Famous People From Kansas

The state got its name from the American tribe who called themselves ‘Kansa’. The members of the tribe were the early inhabitants of Kansas, after which several European families started residing in this American state. Agriculture is widely practiced across Kansas and large amounts of Wheat, Corn and soybeans are produced every year. Apart from industrialization and agriculture, the state is also popular for being the hometown of several popular celebrities widely admired world over. Former American President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Actress Annette Bening, pilot Amelia Earhart and comedian Buster Keaton are a few distinguished personalities from Kansas. Dwight D Eisenhower isn’t just considered one of the best politicians of all time, but also a war veteran. Buster Keaton is undoubtedly one of the best comedians the world has seen since the legendary Charlie Chaplin. Keaton has also directed many films which have achieved cult statuses over the years. Scroll down to know the names of more celebrities were either born in Kansas or hailed from Kansas.
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 1 
Amelia Earhart
(The First Female Aviator to Fly Solo Across the Atlantic Ocean)
Amelia Earhart
285
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: July 24, 1897
Sun Sign: Leo
Died: January 5, 1939

Amelia Earhart became the first female pilot to complete a solo trans-Atlantic flight, in 1932. A champion for equal rights, Amelia later wrote best-selling memoirs and contributed to the women pilot’s group The Ninety-Nines. In 1937, Amelia disappeared while flying over the Pacific Ocean and was later declared dead.

 2 
Joe Walsh
(Singer and Guitarist Who Was Member of Three Successful Rock Bands: 'The Eagles', 'James Gang' & 'Ringo Starr’)
Joe Walsh
24
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: November 20, 1947
Sun Sign: Scorpio

Joe Walsh is an American guitarist, songwriter, and singer. Over the years Walsh has contributed to the success of popular rock bands such as Eagles and James Gang. In 1998, he was made an inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2011, he was ranked 54th on Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time list.

 3 
Barry Sanders
(American Former Professional Football Player Who Played in the Running Back Position)
Barry Sanders
16
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: July 16, 1968
Sun Sign: Cancer

Barry Sanders is a former professional American footballer who spent all his playing years with the Detroit Lions of NFL. Widely considered one of the greatest running backs in the history of National Football League, Barry Sanders has been made an inductee to Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, Michigan Sports Hall of Fame, and the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.

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 4 
Buster Keaton
(Comedian, Actor and Filmmaker Known for His Deadpan Expressions, Which Earned Him the Nickname ‘The Great Stone Face’)
Buster Keaton
18
Birthdate: October 4, 1895
Sun Sign: Libra
Died: February 1, 1966

Buster Keaton was an American comedian, filmmaker, actor, and stunt performer. Regarded as one of the greatest actor-directors of all time, Keaton was renowned for his physical comedy. Counted among the greatest stars of classic Hollywood cinema by the American Film Institute, Buster Keaton's films remain highly regarded. His 1926 film The General was admired by actors like Orson Welles.

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 5 
Bobby Lashley
(Professional Wrestler and Mixed Martial Artist)
Bobby Lashley
31
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: July 16, 1976
Sun Sign: Cancer
Wrestler and MMA legend Bobby Lashley has won titles such as the ECW World Championship, the TNA/Impact World Heavyweight Championship, and the WWE US Championship. He currently plays for Raw under WWE, as part of stable The Hurt Business. He has headlined events such as Bound for Glory.
 6 
Kirstie Alley
(Best Known for Her Role as ‘Rebecca Howe’ in the TV Series ‘Cheers’)
Kirstie Alley
42
Birthdate: January 12, 1951
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Died: December 5, 2022

Kirstie Alley graduated from being an interior designer to participating in game shows, and then stepped into showbiz. She is known for her rib-tickling comedy and her Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning performance as Rebecca Howe in Cheers. She was also part of Dancing with the Stars and Celebrity Big Brother.

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 7 
Janelle Monae
(Singer-songwriter)
Janelle Monae
51
Birthdate: December 1, 1985
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Artist Janelle Monae initially sang with rapper Big Boi and is known for albums such as Dirty Computer. She has been nominated for the Grammys multiple times. Monae also appeared in films such as Hidden Figures and the Academy Award-winning drama Moonlight. She is both bisexual and pansexual.
 8 
Hattie McDaniel
(Actress and Comedian Best Known for Her Role as ‘Mammy’ in the Film ‘Gone with the Wind’)
Hattie McDaniel
18
Birthdate: June 10, 1893
Sun Sign: Gemini
Died: October 26, 1952

Hattie McDaniel was an American actress, comedian, and singer-songwriter. She became the first African-American to be honored with an Academy Award when her portrayal of Mammy earned her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Also a radio performer, Hattie McDaniel was the first African American woman to express her skills as a singer on the radio in the US.

