USA Famous People of Colorado

Colorado Biographies

Tim Allen (1953 - ) Actor, His films include The Santa Clause (1994) and the voice of Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story (1995); born in Denver. Tim Allen, star of the hit sitcom Home Improvement, takes on quantum philosophy, intergender relationships, and the male midlife crisis in a joke-filled (but ultimately serious) "weekend in the life" narrative. It's an odd combination, shifting from enthusiastic gushing over restored sports cars to earnest elaborations upon Deepak Chopra and Fritjof Capra, but Allen manages to pull it off. If you're expecting a standard unchallenging celebrity-penned "book," or a fluff-filled "memoir," you're going to be quite surprised.  • Tim Allen Books • Tim Allen Movies
Scott Carpenter (1925 - ) One of the original seven U.S. astronauts and second American to orbit the earth; born in Boulder I purchased the paperback version of this best-seller when I was eleven years old and read it so much that it fell apart! There have been more recent and certainly more revealing books written by and about the original seven American astronauts and those they worked with, both in and out of the space program. Yet this book, written at the time of the Mercury orbital flights, takes you right inside the Mercury capsule (yes, it was a capsule then) and makes you feel as if you were riding in space with the Astronauts, or training alongside them, whether it be in a simulator in their training headquarters, in a classroom learning cutting-edge (then) astrophysics, in a survival course on the desert or in the jungle, or on a trip to a meeting with the contractors who built the hardware for the space program. Each astronaut reveals his motivation for joining the space program and his idea of how to go about his assignments; this alone disproves the notion that these men were all white male military test-pilot "peas in a pod". It's as if they were guests in your living room. With all due respect to Tom Wolfe, this is where you find the real "right stuff!"  • Scott Carpenter Books
Ben Nighthorse Campbell (1933 - ) First Native American to serve in the U.S. Senate (1992)Campbell overcame a childhood ravaged by the illnesses of a tubercular mother and an alcoholic father to become a Colorado Democratic state legislator, a representative in congress and, in 1992, a U.S. Senator. He first came to wide attention as a member of the four-man 1964 Olympic judo team. The 1960s also marked his increasing interest in his father's Native American ancestry (Apache, Pueblo and Cheyenne). A horse breeder and jewelry designer, Campbell turned to politics in the early '80s. Flamboyant and individualistic, he has taken controversial stands, including casting a vote against Operation Desert Storm. Viola ( Diplomats in Buckskin ) wrote this biography at Campbell's request, and his overly sympathetic attitude towards his subject is a serious detraction from a book that is further marred by poor organization and stilted prose that ill serve the subject's interesting life. Photos not seen by PW. • Ben Nighthorse Campbell Books
Adolph Coors (1847-1919) Founder of the Adolph Coors Company in Golden Name by Jonathon Yardly of the Washington Post as one of the best books of 2000, Citizen Coors combines a monumental business story with a heartrending tale of family strife and a sweeping vista of American politics in the last half of the twentieth century. From the moment when the dsitute Prussian Adolph Coors stows away to America in 1868, through the creation of the Heritage Foundation, to the global expansion of the billion-dollar Coors Brewing Company, the Coors family triumphed by iron-willed commitment to its own values -- values that ironically prove the family's undoing on both the business and political fronts.

Acclaimed writer Dan Baum captures it all, from Adolph's Prohibition-provoked suicide to the banishment of an heir-apparent for marrying without permission. Baum vividly depicts the genius, eccentricity, and tragic weaknesses of the remarkable Coors family. • Adolph Coors Books

