USA Famous People of Missouri

Missouri Biographies

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Robert Altman film director, Kansas City Mitchell Zuckoff: Bob was fearless when it came to making movies, and fearlessness is a quality that is in short supply. Plenty of good directors can paint by the numbers and succeed commercially. Bob is an icon because he wouldn’t play by the rules. And isn’t that where all great art comes from? I like what Martin Scorsese said when I asked him this same question. He said: "His legacy? His spirit. His spirit was to make pictures, to say what the hell he wanted to say on film. It may have angered people, it may have unsettled people, but he did it." He did it. Not a bad epitaph for Bob Altman. Other people might have talked about it or dreamed about it. He did it. • Robert Altman Books • Robert Altman Films
Maya Angelou (1928 - ) Author of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings ; born in St. Louis. Grade 6-9-This biography begins with Angelou being asked to recite her poetry at Bill Clinton's inaugural ceremony in 1993, and then flashes back to her birth in 1928, progressing chronologically to 1996. Kite focuses on the personal aspects of Angelou's life with little included on the important people who influenced her. The final chapter lists and briefly describes her poetry collections, autobiographical and other works, and the many honors she has received. However, although her poetry is mentioned, examples are not included. Sepia, black-and-white, and some full-color captioned photographs are included. The "Web: Maya Angelou Sites" section is confusing as it includes no actual addresses. Since 1990, Angelou has been included in at least nine collective biographies. There are also many biographies about her; three for this age group, all titled Maya Angelou, are by Nancy Shuker (Silver Burdett, 1990), Miles Shapiro (Chelsea, 1994), and Elaine Lisandrelli (Enslow, 1996). Where those are available, consider this one additional. Kathleen Staerkel, Indian Trails Public Library District, Wheeling, IL • Maya Angelou Books
David Rice Atchison (1807 - 1886) A Missouri native, held the office of president of the United States for one day in 1849. August 11, 1807 – January 26, 1886) was a mid-19th century Democratic United States Senator from Missouri. He served as President pro tempore of the United States Senate for six years. He is probably best known for the possibility that for one day (March 4, 1849) he may have been Acting President of the United States.

Atchison was a prominent pro-slavery activist and Border Ruffian leader, deeply involved with violence against abolitionists and other free-staters during the "Bleeding Kansas" events • David Rice Atchison Books

Burt Bacharach songwriter, Kansas City Covering the well-known and public areas of Burt Bacharach's life, as well as those aspects that have previously been hidden from the media, this book examines a celebrated career spanning 50 years. Covered in detail are Bacharach's previously undocumented early life; his work with lyricist Hal David; his golden years composing hit after hit; his numerous relationships with women and his four marriages, including those to Angie Dickinson and Carole Bayer Sager; and his recent collaborations with Elvis Costello and Noel Gallagher. • Burt Bacharach Books • Burt Bacharach Discography
Josephine Baker singer, dancer, Saint Louis Nearly two decades after her death, the legend of Josephine Baker continues to flourish. Subject of a number of books and recent films, "the most successful music hall performer ever to take the stage" (according to Ebony magazine) was larger than life: She was the toast of Paris in the 1920s, star of stage and screen in the 1930s, Red Cross volunteer and undercover agent in World War II, participant in the 1963 Civil Rights Movement march on Washington, and star of several farewell (and comeback) tours. Baker adopted 12 children of different races and called them her "rainbow tribe." Jean-Claude, "the 13th of her twelve adopted children," and Chase have crafted a biography rich in anecdotes and personal recollections of many of her fellow entertainers. This intriguing story is recommended for most public libraries. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/15/93.• Josephine Baker Books • Josephine Baker Discography
Scott Bakula Actor of television’s “Quantum Leap”; born in St. Louis.October 9, 1954) is an American actor. His most prominent roles have been as Sam Beckett in the science fiction television series Quantum Leap, and as Captain Jonathan Archer in Star Trek: Enterprise. He also co-starred with Maria Bello in the short-lived CBS television series Mr. & Mrs. Smith and had a recurring role in the sitcom Murphy Brown.

