USA Famous People of Nevada

Nevada Biographies

Andre Agassi (1970 - ) Champion tennis player; born in Las Vegas. From Andre Agassi, one of the most beloved athletes in history and one of the most gifted men ever to step onto a tennis court, a beautiful, haunting autobiography. Agassi’s incredibly rigorous training begins when he is just a child. By the age of thirteen, he is banished to a Florida tennis camp that feels like a prison camp. Lonely, scared, a ninth-grade dropout, he rebels in ways that will soon make him a 1980s icon. He dyes his hair, pierces his ears, dresses like a punk rocker.

By the time he turns pro at sixteen, his new look promises to change tennis forever, as does his lightning-fast return. And yet, despite his raw talent, he struggles early on. We feel his confusion as he loses to the world’s best, his greater confusion as he starts to win. After stumbling in three Grand Slam finals, Agassi shocks the world, and himself, by capturing the 1992 Wimbledon. Overnight he becomes a fan favorite and a media target. Andre Agassi Books

Ben Alexander Ben Alexander (May 26, 1911 July 5, 1969) was an Emmy-nominated American motion picture actor, who started out as a child actor in 1915.

Born Nicholas Benton Alexander IV in Goldfield, Nevada and raised in California, Alexander made his screen debut at age of five in Every Pearl a Tear. He went on to portray Lillian Gish's young brother in D.W. Griffith's Hearts of the World. It was in another World War I classic, All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), that Alexander made his first positive impression as an adult actor in the role of Kemmerick, the tragic amputation victim.

When Alexander's acting career slowed down in the mid-1930s, he found a new career as a successful radio announcer, and in 1952, Jack Webb chose him to replace Herbert Ellis in the role of Officer Frank Smith in the TV series Dragnet. In 1966, Alexander returned to police work as Sergeant Dan Briggs on the weekly ABC cop series Felony Squad. For his contribution to the entertainment industry Ben Alexander has one star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for television.

His acting career was supplemented by the ownership/operation of his Ford dealership in downtown L.A., currently a BMW/Mini dealership (until recently owned by his son, Nick, now operated by Nick's daughter) in the mid-late 1960s. He played Officer Frank Smith in the television series Dragnet; born in Goldfield. Ben Alexander Books Ben Alexander Films

Henry Fountain Ashurst politician, Winnemucca (September 13, 1874 May 31, 1962) was an American Democratic politician and one of the first two Senators from Arizona, the other being Marcus A. Smith. Largely self-educated, he served as a district attorney and member of the Arizona Territorial legislature before fulfilling his childhood ambition of joining the United States Senate. During his time in the Senate, Ashurst was chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs and the Judiciary Committee.

Called "the longest U. S. theatrical engagement on record" by Time, Ashurst's political career was noted for a self-contradictory voting record, the use of a sesquipedalian vocabulary, and for a love of public speaking that earned him a reputation as one of the Senate's greatest orators. Among the sobriquets assigned to him are the "Dean of Inconsistency", "Five-Syllable Henry", and the "Silver-Tongued Sunbeam of the Painted Desert".

Ashurst was born on September 13, 1874 in a covered wagon near Winnemucca, Humboldt County, Nevada to William and Sarah Ashurst. The second of ten children, his family moved to a ranch near Williams, Arizona when he was two and he attended school in Flagstaff.[3] At the age of ten he demonstrated a desire to be a senator by writing "Henry Fountain Ashurst, U.S. Senator from Arizona" into a speller. After dropping out of school at the age of thirteen, he worked as a cowboy on his father's ranch. Henry Fountain Ashurst Books

Helen Delich Bentley newspaperwoman, Ruth (born November 28, 1923, Ruth, Nevada) is a Serbian-American politician and a former Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from the State of Maryland (1985-95).

Bentley was an unsuccessful candidate for election to the 97th and 98th Congresses in 1980 and 1982, respectively. She was elected as a Republican to the 99th Congress in 1984, and to the four succeeding Congresses, serving from January 3, 1985, to January 3, 1995. During her time in office, Bentley was a strong advocate for protectionist trade policies in support of U.S. manufacturing and the U.S. Merchant Marine fleet.

Being of Serbian origin, she was known to be sympathetic towards Serbians during the civil war in Yugoslavia in the 1990s, and opposed U.S. military involvement in that conflict. A member of the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries, Bentley was recognized by her colleagues as a leading expert on federal maritime policy.

