The Most Iconic Person from Each State
When you think of certain states, famous residents immediately come to mind. From The Oracle of Omaha to Jon Bon Jovi, Prince, or Will Smith, their names are synonymous with their home states. But what about the other states in America? Take a look at The Most Iconic Person from Each State to see if you agree with our picks!
1. Alabama’s Hank Aaron
Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Hank Aaron is thought of as the greatest player in baseball history. Early in his career, he established himself as a power hitter, and many of his Major League Baseball records still stand. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982.
2. Alaska’s Jewel Kilcher
Shortly after Jewel was born, the family moved to Anchorage. She was discovered in 1993 at the coffee shop where she performed every Thursday while living in her van. Two years later, she launched her debut album under Atlantic Records and sold over 12 million copies in the United States alone.
3. Arizona’s Lynda Carter
Lynda Carter is best known as the actress who played Wonder Woman in the 70s. After 41 years, fans still love her cameos in superhero movies or series. Lynda Carter was honored by DC Comics in a publication for their 50th anniversary, naming Carter as one of the “Fifty Who Made DC Great.”
4. Arkansas’ Billy Bob Thornton
Billy Bob Thornton was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Thornton had dreams of becoming an actor and musician and moved to Los Angeles like many others before him. However, his luck came in a small piece of advice to consider becoming a screenwriter instead.
Thornton managed to start his career as an actor, but his 1996 screenplay for an independent film called Sling Blade made him a household name. He never forgot his love for music, and with his band, The Boxmasters released 10 albums to date.
5. California’s Gwen Stefani
The lead singer of the ska-punk rock band No Doubt brought Southern California cool to the masses. Her eclectic style and 20-year career continue with solo albums, collaborations with husband Blake Shelton, and replacing Adam Levine as a featured coach on The Voice.
6. Colorado’s Tim Allen
Tim Allen is famous for playing comedic TV dad roles like in Home Improvement and Last Man Standing. His silly approach to comedy, which usually puts other prominent stars in very awkward situations, has made audiences laugh for decades. He is also known for movies like the Santa Clause trilogy, Shaggy Dog, and the voice of Buzz Lightyear from the beloved Toy Story animated series.
7. Connecticut’s Katharine Hepburn
Katherine Hepburn was part of the cast of the third remake of Little Women and the first one with sound. She can be described as a woman born ahead of her time. She was part of the guiding force on the evolution of women, often picking roles depicting sophisticated and determined women.
8. Delaware’s Joe Biden
Known as Delaware’s son, he spent most of his childhood in the state, finishing his education there and later becoming a lawyer. He was sworn in as a Senator, representing the state of Delaware, in 1973 at the age of 30 and re-elected six times. After serving as Obama’s Vice President for two terms, Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th United States President on the 20th of January, 2021.
9. Florida’s Faye Dunaway
Born in Bascom along the Alabama border, Faye went to high school in Tallahassee and college at Florida State University and The University of Florida. She almost lost her breakout role as the notorious criminal Bonnie Parker due to her looks. Co-star Warren Beatty’s concern was that she looked too pretty and innocent to play a bank robber. However, his mind changed when he saw her in action, ultimately nabbing her an Oscar nomination.
10. Georgia’s Future
Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Future has changed rap music for an entire generation, according to Rolling Stone magazine. It was all thanks to his producer cousin, Rico Wade, who gave Future life-changing advice to polish his writing and pursue a career as a rapper.
His big break came in 2011 after writing the hit single “Racks.” After the soundtrack from Glee, Future is the only other artist who topped the charts with three albums, hitting the number one spot in a short time on Billboard 200. Future’s net worth reached $40 million in 2021.
11. Hawaii’s Barack Obama
Barack Obama was born at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children in Honolulu, Hawaii making him the only president born outside of the 48 adjoining states of the country. He spent a few years in Indonesia after his parents divorced and his mother remarried. As a result, he spoke Indonesian fluently before he returned to Hawaii with his mother and younger half-sister.
First, a state senator representing Illinois, he was elected the 44th President of the United States in 2009 for two terms.