Bakula was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Sally and J. Stewart Bakula, a corporate lawyer. He graduated from Kirkwood High School in Kirkwood, Missouri in 1973. During high school, he was active in soccer, tennis, and theatre. Also during high school, he had the lead roles in Godspell and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at First Presbyterian Church in Kirkwood. He also played Tevye in an Independent Theatre Production of Fiddler on the Roof at Kirkwood High. Bakula attended college at the University of Kansas until his sophomore year. He was a member of Phi Gamma Delta while attending the University. • Scott Bakula Books • Scott Bakula Movies

Wallace Beery actor, Kansas City (April 1, 1885 – April 15, 1949) was an American actor, known for his portrayal of Bill in Min and Bill opposite Marie Dressler, his titular role in a series of films featuring the character Sweedie, and his titular role in The Champ, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. Beery appeared in 200 movies over a 36-year span. • Photographs of Wallace Beery • Wallace Beery Movies
William Bent fur trader, pioneer, Bent was born in St. Louis, then Franklin Independence, Missouri, the son of a Missouri Supreme Court justice. He followed his older brother Charles Bent (briefly governor of New Mexico, based in Santa Fe, with residence in Taos) into the fur trade business. While in the company of a trapping party, William Bent saved two Cheyenne from an attack by Comanches. This began his life-long association with the Cheyenne.

Along with Ceran St. Vrain, William built an elaborate adobe fort on the eastern Colorado plains, near present day La Junta, known as Bent's Fort. It was the only privately owned, fortified placement in the west. Due to its placement on the Santa Fe Trail, and because of Bent's association with the Cheyenne, this fort became a major merchandise center on the southern plains.

Bent's influence with the Cheyenne also helped prevent war with the Americans. He was friendly with the Cheyenne chief Black Kettle, who called him Little White Man. • William Bent Books

Robert Russell Bennett composer, Kansas City This volume presents the life and works of Robert Russell Bennett, whose prolific career as composer and arranger reflected and enhanced the musical vitality and energy of 20th-century New York City, where he spent most of his professional life. A lengthy biographical profile is followed by a complete list of works and selected performances featuring compositions rather than arrangements, ranging from orchestral to chamber music, choral to keyboard pieces, and stage to radio works. A complete catalog of commercial recordings comprises the discography, and an annotated bibliography further documents Bennett's singular talent. • Robert Russell Bennet Books • Robert Russell Bennett Discography
Thomas Hart Benton painter, Benton was born in Neosho, Missouri, into an influential clan of politicians and powerbrokers. Benton's father Maecenas Benton was a lawyer and United States congressman, and his namesake and great-uncle Thomas Hart Benton was one of the first two United States Senators from Missouri.

Benton spent his childhood shuttling between Washington D.C. and Missouri. Benton rebelled against his grooming for a future political career, preferring to develop his interest in art. As a teenager, he worked as a cartoonist for the Joplin American newspaper, in Joplin, Missouri.[citation needed]

Benton met and married Rita Piacenza, an Italian immigrant, in 1922. They met while Benton was teaching art classes for a neighborhood organization in New York City and she was one of his students. They were married for 53 years until Thomas's death in 1975. Rita died ten weeks after her husband. The couple had a son, Thomas Piacenza Benton, born in 1926, and a daughter, Jessie Benton, born in 1939. • Thomas Hart Benton Books

