USA Famous People of Utah

Utah Biographies

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Maurice Abravanel (January 6, 1903 – September 22, 1993) Music Director of the Utah Symphony.  was a Swiss-American Jewish conductor of classical music. Abravanel was born in Thessaloniki, Greece when it was still part of the Ottoman Empire. He came from an illustrious Sephardic Jewish family, which was expelled from Spain in 1492 (see Isaac Abrabanel). Abravanel's ancestors settled in Saloniki in 1517, and his parents were both born there. In 1909, the Abravanel family moved to Lausanne, Switzerland, where the father, Edouard de Abravanel, was a successful pharmacist.

For several years, the Abravanels lived in the same house as Ernest Ansermet, the conductor of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. The young Abravanel played four-hand piano arrangements with Ansermet, began to compose, and met composers such as Darius Milhaud and Igor Stravinsky. He was passionate about music and knew he wanted a career as a musician. He became the pianist for the municipal theatre and music critic for the city's daily newspaper. • Maurice Abravanel Books • Maurice Abravanel Discography

Maude Adams actress, Salt Lake City (November 11, 1872 – July 17, 1953) was an American stage actress, who achieved her greatest success as Peter Pan.Adams' personality appealed to a large audience and helped her become the most successful and highest-paid performer of her day, with a yearly income of more than one million dollars during her peak. She was often referred to simply as "Maudie" by her fans.

She was born as Maude Ewing Adams Kiskadden in Salt Lake City, Utah, the daughter of Asaneth Ann (née Adams) and James Henry Kiskadden. Her mother was an actress and, travelling with her, Maude spent her early years in provincial theatres, sometimes appearing in plays when she was carried onstage in her mother’s arms. At the age of five, she starred in a San Francisco theatre as Little Schneider in Fritz, Our German Cousin. Often described as shy, Adams was referred to by Ethel Barrymore as "the original 'I want to be alone' woman". She gave the impression of being refined and dignified at all times, and she was openly helpful to aspiring young actors and actresses. She was known at times to raise the salaries of fellow performers out of her own pocket and also for quietly giving small gifts to stagehands. Once while touring, a theatre owner doubled the price of tickets knowing Adams' name meant a sold-out house. Adams made the owner refund the difference before she appeared on the stage that night • Maude Adams Books • Maude Adams Movies

Danny Ainge - Daniel Ray "Danny" Ainge (born March 17, 1959 in Eugene, Oregon) is an American retired professional basketball and baseball player who is currently the President of Basketball Operations for the Boston Celtics of the NBA. He played in the NBA for the Celtics, Sacramento Kings, Portland Trail Blazers, and Phoenix Suns, and also in Major League Baseball for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Talented in multiple sports, Ainge starred in high school on his football team and led North Eugene High School to back-to-back state basketball championships in 1976–77, earning all-state honors both years; he was considered one of the top prep football recruits in the state of Oregon. As a junior he was named to the 1977 Parade Magazine High School All-America team. Danny Ainge is the only person to be a high school first team All-American in football, basketball, and baseball.

Ainge played basketball at Brigham Young University and became a household name after hitting one of the greatest shots in NCAA March Madness history against Notre Dame in 1981. His coast to coast drive with only seven seconds remaining gave the Cougars a one point win. Ainge concluded his senior year by winning the Eastman Award as well as the John R. Wooden Award - given to the best collegiate player in the nation. During his four-year career at BYU, Ainge was an All-American, a two-time First Team Academic All-American, the WAC Player of the Year and a four-time All-WAC selection. • Danny Ainge Books

Roseanne Barr borrn in Salt Lake City. Roseanne Cherie Barr (born November 3, 1952) is an American actress, comedian, writer, television producer and director.

Barr won both an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress for her work on Roseanne. In addition, she has won six People's Choice Awards, three American Comedy Awards, and a Kids Choice Award.

In 2008, Barr and the cast of Roseanne were honored with the Innovator Award at the TV Land Awards.

