USA Famous People of Arkansas 

Arkansas Biographies

G. M. (Broncho Billy) Anderson actor, Little Rock Gilbert M. "Broncho Billy" Anderson (March 21, 1880 – January 20, 1971) was an American actor, writer, Film director, and Film producer, who is best known as the first star of the Western film genre.

Anderson was born Max Aronson in Little Rock, Arkansas, the sixth child of Henry and Esther Aronson, natives of New York.His younger sister, Leona Anderson, would achieve a degree of success in the 1950s as a novelty singer who specialized in singing off-key songs for comedic value.

Anderson, who was Jewish, is also claimed by Pine Bluff, where he was raised until age eight. He lived in St. Louis for the next 10 years, when he moved to New York City. He was a photographer's model and a newspaper vendor before appearing on the stage. He began in vaudeville, later working with Edwin S. Porter as an actor and occasional script collaborator. • Broncho Billy Books • Broncho Billy Films

Maya Angelou (1928 - ) Poet and author of many books, including I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.Grade 10 Up. Two slender volumes that present critical information about popular classic titles. Bloom's introduction is followed by a short biographical sketch of each author and then a detailed thematic and structural analysis that summarizes the novel in question, chapter by chapter. Excerpts from critical essays constitute the major portion of each book. Some of the essays on The Sun center around character analysis, especially of the main female character, Brett Ashley. Other entries include comparisons to other works of literature including F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, and discussions of the symbolism, morality, and the work's historical context. Hemingway's own interpretation of the book and a letter from Fitzgerald to Hemingway about its flaws are excerpted. In the second book, the writings explore Angelou's use of language, her narrative technique, unique qualities of Caged Bird, comparisons with other works, and opposition to it. Motherhood, racial pride and self-hatred, rape, and honesty are among the issues explored. While similar material may be found in many other places, these series titles will be useful resources.?Lois McCulley, Wichita Falls High School, TX • Maya Angelou Books
Helen Gurley Brown editor, Green Forest (born February 18, 1922 in Green Forest, Arkansas), is an author, publisher, and businesswoman. She was editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine for 32 years.

Brown was born to parents Cleo and Ira Marvin Gurley. Her mother was born in Alpena, Arkansas and died in 1980. Brown's father was once appointed Commissioner of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. The family moved to Little Rock, Arkansas after Brown's father won an election to the Arkansas state legislature. He died in an elevator accident on June 18, 1932. In 1937, Helen, Mary (her sister), and their mother moved to Los Angeles, California. A few months after moving, Mary contracted polio. While in California, Brown attended John H. Francis Polytechnic High School.

In 1962, at the age of 40, Brown authored the bestselling book Sex and the Single Girl. In 1965 she became editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan and reversed the fortunes of the failing magazine. During the decade of the 1960s she was an outspoken advocate of women's sexual freedom and sought to provide them with role-models and a guide in her magazine.  • Helen Gurley Brown Books

Glen Campbell singer, Delight Glen Travis Campbell (born April 22, 1936) is a Grammy and Dove Award-winning and two time Golden Globe-nominated American country pop singer, guitarist and occasional actor. He is best known for a series of hits in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as for hosting a television variety show called The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour on CBS television.

Campbell's hits include John Hartford's "Gentle on My Mind", Jimmy Webb's "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" and "Wichita Lineman", Allen Toussaint's "Southern Nights" and Larry Weiss's "Rhinestone Cowboy". Campbell made history by winning a Grammy in both country and pop categories in 1967: "Gentle on My Mind" snatched the country honors, and "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" won in pop. He owns trophies for Male Vocalist of the Year from both the CMA and the ACM, and took the CMA's top honor as Entertainer of the Year.

During his 50 years in show business, Campbell has released more than 70 albums. He has sold 45 million records and racked up 12 RIAA Gold albums, 4 Platinum albums and 1 Double-Platinum album. Of his 75 trips up the charts, 27 landed in the Top 10. Campbell was hand-picked by actor John Wayne to play alongside him in the 1969 film True Grit, which gave Campbell a Golden Globe nomination for Most Promising Newcomer, and gave Wayne his only Academy Award. Campbell sang and had a hit with the title song (by the same name) which was nominated for an Academy Award. He performed it live at that year's Academy Awards Show. • Glen Campbell Books • Glen Campbell Discography

Hattie Caraway (1878 - 1950) The first woman elected to the United States Senate; lived in Jonesboro. Hattie Wyatt was born near Bakerville, Tennessee, in Humphreys County, the daughter of William Carroll Wyatt, a farmer and shopkeeper, and Lucy Mildred Burch.