12. Idaho’s Lillian Disney
A native of Spalding, Idaho, Lillian Disney was not just the wife of Walt Disney but a talented ink artist. If not for her, Mickey’s name would have been Mortimer Mouse. Walt named a few features inside Disneyland in honor of his wife, Lilly. Twenty-one years after Walt’s death, Lillian pledged $50 million to construct Los Angeles’ Walt Disney Concert Hall in honor of her husband.
13. Illinois’s Ludacris
Christopher Brian Bridges was born in Champaign, Illinois, on September 11, 1977. Today, he’s more known under the name Ludacris with an estimated net worth of $28 million. He has won three Grammys and an MTV Music Award.
Besides being a rapper-songwriter, Ludacris is well known for his Fast & Furious franchise role as Tej Parker. In 2002, he established the Ludacris Foundation to inspire kids through education, memorable experiences, and self-help initiatives.
14. Indiana’s Michael Jackson
Michael was born on August 29, 1958, in Gary, Indiana. He was the eighth child of 10. Their father knew that little Michael was musically talented like the rest of his children, but he never expected how much their lives would change after adding the seven-year-old Michael into their singing group, The Jackson Five.
He amazed the world with his voice as a small child, and surely, he proved that he was a legend in his own right, becoming the King of Pop. He was a total performer who would top the Billboard Charts creating the highest-selling album of all time – Thriller.
15. Iowa’s Ashton Kutcher
Christopher Ashton Kutcher was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on February 7, 1978. Breaking in show business initially as a model, he auditioned for a role on That 70s Show in 1998 and played Michael Kelso until 2006.
However, a big part of his fortune came from being an early-stage investor in start-ups such as Uber, Airbnb, and Spotify. In 2021, Ashton Kutcher’s net worth reached $200 million.
16. Kansas’ Amelia Earhart
How many songs have been sung or stories that have been written to tell the tale of this courageous and inspiring woman from the late 1800s? Born on July 24, 1897, Amelia Mary Earhart was the 16th woman to receive a pilot’s license. She was the first woman who flew solo across the Pacific Ocean in 1932. The same year, she was honored with the Army Air Corps Distinguished Flying Cross to pilot a non-stop transatlantic flight solo.
Earhart’s continuous achievements were mostly dedicated to supporting women’s aspirations. But in 1937, Amelia Earhart disappeared while on her attempt to fly around the world. She vanished around Howland Island on one of the last legs of her trip. No clues of where she could have gone or what happened were ever found.
17. Kentucky’s Johnny Depp
One of Hollywood’s biggest stars, this iconic actor played unforgettable roles like the awkwardly mysterious Edward Scissorhands, the Native American misfit Tonto from the Lone Ranger, the demon barber Sweeney Todd, the eccentric Ichabod Crane in the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and so many more. So many cheered when he finally appeared in Fantastic Beasts as the dark wizard Grindelwald and the endless returns of Cap’n Jack Sparrow.
18. Louisiana’s Louis Armstrong
The birthplace of Jazz is also the birthplace of Louis Armstrong, one of the most iconic jazz musicians. Born in New Orleans, he first played at the Waif’s Home for Boys at age 12 and studied under Joe “King” Oliver. He eventually led his own band, became a global ambassador for jazz, and world-renowned jazz singer and horn player.
19. Maine’s Anna Kendrick
Born in Portland, Maine, Kendrick began performing on Broadway at the age of 12.
Her first movie debut was in 2003 on the movie Camp. Five years later, she played Bella Swan’s friend in the Twilight Saga. From there, she played leading roles in the Pitch Perfect series, showcasing her acting and singing skills. Kendrick also starred alongside Ben Affleck, George Clooney, Sam Rockwell, and many more, cementing her place in young Hollywood.
20. Maryland’s David Hasselhoff
On July 17, 1952, David Michael Hasselhoff was born in Baltimore, Maryland. David is famous for the 80s TV show Knight Rider playing the lead role as Michael Knight from 1982 to 1986.
Some say he single-handedly revived Baywatch, which was initially canceled after one season. But, instead, it proved to be the best investment he ever made as the show became a hit, running for a total of 11 years and making David over $100M wealthier.