In August 1987, she was the sponsor for the commissioning of the USS Fort McHenry (LSD-43) at Lockheed Shipyards in Seattle WA. During the commissioning and events leading up to it, she repeatedly called the ship's captain, CDR George S. "Dusty" Rhodes "skipper", much to his annoyance and the wardroom's enjoyment Helen Delich Bentley Books

James Hubert Bilbray politician, Las Vegas (born May 19, 1938) is an American politician and lawyer from Nevada. Born in Las Vegas, Nevada, Bilbray graduated from Las Vegas High School and attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas from 1959 to 1960. He received a B.A. in government and public administration from American University in Washington, D.C. in 1962 and a J.D. from the Washington College of Law in 1964. He served in the Nevada Army National Guard from 1955 to 1956 and in the Nevada Army Reserves from 1957 to 1963.

Bilbray practiced law and was deputy district attorney of Clark County, Nevada from 1965 to 1967. He was then chief legal counsel in the Clark County juvenile court from 1967 to 1968 and was an alternate municipal judge in Las Vegas from 1978 to 1980. He became licensed to practice law before the Nevada Gaming Commission and the Nevada Gaming Control Board in 1970. A Democrat, he served in the Nevada State Senate from 1981 to 1987 where he was chairman of the Taxation Committee and was also a member of the Judiciary Committee. He successfully ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1986 for the seat being vacated by Harry Reid who had made a successful run for the U.S. Senate. He served as chairman of the Small Business Sub-Committee on Taxation, Tourism and Procurement and was also a member of the Foreign Affairs, Armed Services and Intelligence Committees. No Books

James E. Casey  Founder of United Parcel Service (UPS); born in Candelaria. (March 29, 1888 - June 6, 1983), American businessman, was born in Pick Handle Gulch near Candelaria, Nevada.

In 1907, 19-year-old Jim Casey founded the American Messenger Company in Seattle, Washington with $100 borrowed from a friend. He served as president, CEO and chairman. Claude Ryan was his partner and his messengers were his brother George and other teenagers. His motto was "best service and lowest rates" Deliveries were made on foot, bicycle, or motorcycle In 1913, Jim Casey agreed to merge with Evert McCabe's Motorcycle Messengers. Merchants Parcel Delivery was formed and focused now on packages. Their first delivery car was a 1913 Ford Model T.

In 1919, the company expanded beyond Seattle and changed its name to United Parcel Service. James E. Casey Books

Walter Van Tilburg Clark (1909-1971) Author; grew up in Reno. Walter Van Tilburg Clark, author of the classic novel The Ox-Bow Incident, was one of the most important writers of the twentieth century, helping to change American literature by making the West and its vast, haunted landscapes a legitimate subject for serious fiction. But his career, which began so brilliantly, largely ended when he was still a young man, stifled by a paralyzing case of writer’s block. Jackson J. Benson, one of the country’s foremost literary biographers, has produced the first full-length biography of this brilliant, enigmatic figure, focusing on Clark’s intellectual and literary life as a writer and teacher, and on his life in the transforming midcentury West of which he was so passionately a part. Walter Van Tilburg Clark Books
James A. Gibbons - James Arthur "Jim" Gibbons (born December 16, 1944) is the 28th and current governor of the U.S. state of Nevada. A Republican, he is a former member of the United States House of Representatives, having served from 1997 to 2006.

Born in Sparks, Nevada, Gibbons interrupted his studies at the University of Nevada, Reno during the Vietnam War to serve in the United States Air Force (19671971). He also attended Southwestern University School of Law, in Los Angeles, and the University of Southern California for post-graduate studies.

A graduate of the U.S. Air Force Air Command and Staff College and the Air War College, he joined the Nevada Air National Guard in 1975 and served as its vice commander from 1990 to 1996, participating in the first Gulf War. During his military career, Gibbons earned nineteen service medals, including the Legion of Merit and Distinguished Flying Cross. In civilian life, he has worked as a lawyer in private practice, an airline pilot for both Western Airlines and Delta Air Lines, a hydrologist and a geologist. Gibbons is a nonpracticing Latter-day Saint; his wife Dawn is a Presbyterian James A. Gibbons Books

Jack Kramer; born in Las Vegas. John Albert Kramer (August 1, 1921 - September 12, 2009) was an American tennis player of the 1940s. A World Number 1 player for a number of years, he is a possible candidate for the title of the greatest tennis player of all time. He was also, for many years, the leading promoter of the professional tennis tours and a relentless advocate for the establishment of Open Tennis between amateur and professional players. When the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) was founded in 1972, he was the first Executive Director, and in that role was the leader of an ATP boycott of Wimbledon in 1973. Tall and slim, he was the first world-class player to play a consistent serve-and-volley game, in which he came to the net behind all of his serves, including the second serve. He was particularly known for his powerful serve and forehand, as well as his ability to play "percentage tennis", which he learned from Cliff Roche at the Los Angeles Tennis Club, to maximize his efforts on certain points and in certain games during the course of a match that increased his chances of winning.

