USA Famous People of Texas

Texas Biographies

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Paul Neal "Red" Adair (June 18, 1915 – August 7, 2004) born in Houston, was a renowned American oil well firefighter. He became world famous as an innovator in the highly specialized and extremely hazardous profession of extinguishing and capping blazing, erupting oil wells, both land-based and offshore. Red Adair became a multimillionaire, but he had worked his way up from a poor childhood in Houston where he spent years on the railways and on bomb-disposal before becoming an expert on oil-well firefighting. This is an account of his heroic life fighting fires all over the world - the 800-foot Devil's Cigarette Lighter in Algeria, fires in the giant wells of the Awaz Field in Iran, the sabotaged wells of Sumatra and Libya, and most recently, the Piper Alpha explosion in the North Sea. • Red Adair Books
Alvin Ailey Jr. (January 5, 1931 – December 1, 1989) born in Rogers was an American choreographer and activist who founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York. Ailey is credited with popularizing modern dance and revolutionizing African-American participation in 20th century concert dance. His company gained the nickname "Cultural Ambassador to the World" because of its extensive international touring. Ailey's choreographic masterpiece Revelations is believed to be the best-known and most often seen modern dance performance. • Alvin Ailey Jr. Books
Mary Kay Ash (May 12, 1918 – November 22, 2001) Cosmetics entrepreneur and founder of Mary Kay cosmetics; born in Hot Wells. It could be said that her legendary status comes from creating a brand that's a household name, or from the marvelous marketing prowess by which she virtually owns the color pink. She could be lauded as one of the greatest executives to ever lead a company. Indeed, all of those plaudits would be true. But what endears the late MARY KAY ASH far beyond cosmetics, business genius, or financial success is her role as a champion of women. It is a role now celebrated by four generations of women on five continents who are part of an independent sales force family that numbers more than one million. In 1963, Mary Kay Ash set out to change women's lives for the better. In 1981, she wrote this autobiography to provide a personal perspective on her remarkable journey. Not only was it a bestseller but today there are more than two million copies in print. Mary Kay Ash authored three books, all of which became best-sellers. Her autobiography, Mary Kay, has sold more than a million copies and appears in several languages. Her business philosophy, Mary Kay on People Management has been included in business courses at the Harvard Business School. Mary Kay Ash's third book, You Can Have It All, was launched in August 1995 and achieved "best-seller" status within days of its introduction. • Mary Kay Ash Books
Steven Fuller Austin (November 3, 1793 – December 27, 1836), Founding father of Texas and namesake of the state's capital.While Stephen F. Austin has long been revered as the "father of Texas," his image as an austere, bland organizer has denied him the passionate affection many Texans feel for the more colorful "man of action," Sam Houston. Cantrell has provided an interesting and better-rounded picture in the first full-length biography of Austin in more than 70 years. While Cantrell is generally effective in linking the man to the great events swirling around him, he is clearly intent on concentrating primarily on Austin's personality. Austin is revealed here as an attractive but complex and frustratingly enigmatic figure. He was obsessed with personal success, but he also had a strong sense of public responsibility. He seemed deeply committed to Jacksonian democratic ideals, but he often despised ordinary men of lower social status. He regarded slavery as a curse, yet insisted the institution was vital for the survival of Texas. For both historians and general readers, this is an engrossing study of an important and, surprisingly, often-neglected icon • Steven Fuller Austin Books
Gene Autry singer, actor, Tioga Orvon Gene Autry (September 29, 1907 – October 2, 1998), better known as Gene Autry, was an American performer who gained fame as The Singing Cowboy on the radio, in movies and on television for more than three decades beginning in the 1930s. Autry was also owner of the Los Angeles Angels Major League Baseball team from 1961 until his death, as well as a television station and several radio stations in southern California.

Although his signature song was "Back in the Saddle Again," Autry is best known today for his Christmas holiday songs, "Here Comes Santa Claus" (which he wrote), "Frosty the Snowman," and his biggest hit, "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."

