USA Famous People of Arizona

Arizona Biographies

Rex Allen singer, actor, Willcox Rex Elvie Allen (December 31, 1920 – December 17, 1999) was an American film actor, singer and songwriter who is particularly known as the narrator in many Walt Disney nature and Western productions. For contributions to the recording industry, Rex Allen was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Allen was born to Horace E. Allen and Luella Faye Clark on a ranch in Mud Springs Canyon, 40 miles from Willcox, Arizona. As a boy he played guitar and sang at local functions with his fiddle-playing father until high school graduation when he toured the Southwest as a rodeo rider. He got his start in show business on the East Coast as a vaudeville singer, then found work in Chicago as a performer on the WLS-AM program, National Barn Dance. In 1948 he signed with Mercury Records where he recorded a number of successful country music albums until 1952 when he switched to the Decca label where he continued to make records into the 1970s. He also recorded one album for Buena Vista (Disney, pictured) in the 1960s, although sources vary on the date of issue. • Rex Allen Books • Rex Allen Movies

Apache Kid Indian outlaw, Arizona Territory (Haskay-bay-nay-natyl) (1860's - Unknown) was a White Mountain Apache scout and outlaw, active in the US Southwest in the later 19th and early 20th centuries. He was probably born in the 1860s, might have been killed around 1890, but may have lived into the 1930s. The Apache Kid Wilderness in New Mexico was named after him. The Apache Kid character in Marvel Comics was named after him but otherwise has no connection.

Sometime during the mid-1870's, the Kid met and became associated with well known scout Al Sieber, who was Chief of Army Scouts. A few years later, in 1881, the Kid enlisted with the US Cavalry as a scout, in a program designed by General George Crook to help quell Apache raids. By July of 1882, due to his remarkable abilities at the job, he was promoted to sergeant. Shortly thereafter he accompanied General Crook on an expedition into the Sierra Madre Mountains. He worked on assignment both in Arizona and Mexico over the next couple of years, but in 1885 he was involved in a riot while intoxicated, and to prevent his being hanged by Mexican authorities, Al Sieber sent him back north. • Apache Kid Books

Lynda Carter actress, Phoenix Lynda Carter (born July 24, 1951) is an American actress and singer. She is best know for the adventure television series Wonder Woman which aired from 1975 to 1979.

Carter was born Linda Jean Córdova Carter in Phoenix, Arizona. Her father, Colby Carter, is a former antiques dealer of Irish-American descent. Her mother, Juana Córdova, is a Mexican immigrant who previously worked in the telephone industry. Although Carter does not speak Spanish, she understands it well and is proud of her Mexican heritage. Carter grew up an avid reader of the Wonder Woman comic books. She went to Globe High School in Globe, Arizona and Arcadia High School in Phoenix. She attended Arizona State University but after being voted the "most talented" student she dropped out in order to pursue a career in music. She toured as a singer with several rock groups before returning to Arizona in 1972. • Lynda Carter Books • Lynda Carter Movies

Cesar Estrada Chavez (1927 - 1993) Founded and led the first successful farm workers' union in U.S. history, born in Yuma.

This concise biography of César Chávez documents the life of one of the most important labor organizers of the last half of the 20th century-a reformer and activist who personified the American struggle for democracy. His story is told through an evocative biographical essay accompanied by several types of documents: Chávez in his own words, Chávez in the words of his contemporaries, Chávez as seen by historians in a group of secondary sources, and finally a visual portfolio of 20 photographs and cartoons. The secondary sources focus on critical questions about the labor unions he helped to found and the impact he made on the Chicano population as well as the rest of the world. All of the materials are accompanied by a helpful chronology, bibliographic essay, and questions for consideration. • Cesar Estrada Chavez Books

Cochise Apache indian chief, Arizona Territory (pronounced /koʊˈtʃiːs/; Apache K'uu-ch'ish "firewood"; c. 1815–June 8, 1874) was a chief (a nantan) of the Chokonen ("central" or "real" Chiricahua) band of the Chiricahua Apache and the leader of an uprising that began in 1861. Cochise County, Arizona is named after him.

Cochise was one of the most famous Apache leaders (along with Geronimo) to resist intrusions by Americans during the 19th century. He was described as a large man (for the time), with a muscular frame, classical features, and long black hair which he wore in traditional Apache style. Cochise's family currently resides at Mescalero Apache Reservation, New Mexico.