The eldest of four children, she was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, to a working-class Jewish family. Her mother, Helen (née Davis), was a bookkeeper and cashier, and is famous for teaching young Roseanne her signature "Fat-Lady Laugh". Her father, Jerome Hershel “Jerry” Barr, worked in sales as a door-to-door salesman of household goods. Barr's grandparents and great-grandparents were immigrants from Ukraine, Russia, Lithuania and Austria-Hungary, and her paternal grandfather changed his surname from "Borisofsky" to "Barr" upon entering the United States. Barr's parents kept their Jewish heritage secret from their neighbors and were partially involved in The Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints. Barr has stated, "Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning I was a Jew; Sunday afternoon, Tuesday afternoon, and Wednesday afternoon we were Mormons" • Roseanne Barr Books • Roseanne Barr Films

Frank Borzage film director, producer, Salt Lake City (April 23, 1894 – June 19, 1962) was an Academy Award-winning American film director and actor famed for his mystical romanticism.

Borzage's father, Luigi, was born in Roncone, Austria-Hungary in 1859. As a stone mason, he sometimes worked in Switzerland; he met his future wife, Maria Ruegg (1860, Ricken - 1947), in Zürich, where she worked in a silk factory. Luigi Borzaga immigrated to Hazleton, Pennsylvania in the early 1880s; he worked as a coal miner there and soon brought his Swiss fiancée with him.

The couple married in Hazleton in 1883, and had their first child, Henry, in Wyoming in 1885. They settled in the Mormon stronghold of Salt Lake City, Utah, where they gave birth to Frank, and remained until 1919. Altogether, the couple had fourteen children, eight of whom survived childhood: Henry (1885-1971), Mary, Bill (1892-1973), Frank, Daniel (1896-1975, a performer and member of the John Ford Stock Company), Lew (1898-1974), Dolly (1901) and Susan (1905). Luigi Borzaga died in Los Angeles in a car accident in 1934; his wife died of cancer in 1947. • Frank Borzage Books • Frank Borzage Films

Reva Beck Bosone  (April 2, 1895 - July 21, 1983) was a U.S. Representative from Utah. She was the first woman elected to Congress from Utah.

Born in American Fork, Utah, Bosone attended the public schools. She graduated from Westminster Junior College in 1917 and from the University of California at Berkeley in 1919. She taught high school 1920-1927. She graduated from the University of Utah College of Law at Salt Lake City in 1930 and was admitted to the bar the same year. She then practiced law in Helper, Utah from 1931 to 1933 and Salt Lake City from 1933 to 1936. She served as member of the State house of representatives 1933-1935, serving as floor leader in 1935.

Bosone was elected Salt Lake City judge in 1936 and served until elected to Congress. During the Second World War, she was chairman of Women's Army Corps Civilian Advisory Committee of the Ninth Service Command. She served as Official observer at United Nations Conference at San Francisco in 1945, and as the first director of Utah State Board for Education on Alcoholism in 1947 and 1948.

Bosone was elected as a Democrat to the Eighty-first and Eighty-second Congresses (January 3, 1949-January 3, 1953). She was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1952 to the Eighty-third Congress and for election in 1954 to the Eighty-fourth Congress. • Reva Beck Bosone Books

John Moses Browning  (January 21 or January 23, 1855 – November 26, 1926), born in Ogden, Utah, was an American firearms designer who developed many varieties of firearms, cartridges, and gun mechanisms, many of which are still in use around the world. He is the most important figure in the development of modern automatic and semi-automatic firearms and is credited with 128 gun patents—his first was granted October 7, 1879. He had made his first very own firearm at the age of thirteen out of a piece of scrap metal.

Browning influenced nearly all categories of firearms design. He invented or made significant improvements to single-shot rifles, lever action rifles, and slide action firearms. His most significant contributions were in the area of autoloading firearms. He developed the autoloading pistol by inventing the slide design found on nearly every modern automatic handgun. He also developed the first gas-operated machine gun, the Colt-Browning Model 1895—a system that would surpass recoil operation in popularity. Other successful designs include the M1911 pistol, the Browning .50 caliber machine gun, the Browning Automatic Rifle, and a ground-breaking semi-automatic shotgun, the Browning Auto-5. • John Moses Browning Books

Bernard De Voto writer, Ogden (January 11, 1897 - November 13, 1955) was an American historian and author who specialized in the history of the American West.

He was born in Ogden, Utah. He attended the University of Utah for one year, then transferred to Harvard University, but interrupted his education to serve in World War I, graduating in 1920.