He is a member of both the Country Music and Nashville Songwriters halls of fame, and is the only celebrity to have five stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. • Gene Autry Books • Gene Autry Films • Gene Autry Discography

Kathy Baker actress, Midland - Katherine Whitton "Kathy" Baker (born June 8, 1950) is an American character actress. Baker was born in Midland, Texas, the daughter of French-born Helene Andree "Lany" (nιe Whitton) and John Seawand Baker, who was a geologist and educator. She was raised a Quaker She studied acting at the California Institute of the Arts in the early seventies. She later earned a B.A. degree in French in 1977 from UC Berkeley. Baker was raised in New Mexico and now lives in Southern California with her husband, Steven Robman.

Baker has appeared in numerous films including Edward Scissorhands, The Right Stuff, Street Smart, Jacknife and Cold Mountain. As a small-town doctor in the David E. Kelley television series Picket Fences she won Emmy awards for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series three times in the show's four-year run (1993, 1995 and 1996). • Kathy Baker Books • Kathy Baker Movies

Clyde Barrow (October 1, 1910 – May 23, 1934) Outlaw and partner in crime with Bonnie Parker; born in Teleco

All those who read Guinn's account of Bonnie and Clyde were impressed by the unprecedented level of detail he brings to the story. But a few seemed to think that all of Guinn's data got in the way of the chase. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel admitted that the level of detail posed the book's "only problem," while acknowledging that "the legend still stands under its own power." Indeed, reviewers were generally pleased by Guinn's ability to add new layers to Bonnie and Clyde's brief, hardscrabble lives and to shed new light on their impulses without weighing them down. Reviewers were particularly interested in the idea of the duo as heroes of the Great Depression, with obvious anxiety that that era might not seem so distant these days. Yes, reviewers are prone to provide enthusiastic reviews for a newspaper's books editor; yet Go Down Together is still a strong book. • Clyde Barrow Books

Carol Burnett (born April 26, 1933) Comedian and actress of “The Carol Burnett Show”; born in San Antonio.One of the best celebrity memoirs ever. If anyone ever deserved the success in life that Carol Burnett received, it is she. This little girl, raised in poverty, in a one room apartment, literally steps away from the then- at- its- peak Hollywood Boulevard, a muckle mouthed little dreamer, tended by her cuckoo "Nanny", both parents tragic alcoholics, both of whom did not have a happy ending...This is a fabulous, humble, true success story, about one of the most talented, respected, classy ladies in the history of show-biz. Her telling of her ambition to achieve her dream, in the face of what would have been overwhelming odds to most, is not only incredibly touching, but a lesson in perseverance, and believing in yourself. I tend to write about movies, books, etc.., that are not necessarily "current", and I guess that's because the quality of the originals can't be duplicated, and Carol Burnett is truly one of the "originals." She had and has "the goods." A must read (and read again) about one terrific lady. • Carol Burnett Books • Carol Burnett Video • Carol Burnett Discography
George W. Bush (born July 6, 1946) 43rd U.S. President; grew up in Midland and Houston. was the 43rd President of the United States from 2001 to 2009 and the 46th Governor of Texas from 1995 to 2000.

Bush is the eldest son of George H. W. Bush (the 41st President) and Barbara Bush, making him one of only two American presidents to be the son of a preceding president. After graduating from Yale University in 1968, and Harvard Business School in 1975, Bush worked in his family's oil businesses. He married Laura Welch in 1977 and unsuccessfully ran for the United States House of Representatives shortly thereafter. He later co-owned the Texas Rangers baseball team before defeating Ann Richards in the 1994 Texas gubernatorial election. In a close and controversial election, Bush was elected President in 2000 as the Republican candidate, receiving a majority of the electoral votes while losing the popular vote to then-Vice President Al Gore. • George W. Bush Books

Cyd Charisse actress, dancer, Amarillo (March 8, 1922 – June 17, 2008) was an American actress and dancer.

After recovering from polio as a child, and studying ballet, Charisse entered films in the 1940s. Her roles usually focused on her abilities as a dancer, and she was paired with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly; her films include Singin' in the Rain (1952), The Band Wagon (1953) and Silk Stockings (1957). She stopped dancing in films in the late 1950s, but continued acting in film and television, and in 1992 made her Broadway debut.

