Famous Media Personalities Of The 20th Century

From being a slave of a selected few to rising up as the most powerful medium, media has come a long way. And much credit for the same goes to the media personalities, TV presenters, journalists, editors, publishers and cartoonists who have taken it to great heights. 20th century witnessed an influx of great media personalities who created waves through their grit, determination and powerful willingness. They were a fearless bunch of people, who resolved to change the fate of media through their work. Talking about some of the greatest media personalities that lived during the 20th century, the first name that strikes the mind is that of Tom Wolfe. He was the man who was the frontrunner of ‘new journalism’ a transformation that the period of 20th century witnessed during the 1960s and 70s. Did you know that White House reporter Helen Thomas is considered as the first lady of print journalism? A veteran journalist, she is known for her relentless question and her ability to get into the heart of the matter. She gained prominence during George Bush reign. The list is long and comprises of several more renowned personalities who gave new meaning and a new definition to media. To know further about these famous media personalities of the 20th century, read on.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 David Attenborough

David Attenborough
15
Famous As: Broadcaster
Birthdate: May 8, 1926
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Isleworth, England

Widely regarded as a national treasure in the United Kingdom, Sir David Attenborough is the only person to have received BAFTAs for TV shows meant for different television sets, such as black and white, color, 3D, HD, and 4K. In 2002, he was mentioned in BBC's 100 Greatest Britons list.

 2 Steve Irwin

Steve Irwin
10
Famous As: Zookeeper, Conservationist
Birthdate: February 22, 1962
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Victoria, Australia
Died: September 4, 2006

Australian Steve Irwin was a world famous, high-spirited, lively host of The Crocodile Hunter television series. A conservationist, he was also part of other shows and documentaries on wildlife and environment. He was known for close encounters with some of the most dangerous and endangered animals in various jungles. He died after being pierced in the chest by a stingray barb while filming in Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

 3 Bill Nye

Bill Nye
7
Famous As: Television Presenter
Birthdate: November 27, 1955
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States

Bill Nye is an American mechanical engineer, television presenter, and science communicator. He is known for hosting the live-action science program Bill Nye the Science Guy. He is credited with inventing a hydraulic resonance suppressor tube, which is used on the Boeing 747 airplanes. He also helped develop MarsDial, a sundial that became part of the Mars Exploration Rover missions.

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 4 Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson
8
Famous As: Journalist and Author
Birthdate: July 18, 1937
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Louisville
Died: February 20, 2005

Hunter S. Thompson was an American author and journalist. He is credited with creating his own subgenre of New Journalism called the gonzo journalism. The author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which was later adapted into a film, Thompson was famous for his lifelong use of drugs and alcohol. His books have had a major impact on counterculture.

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 5 Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh
16
Famous As: Radio personality
Birthdate: January 12, 1951
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Cape Girardeau, Missouri, United States
Died: February 17, 2021
Mostly known for his controversial comments on the LGBT community, sexual consent, and climate change, Rush Limbaugh has hosted The Rush Limbaugh Show, one of the highest-rated in the U.S. He has also hosted a TV show, written several books, including two bestsellers, and won the Presidential Medal of Freedom

 6 Jeremy Clarkson

Jeremy Clarkson
14
Famous As: Broadcaster
Birthdate: April 11, 1960
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Doncaster, West Riding of Yorkshire

Jeremy Clarkson has come a long way from being a local journalist to becoming a recognized public personality, thanks to his appearance as a presenter in the popular TV show Top Gear. He is credited with making Top Gear one of the most successful shows in the UK. His tongue-in-cheek presenting style and writing often provoke a public reaction.

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 7 Alex Trebek

Alex Trebek
10
Famous As: Television personality
Birthdate: July 22, 1940
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Greater Sudbury, Canada
Died: November 8, 2020

An eminent television personality, Alex Trebek is best known for hosting the popular game show Jeopardy since it was revived in 1984. He has also hosted many other game shows, both in America and Canada. In February 1991, he became the first person to host three American game shows at the same time. He is currently undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer.