Cochise and the Chokonen-Chiricahua lived in the area that is now the northern Mexican region of Sonora, New Mexico, and Arizona, which were traditional Apache territories until the coming of the Europeans. Due to encroachment by Spain and later Mexico, the Chokonen and Nednhi-Chiricahua became increasingly dependent upon food rations issued by the Mexican government to placate them. When this practice was abruptly ended in 1831, the various Chiricahua bands resumed raids to acquire food. • Cochise Books

John Fund (born on April 8, 1957 in Tucson, Arizona) is an American political journalist and columnist for the website of the Wall Street Journal. He also writes for the Journal's Political Diary newsletter and is a senior editor and columnist for The American Spectator.

Fund joined The Wall Street Journal as a deputy editorial features editor in 1984 and was a member of the editorial board from 1995 through 2001. The articles he has written have appeared in Esquire, Reader's Digest, Reason, The New Republic, and National Review. He is the author of Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy, in which he describes the American election system as "befitting an emerging Third World country rather than the world's leading democracy" and co-author of Cleaning House: America's Campaign for Term Limits with James Coyne. Fund also collaborated with Rush Limbaugh on The Way Things Ought to Be. • John Fund Books

Joan Ganz Cooney (1929 - ) Producer of Sesame Street; born in Phoenix Sesame Street, Children's television series, Joan Ganz Cooney, Lloyd Morrisett, Sesame Workshop, The Jim Henson Company, History of Sesame Street, Rumors and urban legends regarding Sesame Street, Play with Me Sesame, Sesame English, Elmo's World, Grover, Sesame Street Unpaved, Open Sesame (TV series), Don't Eat the Pictures (special), Big Bird in Japan, Big Bird in China, Out to Lunch (TV program), Elmo, Julie on Sesame Street, Sesame Street Stays Up Late!, Evening at Pops, Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, A Special Sesame Street Christmas, Elmo Saves Christmas, Sesame Street? 20 Years, Elmopalooza, Shalom Sesame, Sesame Street Presents Follow That Bird, The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland, Sesame Place, Sesame Beginnings, Sesame Street internationally • Joan Ganz Cooney Books
Geronimo (1829 - 1909) Leader of the Apache Indians that fought the U.S. settlements until 1886; born in Clifton. Goyahkla (Geronimo) was born to the Bedonkohe band of the Apache, near Turkey Creek, a tributary of the Gila River in the modern-day state of New Mexico, then part of Mexico, but which his family considered Bedonkohe land. He had three brothers and four sisters.

Geronimo's parents raised him according to Apache traditions. He married a woman from the Chiricahua band of Apache when he was 17; they had four children. On March 6, 1858, a company of 400 Mexican soldiers from Sonora led by Colonel José María Carrasco attacked Geronimo's camp outside Janos while the men were in town trading. Among those killed were Geronimo's wife, Alope, his children, and his mother. His chief, Mangas Coloradas, sent him to Cochise's band for help in revenge against the Mexicans. It was the Mexicans who named him Geronimo. This appellation stemmed from a battle in which he repeatedly attacked Mexican soldiers with a knife, ignoring a deadly hail of bullets, in reference to the Mexicans' plea to Saint Jerome ("Jeronimo!"). The name stuck.• Geronimo Books

Barry Goldwater politician, Phoenix Barry Morris Goldwater (January 1, 1909 – May 29, 1998) was a five-term United States Senator from Arizona (1953–1965, 1969–1987) and the Republican Party's nominee for President in the 1964 election. He was also a Major General in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. He was known as "Mr. Conservative".

Goldwater is the politician most often credited for sparking the resurgence of the American conservative political movement in the 1960s. He also had a substantial impact on the libertarian movement.

