Famous Louisvillians - Louisville Article

Famous Louisvillians

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Famous Louisvillians

        Follow @nyccitiview

Famous Louisvillians

Published Aug 9, 2013
Updated Oct 17, 2016


Muhammad Ali
Three time boxing World Heavyweight Champion. He coined the phrase: “Float Like A Butterfly Sting Like A Bee”.

Denny Crum
Legendary coach for the University of Louisville Cardinals Men’s basketball team from 1971-2001. His coaching style earned him the nickname “Cool Hand Luke.”

Pat Day
One of the most successful Thoroughbred jockeys of all time. His three decades of racing include every highlight imaginable, including wins at the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup. He was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 1991.

Darrell Griffith
Member of the 1980 NCAA Men’s Basketball Champion Louisville Cardinals. Also known as Dr. Dunkenstein. He was the 1981 NBA Rookie of the Year and played 11 seasons with the Utah Jazz.

Paul Hornung
Legendary quarterback for the Green Bay Packers and Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Although he did not play in the game, his Packers won the first Super Bowl in 1967.

Pee Wee Reese
All Star shortstop for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers from 1940-58. Reese is also well known for his support of fellow Dodger Jackie Robinson. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984.

Phil Simms
Currently a CBS sportscaster, he was previously the Super Bowl winning quarterback for the New York Giants.

Wes Unseld
A player for the NBA Washington Bullets he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988.

Johnny Unitas
“The Golden Arm” spent most of his professional football career with the Baltimore Colts. His record of throwing a touchdown pass in 47 consecutive games (1956-1960) remains unsurpassed as of 2011. He led the Colts to an overtime victory over the New York Giants in what has been called “the Greatest Game ever played”.


Major Robert Anderson
Union Army officer commanded Fort Sumter at start of the Civil war.

Louis Brandeis
Known as the “Peoples Attorney,” he became the first Jewish Supreme Court Justice in 1916.

George Rogers Clark
“Conqueror of the Old Northwest” during the Revolutionary War. Founded Louisville at Corn Island in 1778.

Zachary Taylor
12th President of the United States from 1849-1850 and served in the War of 1812. He died 16 months into his presidential term.

Media, Movies and Music

Patricia and Cybil Barnstable
One of the sets of Wrigley Doublemint Twins in the 1970’s. They currently host the Barnstable Brown Gala-the premier Derby Eve Party.

Ned Beatty
Character actor in film TV and stage. His most memorable roles were those in Deliverance, Superman and The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean.

Foster Brooks
Actor and comedian famous for his “Lovable Lush” character.

Tod Browning
Best known for directing the horror classic “Dracula” with Bela Lugosi in 1931.

Bob Edwards
Peabody Award winning broadcaster. He became famous as the first host of National Public Radio’s Morning Edition. He is now the host of the Bob Edwards Show on Sirius XM Radio.

D.W. Griffith
Film director best known for directing The Birth of a Nation and Intolerance in 1915-16. He lived at the Brown Hotel for several years prior to his death in 1948.

Lionel Hampton
One of the first jazz vibraphone players. He played with some of the greatest names in jazz including Benny Goodman, Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong.

Mildred and Patty Hill
Composers of the song “Happy Birthday To You”.

Jennifer Lawrence
Born in Louisville, she was discovered in New York City at the age of 14. She has become a major motion picture star, appearing in the recent hits Winter’s Bone and The Hunger Games.

Wilson Pickett
One of the greatest American Soul singers. He is best known for his hits Mustang Sally, In the Midnight Hour, and 634-5789.

Artimus Pyle
Drummer for the legendary southern rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd since 1974.

Diane Sawyer
Currently the host of ABC World News Tonight. She has had a lengthy television career as a news journalist but got her start working with the Nixon administration in 1970.

Hunter S. Thompson
Gonzo journalist and author. He regularly contributed to Rolling Stone magazine and authored the classics Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail.

Mary Travers
A third of the famous folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary.


Thomas Edison
One of the world’s most prolific inventors. He lived in Louisville while working for Western Union in the 1860’s. The house in which he lived is now a museum, the Thomas Edison House on E. Washington St.

Edwin Hubble
Astronomer and Astrophysicist was the first to suggest there were other galaxies in addition to the Milky Way. He is the namesake of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Colonel Harland Sanders
Founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Before perfecting his Secret Recipe for fried chicken in Corbin, Ky., he worked many jobs in Southern Indiana and Louisville, where KFC’s World Headquarters is still located today.

“Papa John” Schnattter
Founder, chairman and CEO of Papa Johns Pizza. His pizza chain was started in a tavern in Jeffersonville, IN and now boats 3,400 restaurants in 50 states and 30 countries.

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