In her later years, she discussed the history of the Hollywood musical in documentaries, and participated in That's Entertainment! III in 1994. She was awarded the National Medal of the Arts and Humanities in 2006 and died two years later as a result of a heart attack.

Charisse was born as Tula Elice Finklea in Amarillo, Texas, the daughter of Lela (nιe Norwood) and Ernest Enos Finklea, Sr., who was a jeweler. Her nickname "Sid" was taken from a sibling trying to say "Sis". (It was later spelled "Cyd" at MGM to give her an air of mystery.) She was a sickly girl who started dancing lessons at six to build up her strength after a bout with polio. At 12, she studied ballet in Los Angeles with Adolph Bolm and Bronislava Nijinska, and at 14, she auditioned for and subsequently danced in the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo as "Felia Siderova"  and, later, "Maria Istomina" • Cyd Charisse Books • Cyd Charisse Movies

Henry Cisneros politician, San Antonio • Henry Cisneros Books
Denton A. Cooley heart surgeon, Houston • Denton A. Cooley Books
Joan Crawford actress, San Antonio (March 23, 1905 – May 10, 1977) was an American actress in film, television and theatre. Starting as a dancer in traveling theatrical companies before debuting on Broadway, Crawford was signed to a motion picture contract by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1925. Initially frustrated by the size and quality of her parts, Crawford began a campaign of self-publicity and became nationally known as a flapper by the end of the 1920s. In the 1930s, Crawford's fame rivaled MGM colleagues Norma Shearer and Greta Garbo. Crawford often played hardworking young women who find romance and financial success. These "rags-to-riches" stories were well-received by Depression-era audiences and were popular with women. Crawford became one of Hollywood's most prominent movie stars and one of the highest paid women in the United States, but her films began losing money and by the end of the 1930s she was labeled "box office poison".

After an absence of nearly two years from the screen, Crawford staged a comeback by starring in Mildred Pierce (1945), for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. In 1955, she became involved with the Pepsi-Cola Company, through her marriage to company president Alfred Steele. After his death in 1959, Crawford was elected to fill his vacancy on the board of directors but was forcibly retired in 1973. She continued acting in film and television regularly through the 1960s, when her performances became fewer; after the release of the British horror film Trog in 1970, Crawford retired from the screen. Following a public appearance in 1974, after which unflattering photographs were published, Crawford withdrew from public life and became more and more reclusive until her death in 1977. • Joan Crawford Books • Joan Crawford Movies

Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1969) Dwight D. Eisenhower  The 34th U.S. President (1953-1961); born in Denison. Texas. Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower (October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969) was a five-star general in the United States Army and the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. During the Second World War, he served as Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe, with responsibility for planning and supervising the successful invasion of France and Germany in 1944–45. In 1951, he became the first supreme commander of NATO.

As President, he oversaw the cease-fire of the Korean War, maintained pressure on the Soviet Union during the Cold War, made nuclear weapons a higher defense priority, launched the Space Race, enlarged the Social Security program, and began the Interstate Highway System. He was the last World War I veteran to serve as U.S. president, and the last president born in the 19th century. Eisenhower ranks highly among former U.S. presidents in terms of approval rating. He was also the first term-limited president in accordance with the 22nd amendment. Dwight D. Eisenhower • Dwight D. Eisenhower Books

A. J. Foyt auto racer, Houston • A. J. Foyt Books
Larry Hagman actor, Fort Worth Larry Martin Hagman (born September 21, 1931) is an American film and television actor, producer and director best known for playing J. R. Ewing in the 1980s primetime television soap opera Dallas and Major Anthony Nelson in the 1960s sitcom, I Dream of Jeannie.

Hagman was born in Fort Worth, Texas. His mother, Mary Martin, later became a Broadway actress and his father, Benjamin Jack Hagman, was a district attorney. In 1936, when Hagman was five, his parents were divorced. He lived with his grandmother in Texas and California. His famous mother became a contract player with Paramount in 1938, and occasionally brought him to her movies. In 1940, his mother met and married Richard Halliday, giving birth to a daughter, Heller, the following year. Larry attended the strict Black-Foxe Military Institute (now closed).