Lon Chaney (1883 - 1930) Actor made famous for his “thousand faces,” starred in The Hunchback of Notre-Dame and The Phantom of the Opera ; born in Colorado Springs. Lon Chaney - The Man of a Thousand Faces is the biography of Lon Chaney, an American actor during the age of silent films. He was one of the most versatile and powerful actors of early cinema. He is best remembered for his characterizations of tortured, often grotesque and afflicted characters, and his groundbreaking artistry with film makeup. Chaney is chiefly remembered as a pioneer in such silent horror films as The Hunchback of Notre Dame and most notably The Phantom of the Opera. His ability to transform himself using self-invented makeup techniques earned him the nickname of "Man of a Thousand Faces." Chaney's talents extended far beyond the horror genre, and stage makeup. He was also a highly skilled dancer, singer and comedian. In fact, many people who did not know Chaney were surprised by his rich baritone voice and his sharp comedic skills. Lon Chaney - The Man of a Thousand Faces is highly recommended for those interested in reading more about this talented actor. • Lon Chaney Books • Lon Chaney Movies
Jack Dempsey (1895 - 1983) Boxer, world heavyweight champion from 1919-26; born in Manassa.Heavyweight Champion of the World from 1919 to 1926, Jack Dempsey, also known as the Manassa Mauler, began his boxing career as a skinny boy of sixteen, riding the rails and participating in hastily staged saloon bouts against miners and lumberjacks. In this incisive, fast-paced biography, Randy Roberts charts the life and career of a man widely regarded as one of the toughest ever to enter the ring. He details Dempsey's transition from barroom fights to professional boxing and his emerging reputation for fast, brutal knockouts. Roberts draws on a wealth of newspaper articles and interviews to chronicle Dempsey's rise to the heavyweight championship and his six title defenses. Also included are accounts of the eventual loss of his title to Gene Tunney in 1926, and the rematch in 1927, which Dempsey also lost in the infamous "long count." After continuing to fight in exhibitions, Dempsey retired from boxing in 1940 with an astonishing 64 victories, 49 of them knockouts. • Jack Dempsey Books
Ralph Edwards entertainer, MerinoRalph Livingstone Edwards (June 13, 1913 – November 16, 2005) was an American radio and television host and television producer.

Born in Merino, Colorado, Edwards began his career as a radio announcer while still at Oakland High School in California, landing a part time job at KROW-AM. After graduating in 1931, he worked his way through college at the University of California, Berkeley, earning a B.A. in English in 1935.While there, he worked at every job from janitor to producer at Oakland's KTAB. Failing to get a job as a high school teacher, he worked at KFRC and then hitchhiked across the country to New York, where, he said, "I ate ten-cent meals and slept on park benches," .

After some part time announcing jobs, he got his big break in 1938 with a fulltime job for the Columbia Broadcasting System on WABC (now WCBS-AM), where he worked with two other young announcers who would become broadcasting fixtures - Mel Allen and Andre Baruch. • Ralph Edwards Books

John Elway (1960 - ) Famous Denver Broncos quarterback.

Gr 4-6This biography begins with Elways birth in 1960 and ends with the 1998 season when the quarterback won his first Super Bowl ring with the Denver Broncos. Christopher packs this lively account with play-by-play action. Though filled with factual information, the text reads like a story. Unfortunately, the book lacks an index, bibliography, source notes, or suggestions for further reading. Dan Hirshbergs John Elway (Chelsea, 1997), which has an index and a short suggested-reading list, covers the same material but is dated. Also, because Denver won the 1999 Super Bowl, there are sure to be more biographies in the making. However, Christophers book is an entertaining read for sports fans. Black-and-white action shots of the athlete appear in a middle section.Barb Lawler, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA • John Elway Books

Douglas Fairbanks (1883 - 1939) Actor and founder of United Artists with Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin; born in Denver. Several biographies of Douglas Fairbanks have been published through the years, but who can tell the story better than the man himself?

The Douglas Fairbanks Museum has assembled an engaging collection of the writings of Douglas Fairbanks with In His Own Words. These selected stories make for a fascinating read; especially considering that most of them have not been seen since their initial publication nearly a century ago.

Starting with his first short story in 1912, this new book features autobiographical accounts, interviews, and rare personal correspondence, as well as the original story treatments for his classic films The Three Musketeers, Robin Hood, The Thief of Bagdad, and The Black Pirate. In His Own Words reveals Fairbanks to be a writer of great sincerity, versatility, humor and appeal. • Douglas Fairbanks Books • Douglas Fairbanks Movies

Eugene Fodor (born March 5, 1950 in Denver, Colorado)

World-renowned violin soloist. Eugene Fodor ( is an American violinist. Fodor's first ten years of study were with Harold Wippler. He then studied at the Juilliard School of Music in New York City, Indiana University and the University of Southern California, where his teachers included Ivan Galamian, Josef Gingold and Jascha Heifetz, respectively. Fodor made his solo debut with the Denver Symphony at the age of ten, playing Max Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1 and began touring as a soloist while still a young teenager. Fodor won numerous national contests before the age of seventeen, including First Prize in both the Merriweather Post Competition in Washington, D.C. and the Young Musicians Foundation Competition in Los Angeles, California. • Eugene Fodor Books

Gene Fowler writer (born Eugene Devlan) (March 8, 1890 – July 2, 1960) was an American journalist, author and dramatist. He was born in Denver, Colorado. When his mother remarried, young Gene took his stepfather's name to become Gene Fowler. Fowler's career had a false start in taxidermy, which he later claimed permanently gave him a distaste for red meat. After a year at the University of Colorado, he took a job with The Denver Post. His assignments included an interview with frontiersman and Wild West Show promoter Buffalo Bill Cody. He established his trademark impertinence by questioning Cody about his many love affairs.