Kramer was the son of a blue-collar railroad worker for the Union Pacific railroad. As a boy he was a fine all-round athlete, particularly in basketball and tennis. When he was 13, the family moved to San Bernardino, California, and after seeing Ellsworth Vines, then the world's best player, play a match Kramer decided to concentrate on tennis. Later in his life he married Gloria and they had five sons Jack Kramer Books

Paul Laxalt politician, Reno Paul Dominique Laxalt (born August 2, 1922) was a Republican Governor and U.S. Senator from Nevada.

Paul Laxalt was born in Reno, Nevada, the son of a Basque shepherd, Dominique, and a Basque mother who had a restaurant in Carson City, the capital of Nevada. He served as a medic in the U.S. Army during World War II seeing action in the Battle of Leyte Gulf during the Philippine invasion. Prior to the war, he had attended Santa Clara University. After the war, he graduated from the University of Denver in 1949. He was the district attorney for Ormsby County, Nevada between 1950 and 1954.

Paul Laxalt was elected lieutenant governor of Nevada in 1962 and served until 1966. In 1964 he ran for the U.S. Senate against Democratic incumbent Howard Cannon and lost a controversial election by only 48 votes; it is very likely he would have won had it not been for Lyndon Johnson's landslide election victory. Paul Laxalt Books

Greg LeMond ; raised in Washoe Valley. Gregory James "Greg" LeMond (born June 26, 1961) is a former professional road bicycle racer from the United States and a three-time winner of the Tour de France. He was born in Lakewood, California.

In 1986, LeMond became the first American cyclist to win the race. In 1987, he was accidentally shot and seriously injured in a hunting accident (by his brother-in-law), taking two years to recover before returning to win the Tour again in 1989 and 1990, becoming one of only eight cyclists to have won the Tour three or more times.

LeMond was a standout junior rider and quickly established himself as a talented cyclist. Soon after his initial success, he began competing against older, more seasoned racers and gained the attention of the US national cycling team. LeMond went on to win gold, silver and bronze medals at the 1979 junior world championships in Argentina and amazed spectators with his spectacular victory in the road race. He was picked for the 1980 Olympic cycling team but was unable to compete due to the US boycott of the summer Moscow games. With the guidance of Cyrille Guimard he joined the European peloton, first racing with the Paris-based Union Sportive de Creteil, then beginning racing professionally in 1981 with the Renault-Elf-Gitane team. He finished in second place with a silver medal at the 1982 World Cycling Championship and become the first American to win a road world championship the following year. He soon began preparing for the more demanding Grand Tours. Greg LeMond Books

Patricia Ryan Nixon - Thelma Catherine "Pat" Ryan Nixon[1] (March 16, 1912 June 22, 1993) was the wife of Richard Nixon, 37th President of the United States, and was First Lady of the United States from 1969 to 1974. She was commonly known as Patricia or Pat Nixon.

Born in Ely, Nevada, Pat Ryan grew up in Los Angeles, California. She graduated from high school in 1929, then attended Fullerton Junior College and later the University of Southern California. She paid for her schooling by working multiple jobs, including pharmacy manager, typist, X-ray technician, and retail store clerk. In 1940, she married lawyer Richard Nixon; they had two daughters. Pat campaigned for her husband in his successful congressional campaigns of 1946 and 1948. Richard Nixon was elected Vice President in the Eisenhower administration, whereupon Pat undertook many missions of goodwill with her husband and gained favorable media coverage. She assisted her husband in both his unsuccessful 1960 presidential campaign, and later in his successful presidential campaign of 1968.

As First Lady, Pat Nixon promoted a number of charitable causes, including volunteerism. She oversaw the collection of more than 600 pieces of historic art and furnishings for the White House, an acquisition larger than that of any other administration. Pat became the most traveled First Lady in U.S. history up to that time, visiting about 80 nations; she was the first First Lady to enter a combat zone. These trips gained her favorable reception in the media and the host countries. Her tenure ended when, after being re-elected in a landslide victory in 1972, President Nixon resigned two years later amid the Watergate scandal. Patricia Ryan Nixon Books

Lute Pease cartoonist Lucius (Lute) Curtis, was the son of Lucius Curtis (George, Elijah, William, Nathaniel, Robert, Robert, Robert) and Mary Isabel (Hutton) Pease. He was born March 27, 1869 in Winnemucca, a Nevada mining town, and died August 16, 1963 in Maplewood, New Jersey (although there are no records of his death in Maplewood, nor nearby towns of Livingston and Summit); On June 22, 1905, he married Nell Christmas McMullin; born 1883 in Steubenville, Ohio. She was an artist who studied at the Corcoran School of Art, and became an illustrator for the "Pacific Monthly". His maternal grandfather was a Superior Court judge in Malone, NY.

