USA Famous People of Kentucky

Kentucky Biographies

Muhammad Ali (1942 - ) World heavyweight champion of boxing; born in Louisville. At the pinnacle of his boxing career during the 1960s and early 1970s, Muhammad Ali seemed to be a cultural symbol of the times. He has been viewed by some as a hero and by others as a rebel, but either way he is arguably the most famous American in the world. This worldly admiration was perhaps best illustrated with his lighting of the Olympic torch during the opening ceremony of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. Ali's life is described from his birth to the present, with an emphasis on his career through 1975. The work covers such topics as his various boxing matches including "The Thrilla in Manilla," his religious conversion to the Nation of Islam, the Vietnam War, and his efforts to promote world peace. A timeline provides key events in Ali's life, and the work concludes with a bibliography of print and electronic sources for additional research. • Muhammad Ali Books
Alben William. Barkley (November 24, 1877 – April 30, 1956) was an American politician who served as the 35th Vice President of the United States from 1949 to 1953 under President Harry S. Truman.

Prior to the Vice Presidency, Barkley served in the U. S. Senate from Kentucky for over twenty years, and was Majority Leader of that body from 1937 to 1947.

Barkley was born Willie Alben Barkley in a log cabin near Lowes, Graves County, Kentucky. His parents, John Wilson Barkley and Electra Eliza (Smith) Barkley, were deeply religious tenant farmers. He graduated from Marvin College in 1897, where he excelled in speech and debate. He worked his way through college with a full-time janitorial job. Barkley later attended Emory College, in Atlanta, Georgia. He was a member of Delta Tau Delta Social Fraternity, graduated in 1900, and then attended the University of Virginia School of Law . It was during this time that he legally changed his name from "Willie Alben" to "Alben William." • Alben W. Barkley Books

James Bowie (1796 - 1836) Known for his famous "Bowie knife" and a sometimes reckless adventurer, Jim Bowie is now immortalized as one of the true folk heroes in early Texas; born near Spring Creek. Bowie became internationally famous as a result of a feud with Norris Wright, the sheriff of Rapides Parish. Bowie had supported Wright's opponent in the race for sheriff, and Wright, a bank director, had been instrumental in turning down Bowie's loan application.

After a confrontation in Alexandria one afternoon, Wright fired a shot at Bowie. The uninjured Bowie was enraged and tried to kill Wright with his bare hands. Wright's friends intervened and stopped the attack, after which Bowie resolved to carry his hunting knife at all times. The knife he carried had a huge blade that was 9.25 inches (23.5 cm) long and 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) wide. A Bowie knife

The following year, on September 19, 1827, Bowie and Wright attended a duel on a sandbar outside of Natchez, Mississippi. Bowie supported duelist Samuel Levi Wells III, while Wright supported Wells's opponent, Dr. Thomas Harris Maddox. • James Bowie Books

Louis D. Brandeis  (November 13, 1856 – October 5, 1941) was a United States Supreme Court Justice from 1916 to 1939. He was born in Louisville, Kentucky to Jewish parents who had immigrated from Europe. He enrolled at Harvard Law School, graduating at the age of twenty with the highest grade average in the college’s history.

Brandeis settled in Boston where he became a recognized lawyer through his work on social causes that would benefit society. He helped develop the "right to privacy" concept by writing a Harvard Law Review article of that title, and was thereby credited by legal scholar Roscoe Pound as having accomplished "nothing less than adding a chapter to our law". Years later, a book he published, entitled Other People's Money, suggested ways of curbing the power of large banks and money trusts, which partly explains why he later fought against powerful corporations, monopolies, public corruption, and mass consumerism, all of which he felt were detrimental to American values and culture. He also became active in the Zionist movement, seeing it as a solution to the "Jewish problem" of antisemitism in Europe and Russia, while at the same time being a way to "revive the Jewish spirit." • Louis D. Brandeis Books

John Mason Brown  (July 3, 1900 – March 16, 1969) was an American drama critic and author.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, he graduated from Harvard College in 1923. He worked for the New York Evening Post from 1929 to 1941. He served as a lieutenant in the United States Navy during World War II, beginning in 1942. His book, To All Hands, documents his activities aboard the USS Ancon (AGC-4) during Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily. Upon his return, his "Seeing Things" column appeared in The Saturday Review starting in 1944 until his death in New York City.