21. Massachusetts’ John Fitzgerald Kennedy
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, or JFK, was a native of Massachusetts in the little county of Brookline just outside of Boston. He was the second of nine children, born on the 29th of May, 1917. Interest in politics ran in the family. He was named after his grandfather, John Fitzgerald, who served as a Mayor of Boston in 1905.
His infamous words, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country,” asked Americans to be active citizens in the country’s challenges.
22. Michigan’s Stevie Wonder
Stevland Hardaway Judkins was born on May 13, 1950, in Saginaw, Michigan. His name, Little Stevie Wonder, comes from the fact that even as a child, his immense talent was undeniable, leading him to sign a contract with Motown’s Tamla label at the age of 11.
Stevie has won a total of 25 Grammy Awards. Alongside Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon, and Taylor Swift, Stevie is one of the legendary four who won the Grammy for Album of the Year three times.
23. Minnesota’s Prince
Born and raised in Minneapolis, Prince Rogers Nelson chose to live full time in the city at his iconic Paisley Park home and massive music studio instead of Hollywood or New York like other artists. An incredibly private person, it’s unclear whether prince loved Minnesota or Minnesota loved Prince more.
Lauded as a musical genius, he wrote, recorded, produced, and play all or most instruments on his recordings. Known for his flamboyant and androgynous persona, he had a wide vocal range and serious guitar skills.
24. Mississippi’s Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Gail Winfrey was born on January 29, 1954, in Kosciusko, Mississippi, to a single teenage mother. After a tragic childhood and poor upbringing, she attracted the attention of the local radio station. At 17, she knew what she wanted to become and studied hard, working her way through local media until she found herself hosting AM Chicago. Not long after, she signed a contract with King World Productions and got her very own show that ran for 25 years.
Oprah Winfrey became the Queen of Media, the first African-American multi-billionaire and one of the most influential women on the planet.
25. Missouri’s Sheryl Crow
Sherly was born in Kennett, Missouri, into a musical family. After graduating from the University of Missouri, she would sing in bands during her days off from work, and she was hired to sing jingles for McDonald’s and Toyota. Crow was also a Michael Jackson backup singer from 1987 to 1989, joining the Bad tour.
Sheryl Crow eventually released ten studio albums, won 9 Grammys out of 32 nominations, and sold over 50 million albums worldwide.
26. Montana’s Dana Carvey
Dana Carvey was born in Missoula, Montana, and moved as a child to California. After small roles in films, he became a household name as an actor and brilliant impressionist on Saturday Night Live. He is best known for his role as Garth from Wayne’s World, largely based on his brother Brad.
27. Nebraska’s Warren Buffett
Born in Omaha and lauded as the most successful investor globally, Warren Buffet is often called the Oracle of Omaha.
In 2005, his estimated net worth was at $44 billion, and by 2021, it grew to $101 billion, making him the 7th wealthiest person in the world. He has pledged to donate 99% of his money to nonprofit causes, primarily with The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
28. Nevada’s Andre Agassi
Born to Mike and Betty Agassi in April 1970, in Las Vegas, Nevada, Andrei Agassi is considered one of the greatest tennis players in the world and is credited for reviving the popularity of the sport.
As a teenager, he was ranked 25th globally, winning six tournaments earning over $1M in prize money. By 1999, he became the fifth male player to win all four Grand Slam titles, and in 2011, Andrei Agassi was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
29. New Hampshire’s Adam Sandler
Originally from Brooklyn, The Sandler family moved to Manchester, New Hampshire, when Adam was six years old. He attended Manchester Central High School and moved to Manhattan to attend Tisch School for the Arts.
One show was all it took for famous stand-up comedian Dennis Miller to endorse Sandler for Saturday Night Live. After working behind the scenes for about a year, Sandler was officially cast as a show’s mainstay, and not soon after, a string of box office hit movies followed.
30. New Jersey’s Jon Bon Jovi
John Francis Bongiovi Jr. was born in Perth Amboy and formed the iconic rock band Bon Jovi with fellow New Jersyans. Together, they’ve released 14 studio albums, sold more than 100 million copies, and are considered one of the bestselling American rock bands of all time with hits like Livin on a Prayer and You Give Love a Bad Name.