Subsequently, Fowler worked for the New York Daily Mirror, and then became newspaper syndication manager for King Features. His later work included over a dozen screenplays, mostly written in the 1930s, and a number of books including biographies and memoirs.

During his years in Hollywood, Fowler became close to such celebrities as John Barrymore and W.C. Fields. Fields, whose animus toward children is legendary, claimed that Gene Fowler's sons were the only children he could stand.

In 1916, Fowler married Agnes Hubbard who bore three children, the eldest of whom was Gene Fowler Jr. (1917-1998), a prominent Hollywood film editor (whose work included It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and Hang 'Em High) and a sometime director (1959's I Was a Teenage Werewolf as well as numerous television programs).. • Gene Fowler Books

Lawrence H. Gipson historian, Greeley Lawrence Henry Gipson (1880–September 26, 1971) was a U.S. historian, who won the 1950 Bancroft Prize and the 1962 Pulitzer Prize for History. He is best known as a leader of the "Imperial school" of historians who studied, and generally praised the British Empire in the 18th century.

A native of Greeley, Colorado, Gipson moved with his family to Caldwell, Idaho as a boy. After dropping out of high school, he worked at various odd jobs (such as mining and driving stage coaches), as well as at the family business, Caxton Press, which published Idaho Odd Fellow, the Gem State Rural and Livestock Farmer.

Gipson graduated from the University of Idaho in 1903. He was then selected to be one of the first Rhodes Scholars. Receiving his B.A. from Oxford University in 1907 • Lawrence H. Gipson Books

Ruth Handler toy maker, Denver (November 4, 1916 – April 27, 2002) was an American businesswoman, born to Jewish-Polish immigrants Jacob and Ida Moskowicz, the president of the toy manufacturer Mattel Inc., and is remembered primarily for her role in marketing the Barbie doll.

Her husband, Elliot Handler and his business partner, Harold "Matt" Matson, formed a small company to manufacture picture frames, calling it "Mattel" by combining part of their names ("Matt" and "Elliot"). Later, they began using scraps from the manufacturing process to make dollhouse furniture. The furniture was more profitable than the picture frames and it was decided to concentrate on toy manufacturing. The company's first big-seller was the "Uka-a-doodle", a toy ukulele. • Ruth Handler Books

Erick Hawkins - Frederick Hawkins known as Erick Hawkins (April 23, 1909 – November 23, 1994) was a leading American modern-dance choreographer and dancer 

Erick Hawkins was born in Trinidad, Colorado on April 23 1909. He majored in Greek civilization at Harvard University, graduating in 1930. But a performance by the German dancers Harald Kreutzberg and Yvonne Georgi so impressed him that he went to Austria to study dance with the former. Later, he studied at the School of American Ballet. Soon he was dancing with George Balanchine's American Ballet. In 1937, he choreographed his first dance, Show Piece, which was performed by Ballet Caravan.

The next year, Hawkins was the first man to dance with the company of the famous modern dancer and choreographer Martha Graham. The following year, he officially joined her troupe, dancing male lead in a number of her works, including Appalachian Spring in 1944. The two were married in 1948. He left her troupe in 1951 to found his own, and they divorced in 1954.

Not long afterwards, he met and began collaborating with the experimental composer Lucia Dlugoszewski. They remained together for the rest of his life • Erick Hawkins Books

Homer Lea soldier, writer (November 17, 1876—November 1, 1912), was an American author of works on geopolitics who became military advisory and general in the army of Sun Yat-sen.

Born in Denver, Colorado to Alfred E. (b.1845) and Hersa A. (1846-1879; nιe Coberly) Lea, his father served with the 3rd Colorado Cavalry during the Civil War. His mother died before his third birthday, 13 August 1879. Alfred is listed in the Jackson County, Missouri 1850 census, Washington Township, with the entire family being born in Tenessee.

