USA Famous People of Oklahoma

Oklahoma Biographies

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Troy Kenneth Aikman (born November 21, 1966, in West Covina, California) is a former American football quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League, and currently a television sportscaster for the Fox network. He is formerly a joint owner of the NASCAR Sprint Cup racing team, Hall of Fame Racing, along with fellow former Cowboys quarterback, Roger Staubach. He is referred to as one of "The Triplets" with Cowboys teammates Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith. (1966 - ) Football player who led the Dallas Cowboys to 3 Super Bowl titles (1992,93,95); lived in Henryetta.

This book has just about everything you would ever want to know about Troy and more! It is a personal look into his life and career through pictures and text. The pictures are so beautiful you almost forget to read the text! I love this book because it deals not just with Troy Aikman NFL Quarterback, but with Troy Aikman the private person. He talks about his hobbies, goals, and expectations. You see him not as a celebrity, but the same as you and me. • Troy Kenneth Aikman Books

John Lee "Johnny" Bench baseball player, Oklahoma City (born December 7, 1947) is a former American Major League Baseball player for the Cincinnati Reds from 1967 to 1983 and a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He is currently on the Board of Directors for the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame.

Bench, a 14-time All-Star selection and the National League's Most Valuable Player in the 1970 and 1972 seasons, was a key member of the The Big Red Machine, the Reds teams of the 1970s which won six division titles and World Series championships in 1975 and 1976.

Catch Every Ball is an accumulation of wisdom gleaned from 60 years of living. Bench uses examples from his own life and playing career, as well as knowledge gathered from other successful people in all walks of life, to offer a guide to success anyone can relate to. Follow his life through the cotton fields of Oklahoma to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Meet some of the people who have influenced him along the way: Bob Hope, Arnold Palmer, Sparky Anderson, Joe Morgan and Bob Knight, among others. Allow Bench s wisdom to help you... Catch Every Ball. • Johnny Bench Books

John Allyn Berryman  (born John Allyn Smith, Jr.) (October 25, 1914 – January 7, 1972) was an American poet, born in McAlester, Oklahoma. He was a major figure in American poetry in the second half of the 20th century and often considered one of the founders of the Confessional school of poetry. He was the author of The Dream Songs, which are playful, witty, and morbid. Berryman committed suicide in 1972. Of his youthful self he said, 'I didn't want to be like Yeats; I wanted to be Yeats.'

The Dream Songs are eighteen-line poems in three stanzas. Each individual poem is lyric and organized around an emotion provoked by an everyday event. The tone of the poems is less surreal than associational or intoxicated. The principal character of the song cycle is Henry, who is both the narrator of the poems and referred to by the narrator in the poems. In 1967, in the heart of the restless decade, Berryman published a book of near-juvenilia, Berryman's Sonnets, of which the author wrote in a verse preface, speaking of himself in the third person, "He made, a thousand years ago, a-many songs / for an Excellent Lady, wif whom he was in wuv, / shall he now publish them?" Perhaps he should. "So free them to the winds that play, / let boys & girls with these old songs have holiday / if they feel like it" • John Allyn Berryman Books

Garth Brooks (1962 - ) Famous Country/Western singer who has sold over 104 million albums; born in Tulsa.  Grade 4-7-The publisher's stated aim with these titles is to present role models to children, and because of that, they lean toward fawning reverence for these stars and their accomplishments, and are largely uncritical. This is a concern with Garth Brooks in particular, considering the recent criticism that he has abandoned his art for the goal of selling more albums than the Beatles. Shania Twain briefly addresses the controversy over the star's Native American heritage, but states that her claim is technically correct as she was raised by her stepfather, a full-blooded Ojibwa, and was adopted into his tribe. A significant problem with both books is the lack of citations for the quotations attributed to the stars and to others who know them. Black-and-white publicity photos add little to the presentations. Serviceable additions for high interest/low reading level collections. Tim Wadham, Maricopa County Library District, Phoenix, AZ  • Garth Brooks Books • Garth Brooks DVD's
Jeremy Russell Casella (born. April 6, 1976) is a nationally touring singer/songwriter & recording artist. He has released four independent albums in his eight year career and has toured alongside such musical acts as Caedmon's Call and Phil Keaggy. In the summer of 2004, Casella signed a record contract with Universal South/Eb+Flo Records. During his time as a signed artist, Casella recorded The Innocence Fires which featured 11 original songs and a collaboration with The Blind Boys of Alabama.