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 8 Amanda Holden

Amanda Holden
24
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 16, 1971
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Portsmouth, Hampshire, England

Amanda Holden is an English actress, TV personality, author, and musician. Her autobiography book No Holding Back was ranked first on the Sunday Times bestseller list. Apart from being a media personality, Amanda Holden is also known for her charity work; in 2018, she posed as a mermaid underwater as part of a PETA awareness campaign against the SeaWorld.

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 9 Paul Hollywood

Paul Hollywood
14
Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: March 1, 1966
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Wallasey, England

Paul Hollywood is an English television presenter and celebrity chef. Since 2010, he has been appearing as a judge on the popular television baking competition, The Great British Bake Off. Paul Hollywood is also a motor racer. He has competed in several tournaments, such as GT Cup. In 2017, he took part in a race at Circuit of the Americas.

 10 Jack Kirby

Jack Kirby
6
Famous As: Comic Book Artist
Birthdate: August 28, 1917
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: February 6, 1994
Jacob Kurtzberg, or Jack Kirby, initially published comics under various other pseudonyms, such as "Jack Curtiss" and "Curt Davis." He worked with Marvel, where he co-created characters such as The Fantastic Four and the X-Men, along with Stan Lee. He then joined DC, where he created the Fourth World Saga

 11 Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert
4
Famous As: Comedian
Birthdate: May 13, 1964
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States

Stephen Colbert is an American actor, comedian, political commentator, and television host. Over the years, Stephen Colbert has influenced popular comedians, such as James Corden, Billy Eichner, Mindy Kaling, Jordan Klepper, and Hasan Minhaj. He has been twice named on Time magazine's list of 100 Most Influential People.

 12 Barbara Walters

Barbara Walters
8
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: September 25, 1929
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Barbara Walters is an American retired television personality and broadcast journalist. Renowned for her popularity with viewers, Walters appeared as the host of several popular TV shows. A pioneer for women in broadcasting, Walters became the first woman to co-host shows like Today and ABC Evening News. In 1996, she was named in TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Stars list.

 13 Louis Theroux

Louis Theroux
5
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: May 20, 1970
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Singapore

Renowned British-American documentary filmmaker, Louis Theroux began his career as a journalist with Metro Silicon Valley, Spy magazine and TV Nation series. He gained recognition with his documentary series When Louis Met..., and Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends. The two time BAFTA Award winner has also received appreciation for his documentaries The Most Hated Family in America and My Scientology Movie.

 14 John Barrowman

John Barrowman
6
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 11, 1967
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland

John Barrowman is a Scottish-born author, comic book writer, presenter, singer, and actor. Barrowman is also known for his charity work and activism. Over the years, he has been a strong supporter of the LGBT community and has worked with organizations like Stonewall. He also has his own skincare line named HIM.

 15 Matt Groening

Matt Groening
6
Famous As: Cartoonist, Animator
Birthdate: February 15, 1954
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Portland, Oregon, United States
Matt Groening is best known as the creator of the iconic animated sitcom The Simpsons, which is the longest-running American primetime TV series and has won Groening 11 Emmys. He had initially gained fame for the comic strip Life in Hell and also created Futurama and the Netflix series Disenchantment.

 16 Brian Cox

Brian Cox
8
Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: March 3, 1968
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Oldham, Lancashire, England

Brian Cox is an English physicist and former musician. He has presented numerous science programs for BBC radio and TV, especially the Wonders of... series. He is also the author of several popular science books. He has been lauded for his efforts to publicize science and was awarded the British Association's Lord Kelvin Award in 2006. 

 17 Dan Rather

Dan Rather
11
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: October 31, 1931
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Wharton, Texas
Dan Rather shot to fame when he saved thousands of people during Hurricane Carla through the first radar weather report. Subsequently, he had a 24-year stint on CBS Evening News. He was fired following the Killian documents controversy and then joined AXS TV, hosting shows such as Dan Rather Reports

 18 Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth
6
Famous As: Television presenter, Actor, Comedian, Singer
Birthdate: February 22, 1928
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Edmonton
Died: August 18, 2017
Bruce Forsyth soared to fame with the show Sunday Night at the London Palladium and later hosted shows such as The Price Is Right and The Generation Game. He also co-hosted Strictly Come Dancing. Forsyth holds a Guinness record for being the longest-tenured male entertainer on TV. 