Brown resigned from the Pulitzer Prize drama jury in 1963 when the advisory board refused his recommendation of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. • John Mason Brown Books

Kit Carson (1809 - 1868), Scout and Indian agent; born in Madison County.Carson was the consummate frontiersman, who had traveled widely across the West as a trapper, scout and adventurer long before the events of the Mexican War brought his abilities to the attention of the U.S. military. Illiterate but fluent in five Indian languages as well as Spanish, he'd had two Native American wives before marrying into an old Spanish family from Taos. Carson, who seems often to have been at the right place at the right (or wrong) time, had a deep understanding of the complex clash of cultures taking place. And yet his ultimate devotion to duty and patriotism earned him an enmity among the Navajo that extends to the present day. In Sides's depiction, Carson was a humble loner who became an unflinching killer when circumstances or superiors demanded it.• Kit Carson Books
Champ Clark James Beauchamp Clark best known as Champ Clark (March 7, 1850 – March 2, 1921) was a prominent American politician in the Democratic Party from the 1890s until his death, and was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination for President in 1912. He served as the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1911 to 1919.

Clark was born in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky to John Hampton Clark and Aletha Beauchamp. Through his mother he was the first cousin twice removed of the famous lawyer turned murderer Jereboam O. Beauchamp. He graduated from Bethany College (Bethany, West Virginia) and Cincinnati Law School and moved to Missouri in 1875, and opened a law practice the following year. He eventually settled in Bowling Green, Missouri, the county seat of Pike County, from where he was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1892. After a surprise loss in 1894 to William M. Treloar, he regained the seat in 1896, and remained in the House until shortly before his death. • Champ Clark Books

George Clooney (1961 - ) Actor made famous in the television show ER; born in Lexington Clooney was born in Lexington, Kentucky. His mother, Nina Bruce (née Warren), was a former pageant queen; his father, Nick, is a journalist, anchorman, game show, and American Movie Classics host, and an aspiring politician from the state of Kentucky. Clooney was raised in an Irish Catholic family. He has an older sister, Adelia (aka Ada), and his cousins include actors Miguel and Rafael Ferrer, who are the sons of his aunt, singer Rosemary Clooney, and actor José Ferrer.

He is also related to another singer, Debby Boone, who married José and Rosemary's son, Gabriel Ferrer. From an early age, Clooney would hang around his father's sets, often participating in shows, where he proved to be a crowd favorite.• George Clooney Books • George Clooney Movies

Rosemary Clooney singer, Maysville (May 23, 1928 – June 29, 2002) was an American singer and actress. She came to prominence in the early 1950s with the novelty hit "Come On-a My House", which was followed by other pop numbers "Botch-a-Me (Ba-Ba-Baciami Piccina)" (a cover version of the Italian song Ba-Ba-Baciami Piccina by Alberto Rabagliati), "Mambo Italiano", and "This Ole House", songs which tended to obscure her talents as a jazz vocalist.

Clooney's career languished in the 1960s, partly due to problems related to depression and drug addiction, but revived in 1974, when her White Christmas co-star Bing Crosby asked her to appear with him at a show marking his 50th anniversary in show business. From the late 1970s until her death in 2002, she recorded a series of albums for the Concord Jazz record label with small ensembles which were warmly received by audiences and critics alike. • Rosemary Clooney Books • Rosemary Clooney Discography

Irvin S. Cobb - Irvin Shrewsbury Cobb (June 23, 1876 – March 11, 1944) was an American author, humorist, and columnist who lived in New York and authored more than 60 books and 300 short stories.

Cobb was the second of four children born to Kentucky natives in Paducah, Kentucky. His grandfather Reuben Saunders, M.D., is credited with discovering in 1873 that hypodermic use of morphine-atropine halted cholera. Cobb was raised in Paducah, where the events and people of his childhood became the basis for much of his later works.