He began his career in 1922 as an English instructor at Northwestern University and began to write articles and novels, which often provoked controversy for their liberal viewpoint. Sometimes he used the pseudonyms John August and Cady Hewes. In 1927, DeVoto resigned from Northwestern and moved to Massachusetts with his wife Avis. He began to dedicate himself to serious writing along with part-time instructing at Harvard. He wrote frequent articles for periodicals, with a regular column, "The Easy Chair," in Harper's Magazine from 1935 until his death.

DeVoto became an authority on Mark Twain and served as a curator and editor for Twain's papers. From 1936 to 1938 he lived in New York City, where he was editor of the Saturday Review of Literature, after which he returned to Massachusetts. • Bernard De Voto Books

Marriner Eccles  - Marriner Stoddard Eccles (September 9, 1890 – December 18, 1977) Built First Security Corp., helped end Great Depression.was a U.S. banker, economist, and Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Born in Logan, Utah, he attended Brigham Young College and served a Latter-day Saint mission to Scotland. After his mission, while working in a family enterprise in Blacksmith Fork Canyon, he learned of the untimely death of his father. With great skill and tenacity, he was able to reorganize and consolidate the assets of the industrial conglomerate and banking network of his father, David Eccles. Eccles expanded the banking interests into a large western chain of banks called Eccles-Browning Affiliated Banks. He was a millionaire by age 22. The company withstood several bank runs during the Great Depression and, as a leading banker, became involved with the creation of the Emergency Banking Act of 1933 and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

After a brief stint at the Treasury Department, he was appointed by President Roosevelt as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve between 1934 and 1948. He stayed on the Board of Governors until 1951, when he resigned over acrimony between the Fed and the Treasury Department prior to the 1951 Accord. He also participated in post-World War II Bretton Woods negotiations that created the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. He later retired back to Utah to run his companies and write his memoirs, titled Beckoning Frontiers. • Marriner Eccles Books

Avard Fairbanks - Avard Tennyson Fairbanks (1897-1987) was a prolific 20th century American sculptor. Three of his sculptures are in the United States Capitol, and the state capitols in both Utah and Wyoming, as well as numerous other locations, also have his works. Possibly his most enduring artistic contribution was designing the ram symbol for Dodge.

Fairbanks was born in Provo, Utah. His father was John B. Fairbanks, who was an artist and art professor. His mother, Lilly Annetta Huish, died about a year after he was born. She was a cousin of Orson Pratt Huish.

Avard's brother J. Leo Fairbanks was also an artist, and helped Fairbanks start sculpting as a teenager.

In 1918, Avard worked with his brother J. Leo Fairbanks on friezes for the Laie Hawaii Temple. It was during this time that he married Beatrice Maude Fox in Honolulu, Hawaii. She was a native of Salt Lake City whom he had met in Utah and convinced to come join him in Hawaii so they could marry. This would not be Fairbanks' last connection with temples. The statues of the Angel Moroni on the Washington D.C. Temple, the Jordan River Utah Temple, Seattle Washington Temple and the São Paulo Brazil Temple are all Fairbanks' work.

Fairbanks studied in at the Art Students League of New York beginning at age 13 and the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts beginning at age 17. Fairbanks received his bachelor's degree from Yale University and his master's degree from the University of Washington. For three years Fairbanks studied on a Guggenheim Fellowship in Florence, Italy. He got his Ph.D. in anatomy from the University of Michigan. He was also a professor of sculpture at the University of Michigan. • Avard Fairbanks Books

Philo T. Farnsworth (1906 - 1971) Inventor of television.  He first came up with the idea when he was only 14 years old.  Emigrated to Rigby in 1919 at the age of 11. Many inventors had written about, worked on, or built various electro-mechanical television systems prior to Farnsworth's seminal contribution, among them John Logie Baird, Paul Nipkow, Aleksandr Stoletov, Karl Ferdinand Braun, Boris Rosing, Herbert E. Ives, Leon Theremin and Alexander Bain.

