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Famous People from Kansas

Kirstie Alley (1951 - ) An American actress and comedian known for her role in the TV series Cheers. She has also been in several movies including Shoot to Kill and the Look Who's Talking series. Born in Wichita, KS (178)

Karrin Allyson (1963 - ) Born Karrin Allyson Schoonover. An American jazz vocalist. She has been nominated for several Grammy Awards. Born in Great Bend, KS (1360)

Robert D. Ballard (1942 - ) A former professor of oceanography at the University of Rhode Island. He is best known for the discoveries of the wrecks of the RMS Titanic, the battleship Bismarck and the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown. Born in Wichita, KS (179)

Gerry Bamman (1941 - ) An American actor perhaps best known for his roles as Uncle Frank in Home Alone and Home Alone 2. Born in Independence, KS (1369)

Eugene Hugh Beaumont (1909 - 1982) An American actor and television director. Beaumont is best known for his portrayal of Ward Cleaver, on the television series, Leave It to Beaver (1957-1963). Born in Lawrence, KS (1370)

Annette Francine Bening (1958 - ) An American actress. Her break-through role in The Grifters was followed with critically acclaimed roles in films such as Bugsy and American Beauty. Born in Topeka, KS (1371)

Madge Blake (1899 - 1969) An American character actress most famous for her roles as Margaret Mondello on the sitcom Leave it to Beaver, as Flora MacMichael on the sitcom The Real McCoys and as Aunt Harriet Cooper on ABC's Batman TV series of the 1960s. Born in Kinsley, KS (1372)

Gwendolyn Brooks (1917 - 2000) The first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. She was appointed Poet Laureate of Illinois in 1968 and Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1985. Born in Topeka, KS (138)

Chris Burnett (1955 - ) An American saxophone player, composer, veteran of US military jazz bands and band leader. Born in Olathe, KS (1361)

Walter Chrysler (1875 - 1940) An American automotive industry executive and founder of Chrysler Corporation in 1925. Born in Ellis, KS (181)

Jack Colvin (1934 - 2005) An American character actor of theater, film and TV. Best known for the role of Jack McGee on the TV series The Incredible Hulk and as Dr. Ardmore in Child's Play. Born in Lyndon, KS (1373)

Aneta Louise Corsaut (1933 - 1995) An American actress and writer. She is best known for playing Helen Crump on The Andy Griffith Show (1960 - 1968). Born in Hutchinson, KS (1374)

Charles Curtis (1860 - 1936) The 31st Vice President of the United States from 1929 to 1933. He also served as a U.S. Representative and a U.S. Senator from Kansas. He also served as the Senate Majority Leader. Born in Topeka, KS (182)

Lucinda Dickey (1960 - ) An American dancer and actress who is best known for her role as Kelly in the film Breakin' and the sequel, Breakin' 2 Electric Boogaloo. Born in Hutchinson, KS (1375)

Bob Dole (1923 - ) An attorney and retired United States Senator from Kansas from 1969 to 1996. He was the Republican nominee in the 1996 U.S. Presidential election but he lost to Bill Clinton. Born in Russell, KS (184)

Amelia Earhart (1897 - 1939) The first woman granted a pilot's license by the National Aeronautics Associate and the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean (1932). She set many other records, wrote best-selling books about her experiences and was instrumental in the formation of The Ninety-Nines, an organization for female pilots. Born in Atchison, KS (183)

Melissa Etheridge (1961 - ) An American rock singer-songwriter, guitarist, and activist. Born in Leavenworth, KS (186)

Bill Farmer (1952 - ) An American voice actor and comedian, best known for being the current voice of the Disney characters Goofy, Pluto and Horace Horsecollar. Born in Pratt, KS (1376)

Scott Kellerman Foley (1972 - ) An American actor. He is known for roles in television shows such as The Unit and Felicity, and in films such as Scream 3. He has also guest starred in the series Dawson's Creek, House, Grey's Anatomy, Scrubs and Scandal. Born in Kansas City, KS (1377)

Dwight Iliff Frye (1899 - 1943) An American stage and screen actor, noted for his appearances in the classic horror films Dracula, Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein. Born in Salina, KS (1378)

Alan Fudge (1944 - 2011) An American actor known for being part of the cast of four television programs: Man from Atlantis, Eischied, Paper Dolls, and Bodies of Evidence, along with a recurring role on 7th Heaven. Born in Wichita, KS (1379)

