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Every state of the Union has given birth to people who have left a lasting impression on our history and culture. The following native Kansans have played distinctive roles.

Born in Kansas

Famous Kansans
Name Born / Died Place
Roscoe Conkling "Fatty" Arbuckle
Comedian, actor
Born: March 24, 1887 Smith Center
Died: June 29, 1933 New York, N.Y.
Edward Asner
Born: November 15, 1929 Kansas City
Clarence Daniel Batchelor
Editorial cartoonist, painter, sculptor
Born: April 1,1888 Osage City
Died: September 5, 1977 Deep River, Conn.
Eugene Hugh Beaumont
Actor, director, minister, Christmas-tree farmer
Born: February 16, 1909 Lawrence
Died: May 14, 1982 Munich, Germany
Annette Carol Bening
Born: May 29, 1958 Topeka
Erin Brockovich-Ellis
(born Erin L. E. Pattee)
Director of Research, Law office clerk
Born: June 22, 1960 Lawrence
Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks
Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, poet
Born: June 17, 1917 Topeka
Died: December 3, 2000 Chicago, Ill.
Walter Percy Chrysler
Automobile pioneer
Born: April 2, 1875 Wamego
Died: August 18, 1940 Great Neck, N.Y.
Clark McAdams Clifford
Lawyer, Secretary of Defense
Born: December 25, 1906 Fort Scott
Died: October 10, 1998 Bethesda, Md.
John Steuart Curry
Born: November 14, 1897 near Dunavant
Died: August 29, 1946 Madison, Wis.
Charles Curtis
Politician, Vice-President
Born: January 25, 1860 Topeka
Died: February 8, 1936 Washington, D.C.
Dorothy DeLay Newhouse
Violin instructor
Born: March 31, 1917 Medicine Lodge
Died: March 24, 2002 Upper Nyack, N.Y.
Robert Joseph "Bob" Dole
Born: July 22, 1923 Russell
Amelia Mary Earhart
Aviator, Women's rights advocate
Born: July 24, 1897 Atchison
Died: missing July 2, 1937
declared deceased January 5, 1939
en route from Lae, New Guinea to Howland Island
Milton Stover Eisenhower
Educator, Diplomat
Born: September 15, 1899 Abilene
Died: May 2, 1985 Baltimore, Md.
Joseph Henry Engle
Astronaut, Pilot
Born: August 26, 1932 Chapman
Melissa Lou Etheridge
Musician, Singer
Born: May 29, 1961 Leavenworth
Ronald Ellwin Evans, Jr.
Astronaut, Engineer
Born: November 10, 1933 St. Francis
Died: April 7, 1990 Scottsdale, Ariz.
Dorothy Canfield Fisher
Novelist, Magazine writer, Educator
Born: February 17, 1879 Lawrence
Died: November 9, 1958 Vermont
Robert Michael Gates
Secretary of Defense, College President, Director of Central Intelligence
Born: September 25, 1943 Wichita
Carl Atwood Hatch
Politician, Judge, Lawyer
Born: November 27, 1889 Kirwin
Died: September 15, 1963 Albuquerque, N.M.
Steven Alan Hawley
Mission-specialist Astronaut, Astrophysicist
Born: December 12, 1951 Ottawa
Dennis Lee Hopper
Actor, Film-maker
Born: May 17, 1936 Dodge City
William Motter Inge
Pulitzer Prize-winning Playwright
Born: May 3, 1913 Independence
Died: June 11, 1973 Hollywood Hills, Calif.
Walter Perry Johnson
(nickname "The Big Train")
Baseball player
Born: November 6, 1887 Humboldt
Died: December 10, 1946 Washington, D.C.
Joseph Frank "Buster" Keaton
Actor, film maker
Born: October 4, 1895 Piqua
Died: February 1, 1966 Woodland Hills, Calif.
Emmett Kelly, Sr.
Clown, Trapeze artist, Cartoonist
Born: December 9, 1898 Sedan
Died: March 28, 1979 Sarasota, Fla.
Stanley Newcomb Kenton
Band leader, Pianist
Born: December 15, 1911 Wichita
Died: August 25, 1979 Hollywood, Calif.
Edgar Lee Masters
Poet, Biographer, Dramatist, Lawyer
Born: August 23, 1868 Garnett
Died: March 5, 1950 Melrose Park, Penn.
Hattie McDaniel
Born: June 10, 1895 Wichita
Died: October 26, 1952 Woodland Hills, Calif.
Karl Augustus Menninger
Psychiatrist, Founder: Menninger Foundation, Memminger Clinic
Born: July 22, 1893 Topeka
Died: July 18, 1990 Topeka
William Claire Menninger
Physician, Founder: Menninger Foundation
Born: October 15, 1899 Topeka
Died: September 6, 1966 Topeka
Charles "Bird" Parker, Jr.
Jazz Saxaphonist, Composer
Born: August 29, 1920 Kansas City
Died: March 12, 1955 New York, N.Y.
Gordon Roger Alexander Buchannan Parks
Photographer, Film maker, Writer, Composer
Born: November 30, 1912 Fort Scott
Died: March 7, 2006 New York, N.Y.
Zasu Pitts
Born: January 3, 1894 Parsons
Died: June 7, 1963 Hollywood, Calif.
Charles "Buddy" Rogers
Actor, Musician
Born: August 13, 1904 Olathe
Died: April 21, 1999 Rancho Mirage, Calif.
Alfred Damon Runyan
Writer, Newspaperman
Born: October 4, 1884 Manhattan
Died: December 10, 1946 New York, N.Y.
Barry Sanders
Football player
Born: July 16, 1968 Wichita
William Eugene Smith
Born: December 20, 1918 Wichita
Died: October 15, 1978 Tucson, Ariz.
Vernon Lomax Smith
Nobel Prize-winning Economist, Educator
Born: January 1, 1927 Wichita
William Edgar Stafford
Poet, Educator
Born: January 17, 1914 Hutchinson
Died: August 28, 1993 Lake Oswego, Ore.
Earl Wilbur Sutherland Jr.
Nobel Prize-winning Physiologist, Educator
Born: November 19, 1915 Burlingame
Died: March 9, 1974 Miami, Fla.
John Cameron Swayze
Television news anchor, Television pitchman
Born: April 4, 1906 Wichita
Died: August 15, 1995 Sarasota, Fla.
Vivian Vance
(born Vivian Roberta Jones)
Actress, Singer
Born: July 26, 1909 Cherryvale
Died: August 17, 1979 Belevedere, Calif.
William Allen White
Pulitzer Prize-winning Newspaper editor, Writer
Born: February 10, 1868 Emporia
Died: January 31, 1944 Emporia
Charles Evans Whittaker
Supreme Court justice, Lawyer
Born: February 22, 1901 near Troy
Died: November 26, 1973 Kansas City, Mo.

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