The album was produced by grammy-winning producer Monroe Jones but was subsequently shelved after its completion due to Universal South's financial woes at the time. Casella went back to being an independent artist and has remained so ever since.  In the fall of 2004, Casella formed Saint & Pilgrim - an indie label based out of Nashville, Tennessee. Discography: Alive Inside (1999), *out of print ,Faith & Heartache (2002) The Innocence Fires (2004), *unreleased Universal South/Eb+Flo album 10,000 Angels EP (2004),The Message: Psalms (2006) *various artists Recovery (2007) • Jeremy Russell Casella Discography

Iron Eyes Cody April 3, 1904 - January 4, 1999) Cherokee actor. born Espera de Corti (was an American actor. He was famous for portraying Native Americans in Hollywood films, although his ancestry was discovered to be Italian. At the time of his birth, his family lived in and operated a local grocery store in Gueydan, Louisiana, where he was raised.

Cody began his acting career at the age of twelve and continued to work until the time of his death. He appeared in more than 200 films, including The Big Trail (1930), with John Wayne; Sitting Bull (1954), as Crazy Horse; Nevada Smith (1966), with Steve McQueen; A Man Called Horse (1970), with Richard Harris; and Ernest Goes to Camp (1987), with Jim Varney. In 1953, he appeared twice as Chief Big Cloud in Duncan Renaldo's syndicated western television series The Cisco Kid. • Iron Eyes Cody Books

L. Gordon Cooper Jr. (1927 - ) Astronaut; born in Shawnee • L. Gordon Cooper Jr. Books
Ralph Ellison writer, Oklahoma City • Ralph Ellison Books
John Hope Franklin (1915 - ) Author, born in Rentiesville. • John Hope Franklin
James Garner (born April 7, 1928) is an American film and television actor. He has starred in several television series spanning a career of more than five decades. These included his roles as Bret Maverick, in the popular 1950s western-comedy series, Maverick; Jim Rockford, in the popular 1970s detective drama, The Rockford Files; and the father of Katey Sagal's character on 8 Simple Rules following the death of John Ritter. He has starred in dozens of movies, including The Great Escape (1963) with Steve McQueen; Paddy Chayefsky's The Americanization of Emily (1964) and Blake Edwards' Victor Victoria (1982), both with Julie Andrews; and Murphy's Romance (1985) with Sally Field, for which he received an Academy Award nomination.

Garner, the youngest of three children, was born James Scott Bumgarner in Norman, Oklahoma, the son of Mildred (née Meek) and Weldon Warren Bumgarner, a carpet layer. His mother, who was half Cherokee, died when he was five years old. After their mother's death, Garner and his brothers were sent to live with relatives. Garner was reunited with his family in 1934, when Weldon remarried.

Garner grew to hate his stepmother, Wilma, who beat all three boys, especially young James. When he was fourteen, Garner finally had enough of his 'wicked stepmother' and after a particularly heated battle, she left for good. James' brother Jack commented,  • James Garner Books • James Garner Films

Owen K. Garriott astronaut, Enid • Owen K. Garriott Books
Vince Gill - Vincent Grant "Vince" Gill (born April 12, 1957) is an American neotraditional country singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He has achieved commercial success and fame both as frontman to the country rock band Pure Prairie League in the 1970s, and as a solo artist beginning in 1983, where his talents as a vocalist and musician have placed him in high demand as a guest vocalist, and a duet partner. Gill has recorded more than twenty studio albums, charted over forty singles on the U.S. Billboard charts as Hot Country Songs, and has sold more than 22 million albums. He has been honored by the Country Music Association with 18 CMA Awards, including two Entertainer of the Year awards and five Male Vocalist Awards. Gill has also earned 20 Grammy Awards, more than any other male Country music artist. In 2007, Gill was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Gill was born in Norman, Oklahoma. His father, J. Stanley Gill, was a lawyer and administrative law judge who played in a country music band part time and encouraged Gill to pursue a musical career. His homemaker mother, Jerene, played the harmonica. At the encouragement of his father, Gill learned to play several instruments, including the banjo and guitar, before he started high school at Oklahoma City's Northwest Classen High School. He first played with a teenage band called Bluegrass Revue in the late 1970s. The other members were: Billy Perry on the banjo, Bobby Clark on the mandolin and Mike Perry on the bass. (Bobby Clark plays with a group called Williams and Clark now.) While in high school, he performed with "Mountain Smoke," a bluegrass band that once opened for Pure Prairie League. After he graduated, he played in a number of bluegrass bands, including Ricky Skaggs' "Boone Creek"; later, he became a member of Rodney Crowell's road band, The Cherry Bombs. • Vince Gill Books • Vince Gill Discography

