New York Interesting Facts: Famous New Yorkers - New York City Article

New York Interesting Facts: Famous New Yorkers

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New York Interesting Facts: Famous New Yorkers

        Follow @nyccitiview
New York Interesting Facts: Famous New Yorkers

        Follow @nyccitiview
New York Interesting Facts: Famous New Yorkers

        Follow @nyccitiview

New York Interesting Facts: Famous New Yorkers

Published Dec 1, 2016
Updated Nov 4, 2018

With so many famous people actually living in the Big Apple at any given moment, it's hard to tell who is from New York and who isn't. Here is a fairly comprehensive list of famous people either born in or who are from New York in some way.

  • Famous Athletes from New York:

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Honored as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996, he played 20 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers. 

Lou Gehrig: Played  17 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the New York Yankees (1923–1939). Gehrig was renowned for his prowess as a hitter and for his durability,  earned him his nickname "The Iron Horse." Gehrig was the first MLB player to have his uniform number retired, and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939. 

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Michael Jordan: Regarded by many as the greatest basketball player of all time, he is also an entrepreneur, and majority owner and chairman of the Charlotte Bobcats. He led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA Championships.

Whitey Ford: Voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974, he spent his entire 16-year career as the pitcher for the New York Yankees.

Mike Tyson: He retired as an undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, and his career has been greatly compared to Muhammad Ali.

  • Famous New Yorkers - The Innovators:

John Jacob Astor III:Founder of the English branch of the Astor family, he was a financier and philanthropist, as well as the wealthiest of the Astor family in his generation. His nephew, John Jacob Astor IV, was the richest man aboard the Titanic.

Donna Karan: DKNY celebrity designer of fashion and fragrances. She attended PArson Schll of Design and technology.

Michael Kors: Runway designer and television personality, most recognized as one of the judges on Lifetime's Project Runway. He dropped out of FIT after nine months for a position at a boutique across from Bergdorf Goodman.

Estee Lauder: Founder of the mega-cosmetics company, Estee Lauder Cosmetics. In her younger days, she worked in her father's hardware store and in her uncle's beauty product laboratory.

J. Robert Oppenheimer: American theoretical physicist and professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley. Often called the "father of the atomic bomb" for his role in the Manhattan Project, the World War II project that developed the first nuclear weapons.

Carl Sagan: Astronomer whose love of space inspired readers and TV viewers to look into the stars. He is best known for co-writing and narrating the award-winning 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage.

Jonas Salk: American medical researcher and virologist. He discovered and developed the first successful polio vaccine.

Al Sharpton: Civil rights activist who began as James Brown's tour manager who has been a pillar of the African American community for decades.

Gloria Vanderbilt: Vanderbilt family heiress who was successful in women's apparel and cosmetics; she pioneered designer blue jeans. Her name was used for eight different fragrances over a 20-year period by cosmetics company L'Oreal.

Vera Wang: Most recognized for her haute couture wedding gown designs and relationships with celebrities. As a result of the beautiful costumes she designed for skaters, she was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame.

George Westinghouse: Invented air brakes for trains and perfected AC electrical power. He was one of Thomas Edison’s fiercest rivals.

  • Famous New Yorkers in History:

Al Capone: Leader of The Chicago Outfit, also known as the “Capones,” he was one of the most famous American gangsters known for smuggling and bootlegging liquor, and other illegal activities in the 1920s.

Rudolph Giuliani: Served as Mayor of New York City from 1994 to 2001. Giuliani gained international attention for his leadership during and after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. For those actions, he was named Time Person of the Year in 2001, and received an honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II in 2002.

Lucky Luciano: Considered the father of modern organized crime in the United States for splitting New York City into five different Mafia crime families. Along with his associate Meyer Lansky, was instrumental in the development of the National Crime Syndicate in the United States.

Eleanor Roosevelt: Called “First Lady of the World” by Harry S. Truman for her human rights achievements, she was Franklin Roosevelt’s wife and was the longest-serving First Lady.

  • Presidents Born in New York:

Franklin Roosevelt: America’s 32nd President. More commonly known as “FDR,” he served for four terms until his death in 1945, the longest serving President in history.

Theodore Roosevelt: Americas’s 26th President, most commonly known as “Teddy” Roosevelt, was the inspiration for the teddy bear. His slogan was “Speak softly and carry a big stick."

Donald Trump: Considered one of best known real estate entrepreneurs in the United States, he is the chairman and president of The Trump Organization and the founder of Trump Entertainment Resorts. He is also the host of reality show Celebrity Apprentice and recently became the 45th president of the United States.

  • Famous Singers from New York:

Lady Gaga: Regularly placed on lists composed by Forbes magazine, including The World's 100 Most Powerful Women from 2010 to 2013, and was named one of the most influential people in the world by Time magazine, Lady Gaga is an pop-singer, songwriter, activist, record producer, businesswoman, fashion designer, philanthropist, and actress.