31. New Mexico’s Neil Patrick Harris
Neil Patrick Harris was born on June 15, 1973, and raised in Ruidoso, New Mexico. Harris’s life is mildly similar to the role he portrayed as the teenage prodigy. From 1989, he played the role of the youngest licensed doctor in the country. The loveable Doogie Howser, M.D., aired from 1989 to 1993 and launched his acting career. His 30-year career continues with roles in hit television shows like Stark Raving Mad and How I Met Your Mother.
32. New York’s Lin Manuel Miranda
Born in New York City, the innovative actor, singer, rapper, playwright, and performer still lives in Washington Heights. He first rose to fame by creating and staring in the Tony award-winning musical In the Heights and rewrote Broadway when he created and stared in Hamilton, An American Musical. A regular Disney collaborator, he wrote many of the hits from the animated film Moana.
33. North Carolina’s Julianne Moore
Born Julie Anne Smith on December 3, 1960, in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, into a military family. Moore played leading lady and female lead roles in films such as Spielberg’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Ridley Scott’s Hannibal. She also won a Primetime Emmy Award for her portrayal of US Politician Sarah Palin on the television film Game Change.
Moore’s acting prowess earned her a place in Entertainment Weekly’s list of The 25 Greatest Actresses of the ’90s and People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People in 2001.
34. North Dakota’s Josh Duhamel
Born and raised in Minot, North Dakota, Josh was going to be a dentist, but he left for California two credits away from completing his degree.
He started as a model and appeared in music videos for artists like Donna Summer and Christina Aguilera. He later got a role in a soap opera where his portrayal earned him Emmy nominations. In 2003, he played Danny McCoy on NBC’s Las Vegas, and through this show, Josh was chosen for the part of Captain William Lennox for the blockbuster film, Transformers.
35. Ohio’s Halle Berry
Born in Cleveland in 1966, Halle Maria Berry grew up in Oakwood. First, a beauty pageant queen, she finished 6th place during the 1986 Miss World pageant, becoming the first African American competitor.
An acting career followed, from her breakthrough film in 1992 to becoming the first and only African American woman to win an Oscar in a feature role. Additionally, she played two iconic comic book characters; Catwoman under DC and Storm from X-Men under Marvel.
36. Oklahoma’s Brad Pitt
William Bradley Pitt was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma, on December 18, 1963. He once ranked 5th on the Forbes and Time magazine’s list for 100 of the most influential people in the world.
Aside from being an award-winning actor, Pitt is also an acclaimed film producer through Plan B Entertainment and a philanthropist co-founding the Make It Right foundation to construct housing for Katrina victims.
37. Oregon’s River Phoenix
Born River Jude Bottom in 1970, in Madras, Oregon, he was the eldest of five siblings; Rain, Joaquin, Liberty, and Summer, who pursued a career in acting and entertainment with their brother, River. River Phoenix was one of the most promising young stars of the 80s and the early 90s. However, he suddenly passed away in 1993, cutting short a promising acting career and life.
38. Pennsylvania’s Will Smith
In West Philadelphia, he was born and raised and became one of the most powerful actors in Hollywood. He could have attended the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology on scholarship, but his desire to pursue a career as a rapper was greater.
Will Smith first appeared on NBC’s television sitcom, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and followed it up with blockbuster films Independence Day and Men In Black. His later films, Pursuit of Happyness, Enemy of the State, and I Am Legend, showcased his versatility.
39. Rhode Island’s Viola Davis
Viola Davis was born on August 11, 1965. She was raised in Rhode Island with her siblings, where their living situation was less than ideal. However, she attended the prestigious college Juilliard for four years and launched a successful acting career on stage.
In 2001, she received a Tony Award as Best Featured Actress in a Play for playing the character Tonya in King Hedley II. After steady roles in theater, her TV and film career took off in 2011. She received multiple awards and nominations for her roles in How To Get Away with Murder, Doubt, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
40. South Carolina’s Chris Rock
Born in Andrews, South Carolina, Chris Rock won 3 Grammy Awards and 4 Primetime Emmy Awards and is considered one of the greatest stand-up comedians. He also rose to fame as a cast member on Saturday Night Live and held starring roles in well-received movies like The Longest Yard and Head of State.