Cobb was educated in public and private elementary schools and then entered William A. Cade's Academy intending to pursue a law career. When he was 16, his grandfather died and his father became an alcoholic. Forced to quit school and find work, he began his writing career. • Irvin S. Cobb Books

Jefferson Davis (1808 - 1889) President of the Confederate States of America; born in Todd County The title might seem odd, given that Jefferson Davis (1808-89) served as president of the Confederacy during the Civil War, and never once, in the 34 years between the end of the war and his death, expressed any remorse for his part in the conflict that tore America apart. Yet, as historian William J. Cooper Jr. reminds us in his sober, comprehensive biography, Davis "saw himself as a faithful American ... a true son of the American Revolution and the Founding Fathers." Indeed, Davis's own father had fought in the Revolution, and Davis himself was a West Point graduate and Mexican War veteran. He declared January 21, 1861, "the saddest day of my life," as he resigned his U.S. Senate seat to follow his native state of Mississippi out of the Union; yet he also unflinchingly defended secession as a constitutionally guaranteed right. Cooper's measured portrait neither glosses over Davis's lifelong belief that blacks were inferior nor vilifies him for it: "My goal," he writes, "is to understand Jefferson Davis as a man of his time, not condemn him for not being a man of my time." • Jefferson Davis Books
Johnny Depp (1963 - ) - Famous actor; born in Owensoboro. From the sweet but asocial adolescent in Edward Scissorhands to Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Johnny Depp has brought to life some of the most challenging, quirky and compelling characters in Hollywood history. Often considered the quintessential outsider, Depp has fascinated his fans for more than two decades. This biographical study invites fans and critics alike to take a close look at the person behind the movie star, his body of work as an actor, and the unique set of heroes and anti-heroes he has personified throughout his career. • Johnny Depp Books • Johnny Depp Movies
Irene Dunne (1898 - 1990) Actress; born in Louisville. This is the first full-length biography of Irene Dunne, one of the most versatile actresses of Hollywood's Golden Age. A recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors award in 1985, Dunne's acting highlights include five Best Actress Oscar nominations, occurring in almost as many different genres: the Western Cimarron (1931), two screwball comedies: Theodora Goes Wild (1936) and The Awful Truth (1937), the romantic comedy Love Affair (1939), and the populist I Remember Mama (1948). • Irene Dunne Books • Irene Dunne Movies
Crystal Gayle singer, Paintsville Crystal Gayle (born Brenda Gail Webb; January 9, 1951) is an American country singer best known for a series of country-pop crossover hits in the late 1970s and early 1980s, including "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue" (Crystal has blue eyes) and the song "Half The Way". She accumulated 18 No. 1 country hits during the 1970s and 1980s. She is also famous for her nearly floor-length hair and was voted one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world in 1983. She is the younger sister of singer Loretta Lynn (16 years younger) and a distant cousin of singer Patty Loveless.

Brenda Gail Webb was born in Paintsville, Kentucky, the youngest of 8 children. Her family moved to Wabash, Indiana when she was four. Inspired by her sister Loretta Lynn's performance she decided to learn guitar and sing in her brothers' folk band. While she was still in high school, Webb began to tour part time with Loretta Lynn. After graduating Wabash High School, Webb signed on with Decca Records, her sister's record label. However, since there was already a star named "Brenda Lee" with Decca Records, Decca asked Webb to change her first name. It was her older sister Loretta Lynn who suggested the name 'Crystal' for her singing career (after noticing a sign for the Krystal restaurant chain). So Webb took the stage name 'Crystal Gayle'  • Crystal Gayle Discography • Crystal Gayle Books

Duncan Hines (1880 - 1959) Founder of Duncan Hines company; born in Bowling Green. Born in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Hines was a traveling salesman for a Chicago printer. By age 55 in 1935, Hines had eaten a lot of good and bad meals on the road, as part of his job, all across the country. At this time in the United States, there was no interstate highway system and only a few chain restaurants, except for in large, populated areas. Therefore, travelers on getting a good meal at a local restaurant.

Hines and his wife, Florence, began assembling a list for friends of several hundred good restaurants around the country. The list became so popular, that he began selling a paperback book entitled Adventures in Good Eating (1935), which highlighted restaurants and their featured dishes that Hines had personally enjoyed in cities and towns across America.• Duncan Hines Books

Casey Jones - John Luther "Casey" Jones (March 14, 1863 – April 30, 1900) was an American railroad engineer from Jackson, Tennessee who worked for the Illinois Central Railroad (IC). On April 30, 1900, he alone was killed when his passenger train collided with a stalled freight train at Vaughan, Mississippi on a foggy and rainy night. His dramatic death trying to stop his train and save lives made him a folk hero who became immortalized in a popular ballad sung by his friend Wallace Saunders, an African American engine wiper for the IC. Due to the enduring popularity of this song, his life and legend have been celebrated for over a century.

