Famous Arizonansby Tyler Woods on Apr. 25, 2010, under Life
I was watching TV following up on the immigration-enforcement law and realized that Arizona sure did get on the map with this. Arizona is a household word as being the first racial profiling state, in fact, Arizona is just not national news, this has made international news, and it got me thinking…
If Governor Brewer wanted Arizona on the map, all she really had to do was to look at the rich history of the many famous people that made Arizona part of their lives.
Take Amanda Blake who was best known for her role as Miss Kitty on Gunsmoke. After she retired from the show, she moved to Phoenix starting the Arizona Animal Welfare League, which is now the oldest and largest “no-kill” animal shelter in Arizona. No animals were deported!
Barbara Eden from I Dream of Jeannie was born right here in Tucson, Arizona. She made a choice to leave on her own, she too was not deported. Craig T. Nelson best known for his role as Hayden Fox on the hit series Coach, attended the University of Arizona and so did Geraldo Rivera.
David Spade spent his youth in Scottsdale and Danny Bonaduce from The Partridge Family was a radio DJ in Phoenix for a while. Debbie Reynolds has a home in Sedona, Arizona and Ted Danson, best known for the television series Cheers, grew up in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Billy Preston, known for his #1 hit singles “Will It Go Round In Circles,” and “Nothing From Nothing”, moved to Scottsdale in 2003 and singer Buck Owens ended up in Mesa, Arizona. In 1967 he purchased country music radio station KNIX that he would own until 1999.
Arizona was busting at the seams with music. The Gin Blossoms came out of the Phoenix area. They had their start in Tempe. Of course when you think of music and Phoenix how can you not mention Alice Cooper? Plus, did you know that John Denver’s musical career began in Tucson, Arizona where he lived with his family?
Music could never forget Linda McCartney who majored in Fine Arts at The University of Arizona. Married to Paul McCartney, she was a professional photographer, animal lover and environmentalist. Of course we all know there was Linda Ronstadt and she came from right here in Tucson. Waylon Jennings spent an early part of his career playing in Phoenix clubs and singer Stevie Nicks with Fleetwood Mac is a Phoenix resident. What would Arizona be without the singing cowboy Rex Allen?
There were other famous people like Robert Mitchum who had a home near Scottsdale and was a frequent Tucson visitor. John Wayne saddled up for more than 200 films during his career and owned a ranch in the White Mountains of Arizona. Lee Marvin lived in Tucson as well. Though they are no longer here with us, it wasn’t because of deportation, they simply died.
Indeed Arizona was the state for many famous people like Wonder Woman Lynda Carter, Sandra Bernhard, Steven Spielberg, Garry Shandling , Glen Campbell, Wayne Newton, Tanya Tucker, Hugh Downs, Erma Bombeck and Frank Lloyd Wright to name just a few more.
It seems that we have been on the map with our rich and diverse talent and clearly did not need a law to become famous again. Throughout time, we Arizonans have found healthy, kind and talented ways to get on the map. So in the future, if you want to think of Arizona with fond memories, just remember the past, we did have some great moments because of some great people.