 19 Jon Stewart

Jon Stewart
8
Famous As: Comedian, Writer, Producer
Birthdate: November 28, 1962
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

Jon Stewart is an American actor, writer, political commentator, television host, and filmmaker. He is credited with popularizing Comedy Central's satirical news program The Daily Show. Also a prominent comedian, Jon Stewart has influenced and inspired several other comedians like Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah, John Oliver, Larry Wilmore, Hasan Minhaj, Jordan Klepper, Samantha Bee, and Bassem Youssef.

 20 Mike Judge

Mike Judge
6
Famous As: Actor, Cartoonist, Director, Musician
Birthdate: October 17, 1962
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Guayaquil, Ecuador
Animator and filmmaker Michael Judge is best known for creating the iconic animated series Beavis and Butt-Head. Fans also loved his Emmy- and Annie Award-winning work in King of the Hill, one of the longest-running U.S. animated series, and his Critics' Choice Award-winning work in Silicon Valley.

 21 Truman Capote

Truman Capote
7
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: September 30, 1924
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Died: August 25, 1984
Truman Capote is best known for his novella Breakfast at Tiffany's, which was made into a movie that starred Audrey Hepburn, and the non-fiction novel In Cold Blood. His short story Shut a Final Door won the O. Henry Award. He was a lifelong friend of author Harper Lee.

 22 David Letterman

David Letterman
10
Famous As: TV Presenter, TV Host
Birthdate: April 12, 1947
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

Starting off as a radio weatherman, David Letterman has come a long way. He has been the longest-serving American late-night talk-show host and ranked 45th on TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time list. He later dabbled in production, with hit sitcoms such as Everybody Loves Raymond.

 23 Walter Cronkite

Walter Cronkite
7
Famous As: Broadcaster
Birthdate: November 4, 1916
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Saint Joseph
Died: July 17, 2009
TV journalist Walter Cronkite, named “The most trusted man in America," is remembered for his 19-year association with CBS Evening News and his catchphrase "And that's the way it is.” His U.S. space program reports made him the only non-NASA person to receive the Ambassador of Exploration award.

 24 Rachael Ray

Rachael Ray
5
Famous As: TV Personality, Celebrity Cook
Birthdate: August 25, 1968
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Glens Falls, New York, United States
Celebrity chef Rachael Ray is best known for her Food Network show 30 Minute Meals. She also made waves with her talk show Rachael Ray and her culinary shows such as Rachael Ray's Tasty Travels. She has also authored several cookbooks and launched the magazine Every Day with Rachael Ray.

 25 Pat Sajak

Pat Sajak
14
Famous As: Television Personality
Birthdate: October 26, 1946
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois
Pat Sajak went from being a weatherman to the host of the cult game show Wheel of Fortune. His long stint on the show fetched him three Emmy Awards. He has also hosted The Pat Sajak Show and The Price Is Right, and has written columns for Human Events.

 26 Fred Rogers

Fred Rogers
10
Famous As: Television Personality
Birthdate: March 20, 1928
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Latrobe, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: February 27, 2003

TV personality, musician, and author, Fred Rogers, is best remembered for hosting the preschool TV series, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, which ran for over 30 years, from 1968 to 2001. His work was widely lauded and he was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002. Besides his TV career, he was also an ordained Presbyterian minister.

 27 Alan Moore

Alan Moore
5
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: November 18, 1953
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Northampton, England

Alan Moore is an English writer best known for his contributions to popular comic books, such as Batman: The Killing Joke, Watchmen, and The Ballad of Halo Jones. Some consider him to be the best comic book writer in the English language. His works have influenced several literary and television figures, such as Damon Lindelof, Joss Whedon, and Neil Gaiman.

 28 Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss
5
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: March 2, 1904
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States
Died: September 24, 1991

Dr. Seuss was an American children's author, illustrator, and political cartoonist. He is credited with writing some of the most famous children's books ever, including The Cat in the Hat. His works were translated into over 20 languages and sold more than 600 million copies by the time of his death. Many of his creations were adapted into animated cartoons.