Casey Jones was born March 14, 1863, in southeast Missouri to country school teacher Frank Jones and his wife Anne, though his exact place of birth is unknown, the first of five children. In 1876, his family moved to the small community of Cayce, Kentucky. As a boy, he developed a growing obsession with trains from spending time around the Cayce depot. In 1878, at the age of 15, he went to work for the Mobile and Ohio Railroad as a telegrapher in nearby Columbus. Jones grew to be 6’4 1/2" tall with dark hair, gray eyes, and a slim build. His size and strength made him a natural for the often brutal work of railroad life. In 1884 he moved to Jackson, Tennessee, still in the employ of the M&O, to take a job as a flagman, where he stayed at a boarding house for railroad men run by the mother of his future wife, who worked there as well. • Casey Jones Books

Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865) The 16th President of the United States; born in Hardin County. This title presents an intimate portrait of an American icon. Long considered a classic, Benjamin P. Thomas' "Abraham Lincoln: A Biography" takes an incisive look at one of American history's greatest figures. Originally published in 1952 to wide acclaim, this eloquent account rises above previously romanticized depictions of the sixteenth president to reveal the real Lincoln: a complex, shrewd, and dynamic individual whose exceptional life has long intrigued the public.Thomas traces the president from his hardscrabble beginnings and early political career, through his years as an Illinois lawyer and his presidency during the Civil War. Although Lincoln is appropriately placed against the backdrop of the dramatic times in which he lived, the author's true focus is on Lincoln the man and his intricate personality. While Thomas pays tribute to Lincoln's many virtues and accomplishments, he is careful not to dramatize a persona already larger than life in the American imagination. • Abraham Lincoln Books
Brian Littrell singer, Lexington Brian Thomas Littrell (born February 20, 1975) is an American singer-songwriter, best known as a member of the Backstreet Boys. In the late 1990s and early 2000s his participation in the Backstreet Boys catapulted him into super-stardom as the band sold over 100 million albums. He is also a contemporary Christian recording artist and released a solo album, Welcome Home, in 2006.

A faithful Christian, Littrell has stated that he believes it is the duty of Christians to be open about their faith, saying, "I think as Christians we need to join hands and mount up together and lift God up and talk about our faith publicly and talk about all of the things God has done for us in our life to touch other people." Littrell, who has been a Born Again Christian since age 8 has said that he attributes his success in life to God, and that his faith has always been "the utmost important thing" in his life • Brian Littrell Books • Brian Littrell Discography

Loretta Lynn (1935 - ) Country music singer; born in Butcher Holler. In her best-selling Coal Miner's Daughter, Lynn allowed us to watch her grow from a na‹ve mountain girl in Butcher Holler, KY, into a country superstar. Husband Doolittle "Doo" Lynn played a major role in that earlier memoir, and it was his death in August 1996, as well as the passing of several close friends, that made her realize that her life story deserved a sequel. Here, the Country Music Hall of Fame member sets us down on the porch and talks more about Doo (his alcoholism and womanizing in particular), her own struggles with bacterial pneumonia and other health conditions, and the deaths of her mother, siblings, and son, Jack Benny. With her homespun, folksy voice, Lynn also reminisces about many of her friends Roy Acuff, Minnie Pearl, Patsy Cline, Cal Smith, Ernest Tubb, Faron Young, Conway Twitty, and Tammy Wynette and thanks the Wilburn Brothers for taking her under their wing and helping launch her career  • Loretta Lynn Website • Loretta Lynn Discography • Loretta Lynn Books
Bill Monroe (1911 - 1996) Songwriter, considered the "father of bluegrass"; born in Jerusalem Ridge.The legendary mandolinist and bandleader Bill Monroe wove his personal vision through more than 60 tireless years of recording and performing, inventing almost single-handedly the music that is now known--in a nod to his first band, the Blue Grass Boys--as bluegrass. In his thoughtful biography Can't You Hear Me Callin', Richard D. Smith argues that "no single artist has had as broad an impact on American music." As evidence, he highlights dozens of country and rock & roll musicians, both white and black, who were inspired by Monroe's powerful mandolin playing on the Grand Ole Opry's weekly broadcasts. (Chuck Berry's "Maybelline," for example, is an almost note-for-note copy of Monroe's instrumental "Ida Red.") Until now, however, Monroe's hesitation to reveal personal details has kept his personality as mysterious as one of the foggy mountaintops he sang about in his signature high lonesome tenor..• Bill Monroe Website • Bill Monroe Discography • Bill Monroe Books
Carry Amelia Nation  Garrard City • Carry A. Nation (November 25, 1846 – June 9, 1911) was a member of the temperance movement—which opposed alcohol in pre-Prohibition America—particularly noted for promoting her viewpoint through vandalism. On many occasions, Nation would enter an alcohol-serving establishment and attack the bar with a hatchet. She has been the topic of numerous books, articles and even a 1966 opera by Douglas Moore, first performed at the University of Kansas.

