetime Peabody Award.
Russell Bates: Anadarko, Oklahoma: Author.
C.J. Cherryh: Lawton, Oklahoma: Sci-fi and fantasy author.
Walter Cronkite: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Broadcast journalist.
Mercedes Lackey: Tulsa, Oklahoma: Sci-fi and fantasy author.
Louis L'Amour: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Western genre author.
Famous Actors from Oklahoma
While it may be hard to imagine some of these actors as coming from Oklahoma, the state has produced several notable actors who have gone on to become major superstars. Some of the names on this list may be quite surprising!
Chuck Norris: Wilson, Oklahoma and Ryan, Oklahoma: Actor
Brad Pitt: Shawnee, Oklahoma: Actor
Will Rogers: Oolagah, Oklahoma: Humorist, Cowboy, social commentator, actor and vaudeville performer.
Ron Howard: Duncan, Oklahoma: Child actor, film director and producer.
Roy Clark: Tulsa, Oklahoma: Actor.
Ted Shackelford: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Actor. Played Gary Ewing on TV series "Knot's Landing". Also played in several soap opera rolls and the TV hit series "Dallas".
Dan Rowan: Beggs, Oklahoma: Comedian.
James Garner: Norman, Oklahoma: Actor. Played in Rockford Files and Maverick.
Tony Randall: Tulsa, Oklahoma: Comedian, Actor. Played the neurotic on "The Odd Couple".
Wes Studi: Nofire Hollow, Oklahoma: Played the lead role in "Geronimo".
Blake Edwards: Tulsa, Oklahoma: Film director, screen writer, producer. Best known for the Pink Panther series.
Van Heflin: Walter, Oklahoma: Actor. Played in Santa Fe Trail and others.
Dale Robertson: Harrah, Oklahoma: Western movie actor. "Tales of Wells Fargo", "Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Show".
Jean Tripplehorn: Tulsa , Oklahoma: Actress. Plays Jackie O. on the TV series "Grey Gardens". Also performed on Frazier, Mickey Blue Eyes, Waterworld, The Firm, Basic Instinct and many others.
Justin Nimmo: born in Lexington, Oklahoma: Played Zane in "Power Rangers".
Danny Cooksey: Moore, Oklahoma: Actor, Musician. Played Sam McKinney on TV show "Different Strokes", also played as John Conner's friend in Terminator 2 - Judgment Day.
Jennifer Jones: Tulsan, Oklahoma: Actress. Academy Award for "The Song of Bernadette".
Ben Johnson: Shidler, Oklahoma: Ranch hand, rodeo performer, actor. Played in bonanza, Radio flyer, Red Dawn, Angels in the Outfield.
William Boyd: Tulsa, Oklahoma: Actor. Played Hopalong Cassidy.
Anita Bryant: Tulsa, Oklahoma: Entertainer.
Lon Chaney (and Jr.): Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Actors. Hunchback of Notre Dame, Phantom of the Opera. Known as "The Man of a Thousand Faces".
Kristin Chenoweth: Broken Arrow, Oklahoma: Singer, Actor.
Suzy Amis: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Actress, model. Played in "Fandango" and "Titanic" (the granddaughter).
Gary Busey: Tulsa, Oklahoma:. Actor.
Dennis Weaver: Norman, Oklahoma: Actor. Played in Gunsmoke and "Duel."
Joan Crawford: Lawton, Oklahoma: Actress.
Megan Mullally: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Actress. Played Karen Walker on the Will & Grace show.
Famous Musicians from Oklahoma
Oklahoma has long had a great reputation as being a leader in the music industry. This dates back all the way to the early 1900s, when such songs such as "I'll Fly Away" were written. Although the song is now attributed to Brumlee, it came about from large spiritual singing conventions that were held across the state. In the 1920s and 1930s, as Jazz and Swing became more popular, places such as Cains Ballroom and Taylors Inn catered to such famous names as Bob Wills, Count Basie, and Duke Ellington. From Jazz came Country and Rock-n-Roll, much of which was influenced by singers and songwriters from Oklahoma.
Toby Keith: Clinton, Oklahoma: Country music singer, songwriter, record producer, actor.
Patti Page: Claremore, Oklahoma: Sold over 100 million records. Inducted into Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.
Garth Brooks: Tulsa, Oklahoma: Country Music Musician. Sold over 220 million country and country-rock records.
Vince Gill: Norman, Oklahoma and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Country blue grass singer and songwriter. Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Bob Wills: Left Texas to live in Oklahoma: Musician. The King of Western Swing. Although nor originally from Oklahoma, Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys had a significant impact on music throughout the state.
Carrie Underwood: Checotah, Oklahoma: Multiple Grammy award winner in Country and Pop music. Winner of 4th season on American idol.
Reba McEntire: McAlester, Oklahoma: Singer. Actress.