41. South Dakota’s Bob Barker
Robert William Barker spent most of his childhood on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in Mission, South Dakota. His family was enrolled members of the Sioux Tribe, with Bob being 1/8 Sioux.
Known as the perennial host of The Price is Right, the longest-running daytime game show in North American history. He received 19 Emmy Awards and numerous accolades for his work with PETA and other animal advocacy organizations, reminding viewers daily, “to help control the pet population — have your pets spayed or neutered.”
42. Tennessee’s Tina Turner
Tina Turner was born Anna Mae Bullock on the 26th of November, 1939, in Brownsville and lived throughout the state as a child. After meeting Ike Turner, she formed one of the most formidable acts in live music history, creating infamous hits like River Deep, Mountain High, Proud Mary, and Nutbush City Limits, a town from her childhood.
She is now retired and living happily in Switzerland with her second husband, but she will always be remembered as The Queen of Rock n’ Roll.
43. Texas’s Beyonce
Another Queen, Beyoncé Knowles, was born and raised in Houston, Texas. She initially rose to fame as part of Destiny’s Child, one of the best-selling female music acts of all time. In 2006, she released her first solo album and became one of the world’s best-selling recording artists, the highest-earing black musician of all time, and a place on Time’s list of 100 women who defined the last century.
44. Utah’s James Woods
James Woods was born in Utah. His father was an intelligence officer for the army, while his mother was a preschool teacher. James has an intellectual with an IQ of 190 and attended MIT but dropped out one semester before finishing his undergraduate course.
His versatility as an actor was highly praised, along with his ability to deliver robust and unforgettable, evil performances, including playing himself for over a decade in Family Guy.
45. Vermont’s Calvin Coolidge
John Calvin Coolidge Jr was born on the 4th of July, 1872, in Plymouth Notch, Vermont. He served as the 30th President of the United States from 1923 to 1929.
He was known to be the reclusive type, but he made himself available for questions and interviews through the rising popularity of radio. Coolidge was also popular for his views on equality as he demanded justice and better treatment for African-American citizens.
46. Virginia’s Warren Beatty
Famous for the movies Bonnie & Clyde, Bugsy, and Dick Tracy, Warren Beatty was born on the 30th of March 1937 in Richmond, Virginia. He comes from a family of educators and doctors, but young Warren’s sights were set on joining the entertainment industry.
His interest in films started after seeing the movie The Philadelphia Story with Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant and the film Love Affair. Beatty received awards and recognitions as a screenwriter, director, and producer. His films received 53 nominations from the Academy Awards and 18 Oscar nominations during his career. Later in his career, he remade The Love Affair in 1994 with Annette Bening and Katherine Hepburn, bring his love of film full circle.
47. Washington’s Bill Gates
William Henry Gates III was born and raised in the greater Seattle area. He famously dropped out of Harvard to start his own business, Microsoft, with Paul Allen. From 1995 to 2017, he was the richest person in the world.
After leaving Microsoft in 2008, he created the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, believed to be the largest private charity in the world. In addition, he formed The Giving Pledge with Warren Buffett to encourage wealthy individuals to give a significant portion of their money to charity.
48. West Virginia’s Jennifer Garner
Brought up in Charleston, West Virginia, she became a household name playing Sydney Bristow on the television series Alias and staring in romantic comedy blockbuster films like 13 Going on 30.
Today, she works as an activist for rural kids and communities as a board member for Save The Children USA and co-founded the organic baby food company Once Upon A Farm.
49. Wisconsin’s Mark Ruffalo
Mark Alan Ruffalo was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on November 22, 1967. He spent almost ten years working as a bartender while trying to ease his way into show business. He is known for playing the nice guy, such as Jennifer Garner’s love interest in 13 Going on 30, and delivering major plot twists in films like Now You See Me 2. His natural soft-spoken, and gentle persona made him a convincing Bruce Banner and the perfect polar opposite to the Hulk.
50. Wyoming’s Harrison Ford
Although he was born in Illinois, Harrison Ford graduated high school in Ripon, Wisconsin. Over the course of his career, he not only played some of the most iconic movie roles in the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises but became the 4th highest-grossing box office star of all time with roles in blockbuster spy thriller films like Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger.
This article was originally published on Savoteur