Nation was a large woman, almost 6 feet (180 cm) tall and weighing 175 pounds (80 kg) and of a somewhat stern countenance. She described herself as "a bulldog running along at the feet of Jesus, barking at what He doesn't like," and claimed a divine ordination to promote temperance by smashing up bars.

The spelling of her first name is ambiguous and both Carrie and Carry are considered correct. Official records say Carrie, which Nation used most of her life, but Carry was used by her father in the family Bible. Upon beginning her campaign against liquor in the early 20th century, she adopted the name Carry A. Nation mainly for its value as a slogan, and had it registered as a trademark in the state of Kansas. Carry Amelia Nation Books

Patricia Neal actress, Packard (born January 20, 1926) is an American actress of stage and screen.

After moving to New York, she accepted her first job as understudy in the Broadway production of The Voice of the Turtle. Next she appeared in Another Part of the Forest (1946), winning a Tony Award as Best Featured Actress in a Play.

In 1949, Neal made her film debut in John Loves Mary. Her appearance the same year in The Fountainhead coincided with her on-going affair with her married co-star, Gary Cooper. Later she co-starred with Michael Rennie in The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951).

In 1963, Neal won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Hud, co-starring Paul Newman. When the film was initially released it was predicted she would be a nominee in the supporting actress category but she began collecting awards and they were always for Best Leading Actress. She not only received the Academy Award but also picked up awards from the New York Film Critics and the National Board of Review. She also received a BAFTA award from the British Academy. Two years later, in 1965, she was reunited with John Wayne in Otto Preminger's In Harm's Way winning her second BAFTA Award. • Patricia NeaL Books • Patricia Neal Movies

Harold "Pee Wee" Reese (1918 - 1999) Baseball shortstop with Brooklyn Dodgers; born in Ekron. The caveat about this book is that it is as much about political personalities and the social changes that post-WWII America confronted as it is about the 56 Dodgers. Still, this is one terrific read. The Brooklyn Dodgers won their only world championship in 1955; in '56 they lost the series to the Yankees; two years later, the team was in Los Angeles. "The move" is the thing that haunts the 1956 season. New Yorker writer Shapiro (The Shadow in the Sun; Solomon's Sword) dissects Walter O'Malley absorbingly, in a meticulously dead-on portrait of a man still virulently hated in the borough of churches. There are the stories of O'Malley's soft adolescence, how he became a lawyer and how he came to own the Dodgers. Shapiro tells of O'Malley's plan for a domed stadium (designed by Buckminster Fuller) and of his battles with another hated New Yorker, Robert Moses, who would not condemn land, a first for Moses; hence O'Malley could not come up with property on the cheap. There are wonderful vignettes of the Dodgers: Pee Wee Reese, the captain and the glue that held the Dodgers together season after season; the still intense Jackie Robinson and his dislike for the easygoing Roy Campanella; the sulking Duke Snider; the good-guy Carl Erskine; the enemy from the Polo Grounds who came to pitch, Sal "The Barber" Maglie; and how the team rallied to win the pennant.• Harold "Pee Wee" Reese Books
Wiley B. Rutledge  • Wiley Blount Rutledge, Jr. (July 20, 1894 - September 10, 1949) was a U.S. educator and jurist.

