USA Famous People of Florida

Florida Biographies

Julian Edwin "Cannonball" Adderley (September 15, 1928 – August 8, 1975) was a jazz alto saxophonist of the small combo era of the 1950s and 1960s. Originally from Tampa, Florida, he moved to New York in the mid 1950s.

He was the brother of jazz cornetist Nat Adderley. His educational career was long established prior to teaching applied instrumental music classes at Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Cannonball moved to Tallahassee, Florida when his parents obtained teaching positions at Florida A&M University. Both Cannonball and brother Nat played with Ray Charles when Charles lived in Tallahassee during the early 1940s. Cannonball was a local legend in Florida until he moved to New York City in 1955, where he lived in Corona, Queens.

It was in New York during this time that Adderley's prolific career began. Adderley visited the Cafe Bohemia (Oscar Pettiford's group was playing that night) where he brought his saxophone into the club with him, primarily because he feared that it would be stolen. He was asked to sit in as the saxophone player was late, and in true Cannonball style, he soared through the changes, and became a sensation in the following weeks. • Cannonball Adderley Website • Cannonball Adderley Discography • Julian Cannonball Adderley Books

Wallace Amos (1936 - ) Founder of Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookie Corporation; born in Tallahassee. an American actor and writer from Tallahassee, Florida. He is the founder of the "Famous Amos" chocolate chip cookie brand. He later co-founded Uncle Wally's muffins. He currently resides in Kailua, Hawaii and also Long Island, New York, where he runs the Chip & Cookie gourmet cookie brand and store. Wally Amos lived in Tallahassee, Florida until he was twelve. When his parents divorced, he then moved to Manhattan, New York with his aunt, where he enrolled at the Food Trades Vocational High School. He showed interest in cooking from a very young age, and it was from his aunt, who would bake cookies for him, that Amos would develop his chocolate chip cookies recipe. Amos would improve on his aunt's recipe, which was already unusual because it included several ingredients not generally associated with chocolate chip cookies. • Wallace Amos Books
Pat Boone singer, Jacksonville Charles Eugene Boone (born June 1, 1934), known professionally as Pat Boone, is an American singer, actor and writer who was a successful pop singer in the United States during the 1950s and early 1960s. He sold over 45 million albums, had 38 Top 40 hits and starred in more than 12 Hollywood movies. Boone's talent as a singer and actor combined with his old-fashioned values contributed to his popularity in the pre-rock and roll era. He continues to entertain and perform.

Boone was successful in multiple ways. He hosted a network television show, The Pat Boone Chevy Show from 1957–1959. He has written many books and had a number 1 bestseller in the 1950s ("Twixt Twelve and Twenty", Prentice-Hall). His cover versions of rhythm and blues hits had a noticeable effect on the development of the broad popularity of rock and roll. During his tours in the 1950s, Elvis Presley was one of his opening acts. • Pat Boone Books • Pat Boone Discography