When his mother moved to New York City to continue her Broadway career, Larry Hagman continued to live with his grandmother in California. Just a couple years later, his grandmother died and Hagman would go back to living with his mother. In 1945, at age fourteen, while attending boarding school, he began drinking heavily which would lead to serious health problems later in life. In 1946, Hagman moved back to his hometown of Weatherford, Texas, where he worked as a ranch hand for his father's friend's company. • Larry Hagman Books • Larry Hagman Movies

Ben Hogan golfer, Dublin • Ben Hogan Books
Buddy Holly (1936 - 1959) Musician, considered one of the fathers of rock 'n roll; born in Lubbock Charles Hardin Holley (September 7, 1936 – February 3, 1959), known professionally as Buddy Holly, was an American singer-songwriter and a pioneer of rock and roll. Although his success lasted only a year and a half before his death in an airplane crash, Holly is described by critic Bruce Eder as "the single most influential creative force in early rock and roll." His works and innovations inspired and influenced both his contemporaries and later musicians, notably The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Rolling Stones, Don McLean, and Bob Dylan, and exerted a profound influence on popular music.

Holly was in the first group of inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked Holly #13 among "The Fifty Greatest Artists of All Time". • Buddy Holly Books • Buddy Holly Discography

Howard Hughes industrialist, film producer, Houston Howard Robard Hughes, Jr. (December 24, 1905 – April 5, 1976) was an American aviator, engineer, industrialist, film producer, film director, philanthropist, and one of the wealthiest people in the world. He gained fame in the late 1920s as a maverick film producer, making big budget and often controversial films like Hell's Angels, Scarface, and The Outlaw. Hughes was one of the most influential aviators in history. He also set multiple world air-speed records (for which he won many awards, including the Congressional Gold Medal), built the Hughes H-1 Racer and H-4 "Hercules" aircraft, and acquired and expanded Trans World Airlines. Hughes is remembered today, however, for his eccentric behavior and reclusive lifestyle in later life, caused in part by a worsening obsessive–compulsive disorder. Hughes's legacy is maintained through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Howard Robard Hughes, Jr.'s birthplace is disputed in sources as either Humble or Houston, Texas; the date is also disputed. Hughes claimed his birthday was Christmas Eve. A 1941 affidavit birth certificate of Hughes, signed by his aunt Annette Gano Lummis and Estelle Boughton Sharp, states he was born on December 24, 1905, in Harris County, Texas. However, his baptismal record of October 7, 1906, in the parish register of St. John's Episcopal Church, in Keokuk, Iowa, has his birth listed as September 24, 1905, without reference to the place of birth. • Howard Hughes Books • Howard Hughes Movies

Jack Johnson boxer, Galveston • Jack Johnson Books
Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969) Lyndon B. Johnson (1908 - 1973) The 36th U.S. President (1963-1969); born in Stonewall. Texas(August 27, 1908 – January 22, 1973), often referred to as LBJ, served as the 36th President of the United States from 1963 to 1969 after his service as the Vice President of the United States from 1961 to 1963. He served in all four federal elected offices of the United States: Representative, Senator, Vice President, and President.

Johnson, a Democrat, succeeded to the presidency following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, completed Kennedy's term and was elected President in his own right, winning by a large margin in the 1964 Presidential election. Johnson was greatly supported by the Democratic Party and, as President, was responsible for designing the "Great Society" legislation that included laws that upheld civil rights, Public Broadcasting, Medicare, Medicaid, environmental protection, aid to education, and his attempt to help the poor in his "War on Poverty." Simultaneously, he greatly escalated direct American involvement in the Vietnam War. • Lyndon B. Johnson Books

Michael Johnson olympic sports, Dallas • Michael Johnson Books
George Jones singer, Saratoga George Glenn Jones (born September 12, 1931) is an American country music singer known for his long list of hit records, his distinctive voice and phrasing, and his marriage to Tammy Wynette.