 29 Christiane Amanpour

Christiane Amanpour
6
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: January 12, 1958
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England
British-Iranian journalist Christiane Amanpour is best known as the anchor of the CNN interview show Amanpour. She has also hosted PBS’s Amanpour & Company. She was criticized for her biased and pro-Muslim coverage of the Bosnian War. She has also been a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Freedom of Expression.

 30 Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway
4
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: July 21, 1899
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Oak Park, Illinois, United States
Died: July 2, 1961

Ernest Hemingway was an American novelist and short-story writer who had a strong impact on 20th-century fiction. He published seven novels and six short-story collections and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea are some of his classic works. He ended his own life in July 1961.

 31 Lester Holt

Lester Holt
10
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: March 8, 1959
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Marin County, California, United States

Lester Holt is an American journalist who is the face of 'NBC News' since 2000. He hosts and co-hosts some of NBC's important programs, such as Dateline NBC and NBC Nightly News. In 1990, he was honored with the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for his work. In 2015, he was made an inductee of the California Hall of Fame.

 32 Regis Philbin

Regis Philbin
15
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 25, 1931
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York, United States

 33 Julian Assange

Julian Assange
4
Famous As: Computer programmer
Birthdate: July 3, 1971
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Townsville, Australia

Julian Assange made headlines all over the world in 2010 when WikiLeaks, a non-profit organization founded by him, gained international attention after publishing leaks, such as the Afghanistan war logs and Iraq war logs. After dodging arrest for several years, he was finally arrested in 2019 and is currently imprisoned in HM Prison Belmarsh.

 34 George Orwell

George Orwell
7
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: June 25, 1903
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Motihari, Bihar, India
Died: January 21, 1950

The king of dystopia and satire, George Orwell, the pen name adopted by Eric Arthur Blair, was a well-known novelist and critic of the 20th century. A man with a strong mind of his own, Orwell never backed down from stating his views on the socio-political climate he lived in, which he expressed profusely through his influential essays and novels.

 35 Jimmy Kimmel

Jimmy Kimmel
7
Famous As: Television Host
Birthdate: November 13, 1967
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Jimmy Kimmel is an American TV host and writer. He is credited with creating one of the most popular American late-night talk shows of all time, Jimmy Kimmel Live! He is also credited with co-founding The Feast of San Gennaro. In 2018, he was named in Time magazine's list of The World's 100 Most Influential People.

 36 Ricky Gervais

Ricky Gervais
6
Famous As: Actor, Comedian
Birthdate: June 25, 1961
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Whitley, Reading, England

Ricky Gervais is one of the best known comedians in the world. He attained fame after starring in the British television series The Office. Later, he ventured into a successful stand-up comedy career. He has performed at many shows and has also acted in several films. However, his dark comedy has often been called insensitive and offensive by several critics.

 37 Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart
7
Famous As: Businesswoman
Birthdate: August 3, 1941
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Jersey City, New Jersey, United States

The founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Martha Stewart has found success with several business ventures. She is also the publisher of a magazine called Martha Stewart Living and has written many bestselling books. Although she was convicted of charges pertaining to the ImClone stock trading case, she made a comeback and became chairwoman of her company.

 38 Mark Twain

Mark Twain
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: November 30, 1835
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Florida, Missouri, United States
Died: April 21, 1910

Mark Twain, “the father of American literature,” was one of the world’s greatest 19-th century humorists and authors. His novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn were drawn from his childhood experiences in Missouri. In his later life, he sunk into bankruptcy and also recovered.

 39 Graham Norton

Graham Norton
13
Famous As: Actor, Talk show Host
Birthdate: April 4, 1963
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Clondalkin, Ireland

Irish television and radio presenter, comedian, and actor, Graham Norton, is an eight-time BAFTA TV Award winner. He is best known for his comedy chat show The Graham Norton Show. His innuendo-laden dialogue and flamboyant presentation style have made him a fan favorite. He is openly gay and is the winner of one Gaytime Award.