Fernando Bujones (1955 - ) Praised as one of the finest male ballet dancers of the 20th century; born in Miami. Beginning with his Cuban childhood in Miami, this autobiography of famed dancer Fernando Bujones covers his life from his years as a gifted student at the School of American Ballet to his 13-year career as principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre (ABT). Among these recollections are his incredible rise as the youngest principal dancer with ABT, how he became the first American dancer to win the gold medal at the Varna International Ballet Competition, and his time spent in the tumultuous years following Mikhail Baryshnikov's takeover of ABT. Bujones took an abrupt departure from his beloved company and subsequently found superstar status with his international career. He continued to touch the lives of those around him?as well as those who watched his performances?until his unexpected death in 2005. • Fernando Bujones Books
Steve "Lefty" Carlton (1944 - ) Baseball player, born in Miami a former left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball, from 1965 to 1988. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994. He was affectionately known to Philadelphia fans as "Lefty". He played the greatest number of years for the Philadelphia Phillies, receiving his greatest acclaim as a professional and winning four Cy Young Awards. In addition, Carlton spent time with the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago White Sox, San Francisco Giants, Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins. Carlton has the second-most lifetime strikeouts of any left-handed pitcher (4th overall), and the second-most lifetime wins of any left-handed pitcher (11th overall). He was the first pitcher to win four Cy Young Awards in a career. He held the lifetime strikeout record several times between 1982 and 1984, before his contemporary Nolan Ryan passed him.• Steve "Lefty" Carlton Books
Jacqueline Cochran (1910 - 1980) Pilot who organized women pilots during World War II; born in Pensacola. Grade 5-8-- Readers are introduced to Cochran first as a poor foster child for whom poverty, squalor, and some mistreatment had been the norm. Even at the age of six, she demonstrated the inner determination that would become the catalyst throughout her life. Writing in a crisp, journalistic style, Smith captures the personality of this female pioneer. Cochran's accomplishments, honors, and awards are presented in detail, but character traits that could at times be annoying are included as well. The book surpasses Marquita Fisher's Jacqueline Cochran: First Lady of Flight (Garrard, 1973). Aside from entries in collective biographies such as Ann Genett's Contributions of Women: Aviation (Dillon, 1975; o.p.) and Bennett Wayne's Four Women of Courage (Garrard, 1975), there is no information on Cochran at this level. Several of the black-and-white photos are small or dark. --Renee Steinberg, Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ • Jacqueline Cochran Books
Faye Dunaway actress, Bascom Faye Dunaway (born January 14, 1941) is an American actress. Dunaway won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Network (1976) after receiving previous nominations for the critically acclaimed films Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and Chinatown (1974). She has starred in a variety of films, including The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), Little Big Man (1971), The Towering Inferno (1974), Three Days of the Condor (1975), Mommie Dearest (1981).

Dunaway was born Dorothy Faye Dunaway in Bascom, Florida, the daughter of Grace April (née Smith), a housewife, and John MacDowell Dunaway, Jr., a career army non-commissioned officer. She attended the University of Florida, Florida State University, and Boston University, but graduated from the University of Florida in theater. In 1962, Dunaway joined the American National Theater and Academy. • Faye Dunaway Books • Faye Dunaway Movies

Gloria Estefan (1957 - ) Cuban singer and songwriter; raised in Miami, is a Grammy Award-winning Cuban-American singer and songwriter. She is in the top 100 best selling music artists with over 90 million albums sold worldwide, 26.5 million of those in the United States alone.She has won seven Grammy Awards, placing her among the most successful crossover performers in Latin music to date. Gloria María Milagrosa Fajardo was born September 1, 1957 in Havana, Cuba, to Jose and Gloria Fajardo. Her mother's father Leonardo Garcia emigrated to Cuba from Pola de Siero, Asturias, Spain where he married a woman from Logroño, Spain.The family fled to Lafayette, Indiana, during the Cuban Revolution. A few years after they moved, Jose joined the US military during the Vietnam War. Her father had been a Cuban soldier and bodyguard of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. • Gloria Estefan Website • Gloria Estefan Discography • Gloria Estefan Books
Stepin Fetchit, Key West (May 30, 1902–November 19, 1985) was the stage name of American comedian and film actor Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry. Perry parlayed the Fetchit persona into a successful film career, eventually becoming a millionaire, the first black actor in history to do so. He was also the first black actor to receive a screen credit.