Elvin Bishop: Tulsa, Oklahoma: Wrote the hit single "Fooled Around and Fell in Love" among others.
David Bagsby: Tulsa, Oklahoma: Composer and musician.
D. Twilley: Tulsa, Oklahoma: Classic rock star.
Gene Autry: Sapulpa, Oklahoma: Actor and musician.
Mae Axton: Roff, Oklahoma: Songwriter.
Lou Ballard: Miami, Oklahoma: and Tulsa, Oklahoma: Composer.
Jeremy Castle: Blanchard, Oklahoma: Singer and songwriter. Country and western music.
Scott Hendricks: Clinton, Oklahoma: President of Virgin records and Capital records. Music producer.
Leon Russell: Tulsa, Oklahoma: Musician.
Conway Twitty: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Norman, Oklahoma: Country singer.
Woody Guthrie: Okemah, Oklahoma: Folksinger and composer. Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame. Best known for "This Land is Your Land"
Roy Harris: Lincoln City, Oklahoma: Composer and Cultural Ambassador for U.S. State Department.
Becky Hobbs: Bartlesville, Oklahoma: American country music singer, songwriter, pianist.
Gail Davies: Broken Bow, Oklahoma: Country and folk singer, songwriter, record producer.
Jana Jae: Grove, Oklahoma: Fiddler that played on Hee Haw.
Tuck Andrews: Tulsa, Oklahoma: Jazz musician.
Roger Miller: Erick, Oklahoma: Country music singer, Actor, Broadway play producer.
David Alexander Shaw: Poteau, Oklahoma: Wrote many classic gospel songs including "I'll Fly Away".
The Wealthy and Powerful in Oklahoma
Although the origins of the wealthy and powerful aren't often thought of, the political and economic climate of Oklahoma helped produce some of the most influential people in the nation. This was especially true during the great oil boom of the 1920s, and then later with the aerospace book of the 1950s.
Admiral William J. Crowe: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Statesman, Ambassador.
J. Paul Getty: Tulsa, Oklahoma: Financier.
Alan Greenburg: Tulsa, Oklahoma: Financier.
Robert S. Kerr: Ada, Oklahoma: Oilman, Senator.
David Boren: Seminole, Oklahoma: President of the University of Oklahoma. Statesman.
Jeanne Kirkpatrick: Duncan, Oklahoma: Diplomat. Ambassador to the U.N.
T(homas) Boone Pickens (Jr.): Holdenville, Oklahoma: Financier.
Scientists, Philanthropists, and Colorful Characters from Oklahoma
There are a great many famous Oklahoman's, and no list would be complete without listing a few of the more colorful in Oklahoma's past. Some famous Oklahoman's, such as Paul Harvey, went on to become easily identifiable household names. Others, such as S.N. Goldman may only be known to those who have a love of Trivial Pursuit. Still, each name on this list has helped to have a tremendous impact on both Oklahoma and the nation.
Paul Harvey: Tulsa, Oklahoma: Radio broadcaster, syndicated commentator.
Karl Guthe Jansky: Norman, Oklahoma: Engineer. Physicist. Discoverer of cosmic radio waves.
Chester Gould: Pawnee, Oklahoma: Cartoonist. Creator of Dick Tracey comic strip.
Robert Stemmons: Tulsa, Oklahoma: Whistler. He trains birds to whistle.
Clyde Snow: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: forensic anthropologist.
Greg Burns: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: a physically handicapped artist who draws detailed drawings with a pen held in his teeth.
Paul and Thomas Branif: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Aviation pioneers. Their contributions revolutionized aviation.
Maxine Anderson: Okeene, Oklahoma: Geologist, world famous balloonist.
John Peters: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Founder of World Neighbors.
Wiley Post: Maysville, Oklahoma: aviator.
S.N. Goldman: Ardmore, Oklahoma:. Inventor of the shopping cart.
Larry Jones: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Evangelist. Founder of "Feed The Children" organization.
Phil McGraw (Dr. Phil): Vinita, Oklahoma: Day time talk show host, Author, Psychologist.
Carrie Nation: Guthrie, Oklahoma: Prohibitionist.
Carl Albert: McAlester, Oklahoma: former Speaker of The House.
Patrick Moynihan: Tulsa, Oklahoma: N.Y. senator, ambassador to U.N. and India.
Oral Roberts: Pontotoc County, Oklahoma: Pentecostal televangelist, author, traveling faith healer. Founded ORU in Tulsa.
Larry Winget: Muskogee, Oklahoma: motivational speaker, TV personality.
Tommy Franks: Wynnewood, Oklahoma: American war hero General. Oversaw the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Norman Wagoner: Eufaula, Oklahoma: Preacher, Evangilist.
Patrick Flanagan: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Tulsa, Oklahoma: Inventor. He had over 300 patents to his credit.
© 2010 Eric Standridge