Several inventors also wrote about, devised, or built electronic apparatus prior to Farnsworth, including Boris Rosing, Alan Archibald Campbell-Swinton, Shelford Bidwell, Kalman Tihanyi, Vladimir Zworykin, and Kenjiro Takayanagi. But Farnsworth designed and built the world's first working fully electronic television system, employing electronic scanning in both the pickup and display devices, which he first demonstrated to news media on September 1, 1928, televising a motion picture film, and to the public at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia on August 25, 1934, televising live images • Philo T. Farnsworth Books

Edwin Jacob (Jake) Garn - (born October 12, 1932) is an American politician, a member of the Republican Party, and served as a U.S. Senator representing Utah from 1974 to 1993. Garn became the first sitting member of the United States Congress to fly in space when he flew aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery as a Payload Specialist during NASA mission STS-51-D (April 12–April 19, 1985).

Born in Richfield, Utah, Garn earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business and finance from the University of Utah in 1955, where he became a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. He also attended East High School, Clayton Middle School, and Uintah Elementary School.

Senator Garn is a former insurance executive. He served in the United States Navy as a pilot. He also served as a pilot of the 151st Air Refueling Group of the Utah Air National Guard. As a pilot, he flew the KC-97L Stratotanker and a KC-135A Stratotanker. He retired as a Brigadier General in April 1979. He has flown more than 10,000 hours in military and private civilian aircraft. • Edwin Jacob (Jake) Garn Books

Anthony Geary actor, Coalville (born May 29, 1947 in Coalville, Utah) is an American actor. He has starred on the ABC daytime drama General Hospital as Luke Spencer from 1978 to 1984 and from 1993 to present.

Geary's character began as a "hit man" and later as a rapist who fell in love and subsequently married his victim, Laura Webber (played by Genie Francis). The character became so popular that the writers turned Luke into a protagonist. Luke and Laura's 1981 wedding began what was arguably the greatest love affair in the history of General Hospital, if not daytime television. The early 1980s saw Luke Spencer in a series of nearly improbable storylines seemingly lifted from the pages of a spy novel, which only served to further the character's popularity.

He also portrayed Luke's lookalike cousin Bill Eckert on General Hospital from 1991 to 1993 • Anthony Geary Books • Anthony Geary Films

John Gilbert actor, Logan (July 10, 1899 – January 9, 1936) was an American actor and a major star of the silent film era.

Known as "the great lover", he rivaled even Rudolph Valentino as a box office draw. Though he was often cited as one of the high profile examples of an actor who was unsuccessful in making the transition to talkies, his decline as a star in fact had to do with studio politics and money and not the sound of his screen voice. According to the actress Eleanor Boardman and others, a fight between Louis B. Mayer and Gilbert erupted at what was to be his marriage to Greta Garbo, for which she failed to turn up, when Mayer made a snide remark. Gilbert promptly knocked his boss down, for which Mayer swore he'd get even. Gilbert's daughter has alleged that Mayer then proceeded to sabotage the recording of his voice by increasing the treble; giving direction of his films to an inexperienced director who was on narcotic pain medication; refusing him good scripts, such as 1930's The Dawn Patrol which directors wanted to star him in; and editing his projects to ruin his films. • John Gilbert Books • John Gilbert Films

Orrin Hatch ( 1934 - ) U.S. Senator Orrin Grant Hatch (born March 22, 1934) is a Republican United States Senator from Utah, serving since 1977.

Hatch is a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, where he serves on the subcommittees on Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure and Taxation and IRS Oversight. Hatch is also on the Select Committee on Intelligence, the Committee on the Judiciary, and the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, as well as the Joint Committee on Taxation. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

For fourteen years after graduating, Hatch worked as an Attorney at law in Pittsburgh and Utah. In 1976 in his first run for public office, he was elected to the United States Senate, defeating Democrat Frank Moss, a three-term incumbent. Among other issues, Hatch criticized Moss's 18-year tenure in the Senate, saying that many Senators, including Moss, had lost touch with their constituents. Ironically, Hatch surpassed Moss' Senate tenure in 1995, having served for nearly double that period of time as of 2009. Hatch won his first election by an unexpectedly wide nine-point margin. He later defeated Salt Lake City Mayor Ted Wilson by 17 points in his reelection bid in 1982. He hasn't faced substantive opposition since, and has been reelected four times. He is the longest-serving Senator in Utah history. • Orrin Hatch Books

Jon Huntsman Sr. (1937 - ) Philanthropist and state's most successful entrepreneur. Jon Meade Huntsman, Sr. (born 1937 in Blackfoot, Idaho) is an American businessman and philanthropist. He is the founder of Huntsman Corporation. Huntsman is a member of the Forbes 400, where he is currently ranked the 47th richest man alive. He is the father of current United States Ambassador to China and former Governor of Utah Jon Huntsman Jr.