Perry's typical film persona and stage name have long been controversial, and seen as synonymous with negative stereotypes of African-Americans. However, a newer interpretation of his film persona contends Perry was ultimately subversive of the status quo

Little is certain about his background other than that he was born in Key West, Florida to West Indian immigrants. He was the second child of Joseph Perry, a cigar maker from Jamaica (although some sources indicate the Bahamas) and his mother, Dora Monroe, a seamstress from Nassau. Both of his parents came to the United States in the 1890s where they married. By 1910, the family had moved north to Tampa, Florida. Another source says he was adopted when he was eleven years old and taken to live in Montgomery, Alabama. At age twelve, he ran away from home, joined a carnival, and earned his living for a few years as a singer and tap dancer • Stepin Fetchit Books • Stepin Fetchit Movies & TV

Dwight Gooden (1964 - ) Baseball pitcher, born in Tampa. As fans of the 1986 New York Mets slept happily on the night after the team's dramatic 16-inning pennant-clinching victory over the Houston Astros, members of the team were 30,000 feet in the air downing booze, snorting drugs and eventually trashing the plane taking them back to the city that loved them. It is this juxtaposition of greatness and depravity that Gooden, with Klapisch (The Worst Team Money Could Buy), recounts so potently in a forthright sketch of his journey from public adoration to disgrace and back to triumph. The book explains the process by which this gifted pitcherAwho won the 1984 Rookie of the Year Award, the 1985 Cy Young Award and a 1996 World Series ringAfound himself, in 1994, sitting on the edge of his bed with a nine-millimeter handgun pressed to his temple. The story is ultimately one of redemption, but Gooden is quite candid about his painfully senseless relapses and their ramifications for those around him. Beyond the tale of Gooden's addiction, there's plenty of standard sports autobiography fare, including articulate descriptions of how the game is played and frank portrayals of other players. Also, spliced throughout the book's nine chapters, is a running account of May 14, 1996, the day Gooden's father lay in a Tampa hospital awaiting open-heart surgery while his recovering son affirmed his new life by pitching a no-hitter for the New York Yankees. With an absorbing, straightforward story and Klapisch's hand to polish it, Gooden delivers without trying to put one past readers.• Dwight Gooden Books
Zora Neale Hurston writer, Eatonville (January 7, 1891 – January 28, 1960) was an American folklorist and author during the time of the Harlem Renaissance. Of Hurston's four novels and more than 50 published short stories, plays, and essays, she is best known for her 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Hurston was the fifth of eight children of John Hurston and Lucy Ann Hurston (née Potts). Her father was a Baptist preacher, tenant farmer, and carpenter, and her mother was a school teacher. Though Hurston claimed as an adult that she was born in Eatonville, Florida in 1901, she was actually born in Notasulga, Alabama in 1891, where her father grew up and her grandfather was the preacher of a Baptist church. Her family moved to Eatonville, the first all-Black town to be incorporated in the United States, when she was three. Her father later became mayor of the town, which Hurston would glorify in her stories as a place black Americans could live as they desired, independent of white society. Hurston spent the remainder of her childhood in Eatonville, and describes the experience of growing up in Eatonville in her 1928 essay "How It Feels to Be Colored Me". • Zora Neale Hurston Books

James Weldon Johnson (June 17, 1871 – June 26, 1938) was an American author, politician, diplomat, critic, journalist, poet, anthologist, educator, lawyer, songwriter, and early civil rights activist. Johnson is remembered best for his writing, which includes novels, poems, and collections of folklore. He was also one of the first African-American professors at New York University. Later in life he was a professor of creative literature and writing at Fisk University.

Johnson was born in Jacksonville, Florida, the son of Helen Louise Dillet and James Johnson. Johnson was first educated by his mother (a musician and a public school teacher—the first female, black teacher in Florida at a grammar school) and then at Edwin M. Stanton School. His mother imparted to him her considerable love and knowledge of English literature and the European tradition in music. At the age of 16 he enrolled at Atlanta University, from which he graduated in 1894. In addition to his bachelor's degree, he also completed some graduate coursework there. The achievement of his father, headwaiter at the St. James Hotel, a luxury establishment built when Jacksonville was one of Florida's first winter havens, gave young Jimmie the wherewithal and the self-confidence to pursue a professional career. Molded by the classical education for which Atlanta University was best known, Johnson regarded his academic training as a trust given him in the expectation that he would dedicate his resources to black people. Johnson was also a prominent member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc • James Weldon Johnson Books

Frances Langford singer, Lakeland Frances Newbern Langford (April 4, 1913 – July 11, 2005) was an American singer and entertainer who was popular during the Golden Age of Radio and also made film appearances over two decades.