Goldwater rejected the legacy of the New Deal and fought inside the conservative coalition to defeat the New Deal coalition. He lost the 1964 presidential election by a large margin to incumbent Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson. The Johnson campaign and other critics painted him as a reactionary, while supporters praised his crusades against the federal government, labor unions, and the welfare state. • Barry Goldwater Books

Zane Grey (1872 - 1939) Author of many popular Western novels; lives near Payson

"Much has been written about Zane Grey in the century since his first book was published. Sadly, very little of it will stand the test of time. Thomas Pauly 's book, on the other hand, ranks with the best that has ever been written on the subject. It is thoroughly researched, well documented, and fascinating. Quite simply, it is a masterpiece. A must-read for every serious student of the Old West." -- Joe L..Wheeler, Ph.D., cofounder and executive director of Zane Grey 's West Society, publisher and editor of Zane Grey 's West magazine "Pauly 's work is unsurpassed. Not only has he thoroughly researched the existing material on Grey, he has industriously tracked down all sorts of family archives, letters, journals and other materials barely used by previous authors." John Cawelti, author of Six-Gun Mystique • Zane Grey Books • Zane Grey Films

Carl Trumbull Hayden politician, Phoenix (October 2, 1877 – January 25, 1972) was an American politician and the first United States Senator to serve seven terms. Serving as Arizona's first Representative for eight terms before entering the Senate, Hayden held the record for longest-serving member of the United States Congress from 1958 until 2009. The longtime Dean of the United States Senate served as its president pro tempore and chairman of both its Rules and Administration and Appropriations committees.

Having earned a reputation as a reclamation expert early in his congressional career, Hayden consistently backed legislation dealing with public lands, mining, reclamation, and other projects affecting the Western United States. In addition, he played a key role in creating the funding formula for the federal highway system. President John F. Kennedy said of Hayden, "Every Federal program which has contributed to the development of the West—irrigation, power, reclamation—bears his mark, and the great Federal highway program which binds this country, together, which permits this State to be competitive east and west, north and south, this in large measure is his creation." • Carl Trumbull Hayden Books

Helen Hull Jacobs Tennis champion, writer; (August 6, 1908 – June 2, 1997) was a World No. 1 American female tennis player who won ten Grand Slam titles. She was born in Globe, Arizona, United States.

Jacobs had a powerful serve and overhead smash and a sound backhand, but she never learned to hit a flat forehand, despite her friendship, and some coaching, from Bill Tilden.

Jacobs won five Grand Slam singles titles and was an eleven-time Grand Slam singles runner-up. Six of those losses were to Helen Wills Moody. Jacobs's only victory over Moody was in the final of the 1933 U.S. Championships. Moody retired from the match with a back injury while trailing 3–0 in the third set to a chorus of boos from the audience who believed that Moody quit the match merely to deny Jacobs the satisfaction of finishing out her victory. It was reported by many witnesses after the match that Moody still planned to play her doubles match later that afternoon but was advised against it because she was "injured" after all. Years later, Moody confirmed her injury, saying, "My back is kind of funny. The vertebra between the fourth and fifth disk is thin. When the disk slips around it's intolerable. It rained the whole week before that final match. I lay in bed, and that was bad because it stiffened worse. I just couldn't play any longer, but I didn't say anything because it would look like an excuse." • Helen Hull Jacobs Books

Frank Luke, Jr. WWI fighter ace, Phoenix (May 19, 1897–September 29, 1918) was an American fighter ace, ranking second among U.S. Army Air Service pilots to Captain Eddie Rickenbacker in number of aerial victories during World War I (Rickenbacker was credited with 26 aerial victories, while Luke's official score was 18). Frank Luke was the first airman to receive the Medal of Honor. Luke Air Force Base, a U.S. Air Force pilot training installation since World War II, is named in his honor.

Luke was born May 19, 1897 in Phoenix, Arizona after his family emigrated from Germany to America, settling in Arizona in 1873. Frank was his family's fifth child, and he grew up excelling in sports, working in copper mines, and participating in bare-knuckle boxing matches. Following America's entry into World War I, he enlisted in the Aviation Section, U.S. Army Signal Corps on September 25, 1917, and received pilot training in Texas and California. After being comissioned a Second Lieutenant in March of 1918, he went to France for further training, and in July was assigned to the 27th Aero Squadron. Although Luke was still a second lieutenant at the time of his death, Stephen Skinner's book "The Stand" notes that he received a posthumous promotion to first lieutenant. • Frank Luke, Jr Books