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 9 
Annette Bening
46
Birthdate: May 29, 1958
Sun Sign: Gemini
Annette Bening is best known for her Academy Award-nominated roles in American Beauty, The Grifters, Being Julia, and The Kids Are All Right. She started her career with Shakespearean theater and delivered Tony Award-nominated performances. She was also appreciated for her roles in Captain Marvel and the miniseries Mrs. Harris.
 10 
Dennis Hopper
(Actor, Filmmaker and Photographer Best Known for His Films: ‘Easy Rider’, ‘Blue Velvet’ and ‘The Last Movie’)
Dennis Hopper
25
Birthdate: May 17, 1936
Sun Sign: Taurus
Died: May 29, 2010

Dennis Hopper was an American actor, photographer, and filmmaker. His directorial film debut Easy Rider glorified the counterculture of the 1960s and became the cinematic symbol of counterculture, inspiring several youngsters. Also a photographer, Hopper’s photographs of the 1963 March on Washington were published. Hopper is also credited with influencing actress Amber Tamblyn whose father was one of his friends.

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 11 
R. Lee Ermey
(American actor)
R. Lee Ermey
16
Birthdate: March 24, 1944
Sun Sign: Aries
Died: April 15, 2018
R. Lee Ermey’s past as a Marine drill instructor later got him typecast in roles of authoritarian figures in movies. He is best remembered for his Golden Globe-nominated role in Full Metal Jacket. He also hosted the History Channel shows Mail Call and Lock n' Load with R. Lee Ermey.
 12 
Erin Brockovich
(Environmental Activist)
Erin Brockovich
36
Listed In: Activists
Birthdate: June 22, 1960
Sun Sign: Cancer

Legal consultant, environmental activist, and consumer activist Erin Brockovich is known for suing California-based Pacific Gas & Electric Company, alleging them of contamination of water with hexavelent chromium, in 1993. Her story inspired the Julia Roberts-starrer 2000 movie Erin Brockovich. She has written two books and hosted TV shows, too.

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 13 
Eric Stonestreet
(Actor)
Eric Stonestreet
25
Birthdate: September 9, 1971
Sun Sign: Virgo
Height: 6'0" (183 cm)
 14 
Cassandra Peterson
28
Birthdate: September 17, 1951
Sun Sign: Virgo
Cassandra Peterson is best known for her iconic character Elvira, from the show Elvira's Movie Macabre and the film Elvira: Mistress of the Dark. She made Elvira a cult figure, with her Gothic appearance and her signature low-cut black dress. She inspired Elvira-themed novels, games, calendars, and comic books. 
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 15 
Bob Dole
(United States Senator from Kansas from 1969 to 1996)
Bob Dole
27
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: July 22, 1923
Sun Sign: Cancer
Died: December 5, 2021

Bob Dole is an American retired politician who remains active in public life. Before commencing his political career, Dole served in the United States Army during World War II. For his service in the army and later as a politician, Bob Dole has been honored with several prestigious awards, such as the Presidential Medal of Freedom and Presidential Citizens Medal.

 16 
Gale Sayers
(American Football Player)
Gale Sayers
10
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: May 30, 1943
Sun Sign: Gemini
Died: September 23, 2020
Height: 6'0" (183 cm)
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 17 
Grace VanderWaal
(Singer-songwriter)
Grace VanderWaal
114
Birthdate: January 15, 2004
Sun Sign: Capricorn

Grace VanderWaal is a singer-songwriter who began her career as a YouTuber, uploading videos of her original songs and covers. She also started performing in local shows, gaining attention for her distinctive vocals. She won the TV competition show, America's Got Talent (AGT), in 2016 and received the 2017 Billboard Women in Music Rising Star Award.

 18 
Charlie Parker
(Jazz Saxophonist & Developer of the 'Bebop' Style of Jazz)
Charlie Parker
16
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: August 29, 1920
Sun Sign: Virgo
Died: March 12, 1955

Charlie Parker was an American composer and jazz saxophonist. A highly influential soloist, Parker played a significant role in the development of a form of jazz called bebop. He is also credited with introducing harmonic ideas into jazz, such as chord substitutions and rapid passing chords. His contribution to jazz and bebop made him an icon of the hipster subculture.