At the age of four she moved with her family to Hustburg, Tennessee. After briefly attending Ebenezer College in Hustburg, she transferred to Dickson (Tenn.) Normal College, where she received her B.A. degree in 1896. She taught school for a time before marrying in 1902 Thaddeus Horatius Caraway, whom she had met in college; they had three children, Paul, Forrest, and Robert. The couple moved with to Jonesboro, Arkansas where she cared for their children and home and her husband practiced law and started a political career. Hattie Caraway Books•

Johnny Cash (February 26, 1932 - September 12, 2003 ) Award-winning country and western singer known as “the man in black.”; born in Kingsland.

A humble, happy look back from the man in black. Johnny Cash answers to many names; he's JR to childhood friends and family, John to bandmates, and Johnny to fans. ``Cash'' is the name wife June Carter reserves for ``the star, the egomaniac.'' The star gets plenty of ink here, from the early days at Sun Records--with Elvis, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis--to his current status as a darling of the alternative rock set. But it's the private man who's most compelling and surprisingly complex. Cash writes candidly of his recurring addiction to amphetamines and his concomitant shortcomings as a father, addresses his spirituality without sounding maudlin, and displays genuine humility at his success and very little bitterness at his abandonment by the country music establishment. A more accurate subtitle might be ``The Second Autobiography,'' since this volume covers some of the same ground as Cash's previous work, The Man in Black (1986), but a life so chock full of oddments (he once started a forest fire with an automobile and on another occasion was nearly disemboweled by an ostrich) and renegade stands (he opposed Vietnam, heresy to the nation's blue- collar constituency) easily merits a second look. • Johnny Cash Website • Johnny Cash Discography • Johnny Cash Books 

Eldridge Cleaver (August 31, 1935 – May 1, 1998)

Born in Wabbaseka, Arkansas, Cleaver moved with his family to Phoenix and then to Los Angeles. He has a son, Riley, with an ex girlfriend. From 1967- December 1997 he was married to Kathleen Neal Cleaver. They have a son Ahmad Maceo Eldridge Cleaver and daughter Joju Younghi Cleaver. As a teenager he was involved in petty crime and spent time in detention centers. In 1957 Cleaver was arrested for committing rape and was convicted of assault with intent to murder . he was an influential writer, social critic and radical intellectual and the author of Soul on Ice, Post-Prison Writings and Speeches and Target Zero. Cleaver served as the Minister of Information for the Black Panther Party and Head of the International Section of the Panthers while in exile in Cuba and Algeria.

Soul on Ice is Cleaver's most influential work and is still relevant today for having "laid down an accessible theoretical foundation of grassroots intellectual engagement for independent radical Black writers". • Eldridge Cleaver Books

William Jefferson (Bill) Clinton (1946- ) 42nd President of the United States; born in Hope.

Grade 4-8-Good-quality photographs and clear, accessible texts create instant appeal for these presidential profiles. Each volume provides insightful chapters about each man's youth, family, and education, revealing not only how they launched him into politics but also sustained him through his political life. Burgan describes FDR's rapid ascent to national prominence in 1932, explaining how that election centered on Americans' hope of finding a leader to help them survive the Great Depression. There is a candid discussion of his bout with polio that crippled his body yet molded his belief that he could overcome anything. Subsequent chapters chronicle the war years and his legacy as the country's only four-term president. Disappointingly, there is little mention of Eleanor Roosevelt, a gross omission in light of her active involvement in his domestic and foreign policies. The presence and power of the First Lady are more evident in Heinrichs's volume. •  (Bill) Clinton Books

Jay Hanna (Dizzy) Dean (1910 - 1974) Baseball player; born in Lucas.