Born Julia Frances Newbern Langford in Lakeland, Florida, she was the daughter of Vasco Cleveland Langford and his wife, Anna Rhea Newbern.

Langford originally trained as an opera singer. While a young girl she required surgery on her throat, and as a result, she was forced to change her vocal style to a more contemporary big band, popular music style. While singing for radio during the early 1930s, she was heard by Rudy Vallee, who invited her to become a regular on his radio show. From 1935 until 1938 she was a regular performer on Dick Powell's radio show. • Frances Langford Books • Frances Langford Discography

A. J. McLean singer, West Palm Beach(born Alexander James McLean, January 9, 1978, West Palm Beach, Florida, United States) is an American musician and member of the singing group, Backstreet Boys.

McLean was born in West Palm Beach to his mother, Denise Fernandez, and father Bob McLean. His parents divorced and his father left the family when McLean was four years old, and he was raised by his mother and maternal grandparents, Ursula and Adolph Fernandez. In 1990, he moved to Orlando, Florida with his mother and grandparents to concentrate on his acting and singing career. After numerous auditions for various Nickelodeon and Disney projects, including the Nickelodeon show GUTS, he landed a role in Nickelodeon's Welcome Freshmen, and in a comedy series called Hi Honey, I'm Home! on which he played a character named "Skunk". However he was soon replaced by the producer's nephew. • A. J. McLean Books • A. J. McLean Discography

Butterfly McQueen actress, Tampa Butterfly McQueen (January 7, 1911 – December 22, 1995) was an American actress. Originally a dancer, McQueen appeared as Prissy, Scarlett O'Hara's maid in the 1939 film Gone with the Wind.

Born Thelma McQueen in Tampa, Florida, she had planned to become a nurse until a high school teacher suggested that she try acting. McQueen initially studied with Janet Collins and went on to dance with the Venezuela Jones Negro Youth Group. Around this time she acquired the nickname "Butterfly"—a tribute to her constantly moving hands—for her performance of the Butterfly Ballet in a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream (she had always hated her birth name, and later legally changed her name to Butterfly McQueen). She performed with the dance troupe of Katherine Dunham before making her professional debut in George Abbott's Brown Sugar. • Butterfly McQueen Books • Butterfly McQueen Movies