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 19 
Scott Foley
(Actor and Director Known for His Roles in TV Series: ‘The Unit’, ‘Scrubs’, ‘Felicity’, and ‘Scandal’)
Scott Foley
10
Birthdate: July 15, 1972
Sun Sign: Cancer
Scott Foley is best known for his Teen Choice Award-nominated role of Noel Crane in Felicity and the lead Will Chase in Whiskey Cavalier. Some of his other notable projects are Scrubs, The Unit, and Scandal. He also made his directorial and writing debut with Let's Kill Ward's.
 20 
Colton Haynes
(Actor, Model)
Colton Haynes
19
Listed In: Fashion
Birthdate: July 13, 1988
Sun Sign: Cancer

Actor and model, Colton Haynes, starred as Jackson Whittemore in the MTV supernatural drama series Teen Wolf. This role made him a teen icon and gained him international popularity. Active in the entertainment field since he was 15, he first built a successful career as a model before venturing into acting. He is openly gay.

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 21 
Emily Wickersham
(Known for Her Role as 'Eleanor Bishop' on TV Series ‘NCIS')
Emily Wickersham
16
Birthdate: April 26, 1984
Sun Sign: Taurus

Emily Wickersham is an American actress known for playing Eleanor Bishop in the popular action police procedural TV series, NCIS. Wickersham dropped out of Muhlenberg College after attending the private liberal arts college for two years. She then started focusing on her acting career and went on to establish herself as a film and TV actress.

 22 
Vivian Vance
(Actress)
Vivian Vance
9
Birthdate: July 26, 1909
Sun Sign: Leo
Died: August 17, 1979
Vivian Vance is best remembered for her Emmy-winning role of Ethel Mertz in the sitcom I Love Lucy. Fans also loved her as Vivian Bagley in the sitcom The Lucy Show. A skilled stage actor, too, she also gained fame for playing Nancy Collister in the musical Let's Face It! 
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 23 
Charles Koch
(American Billionaire Businessman, Chairman, and CEO of ‘Koch Industries’)
Charles Koch
17
Listed In: Business People
Birthdate: November 1, 1935
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Charles Koch, co-owner, chairman, and CEO of Koch Industries, was the world’s 11th-richest man in 2019. He and his brother, David Koch, both named to Time 100 in 2011, transformed their business from an oil and chemical company to one that owns brands such as Stainmaster, Lycra, and Dixie Cup.
 24 
Melissa Etheridge
(Singer-songwriter)
Melissa Etheridge
15
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: May 29, 1961
Sun Sign: Gemini
Height: 5'3" (160 cm)
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 25 
Jeff Probst
(Producer and Host of the U.S Reality Television Show ‘Survivor’)
Jeff Probst
7
Birthdate: November 4, 1961
Sun Sign: Scorpio

Famous as the host of two-decade-old American reality show Survivor, Jeff Probst is an award-winning television personality, particularly noted for his catch-phrase, "The tribe has spoken. It's time for you to go”. Celebrity Superfan Roundtable is another prominent TV show hosted by him. People magazine recognized him as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in 2001.

 26 
Aneta Corsaut
(Actress)
Aneta Corsaut
11
Birthdate: November 3, 1933
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Died: November 6, 1995
Aneta Corsaut is best known as Helen Crump from The Andy Griffith Show. She also appeared in films such as The Blob and was seen in significant roles in the series House Calls and Mrs. G. Goes to College. She co-wrote a book named The Mystery Reader's Quiz Book
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 27 
Stanley A McChrystal
(Retired Armed Force Officer)
Stanley A McChrystal
8
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: August 14, 1954
Sun Sign: Leo

Retired United States Army general, Stanley A McChrysta,l is best known for his command of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) during the 2000s. He was described as "perhaps the finest warrior and leader of men in combat I ever met" by Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Following his retirement, he began teaching courses in international relations at Yale University.

 28 
Gary Hart
(Politician)
Gary Hart
9
Listed In: Lawyers & Judges
Birthdate: November 28, 1936
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
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 29 
Ann Dunham
(American Anthropologist and Mother of Former United States President, Barack Obama)
Ann Dunham
28
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: November 29, 1942
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Died: November 7, 1995
Ann Dunham was the mother of former U.S. President Barack Obama. She was an economic anthropologist and worked for the betterment of rural Indonesian women. She had met Barack Obama Sr. while studying at the University of Hawaii. She had worked with USAID, the Ford Foundation, and Bank Rakyat Indonesia.
 30 
Martina McBride
(Singer-Songwriter)
Martina McBride
11
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: July 29, 1966
Sun Sign: Leo
Height: 5'4" (163 cm)
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 31 
Lyle Waggoner
4
Birthdate: April 13, 1935
Sun Sign: Aries
Died: March 17, 2020

Lyle Waggoner was an American sculptor, actor, model, travel trailer salesman, and presenter. He is best remembered for his association with The Carol Burnett Show between 1967 and 1974. He is also credited with founding Star Waggons, a company that aimed at helping the entertainment industry by leasing customized location trailers.