John McCain (1936 - ) Arizona Senator and war hero.  John McCain - A Man of Straight Talk is a biography of John McCain, who is a United States Senator from the State of Arizona and 2008 Republican Presidential candidate. John McCain comes from a military family, with both his father and grandfather having served as Admirals in the United States Nazy. John McCain graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1958. Most notably in his military career, McCain was shot down during a bombing mission of North Vietnam and was held as a prisoner of war for five and a half years enduring poor conditions and periods of torture. He was elected in 1982 to the United States House of Representatives, and succesfully ran for the upper body of Congress when he was elected to the Senate in 1986. Although John McCain was an unsuccessful Presidential candidate in 2000, he would have better luck in 2008 in garnering the Republican parties endorsement as their candidate. John McCain is known for his straight talk, and telling the truth instead of just telling voters what they want to hear like most politicians. John McCain - A Man of Straight Talk is a biography that will tell you the straight talk about Presidential candidate John McCain and is highly recommended for those who are interested in learning more about his life and politics.• John McCain Books
Phil Mickelson (1970 - ) Professional golfer, Scottsdale resident.

Mickelson was long known as "golf's most lovable runner-up" until he finally won the Masters in 2004... He's become a crowd favorite second only to Tiger Woods not only because of his dry spell but also because of his legendary work ethic. Indeed, he begins this book by describing his famous pretournament routine of hitting 100 three-foot putts in a row without missing, no matter how many shots it takes. This and other insights into the methods of a pro golfer are the most fascinating parts of Mickelson's text.

Each of the 18 chapters begins and ends with detailed descriptions of how Mickelson played each hole of his Masters' victory (e.g., how he "analyzed the shot dispersion patterns for both right-handed and left-handed golfers" to figure out that the tournament's 12th hole is "set up perfectly for a left-handed player" such as himself). However, the bulk of the book is devoted to the story of Mickelson's life. Although these passages are often moving (concerning his battle to overcome a deep playing slump and his wife's nearly fatal delivery of their third child), the story is marred by frequent generalizations like "success is more rewarding when it is difficult to achieve" and "picking your life partner is a critical decision" for "personal happiness." More golfing and fewer inspirational insights would've strengthened Mickelson's eventually triumphant tale. • Phil Mickelson Books

Charles Mingus jazz musician and composer, Nogales

n an art form known for its outrageous characters, Charles Mingus stood out. To paraphrase Walt Whitman, he was a man of "multitudes." He was a forceful, virtuosic bassist. He was an imaginative and original composer and arranger second only to Duke Ellington. He was also a social critic, bully, lady's man, father, and hypersensitive man-child who simply wanted to be appreciated for his work. Making sense of this larger-than-life personality presents an imposing challenge to any biographer. Enter Gene Santoro. The author of Dancing in Your Head: and Stir It Up : Musical Mixes from Roots to Jazz, Santoro updates Brian Priestley's Mingus: A Critical Biography; separates the fact from the fiction of Mingus's rowdy autobiography, Beneath the Underdog; and produces the literary equivalent of a masterful Mingus composition, complete with labyrinthine surprises and complexities. • Charles Mingus Website • Charles Mingus Discography • Charles Mingus Books

Sandra Day O’Conner (1930 - ) The first woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court in 1981. (born March 26, 1930) is an American jurist and was the first female member of the Supreme Court of the United States. She served as an Associate Justice from 1981 until her retirement from the Court in 2006. O'Connor was appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan in 1981.

Prior to O'Connor's appointment to the Court, she was an elected official and judge in Arizona.[3] On July 1, 2005, she announced her intention to retire effective upon the confirmation of a successor. President George W. Bush nominated Justice Samuel Alito to take her seat in October 2005 and he joined the Court on January 31, 2006.

O'Connor is Chancellor of The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and serves on the board of trustees of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. • Sandra Day O’Conner Books

Linda Ronstadt (1946 - ) Singer, born in Tucson.