An unsentimental and tellingly detailed, albeit limited, rundown on one of baseball's larger-than-life characters. Unlike Vince Staten (see below), Gregory (an Oklahoma-based broadcaster) does not essay a full-dress Dean portrait. Instead, he focuses on Dean's baseball career, which began on the sandlots of the American Southwest and ended in mid-1941, when an old injury forced the pitcher into retirement at age 31. In the comparatively few years that he played in the major leagues, Dizzy (a nickname the St. Louis Cardinal right-hander acquired during a stint in the US Army) accomplished more than enough to boost himself into the Hall of Fame--for example, winning 30 games (while his younger brother Paul posted 19 victories) during the 1934 season, and going on to split with Paul the four wins needed to vanquish the Detroit Tigers in the World Series. While Dean was a superstar on the mound (and, often, at bat or on the basepaths),  • (Dizzy) Dean Books

Michael Dale "Mike" Huckabee (born August 24, 1955) is a Republican politician, author, musician, political commentator, and television host for the Fox News Channel and ABC Radio who served as as a popular governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007. Huckabee finished second in the 2008 United States Republican presidential primaries; he announced his candidacy on January 28, 2007. Following losses to John McCain in the Texas, Ohio, Vermont, and Rhode Island primaries, McCain became the presumptive Republican nominee and Huckabee exited the race on March 4, 2008

Huckabee is the author of several books, an ordained Southern Baptist minister and a public speaker. He and his wife, Janet, have been married for 33 years and have three grown children: John Mark, David, and Sarah. Huckabee was born in Hope, Arkansas, to Mae Elder (1925–1999) and Dorsey Wiles Huckabee (1923–1996), both natives of Hope. His surname is of English origin. He comes from a very humble family background which he cites as inspiration for his populist conservative views. His father worked as a fireman and mechanic, and his mother worked as a clerk at a gas company. • Mike Huckabee Books

Orval Faubus former governor, Combs (January 7, 1910 – December 14, 1994) was a six-term Democratic Governor of Arkansas, serving from 1955 to 1967. He is best known for his 1957 stand against the desegregation of Little Rock public schools during the Little Rock Crisis, in which he defied a unanimous decision of the United States Supreme Court by ordering the Arkansas National Guard to stop African American students from attending Little Rock Central High School. Despite his initial staunch segregationist stances, Faubus much later moderated his positions. He even endorsed the African American minister, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, in the 1984 Democratic presidential primaries. The nomination, however, went to Walter F. Mondale of Minnesota. • Orval Faubus Books
John Gould Fletcher writer, Little Rock (January 3, 1886] – May 20, 1950) was a Pulitzer Prize winning Imagist poet and author. He was born in Little Rock, Arkansas to a socially prominent family. After attending Phillips Academy, Andover Fletcher went on to Harvard University from 1903 to 1907, when he dropped out shortly after his father's death.

Fletcher lived in England for a large portion of his life. While in Europe he associated with Amy Lowell, Ezra Pound, and other Imagist poets, enjoying the vibrant social scene. Fletcher resumed a liaison with Florence Emily “Daisy” Arbuthnot (nee Goold) at her house in Kent. She had been married to Malcolm Arbuthnot and Fletcher's adultery with her was the grounds for the divorce. The couple married on July 5, 1916. Their marriage produced no children, but Arbuthnot’s son and daughter from her previous marriage lived with the couple.

His early works include Irradiations: Sand and Spray (1915), and Goblins and Pagodas (1916). In later poetic works Fletcher returned to more traditional forms. These include The Black Rock (1928), Selected Poems (1938), for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1939, and The Burning Mountain (1946). • John Gould Fletcher Books

John Grisham (1955 - ) born in Jonesboro.

John Grisham is the home run king of legal thrillers. Fans devour his books and can't wait for each blockbuster book every February. Since 2001, he has written a second, lightweight novella in the fall. This is gourmet Grisham.

But who is John Grisham--the real John Grisham? He is an illusive, private, and mysterious person, who shuns publicity. The author of The John Grisham Story: from baseball to bestsellers peels away the layers of this fascinating Mississippi boy, who longed to be a professional baseball player. Grisham was a criminal lawyer, a Mississippi legislator, and is presently a novelist.

Grisham came from a family of storytellers. His gypsy life as a child, moving from Arkansas to many small towns in Mississippi, was fodder for many of his ideas.Author famous for works such as The Firm, , The Pelican Brief,, The Rainmaker and The Chamber •  

John H. Johnson publisher, Arkansas City (January19,  1918 – August8,  2005) was an American businessman and publisher. He was the founder of the Johnson Publishing Company, and in 1982, the first African-American to appear on the Forbes 400.