Chester Gould cartoonist, Pawnee • Chester Gould Books
Woody Guthrie - Folk singer, guitarist, and composer.  He published over 1,000 songs of social commentary; born in Okemah. Woodrow Wilson "Woody" Guthrie (July 14, 1912 – October 3, 1967) is best known as an American singer-songwriter and folk musician, whose musical legacy includes hundreds of political, traditional and children's songs, ballads and improvised works. He frequently performed with the slogan This Machine Kills Fascists displayed on his guitar. His best-known song is "This Land Is Your Land", which is regularly sung in American schools. Many of his recorded songs are archived in the Library of Congress.

Guthrie traveled with migrant workers from Oklahoma to California and learned traditional folk and blues songs. Many of his songs are about his experiences in the Dust Bowl era during the Great Depression, earning him the nickname the "Dust Bowl Troubadour". Throughout his life Guthrie was associated with United States communist groups, though he was never an actual member of any. • Woody Guthrie Books • Woody Guthrie Discography

Zac Hanson music, Tulsa Zachary Walker Hanson (born October 22, 1985 in Arlington, Virginia) is a member of the band Hanson. In addition to playing the drums, percussion, piano, and guitar, he sings backing vocals and lead vocals. He was lead singer on "Go", the first single from The Walk.

In May 1997, the band released their third studio album (and first on a major label), Middle of Nowhere. The first single, "MMMBop", made it to number one on recording industry sales charts worldwide. Hanson is one of the youngest artists ever to have a number one single (UK & US charts), second only to Michael Jackson.

After releasing three albums through the record company Island Def Jam (formerly Mercury Records), the band parted ways with the label in 2003 due to irreconcilable differences and formed their own independent label, 3CG Records. • Zac Hanson Books • Zac Hanson Discography

Roy Harris composer, Lincoln City (February 12, 1898 in Chandler, Oklahoma, United States - October 1, 1979), was an American classical composer. He wrote much music on American subjects, becoming best known for his Symphony No. 3.

He was born of mixed Scots, Irish and Welsh ancestry, in circumstances he sometimes liked to contrast with those of the more privileged East-coast composers: to poor parents, in a log cabin in Oklahoma, on Abraham Lincoln's birthday, one of five children (three of whom died early). A gambling win enabled his father to buy a small holding in California, where the boy grew up a farmer, in the rural isolation of the San Gabriel Valley. He studied piano with his mother, and later clarinet. Though he studied at the University of California, Berkeley, he was still virtually self-taught when he began writing music of his own, but in the early 1920s he had lessons from Arthur Bliss (then in Santa Barbara) and the senior American composer and researcher of American Indian (then called "Red Indian") music, Arthur Farwell. Harris sold his farmland and supported himself as a truck-driver and delivery man for a dairy firm. Gradually he made contacts in the East with other young composers, and partly through Aaron Copland's recommendation he was able to spend 1926-29 in Paris, as one of the many young Americans who received their final musical grooming in the masterclasses of Nadia Boulanger. • Roy Harris Books • Roy Harris Discography

Paul Harvey (1918 - ) Broadcaster; born and raised in Tulsa • Paul Harvey Books
Van Heflin actor, Walters Emmett Evan "Van" Heflin, Jr. (December 13, 1910 – July 23, 1971) was an American film and theatre actor. He played mostly character parts over the course of his film career, but during the 1940s had a string of roles as a leading man. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Johnny Eager (1942).

Heflin was born in Walters, Oklahoma, the son of Fannie B. and Dr. Emmett E. Heflin, a dentist. He was of Irish and French ancestry. Heflin's sister was Daytime Emmy-nominated actress Frances Heflin. Heflin attended the University of Oklahoma, where he was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity.