Harry T. Moore (1905 - 1951) 1930-40's Civil Rights worker; born in Houston. In the 1930s and '40s, Moore drove the roads of Florida, organizing the local NAACP, speaking quietly against Jim Crow laws, and urging blacks to register to vote. He also wrote elegantly argued letters to the governor and other public officials, protesting injustices and atrocities against blacks. Seen as a troublemaker, Moore became entangled with Willis McCall--whom author Ben Green calls "the prototype of the racist Southern sheriff." Green intertwines the biographies of these two very different men, drawing a picture of racial tension in an era before the issues reached national attention. Green is especially good at capturing the atmosphere of the events--dense fogs, sticky heat, clouds of biting insects--but goes slightly astray when listening to drunken former Klansmen, who are perhaps merely seeking their 15 minutes of fame and not unburdening their souls before they die, as they spout confessions about Moore's murder. Like many biographers, Green clearly admires his subject, which makes him write slightly purple prose. Moore's life, however, was clearly admirable and Green has written a moving tribute to this sadly forgotten man • Harry T. Moore Books
Jim Morrison (1943-1971) Famous rock singer and leader of The Doors; born in Melbourne Tortured visionary and bumbling drunk--two sides of ``The Lizard King'' that emerge from this lengthy but less-than-probing biography of the late rock star. Riordan (a Rolling Stone contributor) and Prochnicky (a self-professed veteran Morrison scholar) attempt to retrace Morrison's ``aural, visual, and psychological journey'' through ``a fun house mirror'' of Sixties-style metaphysics. They recount Morrison's repressive childhood under a Navy captain father, his youth as school misfit and troublemaker, his post-college life as a Venice beach-bum, and his subsequent descent into an acid- inspired ``spiritual netherworld.'' Morrison comes across as an insecure but creatively driven man prone to extreme mood swings, and an emotional manipulator who ``enjoyed dangling people from his own self-styled parapet.'' In some respects, he seems a hippie Oscar Wilde who strove for recognition as a serious poet only after establishing a notorious persona. But it is less the star and more the martyr that surfaces here, with gruesome accounts of Morrison being beaten by cops, lambasted by finicky critics, verbally abused by audiences, and incessantly drained by a neurotic girlfriend.• The Doors Website • The Doors Discography • Jim Morrison Books
Osceola (c. 1804 - 1838) Seminole Indian leader. The setting is Georgia, fifteen years before the Civil War. Blond-haired blue-eyed Billy Powell, the half-breed son of a respected British officer and his Creek Indian consort, stands accused of a murder he did not commit. Fearing for his life, Billy flees south to Seminole Indian territory, to a village where a legend waits to be born. It is called Freedom Land. Whispered among the slaves of the South, it is thought by many to be a myth, a reason to keep hope alive. But over a thousand escaped slaves know it is real indeed. Suddenly the United States Army discovers Freedom Land. American soldiers attempt to capture the escaped slaves and return them to their former owners. As the tension mounts all around them, Billy falls under the spell of the beguiling Morning Dew, the beautiful daughter of Chief Micanopy, leader of the Seminole Indians. Driven by his love for her, Billy takes up the cause of defending Freedom Land, and is catapulted into history, forever to be known as Chief Osceola. Based on meticulous research of the newspapers and journals of the time, Freedom Land brings to vivid life the turbulent story of whites, blacks, and Native Americans during the period known as the Seminole Wars, and ultimately describes the betrayal by the United States military that remains an embarrassment to this day. A page-turning historical that includes Andrew Jackson, Zachary Taylor, and John Horse among its key players, Freedom Land is as thought provoking and informative as it is immensely entertaining. • Osceola Seminole Indian Books
Sidney Poitier (1927 - ) First African-American actor to win an Oscar, which he won for the movie "Lilies of the Fields;"  Born in Miami Best known for his ground-breaking roles in movies such as Guess Who's Coming To Dinner, To Stir With Love and In the Heat of the Night, Sidney Poitier is still the only black man to have won an Oscar for Best Actor. Here in this memoir is ample evidence of why he is held in such high respect across all ethnic groups. Now in his seventies, Poitier is a man possessed of both wisdom and humility in equal measure. Although his own formal schooling was minimal, he explains in elegant and educated prose how long his career in Hollywood has been sustained on his own childhood experiences of a life lived close to nature in a remote corner of the Bahamas. Although - or perhaps because - he did not see a car or wear shoes until he was a teenager, he had the stability to survive in an artificial and inhospitable environment, made even more unfriendly by the racism of the 1950s and 60s. More philosophical memoir than life history, The Measure of a Man offers a revealing glimpse of a man of rare integrity. (Kirkus UK) • Sidney Poitier Books • Sidney Poitier Movies
A. Philip Randolph (1889 - 1979) Labor leader; born in Crescent City Randolph (1889-1979) was much more than a founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and Maids, Pfeffer argues. In not so much a biography as a study of civil rights leadership, she portrays the socialist Randolph as a prototype who in tactics and tenets was the most creative and pivotal black leader of his time. He plotted effective protest patterns such as sit-ins in the 1930s and 1940s that served as models in the 1950s and 1960s. The 1963 March on Washington--in which he was a moving force--was a renewal of his March on Washington Movement of 1943. His synthesis of economics with civil rights offered substantive solutions to social problems nagging the nation, Pfeffer suggests. A complement and corrective to old and recent work on Randolph and a major contribution to studies on the civil rights movement. Highly recommended. - Thomas J. Davis, Univ. at Buffalo, N.Y. • A. Philip Randolph Books
Janet Reno First woman Attorney General of the United States of America;(born in Miami.born July 21, 1938) is the former Attorney General of the United States (1993–2001). She was nominated by President Bill Clinton on February 11, 1993, and confirmed on March 11. She was the first female Attorney General and the second longest serving Attorney General after William Wirt.