 40 Dr. Phil McGraw

Dr. Phil McGraw
8
Famous As: Television Host
Birthdate: September 1, 1950
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Vinita, Oklahoma
Phil McGraw, or Dr. Phil, is a well-known psychologist and TV personality. He gained fame with his frequent appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show and then launched his advice show Dr. Phil. He owns the charity Dr. Phil Foundation and has a “star” on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

 41 Kimberly Guilfoyle

Kimberly Guilfoyle
31
Famous As: News Anchor
Birthdate: March 9, 1969
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: United States

One of the prominent speakers at the Republican National Convention 2020 and a vocal supporter of American President, Donald Trump, Kimberly Ann Guilfoyle is a senior advisor and top fundraiser at Trump’s re-election campaign. A former deputy district attorney, prosecutor, legal analyst at CNN and TV host at Fox News, Guilfoyle is rumoured to be the Donald Trump Jr.’s partner.  

 42 Larry King

Larry King
5
Famous As: Television and Radio Host
Birthdate: November 19, 1933
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: January 23, 2021

Regarded as one of the most popular American TV and radio hosts, Larry King was famous for hosting the successful and popular TV program, Larry King Live. The recipient of several awards, King was an iconic figure on American television. Also known for his charitable works, he founded the Larry King Cardiac Foundation to help poor people undergo cardiac procedures.

 43 David Spade

David Spade
6
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: July 22, 1964
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Birmingham, Michigan, United States

David Spade is an American comedian and actor. Also a well-known philanthropist, David Spade helped the Phoenix Police Department buy 300 firearms by making a donation of $100,000. In 2013, he donated $200,000 to rebuild Oklahoma after it was hit by a tornado. In 2018, he donated $100,000 to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

 44 Rainn Wilson

Rainn Wilson
4
Famous As: Actor, Comedian
Birthdate: January 20, 1966
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Seattle, Washington, United States

Rainn Wilson is an actor and writer who used his popularity to make his YouTube channel, SoulPancake, a success. Also a climate change advocate, Wilson made a documentary titled The Idiot’s Guide to Climate Change, based on his trip to Greenland. He is known for his charitable works and has adopted a vegan diet since adopting Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs.

 45 Alyson Hannigan

Alyson Hannigan
5
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: March 24, 1974
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States

Alyson Hannigan is one of the most recognized celebrities, thanks to her role in the popular sitcom How I Met Your Mother and her role in one of the most popular sex comedy film series of all time - American Pie. She has been presenting the television show, Penn & Teller: Fool Us, since 2016.

 46 Ryan Seacrest

Ryan Seacrest
10
Famous As: Radio Personality
Birthdate: December 24, 1974
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Dunwoody, Georgia, United States

Ryan Seacrest is an American television host, radio personality, and producer. He gained national recognition after hosting the popular singing competition TV series, American Idol. Also known for his humanitarian efforts, Seacrest established the Ryan Seacrest Foundation in 2010. He is also credited with producing a men's skincare line called Polished.

 47 Hugh Hefner

Hugh Hefner
6
Famous As: Founder of Playboy Magazine
Birthdate: April 9, 1926
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: September 27, 2017

As the founder of Playboy magazine, Hugh Hefner changed the way people viewed nudity. Known for his enviable lifestyle, he resided in luxury mansions along with his Playboy Playmates. Also a well-known philanthropist, Hefner made significant donations to various causes. He also supported freedom of expression and sexual liberation.

 48 Nigella Lawson

Nigella Lawson
16
Famous As: Television Personality, Gourmet, Food Writer
Birthdate: January 6, 1960
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, United Kingdom
Daughter of Nigel Lawson, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nigella Lawson has written several bestselling cookbooks and hosted many culinary shows. Winner of the British Book Award and the Guild of Food Writers Award, Nigella has previously worked as an editor and freelance journalist and also owns a cookware range.

 49 Laura Ingraham

Laura Ingraham
4
Famous As: Television Host
Birthdate: June 19, 1964
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Glastonbury, Connecticut, United States

Laura Ingraham is a well-known American journalist and television host. She holds a conservative position, is called a nationalist and has often generated controversy for her stand on various issues. She is the host of The Ingraham Angle on Fox News television channel, which is a high-rated opinion-based show. She hosted The Laura Ingraham Show on radio from 2001 to 2018.

 50 Bob Woodward

Bob Woodward
6
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: March 26, 1943
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Geneva, Illinois, United States