Famous People who come from Phoenix Az

When raised in a town, you learn what becomes the legends and history of the area. Phoenix is famous for Lynda Carter, Steven Spielberg, Alice Cooper and Stevie Nicks, but those are just to name a few. Some were born here while others would adopt the city as their own.

Famous as those mentioned certainly are, many other legends have called Phoenix their home. Television, music and entertainment go hand in hand with the residents of the desert but even those famous in politics called Phoenix home. Most are aware that Barry Goldwater was a long time resident of the Phoenix area, having been born and raised there and even living his final days there.

There maybe are a few in the world of politics that some never knew or maybe have become part of the forgotten history. Former First Lady Nancy Reagan’s mother, Edith Davis, lived her elderly years in Phoenix during President Ronald Reagan’s term in office. The Reagans often stayed in Phoenix at various homes they would rent to be near Mrs. Reagan’s mother during her later years. Always recognizable by the security detail surrounding them, they still treated the local residents with sincerity and grace.

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was born outside the Phoenix area but lived much of her adult life in and out of politics as a resident of Phoenix before her move to Washington, DC. From State Representative Morris “Mo” Udall to former United States Attorney Paul Charlton, politicians have their roots in deep in the heart of Phoenix.

Even local residents of Phoenix had their first taste of fame as guests on the longest running children’s television show in history. For thirty-six years, kids grew up watching Wallace and Ladmo after school and some getting to appear on the show. Known for the goofy characters, the cartoons and the Ladmo Bags, it was considered an honor to be chosen!

Wallace and Ladmo became celebrities in their own right often appearing at schools, hospitals, malls and theme parks every week to three generations of kids that grew up in Phoenix. The duo became world famous for their television show and their innovation of kids’ TV shows.

Some can remember growing up seeing “Miss Kitty” from Gunsmoke in a surreal experience while shopping at the local grocery stores. Having just seen her the night before talking to Marshall Dillon on your TV screen, you would see her twenty-four hours later as she was standing in line to pay for her groceries. Yes, Amanda Blake lived many years in East Phoenix until her death in the late eighties.

Wayne Newton’s family moved to Phoenix when he was just a young boy for health reasons. The move got Wayne his start to his walk to fame. He began singing with his brother on a local radio/TV show called “The Lew King Show” every week. From Phoenix, he moved to Las Vegas as a young adult. Still known to come back at least once a year, Wayne Newton brings flash and glitter to the Phoenix area.

Glen Campbell moved to Phoenix in the early 1960s, working as a session guitarist with many local country and pop stars before making it big. A long time resident, he attributes much of his success in the music world to the fans of Arizona. He also co-starred in the Oscar winning movie called “True Grit” with a part-time Arizona resident, the legend John Wayne. Mr. Wayne owned a ranch in the White Mountains of Arizona and was in the Phoenix area now and again.

Glen Campbell is not the only Country Music legend that lived in Phoenix. The list is extensive from Waylon Jennings, Marty Robbins, Buck Owens, Buddy Alan, Merle Haggard, Bonnie Owens Haggard, Dierks Bentley and many more. Waylon Jennings began at many local bars and dives, often showing up unannounced to perform at Mr. Lucky’s or JD’s well after fame found his guitar and he always remembered from where his start came.

However, country music is not the only music claim for Phoenix. From Alice Cooper to The Gin Blossoms, to Sam Moore of the group “Sam and Dave” that made “Soul Man” famous for the Blues Brothers many genres of music have lived part of their lives in Phoenix. Even those born and raised outside of Phoenix, like early Country legend Rex Allen, Tanya Tucker, would spend much of their time in Phoenix getting their start.

Actor Nick Nolte lived in Phoenix before his fame took him to Hollywood. Attending Phoenix College and Arizona State University, he spent many years in the area. One young man that grew up in a suburb of Phoenix, Scottsdale, is a well known actor named David Spade from “Just Shoot Me” and has gone on to star in many comedy shows and movies.

In the 1970s, Dick Van Dyke not only lived right outside Phoenix but he actually filmed his 70s TV show on location near his home. Many would get to see the filming of the show in person right in their own backyard.

More than one famous character actor has called Phoenix their home over the years. Oscar winning actor Ben Johnson lived just outside Phoenix most of his later years. Often frequenting many local markets and fruit stands, Mr. Johnson was never one to ignore a fan or say hello first. Not often recognized by his name, Jack Elam was in many western movies along big movie stars like John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. His famous “wandering eye” and scraggly gray beard are legends unto themselves that many will never forget.

Whether it was country or rock music, movies and television or politics, the lifestyle of Phoenix has been the choice that many famous people have called home. There are also just as many from Phoenix that have been famous for all the wrong reasons. That is another topic, another time.