Rutledge was born in Cloverport, Kentucky (more specifically, at nearby Tar Springs) to Wiley Blount Rutledge, Sr., a Southern Baptist minister, and Mary Lou Wigginton Rutledge (d. 1903). Another son died in infancy, and then his sister Margaret was born in 1897. His family moved about while he was young, but he attended college at Maryville College and then the University of Wisconsin–Madison, graduating from there in 1914. Rutledge taught high school in Indiana while attending the Indiana University law school part-time. He later moved to Colorado, and received a degree from the University of Colorado School of Law in Boulder. While matriculating at Colorado, Rutledge joined the Pi Chapter of Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity.

Rutledge worked in private practice in Boulder for a few years before deciding to instead pursue an academic career. He taught at a number of law schools before being named Dean of the University of Iowa College of Law in 1935. From this position, Rutledge was a vocal supporter of Franklin Roosevelt's plan to pack the Supreme Court. Rutledge also served as Dean of Washington University School of Law from 1930-1935, where the Wiley Rutledge Moot Court competition is named in his honor. Wiley B. Rutledge Books

Colonel Harland Sanders (1890 - 1980) Founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken; lived in Corbin. At the age of 40, Sanders cooked chicken dishes and other meals for people who stopped at his service station in Corbin, Kentucky. Since he did not have a restaurant, he served customers in his living quarters in the service station. His local popularity grew, and Sanders moved to a motel and restaurant that seated 142 people and worked as the chef. Over the next nine years, he developed his method of cooking chicken. Furthermore, he made use of a pressure fryer that allowed the chicken to be cooked much faster than by pan frying. Sanders sold the Kentucky Fried Chicken corporation in 1964 for $2 million to a partnership of Kentucky businessmen headed by John Y. Brown, Jr. The deal did not include the Canadian operations. Sanders moved to Ontario and continued to collect franchise fees. Sanders continued on with Kentucky Fried Chicken as its spokesperson and collected appearance fees for his visits to franchises in the United States and Canada.• Colonel Harland Sanders Books
Diane Sawyer (born December 22, 1945) is an American television journalist for the ABC News division of the ABC network. On December 21, 2009, she began anchoring World News with Diane Sawyer, the network's flagship news program.

Until December 11, 2009, Sawyer was a long-time co-anchor of ABC News's morning news program, Good Morning America (GMA).

In 2001 she was named one of the thirty most-powerful women in America by the Ladies' Home Journal. In 2007 she ranked 62nd on "Forbes Magazine's List of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women".

Born Lila Diane Sawyer in Glasgow, Kentucky, Sawyer is the daughter of Jean W. (née Dunagan), an elementary school teacher, and Erbon Powers "Tom" Sawyer, a judge. Soon after her birth, her family moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where her father rose to local prominence as a Republican politician and community leader; he was Kentucky's Jefferson County Judge/Executive when he was killed in a car accident on Louisville's Interstate 64 in 1969. E. P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park, located in the Frey's Hill area of Louisville, is named in his honor. • Diane Sawyer Books

Allen Tate - John Orley Allen Tate (November 19, 1899 - February 9, 1979) was an American poet, essayist, social commentator, and Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1943 to 1944.

Tate was born near Winchester, Kentucky to John Orley Tate, a businessman, and Eleanor Parke Custis Varnell. In 1916 and 1917 Tate studied the violin at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.

He began attending Vanderbilt University in 1918, where he met fellow poet Robert Penn Warren. Warren and Tate were invited to join a group of young Southern poets under the leadership of John Crowe Ransom; the group were known as the Fugitive Poets and later as the Southern Agrarians. Tate contributed to the group's magazine The Fugitive and to the agrarian manifesto I'll Take My Stand published in 1930. Tate also joined Ransom to teach at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. • Allen Tate Books

Hunter Thompson writer, Louisville Hunter Stockton Thompson (July 18, 1937 – February 20, 2005) was an American journalist and author, most famous for his novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. He is credited as the creator of Gonzo journalism, a style of reporting where reporters involve themselves in the action to such a degree that they become central figures of their stories. He is also known for his use of psychedelics, alcohol, firearms, and his iconoclastic contempt for authoritarianism.

Hunter Stockton Thompson was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the first of three sons to Jack Robert Thompson (1893 - July 3, 1952), an insurance adjuster and a World War I veteran, and Virginia Davidson Ray (1908-1998), a reference librarian. His parents met after being introduced by a mutual friend from Jack's fraternity in 1934, and married in 1935.