His grandfather, Dr. Pleasant John Graves Lea (b.1808; also grandfather of Thomas Calloway Lea, Jr., Homer's first cousin, a prominent attorney and mayor of El Paso, Texas), is the namesake for Lee's Summit, Missouri, although the name became spelled with an "e" instead of "a" because a stone culvert next to the Missouri Pacific Railroad station was set this way • Homer Lea Books

Willard Libby -Willard Frank Libby (December 17, 1908 – September 8, 1980) was an American physical chemist, famous for his role in the 1949 development of radiocarbon dating, a process which revolutionized archaeology.

Libby was born in Grand Valley, Colorado. He received his B.S. in 1931 and Ph.D. in 1933 in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, where he then became a lecturer and later assistant professor. Libby spent the 1930s building sensitive geiger counters to measure weak natural and artificial radioactivity. In 1941 he joined Berkeley's chapter of Alpha Chi Sigma.

Awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, he spent most of 1941 at Princeton University. After the start of World War II, he worked on the Manhattan Project at Columbia University with Nobel laureate chemist Harold Urey. Libby was responsible for the gaseous diffusion separation and enrichment of the Uranium-235 which was used in the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.  Nobel Prize winner in chemistry, discovered radio-carbon dating • Willard Libby Books

Ted Mack (February 12, 1904, Greeley, Colorado - July 12, 1976, North Tarrytown, New York), born William Edward Maguiness, was the host of Ted Mack and the Original Amateur Hour on radio and television.TV host, Greeley • No books
Ouray (1833 - 1880) Ute chief, Colorado Territory

Ouray was a Native American leader of the Uncompahgre band of the Ute tribe of modern-day Utah and Colorado. Ouray was born in what is now New Mexico. According to oral history passed down by Ute elders, he was born on the gloriously clear night of November 13, 1833, when a magnificent display of the Leonid meteor showers streaked across the black winter night. The elders had believed it was a sign; a message from above of good things to happen. Some accounts however state that he was born as early as 1820. The son of Guera Murah, a Jicarilla Apache adopted into the Ute. His mother was a Tabeguache Ute. He learned Spanish, English, and later both the Apache and Ute languages, which he found helpful in negotiating treaties. • Ouray Books

Florence R. Sabin (November 9, 1871–October 3, 1953) was an American medical scientist. She was a pioneer for women in science; she was the first woman to hold a full professorship at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the first woman elected to the National Academy of Sciences, and the first woman to head a department at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research. In her retirement years, she pursued a second career as a public health activist in Colorado, and in 1951 received a Lasker Award for this work.

Florence Sabin was born in Central City, Colorado, on November 9, 1871. She graduated from Smith College in 1893, attended the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and was the first woman to graduate from that institution. In 1902 she began to teach anatomy at Johns Hopkins. Appointed professor of histology in 1917, she was the first woman to become a full professor at a medical college. In 1924 Sabin was elected the first woman president of the American Association of Anatomists and the first lifetime woman member of the National Academy of Sciences. • Florence R. Sabin Books

Byron Raymond White jurist, Byron Raymond "Whizzer" White (June 8, 1917–April 15, 2002) won fame both as a football running back and as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Appointed to the court by President John F. Kennedy in 1962, he served until his retirement in 1993. He was married to Marion Lloyd Stearns in 1946 and the father of two children, Charles (Barney) Byron White and Nancy Pitkin White.

White was born in Fort Collins, Colorado. He was raised in the nearby town of Wellington, Colorado, where he obtained his high school diploma in 1930. He made a point of returning to Wellington on an annual basis for his high school reunions up until 1999 when his physical health worsened significantly. He died in Denver at the age of 84 from complications of pneumonia.

After graduating at the top of his Wellington high school class, White attended the University of Colorado at Boulder on a scholarship. He joined the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity[3] and served as student body president his senior year. Graduating in 1938, he won a Rhodes Scholarship to the University of Oxford and, after having deferred it for a year to play football, he went on to attend Hertford College, Oxford. • Byron Raymond White Books

Paul Whiteman (1890 - 1967) Famous Jazz conductor. an American bandleader and orchestral director.

Leader of the most popular dance bands in the United States during the 1920s, Whiteman's recordings were immensely successful, and he was dubbed the "King of Jazz." In 1924, Whiteman commissioned and debuted George Gershwin's jazz-influenced "Rhapsody In Blue." Whiteman recorded many jazz and pop standards during his career, including "Wang Wang Blues", "Mississippi Mud", "Rhapsody in Blue", "Wonderful One", "Hot Lips", "Mississippi Suite", and "Grand Canyon Suite". His popularity faded in the swing music era of the 1930s, and by the 1940s Whiteman was semi-retired from music. • Paul Whiteman Books