Over the past 20 years, Jones has frequently been referred to as "the greatest living country singer." Country music scholar Bill C. Malone writes, "For the two or three minutes consumed by a song, Jones immerses himself so completely in its lyrics, and in the mood it conveys, that the listener can scarcely avoid becoming similarly involved."

Throughout his long career, Jones made headlines often as much for tales of his drinking, stormy relationships with women, and violent rages as for his prolific career of making records and touring. His wild lifestyle led to Jones missing many performances, earning him the nickname "No Show Jones." With the help of his fourth wife, Nancy, he has been sober for many years. Jones clocked up more than 150 hits during his career, both as a solo artist and in duets with other artists. • George Jones Books • George Jones Discography

Tommy Lee Jones actor, San Saba (born September 15, 1946) is an American actor and director. His film roles include federal marshal Samuel Gerard in The Fugitive and U.S. Marshals, the villain "Two-Face" in Batman Forever, the completely insane terrorist William Strannix in Under Siege, the mysterious Agent K in the Men in Black films, Western peace officers Woodrow F. Call in Lonesome Dove and Ed Tom Bell in No Country for Old Men. Jones has also portrayed real-life figures such as billionaire Howard Hughes, executed murderer Gary Gilmore and baseball great Ty Cobb.

Jones was born in San Saba, Texas, the son of Lucille Marie (nιe Scott), a police officer, school teacher, and beauty shop owner, and Clyde C. Jones, an oil field worker;[2] the two were married and divorced twice. Jones, an eighth-generation Texan of Welsh descent, had a Cherokee grandparent. He was a resident of Midland, Texas and attended Robert E. Lee High School. • Tommy Lee Jones Books • Tommy Lee Jones Movies

Janis Joplin blues singer, Port Arthur Janis Lyn Joplin (January 19, 1943 – October 4, 1970) was an American singer, songwriter and music arranger. She rose to prominence in the late 1960s as the lead singer of Big Brother and the Holding Company and later as a solo artist. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Joplin number 46 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, and number 28 on its 2008 list of 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.

Janis Joplin was born in Port Arthur, Texas on January 19, 1943, to Seth Joplin (1910–87), an engineer at Texaco, and Dorothy (nιe East) Joplin (1913–98), a registrar at a business college. She had two younger siblings, Michael and Laura. The family attended the Church of Christ. The Joplins felt that Janis always needed more attention than their other children, with her mother stating, "She was unhappy and unsatisfied without [receiving a lot of attention]. The normal rapport wasn't adequate."

As a teenager, she befriended a group of outcasts, one of whom had albums by African-American blues artists Bessie Smith and Leadbelly, whom Joplin later credited with influencing her decision to become a singer. She began singing in the local choir and expanded her listening to blues singers such as Odetta and Big Mama Thornton. • Janis Joplin Books • Janis Joplin Discography

Trini Lopez singer, Dallas (born Trinidad Lσpez III, 15 May 1937, Dallas, Texas) is a Chicano singer and guitarist. Lopez made his name on the club circuit of the Southwestern United States before being 'discovered' in 1962 playing at the club PJ's in Hollywood, California, by record producer Don Costa. Costa was taken with Lopez's Latinized versions of contemporary hits and signed him up to Frank Sinatra's record label, Reprise Records. His debut album, Trini Lopez Live at PJ's, was released in 1963. The album included a version of "If I Had a Hammer", which reached number one in 36 countries (No. 3 in the United States) and was a radio favorite for many years. He also performed his own version of the traditional Mexican song "La Bamba" on the album; his recording of the tune was later re-issued as a single in 1966.

His popularity led the Gibson Guitar Corporation to ask him in 1964 to design a guitar for them. He ended up designing two: The Trini Lopez Standard, a rock and roll model based on the Gibson ES-335 semi-hollow body, and the Lopez Deluxe, a variation of a Gibson jazz guitar designed by Barney Kessel. Both of these guitars were in production from 1964 until 1971 and are now highly sought after amongst collectors. Some owners of the guitar include Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters and Noel Gallagher of Oasis • Trini Lopez Books • Trini Lopez DVD's

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