 32 
Jordy Nelson
(American Football Player)
Jordy Nelson
6
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: May 31, 1985
Sun Sign: Gemini
Height: 6'3" (190 cm)
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 33 
Walter Johnson
(American Professional Baseball player)
Walter Johnson
3
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: November 6, 1887
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Died: December 10, 1946
Height: 6'1" (185 cm)
 34 
Hugh Beaumont
4
Birthdate: February 16, 1909
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Died: May 14, 1982
Height: 6'0" (183 cm)
 35 
Dee Wallace
(actor, stage actor, television actor)
Dee Wallace
8
Birthdate: December 14, 1948
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Height: 5'5" (165 cm)
 36 
John Carmack
(Chief technology officer, Aerospace engineer, Programmer, Computer scientist)
John Carmack
0
Listed In: Engineers
Birthdate: August 20, 1970
Sun Sign: Leo

Computer-game developer John Carmack introduced pioneering innovations in the 3-D game arena. He specializes in first-person shooter games, such as Quake and Doom. The id Software founder had spent a year in a juvenile home and had later dropped out of university to become a freelance programmer.

 37 
Kendall Schmidt
(Singer-songwriter)
Kendall Schmidt
9
Birthdate: November 2, 1990
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Height: 5'11" (180 cm)
 38 
Louise Brooks
(Actress)
Louise Brooks
4
Birthdate: November 14, 1906
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Died: August 8, 1985
Height: 5'2" (157 cm)
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 39 
Michael Stevens
(American Public Speaker, Educator, YouTuber, Editor, and Entertainer)
Michael Stevens
6
Listed In: YouTubers
Birthdate: January 23, 1986
Sun Sign: Aquarius

Michael Stevens is an American public speaker, educator, YouTuber, editor, and entertainer. He is credited with creating the popular education YouTube channel Vsauce, which he also hosts. His popularity increased in 2017, when he created a YouTube Premium series titled Mind Field. Michael Stevens is often counted among the most successful YouTubers in the world.

 40 
Robert M. Gates
(Politician)
Robert M. Gates
5
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: September 25, 1943
Sun Sign: Libra
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 41 
Robert Whittaker
(Australian Professional Mixed Martial Artist)
Robert Whittaker
7
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: December 20, 1990
Sun Sign: Sagittarius

Robert Whittaker is a mixed martial artist. He competes in the Ultimate Fighting Championship and is the former UFC middleweight champion. He is currently ranked first in the UFC middleweight rankings and 12th in the UFC men's pound-for-pound list. He has received five Fight of the Night awards. In 2018, he was named Sportsman of the year by GQ Australia.

 42 
Charles Curtis
(Former Vice President of the United States)
Charles Curtis
10
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: January 25, 1860
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Died: February 8, 1936
Charles Curtis served as the U.S. vice president from 1929 to 1933, becoming the first Native American person and the first person of color to hold the post. A qualified attorney, he served as the senate majority leader from 1924 to 1929. He also helped pass the 1898 Curtis Act.
 43 
Milburn Stone
17
Birthdate: July 5, 1904
Sun Sign: Cancer
Died: June 12, 1980
Height: 5'8" (173 cm)
 44 
Marillyn Hewson
(CEO of Lockheed Martin (2013-2020))
Marillyn Hewson
4
Listed In: Business People
Birthdate: December 27, 1953
Sun Sign: Capricorn
 45 
Joe Exotic
(Former Operator of G.W. Zoo)
Joe Exotic
59
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: March 5, 1963
Sun Sign: Pisces
 46 
Billy Drago
(Best Known for His Role as ‘Frank Nitti’ in the Film ‘The Untouchables’)
Billy Drago
6
Birthdate: November 30, 1945
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Died: June 24, 2019
Billy Drago is best remembered as a villain in films such as Clint Eastwood's Pale Rider. He portrayed real-life gangster Frank Nitti in Brian De Palma's The Untouchables. He had also been part of series such as Charmed, The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., and The X-Files.
 47 
Dean Smith
(Basketball Coach)
Dean Smith
7
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: February 28, 1931
Sun Sign: Pisces
Died: February 7, 2015
 48 
W. Eugene Smith
(Photographer, Photojournalist, War photographer, Journalist)
W. Eugene Smith
1
Listed In: Photographers
Birthdate: December 30, 1918
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Died: October 15, 1978

W. Eugene Smith was an American photojournalist whose major photo essays include photographs of the Second World War. His work, Country Doctor, which he photographed for Life magazine, is now widely regarded as the first extended editorial photo story. An organization named W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund has been established in his honor to support young photographers. 

 49 
Jim Lehrer
(Journalist)
Jim Lehrer
2
Birthdate: May 19, 1934
Sun Sign: Taurus
 50 
Sarah Lancaster
(Actress)
Sarah Lancaster
4
Birthdate: February 12, 1980
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Height: 5'8" (173 cm)