Reno's father, Henry Reno (original surname Rasmussen), immigrated to the United States from Denmark and for forty-three years was a police reporter for the Miami Herald. Jane Wood, Reno's mother, raised her children and then became an investigative reporter for the Miami News. Janet Reno has three younger siblings.

Reno attended public school in Miami-Dade County, Florida, where she was a debating champion and was valedictorian at Coral Gables High School. In 1956 Reno enrolled at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where she majored in chemistry, lived in Balch Hall, became president of the Women's Self-Government Association, and earned her room and board. • Janet Reno Books

Burt Reynolds - Burton Leon "Burt" Reynolds, Jr. (born February 11, 1936) is an American actor. Some of his memorable roles include Lewis Medlock in Deliverance, Paul "Wrecking" Crewe in The Longest Yard, Coach Nate Scarborough in the 2005 remake of The Longest Yard, Bo 'Bandit' Darville in Smokey and the Bandit, J.J. McClure in The Cannonball Run, the voice of Charlie Barkin in All Dogs Go to Heaven and Jack Horner in Boogie Nights. He is one of America's most recognizable film and television personalities with more than 90 feature film and 300 television episode credits. Actor made famous in films like Hustle and Smokey and the Bandit; owns ranch in Jupiter.

Reynolds's parents were Burton Reynolds, who was of Cherokee and English descent, and his wife, Fern. Reynolds states in his autobiography that his family was living in Lansing when his father was drafted into the United States Army. Reynolds, his mother and his sister joined his father at Fort Leonard Wood, where they lived for two years. Reynolds has stated that his first memories are of playing in the Ozark woods at Fort Leonard Wood. When Reynolds's father was sent to Europe, the family returned to Lansing, Michigan. After a short while, the Reynolds family moved to northern Michigan, across the road from his maternal grandparents' farm. Reynolds started attending school in Merritt, Michigan, where he felt he did not belong among the Native American, farm and backwoods children who made up most of the student body. • Burt Reynolds Books • Burt Reynolds Movies

Charles Ringling (1864 - 1926) and John Ringling (1866 - 1936) Co-founders of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. The Ringling brothers grew up in a Mississippi river town where every summer they saw circuses, which were brought to the town on riverboats. Several of the seven brothers became performers themselves, and they dreamed of owning a circus. Eventually, all of the brothers became involved in the circus enterprise, each taking a different business role. Much of this book, which is part of the Badger Biography series, focuses on the Ringlings' day-to-day struggles to keep the circus going as they traveled from town to town in wagons and, later, in railcars. Additional chapters describe the care of the animals and the circus' winter quarters in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Black-and-white period photographs appear on nearly every page and illuminate almost every activity, from the raising of the big top to the training of the elephants. Back pages include suggested classroom activities, further readings, and a concise, descriptive paragraph about each brother. An illuminating account of nineteenth-century circus life for reports or browsing. Todd Morning • Charles Ringling Books
David Robinson Basketball player for the San Antonio Spurs; born in Key West. (born August 6, 1965(1965-08-06)) is a retired American NBA basketball player, who played center for the San Antonio Spurs for his entire NBA career. Based on his prior service as an officer in the United States Navy, Robinson earned the nickname "The Admiral". Robinson and teammate power forward Tim Duncan, were nicknamed the "The Twin Towers". Robinson was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame along with Michael Jordan, John Stockton, Jerry Sloan, and C. Vivian Stringer on September 11, 2009. Since Robinson's father was in the Navy, the family moved many times. After his father retired from the Navy, the family settled in Woodbridge, Virginia, where Robinson excelled in school and in most sports except basketball. He was 5 feet, 9 inches tall in junior high school so he tried his hand at basketball, but soon quit. Robinson attended Osbourn Park High School in Manassas, Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C., where Robinson's father was working as an engineer after retiring from the Navy. By his senior year in high school he was 6 feet, 7 inches tall, but he had not played organized basketball. • David Robinson Books
Joseph W. Stilwell army general, Palatka General Joseph Warren Stilwell (March 19, 1883 – October 12, 1946) was a United States Army four-star General best-known for his service in China and Burma. His contempt for formal military dress, his concern for the enlisted man, and his caustic personality would gain him two sobriquets: "Uncle Joe" and "Vinegar Joe."