Aaliyah: Listed by Billboard as the tenth most successful female R&B artist of the past 25 years, and 27th most successful R&B artist in history, she died tragically in 2001 in a plane crash.

Christina Aguilera: Rolling Stone ranked her 58th on their list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time, becoming its youngest and only artist under the age of thirty. During the 2000s, Billboard recognized her as the 20th Artist of the Decade and its second top-selling single artist, behind Madonna.

Jay Z: His first hit, "Dead Presidents," became an international hit, and he has since won over 16 Grammy Awards and sold over 50 million albums. He is also a partial owner of the Brooklyn Nets, and founded the 40/40 Club. His hit with Alicia Keys, Empire State of Mind, is also a local favorite.

Billy Joel: He played piano at bars to help support his mother and was a Golden Gloves champion. He went on to become the third best-selling solo artist in the United States.

Alicia Keys: She became the first singer to receive five Grammy Awards at once after releasing her debut album, Songs in A Mirror, which included "Fallin," in 2001. She also starred once on the Cosby Show and has studied Mozart and Chopin.

Lou Reed: After serving as guitarist, vocalist, and principal songwriter of the Velvet Underground, his solo career spanned several decades.

Tupac Shakur: Sold over 75 million albums worldwide as of 2010, making him one of the best-selling music artists in the world.

Vanessa Williams: She was the first African American to win Miss America in 1984 and went on to become a successful singer and occasional actress.

  • Famous Actors, Writers and Media Personalities from New York:

Woody Allen: Screenwriter, director, actor, comedian, author, playwright, and musician whose career spans more than 50 years. He has more screenwriting Academy Award nominations than any other writer.

Lenny Bruce: Legendary stand up comedian and social critic who became a counterculture icon after he was repeatedly arrested for obscenity.

Steve Buscemi: American actor, writer and director. He starred in films such as Fargo, Reservoir Dogs, The Big Lebowski, and Armageddon. Before he was an actor, he was a New York City Fireman from 1980 to 1984, with Engine Company #55 in the Little Italy section of NY.

George Carlin: Considered by many to be the greatest stand up comedian of all time. He first rose to fame for his infamous "Seven Dirty Words" comedy routine which he first performed in 1972.

Robert DeNiro: Starring in over ninety films throughout his career, De Niro is also director and producer. He is best known for his roles in Taxi Driver, Cape Fear, Goodfellas, Meet the Parents, and the Godfather Part II.

Anne Hathaway: Starred in The Princess Diaries and The Devil Wears Prada and won an Academy Award for her performance in Les Miserables.

Stan Lee: Marvel Comics' writer, publisher, editor and chairman who co-created Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four and many more super heroes.

Herman Melville: American writer best known for the novel Moby-Dick.

Eddie Murphy: Ranked No. 10 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time, he is the second-highest grossing actor in the United States. He was a regular cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1980 to 1984, and is also an accomplished writer, singer, director, and musician.

Al Pacino: Well-known for playing Michael Corleone in The Godfather trilogy and Tony Montana in Scarface, he often appeared on the other side of the law—as a police officer, a detective and lawyer.

Mario Puzo: Italian-American novelist and screenwriter whose Mafia novel, The Godfather, was adapted into Francis Ford Coppola's legendary film trilogy. He also wrote the screenplays for the Superman movies, as well as novels titled Fools Die and The Dark Arena.

Rachael Ray: Vivacious television personality, businesswoman, and cook who gained attention for her shows on the Food Network and ABC as well her affiliation with Oprah WInfrey.

Chris Rock: Voted as the fifth greatest stand-up comedian of all time by Comedy Central. He is an accomplished comedian, actor, screenwriter, television producer, film producer, and director.

Norman Rockwell: Painter and "Saturday Evening Post" illustrator famous for his images of American family life.

JD Salinger: American writer who won acclaim early in life. He led a very private life for more than a half-century. His most famous works are The Catcher in the Rye and Nine Stories.

Adam Sandler: One of the most well known comedians that started on Saturday Night Live, he has went on to star in many Hollywood feature films including Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, The Waterboy, Big Daddy, and Mr. Deeds.

Martin Scorsese: Regarded as one of the greatest directors of all time, he is also a screenwriter, producer, actor, and film historian. His best known movies include Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Gangs of New York, Shutter Island, and Hugo.

Jerry Seinfeld: Best known for playing a semi-fictional version of himself in the sitcom Seinfeld, One of the most loved sitcoms in America. He also is a writer and television/film producer.

Sylvester Stallone: Voted into the Boxing Hall of Fame and whose film, Rocky, was inducted into the National Film Registry. He also portrayed John Rambo in the Rambo film series.

Danielle Steele: She has written over fifty bestselling romantic novels. Her best known works include Passion's Promise and Now and Forever.

Marisa Tomei: Actress who won the Academy Award for her role in My Cousin Vinny as Mona Lisa Vito. SHe also had a leading role in the Bill Cosby Show.

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