The Thompson family resided in the Cherokee Triangle neighborhood of the Highlands in Louisville. Jack Thompson died of myasthenia gravis, a neuromuscular disease, on July 3, 1952, when Hunter was 14 years old, leaving three sons — Hunter, Davison, and James (February 2, 1949 – March 25, 1993) — to be brought up by their mother. Contemporaries indicated that after Jack's death, Virginia became a "heavy drinker." • Hunter Thompson Books

Jim Varney James Albert "Jim" Varney, Jr. (June 15, 1949 – February 10, 2000) was an American character actor and comedian. He was best known for his character Ernest P. Worrell, originally created by Nashville advertising agency Carden and Cherry in the 1980s. The character was used in numerous television commercial campaigns and movies in the following years, giving him fame worldwide. He is best known for his slapstick style and his portrayal of "redneck" stereotypes in a friendly, approachable way. - Actor/Comedian.  Best known for his portrayal of Ernest P. Worrell; born in Lexington.

Varney was born the fourth child and only son of Louise Varney (née Howard) (January 14, 1913 - August 22, 1994) and James Albert Varney, Sr. (January 1, 1910 - January 11, 1985), in Lexington, Kentucky, where he grew up. He began his interest in theater as a teenager, winning state titles in drama competitions while a student at Lafayette High School (which he graduated from with the class of 1968) in Lexington. He attended Murray State University at the age of 15, where he portrayed Ebenezer Scrooge in a local theater production, and by 17, he was performing professionally in nightclubs and coffee houses. Jim studied Shakespeare at the Barter Theatre located in Virginia and performed in an Opryland folk show its first year of operation in the 1970's. He listed a former teacher, Thelma Beeler, as being one of the main contributing factors in his becoming an actor. • Jim Varney Books • Jim Varney Films

Frederick M. Vinson - Frederick Moore Vinson (January 22, 1890 – September 8, 1953) served the United States in all three branches of government and was the most prominent member of the Vinson political family. In the legislative branch, he was an elected member of the United States House of Representatives from Louisa, Kentucky, for twelve years. In the executive branch, he was the Secretary of Treasury under President Harry S. Truman. In the judicial branch, he was the thirteenth Chief Justice of the United States, appointed by President Truman.

Fred Vinson was born in the newly built, eight-room, red brick house in front of the Lawrence County jail, Louisa, Kentucky, where his father served as the Lawrence County Jailer. As a child he would help his father in the jail and even made friends with prisoners who would remember his kindness when he later ran for public office. Vinson worked odd jobs while in school. He graduated from Kentucky Normal School in 1908 and enrolled at Centre College, where he graduated at the top of his class. While at Centre, he was a member of the Kentucky Alpha Delta chapter of Phi Delta Theta fraternity. He became a lawyer in Louisa, a small town of 2,500 residents. He first ran for, and was elected to, office as the City Attorney of Louisa.

He joined the Army during World War I. Following the war, he was elected as the Commonwealth's Attorney for the Thirty-Second Judicial District of Kentucky. • Frederick M. Vinson Books

Robert Penn Warren (1905 - 1989) Author known for works such as All the King's Men and Band of Angels; born in Guthrie. In chronicling the life (1904-1989) of a one-time literary lion whose works often failed to match his celebrity, Blotner has taken on a subject less accomplished and yet more challenging than the Southern titan at the center of his admired Faulkner. An anachronism while still active, Warren never equaled the great novel of Deep South politics he published at 42, All the King's Men. While groping for decades to outdo it, he established stronger credentials as poet and critic. Although he lived most of his adult life above the Mason-Dixon line, he drew his imaginative energy largely from his Kentucky and Tennessee roots, alleging that the North was "really just a big hotel to me... The South will always be my home." Balancing objectivity with sensitivity, Blotner takes on his subject's disastrous first marriage; his alcoholic and much-married "Fugitive Group" literary circle; his peripatetic academic climbing; and his overriding concern with income despite considerable royalties and monetary prizes. Dollars often dictated Warren's professional decisions, drawing him back again and again to the classroom and lecture circuit, although he complained that teaching chewed up his energy • Robert Penn Warren Books