John Harold Johnson was born in rural Arkansas City, Arkansas, the grandson of slaves. When he was six years old, his father died in a sawmill accident and Johnson was raised by his mother and stepfather. He attended an overcrowded and segregated elementary school. Such was his love of learning, he repeated the eighth grade rather than discontinue his education, since there was no public high school for African Americans in his community.

After a visit with his mother to the Chicago World's Fair, they decided that opportunities in the North were more plentiful than in the South. Facing poverty on every side in Arkansas during the Great Depression, the family made the move to Chicago, Illinois, in 1933 to try to find work and for Johnson to continue his education. Johnson entered DuSable High School while his mother and stepfather scoured the city for jobs during the day.  • John H. Johnson Books

Scott Joplin (1867 - 1917) Musician, composer; lived in Texarkana.

Joplin's music first came to the attention of most people through the 1973 film The Sting, but aside from the recollections of aging family and friends, little accurate biographical information was available on the composer prior to Curtis's account. Born to freedpeople in Texas in 1868, Joplin was a product of both slave traditions and the promise of Reconstruction. In 1893 he journeyed to Chicago and soaked up the influences that led to the flowering of ragtime music. By 1899, Joplin had composed Maple Leaf Rag, which set the standard for future ragtime compositions. The next decade found him in Missouri, where he continued to compose and teach music. Joplin's final years were spent on the ambitious, autobiographical opera Treemonisha. This scholarly work, concerned with race, society, and culture, is recommended for serious music collections. Dan Bogey, Clearfield Cty. P.L. Federation, Curwensville, Pa. • Scott Joplin Books

Alan Ladd actor, Hot Springs Alan Walbridge Ladd (September 3, 1913 – January 29, 1964) was an American film actor

Ladd was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas to an American father (Alan Ladd, Sr.) and an English-American mother (Ina Raleigh Ladd). His father died when the boy was four, and his mother relocated to Oklahoma City, where she married Jim Beavers, a housepainter. The family moved again, to North Hollywood, California. There Ladd became a high-school swimming and diving champion. Burdened with a hated nickname ("Tiny"), the then-5' 4" (162 cm) student fell under the spell of high school dramatics and set his mind toward becoming an actor. He opened his own hamburger and malt shop, which he called Tiny's Patio in defiance of the nickname's negative aspect. He worked briefly as a studio carpenter (as did his stepfather) and for a short time was part of the Universal Pictures studio school for actors. But Universal decided he was too blond and too short and dropped him. Intent on acting, he found work in radio. His rich baritone voice got him increasingly more work. • Alan Ladd Books • Alan Ladd Movies

General Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964) Famous soldier and statesman; born in Little Rock.

General of the Army Douglas MacArthur [1] (January 26, 1880 – April 5, 1964) was an American general, United Nations general, and Field Marshal of the Philippine Army. He was a Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and later played a prominent role in the Pacific theater of World War II. He was a highly decorated US soldier of the war,[2] receiving the Medal of Honor for his early service in the Philippines and on the Bataan Peninsula.[3] He was designated to command the proposed invasion of Japan in November 1945. When that was no longer necessary, he officially accepted the nation's surrender on September 2, 1945.

MacArthur oversaw the occupation of Japan from 1945 to 1951. Although criticized for protecting Emperor Hirohito and the imperial family from prosecution for war crimes, MacArthur is credited with implementing far-reaching democratic reforms in that country. He led the United Nations Command forces defending South Korea against the North Korean invasion from 1950 to 1951. • General Douglas MacArthur Books

Scottie Pippen Played for the University of Central Arkansas; born in Hamburg. (born September 25, 1965) is a retired American professional basketball player who played in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is most remembered for his time with the Chicago Bulls, with whom he was instrumental to six NBA Championships and their record 1996 season of 72 wins. Pippen, along with Michael Jordan, played an important role in popularizing the NBA around the world during the 1980s and 1990s.

Pippen was named to the NBA All-Defensive Team eight times and the All-NBA First Team three times. He was a seven-time NBA All Star and was the NBA All Star Game MVP in 1994. He was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History during the 1996–97 NBA season, and is one of four players to have their jerseys retired by the Chicago Bulls (the others being Jerry Sloan, Bob Love, and Michael Jordan). During his seventeen-year career, he played twelve seasons with the Bulls, one with the Rockets and four with the Trail Blazers, making the postseason sixteen straight times. He is third on the list of most postseason games played, behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Robert Horry. Pippen will be eligible for induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010. • Scottie Pippen Books

Dick Powell actor, Mountain View Richard Ewing "Dick" Powell (November 14, 1904 – January 2, 1963) was an American singer, actor, producer, director and studio boss.