Readers won't be scandalized or even surprised by Bego's ( Aretha Franklin ) "unauthorized biography" of the pop singer extraordinaire. The author is obviously a big fan of Ronstadt's, and his biography intersperses the facts of her life with effusive praise of her musical accomplishments. Bego takes us from Ronstadt's childhood in Tucson, Ariz., where she first became "mesmerized by music," through the mid-1960s in Los Angeles as the lead singer for the Stone Poneys, her superstar period as "the most successful female singer of the 1970s," and her forays into opera, jazz and mariachi music during the last decade. Along the way, we learn, rather sketchily, about Ronstadt's affairs with singer J. D. Souther, actor Albert Brooks, former California governor Jerry Brown and filmmaker George Lucas, among others. Bego relies on past interviews from a multitude of magazines and newspapers, and although he has done a capable job of pasting together quotes from various sources to create a coherent chronology, rarely does he attempt to probe beneath the surface of Ronstadt's California cool. Photos not seen by PW.• Linda Ronstadt Website • Linda Ronstadt Discography • Linda Ronstadt Books

David Spade (1965 - ) Comedian/actor, Raised in Scottsdale (born July 22, 1964) is an American actor, comedian and television personality who first became famous in the 1990s as a cast member on Saturday Night Live, and from 1997 until 2003 starred as Dennis Finch on Just Shoot Me!. He also starred as C.J. Barnes, along with Katey Sagal and James Garner on 8 Simple Rules. He currently stars as Russell Dunbar on the CBS sitcom Rules of Engagement.

Spade is the son of Judith M., a writer and magazine editor, and Wayne M. Spade, a sales representative. His father moved the family to Scottsdale, Arizona, but abandoned them not long afterwards. His mother eventually remarried, but Spade's stepfather committed suicide in 1981 when Spade was 17 years old. His brothers are Bryan and Andy Spade; Andy Spade is the husband of designer Kate Spade and CEO of Kate Spade New York. • David Spade Books • David Spade Movies & TV

Steven Spielberg (1946 - ) Film director, raised in Phoenix Steven Allan Spielberg KBE (born December 18, 1946) is an American film director, screenwriter, and film producer. In a career of over four decades, Spielberg's films have touched on many themes and genres.

Spielberg's early sci-fi and adventure films, sometimes centering on children, were seen as an archetype of modern Hollywood blockbuster filmmaking. In later years his films began addressing such issues as The Holocaust, slavery, war and terrorism. Spielberg won the Academy Award for Best Director for 1993's Schindler's List and 1998's Saving Private Ryan. Three of Spielberg's films, Jaws (1975), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), and Jurassic Park (1993), broke box office records, each becoming the highest-grossing film made at the time. To date, the unadjusted gross of all Spielberg-directed films • Steven Spielberg Books • Steven Spielberg Films

Kerri Strug (born November 19, 1977) is an American gymnast from Tucson, Arizona. She was a member of the Magnificent Seven, the gymnastics team that represented the United States at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, and is remembered for performing the vault despite having seriously injured her ankle, in order to clinch a gold medal in the women's team competition.

Strug's sister, Lisa, began competing in gymnastics when she was eight years old, before Kerri was even born. Kerri Strug began gymnastics at a young age and, like her sister, competed for the first time when she was eight. Strug was trained by American coach Jim Gault until she moved to Béla Károlyi in January 1991 and joined the United States National Team. In 1992, at age 14, she won a team bronze medal at the Barcelona Olympics, at which she was the youngest member of the entire U.S. team. Throughout the Team Compulsiories and Optionals, she and Kim Zmeskal competed for the final US available spot to compete in the all-around. She was eventually edged out by Zmeskal, with Shannon Miller and Betty Okino as the other two American gymnasts to qualify for the all-around.

Karolyi retired from coaching after the 1992 Games, leaving Strug to decide whether to continue gymnastics with a different coach or quit. • Kerri Strug Books

Stewart Udall (1920 - ) Former Secretary of the Interior

Born in St. Johns, Arizona, he is the son of Levi Stewart Udall. He was educated at the University of Arizona, and he saw combat as a gunner in the Army Air Corps during the Italian Campaign of World War II. Stewart Udall graduated from the University of Arizona Law School in 1948, and began his own law practice in Tucson shortly thereafter.

Udall served as Secretary of the Interior under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson from 1961 to 1969, when he described his nation's ecological attitudes as the "myth of superabundance".He lent his support and advice to one of the earliest efforts to save a complex natural resource, The Great Swamp of New Jersey. After a year-long legal battle that pitted local residents against the powerful New York Port Authority officials who wished to turn the Great Swamp into a major regional airport to replace Newark Airport with one that could accommodate large jet aircraft. • Stewart Udall Books