Wendell Woods Hall (1896 - 1969) An American country singer, vaudeville artist, songwriter, ukulele player and pioneer radio performer. Born in St. George, KS (1363)

Dennis Lee Hopper (1936 - 2010) An American actor, filmmaker, photographer and artist. He directed and starred in the movie Easy Rider. He also appeared in Rumble Fish, Blue Velvet, Hoosiers and Speed. Born in Dodge City, KS (1380)

Omar Knedlik (1915 - 1989) An American inventor and businessman. He was best known as the inventor of the ICEE frozen drink. Born in Barnes, KS (190)

Shirley Knight (1936 - ) An American stage, screen, and television actress. She has been nominated twice for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for The Dark at the Top of the Stairs and for Sweet Bird of Youth. Born in Goessel, KS (1382)

Lila Leeds (1928 - 1999) An American film actress. She appeared in films such as Lady in the Lake, Green Dolphin Street and Moonrise. Born in Iola, KS (1383)

Katrina Leskanich (1960 - ) An American musician, author and former lead singer of the pop band Katrina and the Waves. Their song "Walking on Sunshine" was an international hit in 1985. Born in Topeka, KS (1364)

Kerry Allen Livgren (1949 - ) An American musician and songwriter, best known as one of the founding members and primary songwriters for the 1970s progressive rock band, Kansas. Born in Topeka, KS (1365)

Martina McBride (1966 - ) Born Martina Mariea Schiff. An American country music singer and songwriter. She has had many Top Ten hits including "My Baby Loves Me," "Wild Angels," and "A Broken Wing." Born in Sharon, KS (1366)

Hattie McDaniel (1895 - 1952) An American actress. She was the first African American woman to win an Academy Award for her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind. She was also a singer-songwriter, comedian, stage actress, radio performer and television star. She was the first African-American woman to sing on the radio in the U.S. Born in Wichita, KS (191)

George Murdock (1930 - 2012) Born George Sawaya, Jr. An American actor. He appeared in Barney Miller, the Battlestar Galactica TV series and the movie Star Trek V: The Final Frontier as well as many others. Born in Salina, KS (1384)

Charlie Parker, Jr. (1920 - 1955) An American jazz saxophonist and composer. One of the most influential improvising soloists in jazz, and a central figure in the development of bop in the 1940s. Born in Kansas City, KS (192)

Cassandra Peterson (1951 - ) An American actress best known for her horror hostess character Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. Born in Manhattan, KS (1385)

ZaSu Pitts (1894 - 1963) Born Eliza Susan Pitts. An American film actress who starred in many silent dramas and comedies, transitioning to comedy sound films. Born in Parsons, KS (1386)

Charles Edward "Buddy" Rogers (1904 - 1999) An American actor and jazz musician. Best known for his performance in the film Wings. Born in Olathe, KS (1387)

Max Showalter (1917 - 2000) An American film, television and stage actor, as well as a composer, pianist and singer. One of his most memorable roles was as Jean Peters' husband in the 1953 film, Niagara. Showalter is also credited as Casey Adams. Born in Caldwell, KS (1388)

Lois Smith (1930 - ) An American actress in theater, film, and television. She has played supporting roles in movies like East of Eden, Fatal Attraction, Fried Green Tomatoes and Dead Man Walking. Born in Topeka, KS (1389)

Milburn Stone (1904 - 1980) An American film and television actor. Best known for his role as "Doc" on the CBS western series Gunsmoke. Born in Burrton, KS (1390)

Vivian Vance (1909 - 1979) Born Vivian Roberta Jones. An American television and theater actress and singer. Best known for her role as Ethel Mertz, sidekick to Lucille Ball on the American television sitcom I Love Lucy. Born in Cherryvale, KS (1391)

Dee Wallace (1948 - ) Born Deanna Bowers. An American motion picture and television actress. She has appeared in over 90 television shows and 100 films including E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, The Howling (1981) and in The Stepford Wives. Born in Kansas City, KS (1392)

Bobby Watson (1953 - ) An American post-bop jazz alto saxophonist, composer, producer, and educator. Watson now has 26 recordings as a leader. He appears on nearly 100 other recordings as either co-leader or in a supporting role. Watson has recorded more than 100 original compositions. Born in Lawrence, KS (1367)