Heflin began his acting career on Broadway in the early 1930s before being signed to a contract by RKO Radio Pictures. He made his film debut in A Woman Rebels (1936). He was signed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and was initially cast in supporting roles in films such as Santa Fe Trail (1940), and Johnny Eager (1942), winning an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the latter performance. • Van Heflin Books • Van Heflin Movies

Tony Hillerman author, Sacred Heart • Tony Hillerman Books
Ron Howard actor, director, Duncan Ronald William "Ron" Howard (born March 1, 1954) is an American film director and producer, as well as an actor. Howard came to prominence in the 1960s while playing Andy Griffith's TV son, Opie Taylor, on The Andy Griffith Show (credited as Ronny Howard), and later in the 1970s as Howard Cunningham's son and Arthur Fonzarelli's best friend, Richie Cunningham, on Happy Days (a role he played from 1974 to 1980). Since retiring from acting, he has directed many films including Splash, Cocoon, Backdraft, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Frost/Nixon, The Da Vinci Code, and its sequel, Angels & Demons.

Howard was born in Duncan, Oklahoma, the son of Jean Speegle Howard, an actress, and Rance Howard, a director, writer, and actor. His family moved to Burbank, California in 1958, the year before the birth of his younger brother, Clint Howard. Howard graduated from John Burroughs High School, and later attended the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts but did not graduate.

In 1959, he had his first credited film role, in The Journey, and appeared in June Allyson's CBS anthology series The DuPont Show with June Allyson in the episode "Child Lost", as well as The Twilight Zone episode "Walking Distance", about a man (Gig Young) who learns that he cannot go home again.

Howard, as a dying Les Richter, is comforted by his friend Wil Young (Gary Grimes) in The Spikes Gang (1974).In 1960, he was cast in the role of Opie Taylor in the hit CBS television series The Andy Griffith Show, a spin-off of The Danny Thomas Show. Credited as "Ronny Howard", he portrayed the son of the local sheriff, played by Andy Griffith, in the fictional town of Mayberry, North Carolina for the entire eight seasons of the show. He also spent a lot of time with Griffith off-screen. • Ron Howard Books • Ron Howard Films

Karl Guthe Jansky engineer, Norman • Karl Guthe Jansky Books
Ben Johnson actor, Pawhuska - Ben "Son" Johnson, Jr. (June 13, 1918 – April 8, 1996) was an American motion picture actor who was mainly cast in Westerns. He was also a rodeo cowboy, stuntman, and rancher.

Johnson was born in Foraker, Oklahoma, on the Osage Indian Reservation, of Cherokee and Irish ancestry, to Ben Sr. and Ollie Susan (Workmon) Johnson. His father was a rancher in Osage County and also a rodeo champion. As a young man, Johnson was a ranch hand, would travel with his father on the rodeo circuit, and become a star before becoming involved in the movies. He was the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association's Steer Roping World Champion in 1953. After winning the title, he discovered that, after travel and expenses, he broke even for the year. Johnson married Carol Elaine Jones in 1941, and they were married for 53 years until her death on March 27, 1994. The couple had no children. Carol Jones was the daughter of noted Hollywood horse wrangler Clarence "Fat" Jones. • Ben Johnson Books • Ben Johnson Movies

Jennifer Jones actress, Tulsa. born March 2, 1919) is an American actress. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in The Song of Bernadette (1943).

Jones was born Phylis Lee Isley in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the daughter of Flora Mae (née Suber) and Phillip Ross Isley. Her parents toured the Midwest in a traveling tent show they owned and operated. Jones attended Monte Cassino Junior College in Tulsa and Northwestern University, where she was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority before transferring to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City in 1938. It was here she met and fell in love with fellow acting student Robert Walker. The two were married on January 2, 1939.

They returned to Tulsa for a 13-week radio program arranged by her father, and then headed for Hollywood. Isley landed two small roles, first in a 1939 John Wayne western titled New Frontier, followed by a serial entitled, Dick Tracy's G-Men. In these two films, she was billed as "Phyllis Isley" (Phyllis now spelled with two Ls). However, when she and Walker failed a screen test for Paramount Pictures, they decided to return to New York City. • Jennifer Jones Books • Jennifer Jones Movies