Jon Huntsman grew up in poverty, but went on to attend the University of Pennsylvania. There he majored in business at the Wharton School. His alma mater would later name one of the school's signature buildings, Huntsman Hall, in his honor. An interdisciplinary dual-degree program melding international relations and business, taught through the College of Arts & Sciences and Wharton School, also bears Huntsman's name. • Jon Huntsman Sr. Books

Howard A. Jarvis -  Howard Arnold Jarvis (September 22, 1903 – August 11, 1986) was an American businessman, lobbyist, and politician. He was an anti-tax activist responsible for passage of California's Proposition 13 in 1978.

Jarvis was born in Magna, Utah  He graduated from Utah State University. In Utah he had some political involvement working with his father's campaigns and his own. His father was a state Supreme Court judge and, unlike Jarvis, a member of the Democratic Party. Howard Jarvis was active in the Republican Party and also ran small town newspapers. Although raised Mormon, he smoked cigars and drank vodka as an adult. He moved to California in the 1930s due to a suggestion by Earl Warren. Jarvis bought his home at 515 North Crescent Heights Boulevard in Los Angeles for $8,000 in 1941. By 1976, it was assessed at $80,000. He married his third wife, Estelle Garcia, around 1965

Jarvis was a Republican primary candidate for the U.S. Senate in California in 1962, but the nomination and the election went to the liberal Republican Thomas Kuchel. Subsequently, he ran several times for Mayor of Los Angeles on an anti-tax platform and gained a reputation as a harsh critic of government. An Orange County businessman, he went on to lead the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and spearheaded Proposition 13, the California property tax-cutting initiative passed in 1978 which slashed property taxes by 57% and initiated a national tax revolt. • Howard A. Jarvis Books

David Abbott Jenkins - Driving his "Mormon Meteor", Jenkins set numerous world automobile speed records on Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats between 1932 and 1956. David Abbott "Ab" Jenkins (January 25, 1883 – August 9, 1956) was the mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah from 1940 to 1944 and was a professional race car driver. He drove the Duesenberg "Mormon Meteor" to a 24 hour average land speed record of 135 miles per hour (217 km/h) in 1935. In 1940 Jenkins set the 24-hour record of a 161.180 mph (259.394 km/h) average that lasted for 50 years (until 1990).

Jenkins's interest in motorsports began with racing motorcycles on dirt tracks and cross country. He then became interested in land speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats. He was instrumental in establishing Bonneville as a location for such events, and in attracting overseas drivers such as George Eyston and Sir Malcolm Campbell to compete there. • David Abbott Jenkins Books

David M. Kennedy, Randolph David Matthew Kennedy (July 21, 1905 – May 1, 1996) was an American businessman, economist and Cabinet secretary.

Born in Randolph, Utah, he attended public school and graduated from Weber College, then a Mormon college, in 1928. He served a two-year mission, for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to England. Then he earned master's and law degrees from George Washington University in 1935 and 1937. He graduated from the Stonier Graduate School of Banking of Rutgers University in 1939.

He spent most of his career in the private sector with the bank Continental Illinois, beginning in the bond department and rising to CEO. The David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies at Brigham Young University is named for Kennedy.

Kennedy was born in Randolph, Utah where his father George Kennedy was a rancher and his grandfathers John Kennedy and Peter Johnson had jointly formed the Bank of Randolph. Kennedy's mother, Katherine, was ill much of the time he was growing up and he largely grew up in Kaysville, Utah and then Ogden, Utah spending much time taking care of his mother.

Kennedy married Lenora Bingham in the Salt Lake Temple in November 1924. In January 1925 he left to serve a mission in the United Kingdom. He served his entire mission in the mission office at Liverpool. His mission presidents were James E. Talmage and John A. Widstoe. • David M. Kennedy Books

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