Stilwell was born March 19, 1883 in Palatka, Florida of patrician Yankee stock. His parents were Doctor Benjamin Stilwell and Mary A. Peene. Stilwell was an eighth generation descendant of an English colonist who arrived in America in 1638, whose descendants remained in New York up through the birth of Stilwell's father. Named for a family friend, as well as the doctor who delivered him, Joseph Stilwell, known as Warren by his family, grew up in New York, under a strict regimen from his father that included an emphasis on religion. Stilwell later admitted to his daughter that he picked up criminal instincts due to,"...being forced to go to Church and Sunday School, and seeing how little real good religion does anybody, I advise passing them all up and using common sense instead." • Joseph W. Stilwell Books

Don Sutton - Donald Howard Sutton (born April 2, 1945) is a former Major League Baseball player and current television sportscaster. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998.

Sutton was born in Clio, Alabama, a small town in Barbour County, and on the same date as future Dodger teammate Reggie Smith. He was born to sharecroppers at the end of World War II, in a tar-paper shack. At the time he was born his father was 18 and his mother was 15. Sutton's father, Howard, gave him the strong work ethic that he had throughout his career. His father tried logging and construction work, and in looking for work, moved the family to Molino, Florida, just north of Pensacola. • Don Sutton Books

Norman E. Thagard (born July 3, 1943) is an American scientist and former NASA astronaut. He is the first American to ride to space on board a Russian vehicle, and is arguably considered to be the first American cosmonaut. He did this on March 14, 1995 in the Soyuz TM-21 spacecraft for the Russian Mir-18 mission.

Thagard was born in Marianna, Florida, but considers Jacksonville, Florida, to be his hometown. He is married to the former Rex Kirby Johnson of South Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. They have three sons. During his free time, he enjoys classical music, and electronic design. Thagard has published articles on digital and analog electronic design. His father, Mr. James E. Thagard, and his mother, Mrs. Mary F. Key, are both deceased. • Norman E. Thargard Books

Ben Vereen actor, Miami (born October 10, 1946, in Laurinburg, North Carolina) is an American actor, dancer, and singer who has appeared in numerous Broadway theatre shows. Vereen graduated from Manhattan's High School of Performing Arts.

He was nominated for a Tony Award for Jesus Christ Superstar in 1972 and won a Tony for his appearance in Pippin in 1973. Vereen appeared in the Broadway musical Wicked as the Wizard of Oz in 2005. Vereen has also performed in one-man shows and actively lectures on black history and inspirational topics.

He has also starred in numerous television programs and films. Notable film roles include song-and-dance men in Funny Lady and All That Jazz. He appeared on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episode, “Papa’s Got a Brand New Excuse", in which he played Will Smith's biological father. He starred in the television series Tenspeed and Brown Shoe, but is probably best known for his role as "Chicken" George Moore in Roots. He also appeared as Mayor Ben (a leopard) on Zoobilee Zoo. • Ben Vereen Books • Ben Vereen Movies