Born in Mountain View, the seat of Stone County in northern Arkansas, Powell attended the former Little Rock College in the state capital, before he started his entertainment career as a singer with the Charlie Davis Orchestra, based in the midwest. He recorded a number of records with Davis, and on his own, for the Vocalion label in the late 1920s.

Powell moved to Pittsburgh, where he found great local success as the Master of Ceremonies at the Enright Theater, and the Stanley Theater. In April 1930, Warner Bros. bought up Brunswick Records, which at that time owned Vocalion. Warner Bros. was sufficiently impressed by Powell's singing and stage presence to offer him a film contract in 1932. He made his film debut as a singing bandleader in Blessed Event. He went on to star as a boyish crooner in movie musicals such as 42nd Street, Footlight Parade, Gold Diggers of 1933, Dames, Flirtation Walk, and On the Avenue, often appearing opposite Ruby Keeler and Joan Blondell. • Dick Powell Books • Dick Powell Movies

Sarasen (1735 - 1832) The last Quapaw chief in Arkansas; he is buried in Pine Bluff. •
Mary Steenburgen - Actress; born in Newport Mary Nell Steenburgen (born February 8, 1953) is an Academy Award-winning American actress.

Steenburgen was born in Newport, Arkansas, the daughter of Nell, a school-board secretary, and Maurice Steenburgen, a freight-train conductor who worked at the Missouri Pacific Railroad. Steenburgen grew up in North Little Rock, Arkansas. Steenburgen married Malcolm McDowell in 1980 and they had two children together: Lily Amanda, born January 31, 1981 and Charles Malcolm born July 10, 1983, before divorcing in 1990, and has been married to actor Ted Danson since 1995.

In September 2005, she and Danson provided a guest lecture for students at the Clinton School of Public Service where they discussed their roles in public service as well as the foundations and causes in which they are involved. An alumnus of Hendrix College, Steenburgen received an honorary doctorate from the institution in 1989. In 2006, Steenburgen received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas. • Mary Steenburgen Books • Mary Steenburgen Movies

Edward Durrell Stone architect, Fayettville (March 9, 1902 - August 6, 1978) was a twentieth century American architect.

Stone was born in Fayetteville, Arkansas, a small college town in the northwest corner of the state. His family, early settlers of the area, owned a prosperous dry goods store. One of his childhood friends was J. William Fulbright, the future United States Senator from Arkansas and Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Stone and Fulbright remained friends throughout their lives. Stone attended the University of Arkansas, where his interest in architecture was encouraged by the chairman of the art department. His older brother, James Hicks Stone (1886-1928), was already a practicing architect in Boston, Massachusetts, and James encouraged his younger brother to join him there. While in Boston, Stone attended the Boston Architectural Club (now The Boston Architectural Center), Harvard University, and MIT, but he never received a degree. While studying, Stone also apprenticed in the offices of Coolidge, Shepley, Bulfinch and Abbott, H. H. Richardson’s successor firm. Henry R. Shepley, one of the firm’s senior partners, mentored Stone while he was in Boston and assisted him throughout his career. • Edward Durrell Stone Books  •

Sam Walton (1918 - 1992) Founder of Wal-Mart; lived in  Bentonville.

The late Sam Walton was one of the shrewdest and richest merchants in America. Centered on the building of his Wal-Mart empire, his book, like fellow magnate Sandra Kurtzig's CEO: Building a $400 Million Company from Ground Up ( LJ 5/1/91), is light on biography. However, readers will enjoy the folksy narrative of the small-town millionaire who revolutionized retail distribution. Walton also addresses accusations against him, such as running the competition out of town. Coauthor Huey does a fine job of incorporating candid testimonials from family members and associates, who thought Walton's ideas were sometimes silly. Shortly after Walton's death, the book was given an overly sentimental postscript (a minor detraction) and rushed into print. Highly recommended for public and academic business collections. - Rebecca A. Smith, Harvard Business Sch. Lib. • Sam Walton Books