Lute was orphaned at age five, and placed in care of his paternal grandfather in Charlotte, VT, where he stayed on a farm until age sixteen. He had artistic talents early; drawing barnyard animals at age six, and caricatures of his teachers in school. He was sent to New York for his secondary education, and graduated from Franklin Academy in Malone in 1887. From there, he moved out West to become a teamster and ranch hand at the Elwood Cooper Ranch near Santa Barbara, CA..

During the next fifteen years, he was employed as a horticultural salesman, mined for gold in the Klondike and Yukon, managed a hotel, and from 1901 to 1902, he was the first resident US Commissioner in Nome, Alaska for the Yotzebue Sound Point Hope District. During those years, Lute Pease was also a reporter and a political cartoonist (1895-1897) for the "Portland Oregonian", a job he landed after submitting drawings of a murder and suicide he witnessed on the street. One of his interviews was with Mark Twain. Lute Pease Books

Harry M. Reid - Harry Mason Reid (born December 2, 1939) is the senior United States Senator from Nevada, and has been the Senate's Majority Leader since January 2007. A member of the Democratic Party, he has been leader of the Senate Democrats since 2005, serving as Minority Leader from 2005 until the Democrats won control of the Senate in the 2006 congressional elections. He is the first member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to serve as Majority Leader.

Reid was born in Searchlight, Nevada, the son of a miner in the camp 50 miles southeast of Las Vegas. He attended Basic High School in Henderson, Nevada, where he played football and was an amateur boxer. While at Basic he met future Nevada governor Mike O'Callaghan, who was a teacher there. Reid attended Southern Utah University and Utah State University.

Reid graduated from George Washington University Law School with a J.D. while working for the United States Capitol Police. He returned to Nevada after law school and served as Henderson city attorney before being elected to the Nevada Assembly in 1966. In 1970, At age 30, Reid was chosen by O'Callaghan as his running mate for Lieutenant Governor of Nevada. Harry M. Reid Books

David Derek Stacton (1925 - 1968) was a U.S. novelist, historian and poet. He was born on 25 April 1925 in Minden, Nevada. Stacton attended Stanford University from 1941-43, and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1951. He served in the Civilian Public Service as a conscientious objector then lived in Europe from 1950-1954, 1960-1962, and 1964-1965. Stacton wrote under the pseudonyms Carse Boyd, Bud Clifton, David Dereksen and David West. Most of his books were originally published in England. He died of a stroke 19 January 1968 in Fredensborg, Denmark.

David Stacton began as a writer of moody California-based novels, became moderately well-known as a writer of short, concentrated historical and biographical novels, and then ended his career as a writer of lengthy histories. His historical novels are distinctive for covering many disparate periods and historical figures and were popular with a coterie of critics but they never reached a wide audience. His novels usually focus on a couple of characters who are often highly private, unusual, even perverse individuals, so that his novels are more about encompassing the range of their personalities and motives through introspection rather than through narrative and plot. Stacton frequently refers to life as a "Cosmic Opera House". He sees his characters as parables and illustrative of certain trends, and he wrote two series of thematically related triptychs, with a planned third cut short by his death. In his first triptych, "The Invincible Questions",  David Derek Stacton Books

Sarah Hopkins -Winnemucca (1844 - 1891) Author, Paiute interpreter and peacemaker. Sarah Winnemucca (born Thocmentony, Paiute: Shell Flower) (ca. 1841 October 17, 1891) was notable for being the first Native American woman known to secure a copyright and to publish in the English language. She was also known by her married name, Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins, under which she was published. Her book, Life Among the Paiutes: Their Wrongs and Claims, is an autobiographical account of her people during their first forty years of contact with explorers and settlers.

Sarah was a person of two worlds. At the time of her birth her people had only very limited contact with Euro-Americans; however she spent much of her adult life in white society. Like many people of two worlds, she may be judged harshly in both contexts. Many Paiutes view her as a collaborator who helped the U.S. Army kill her people. Modern historians view her book as an important primary source, but one that is deliberately misleading in many instances. Despite this, Sarah has recently received much positive attention for her activism. She was inducted into the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame in 1993, and in 2005 a statue of her by sculptor Fredrich Victory was added to the National Statuary Hall Collection in the U.S. Capitol. Sarah Hopkins Books