Yogi Berra (1925 - ) New York Yankee catcher that won 10 World Series; born in St. Louis. *Starred Review* Barra brings to his sporting version of the Everyman story an encyclopedic knowledge and warm understanding of the game of baseball; meticulous research into business, sociology, and history; and a fluid writing style. The rough gem in this setting is Lorenzo Pietro Berra, the most beloved Yankee and one of the greatest players of all time. Barra makes that argument forcefully as he tells the story of the boy on “Dago Hill” in St Louis who only ever wanted to play ball. We are amazed again at how young Berra was and how cannily he played. The author calls 1947–58 the Yogi Berra era (a period that produced 10 pennants and 8 World Series championships) while giving ample credit to Casey Stengel as manager and Berra’s teammates, from DiMaggio to Mantle. • Yogi Berra Books
Chuck Berry (1926 - ) Singer known for “Johnny B. Goode”; born in Wentzville. It’s no exaggeration to say that, with songs like “Rock Śn’ Roll Music,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” and “Johnny B. Goode,” Chuck Berry invented rock Śn’ roll. Yet Berry has been respected rather than loved—in fact, after producing the birthday–tribute film “Hail, Hail, Rock and Roll” for him, Keith Richards remarked “I wouldn’t warm to Chuck Berry if I was cremated next to him.” Notorious for using pick–up musicians to avoid the expense of a touring band, he insists on cash payment before he’ ll play and congratulates himself on his accumulation of wealth. His career has been overshadowed, and often stalled, by tax evasion, liaisons with an underage prostitute, and jail sentences. Now, John Collis interviews those who have worked with Berry and uncovers the truth about his life back in St. Louis. The result is a clear–eyed portrait of a musical genius who, even in his seventies, is still up on stage singing “Sweet Little Sixteen.” • Chuck Berry Discography • Chuck Berry Books
Susan Elizabeth Blow (1843 - 1916) Teacher and founder of the nation’s first public kindergarten in St. Louis; born in St. Louis. Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: with which to decorate Lincoln's picture—symbolic of the chains which he removed from his fellow man." On the other hand, the programme cited has four marked defects arising from its constructive principle and common to all programmers of its type. The first of these defects is the assumed priority of conscious thought over impulse and activity; the second is the imposition of an externally unified whole of thought; the third is the sacrifice of specific values in exercises with the gifts and occupations, and the fourth is the substitution of arbitrary connections for those causal ties which it is one great aim of all sound education to reveal. What becomes of that cardinal principle of progressive pedagogy that " in the beginning is the act," if children may not act until their minds have been filled by the kindergartner with a thought content? • Susan Elizabeth Blow Books
Bill Bradley basketball player, Crystal City Almost two decades after its original publication and more than fifteen years after its author retired from the New York Knicks to become a United States senator, this account of twenty days in a pro basketball season remains a classic in the literature of sports, unparalleled in its candor and intelligence. Bill Bradley is also the author of Time Present, Time Past, a memoir of his years in the U.S. Senate. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition. • Bill Bradley Books
Omar N. Bradley (1893 - 1981) Commanded the 12th Army Group in World War II, the largest American force ever united under one man's command.  Bradley served 69 years on active duty in the Armed Forces, longer than any other soldier in United States history; born near Clark. I have read numerous works by many authors on this period, including Shirer, Eisenhower, Ryan, D'Este, and more recently Ambrose. It was interesting to hear Omar's first hand account and viewpoint on issues and decisions that were controversial at the time - many of which still are controversial. His explanations and descriptions seem much more enlightening than many of the more recent accounts of this era written with greater hindsight. A Soldier's Story is a great read for anyone interested in this phase of US history and is actually refreshingly simple in its interpretations. You definitely can't judge a book by its cover. • Omar N. Bradley Books
Grace Bumbry soprano, Saint Louis Grace Bumbry (born 4 January 1937), is an American opera singer of great renown, considered one of the leading mezzo-sopranos of her generation, as well as a major soprano for many years. She was a member of an extraordinary and pioneering generation of singers who followed Marian Anderson (including Leontyne Price, Martina Arroyo, Shirley Verrett and Reri Grist) in the world of classical music and paved the way for future African-American opera and classical singers. Bumbry's voice was rich and sizable, possessing a wide range, and was capable of producing a plangent, bronze-hued, very distinctive tone. In her prime, she also possessed good agility and bel canto technique (see for example her renditions of the 'Veil Song' from Verdi's Don Carlo in the 1970s and 1980s, as well as her Ernani from the Chicago Lyric Opera in 1984). • Grace Bumbry Books • Grace Bumbry Discography
William Burroughs writer, Saint Louis This brief biography portrays Burroughs as a walking contradiction?the Harvard-educated junkie in a three-piece suit, the writer who sought to erase the word. Making good use of photographs, collage art, and newspaper clippings, Caveney (American literature, Univ. of East Anglia) emphasizes Burroughs's contributions to popular culture, particularly in music and film. In its design, the book somewhat resembles Angelhead Hipster (Viking, 1996), Steve Turner's recent biography of Jack Kerouac. Caveney often provides exact addresses for Burroughs's haunts, a helpful feature for groupies intent on visiting the shrines of their "priest." Of the three major biographies of Burroughs, Caveney's is probably the best for the casual reader. Those seeking a more detailed portrait will continue to rely on Barry Miles's William Burroughs (LJ 8/93) and Ted Morgan's Literary Outlaw (LJ 10/15/88).?William Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY • William Burroughs Books
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