List of people from Kentucky

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Location of Kentucky in the U.S. map
Flag-map of Kentucky.svg

The following list contains persons of note who were born, raised, or spent portions of their lives in the American Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Authors and journalists[edit]

Name Notable for Connection to Kentucky
James Lane Allen (1849–1925) Author, called the state's first important novelist[1] Born near Lexington[1]
Harriette Simpson Arnow (1908–1986) Writer of novels, memoirs, and regional histories Born in Wayne County, raised in Pulaski County
Wendell Berry (born 1934) Author and poet[2] Born in New Castle[2]
Myram Borders (born 1936) 20-year manager of Las Vegas United Press International bureau Born in Kentucky
Pamela Brown (born 1983) CNN reporter and newscaster[3] Born in Louisville[3]
Harry M. Caudill (1922–1990) Author, historian, and attorney[4] Born in Whitesburg[4]
Irvin S. Cobb (1876–1944) Author, humorist Born in Paducah
Clive Cussler (born 1931) Author and oceanic explorer Lived in Louisville
David Dick (1930–2010) CBS News correspondent from 1966 to 1985, author and book publisher, University of Kentucky journalism faculty member from 1985 to 1996 Lived in Bourbon County
Elder Watson Diggs (1883–1947) Founder of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. Madisonville
Greg Downs (born 1971) Author[5] Raised in Elizabethtown[5]
Damon R. Eubank (born 1959) Author and historian[6] Reared in Hardin County and resident of Campbellsville in Taylor County[6]
John Fetterman (1920–1975) Pulitzer prize-winning journalist for Louisville Courier-Journal Born in Danville
Larry Flynt (born 1942) Hustler magazine publisher[7] Born in Lakeville (Magoffin County)[7]
Joey Goebel (born 1980) Author[8] Born in Henderson[8]
Betty Jane Gorin-Smith (born 1940) Historian, author of Morgan Is Coming![9] Born and reared in Campbellsville[9]
Silas House (born 1971) Author[10] Reared in Lily (Laurel County)[10]
Lewis Craig Humphrey (1875–1927) Editor of the Louisville Evening Post and co-editor of the Louisville Herald-Post[11] Born and reared in Louisville, Kentucky
Robert Kirkman (born 1978) Comic book writer, co-creator of The Walking Dead[12] Raised in Cynthiana[12]
Bobbie Ann Mason (born 1940) Author[13] Born in Mayfield[13]
Ed McClanahan (born 1932) Novelist, essayist, professor Born in Brooksville; lives in Lexington
Tony Moore (born 1978) Comic book illustrator, co-creator of The Walking Dead[12] Born and raised in Cynthiana, Kentucky
Gurney Norman (born 1937) Novelist, documentarian, professor Raised in Allais; worked for Hazard Herald; professor at University of Kentucky
Marsha Norman (born 1947) Author and lyricist[14] Born in Louisville[14]
Andrew J. Offutt (1934–2013) Author;[15] father of Chris Offutt Born near Morehead, lived in Louisville[15]
Chris Offutt (born 1958) Author[16] Raised in Haldeman (Rowan County)[16]
Bill Plaschke (born 1958) Columnist for Los Angeles Times; TV personality Born in Louisville, attended Ballard High School
Steve Raible (born 1954) News anchor, sports announcer, former NFL player Born in Louisville, attended Trinity High School
Elizabeth Madox Roberts (1881–1941) Poet and novelist Born in Perryville, spent most of her life in Springfield
Charles P. Roland (born 1918) Historian Spent academic career partly at University of Kentucky, retired to Lexington[17]
Jesse Stuart (1907–1984) Novelist, poet, short-story writer Born in Greenup County, poet laureate of Kentucky 1954
Allen Tate (1899–1979) Poet, novelist, literary critic[18] Born in Winchester[18]
Helen Thomas (1920–2013) News service reporter in White House press corps[19] Born in Winchester[19]
Hunter S. Thompson (1937–2005) Journalist and author[20] Born in Louisville[20]
Gilbert R. Tredway (born 1922) Author and American Civil War historian[21] Indiana native; professor in Campbellsville[21]
Robert Penn Warren (1905–1989) First poet laureate of the United States[22] Born in Guthrie[22]

Explorers, pioneers, and military personnel[edit]

Name Notable for Connection to Kentucky
Roy Bean (1825–1903) Eccentric Old West justice of the peace[23] Born in Mason County[23]
Stephen Bishop (1780–1857) Slave, and cave explorer[24] Published the first map of Mammoth Cave[24]
Daniel Boone (1734–1820) Iconic explorer and trapper, first entered Kentucky on hunting expeditions in 1767, carved Wilderness Trail from Eastern Tennessee through Cumberland Gap into Central Kentucky to Kentucky River; established his fort, Boonesborough, in Madison County where he lived from 1775 to 1779. Fought during Revolutionary War primarily against pro-British Indian tribes in region.
Jim Bowie (1796–1836) Died at the Battle of the Alamo, made famous the Bowie knife[25] Born in Logan County[25]
Kit Carson (1809–1868) Indian agent, trapper scout[26] Born in Madison County[26]
William J. Crowe Jr. (1925–2007) U.S. Navy admiral and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Born in La Grange
William R. Higgins (1945–1990) U.S. Marine colonel who was captured in 1988 and eventually murdered[27] Born in Danville[27]
Joseph Holt (1807–1894) United States Postmaster General and Judge Advocate General[28] Born in Breckinridge County[28]
Husband E. Kimmel (1882–1968) Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet during the attack on Pearl Harbor[29] Born in Henderson[29]
Franklin Sousley (1925–1945) One of six in iconic photograph Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima[30] Born in Hilltop, Fleming County[30]

Film, radio, and television personalities[edit]

Name Notable for Connection to Kentucky
Ned Beatty (born 1937) Actor[31] Born in Louisville[31]
James Best (1926–2015) Actor[32] Born in Powderly[32]
Rodger Bingham (born 1947), nicknamed "Kentucky Joe" Fifth runner-up on Survivor: The Australian Outback[33] Lives in Crittenden[33]
Olive Blakeney (1899-1959) Actress Born in Newport
Foster Brooks (1912–2001) Comedian[34] Born in Louisville[34]
W. Earl Brown (born 1963) Actor[35] Born in Murray[35]
Tod Browning (1880–1962) Actor and director[36] Born in Louisville[36]
Leo Burmester (1944–2007) Actor[37] Born in Louisville[37]
Jennifer Carpenter (born 1979) Actress[38] Born in Louisville[38]
John Carpenter (born 1948) Film director[39] Reared in Bowling Green and attended Western Kentucky University[39]
Will Chase (born 1970) Actor Born in Frankfort
George Clooney (born 1961) Oscar-winning actor and director[40] Born in Lexington,[40] reared in Augusta[41]
Nick Clooney (born 1934) Television personality and journalist Born in Maysville
Rosemary Clooney (1928–2002) Actress and singer[42] Born and reared in Maysville[42]
Joyce Compton (1907-1997) Actress Born in Lexington
William Conrad (1920–1994) Actor, director, narrator in radio, film, TV[43] Born and reared in Louisville[43]
Tom Cruise (born 1962) Actor and producer[44] raised in Louisville[44]
Kassie DePaiva (born 1961) Actress best known for role on One Life to Live[45] Born and reared in Morganfield[45]
Johnny Depp (born 1963) Actor[46] Born in Owensboro[46]
Irene Dunne (1898-1990) Actress, 5-time Oscar nominee Born in Louisville
Bob Edwards (born 1947) NPR radio host[47] Born in Louisville[47]
Farah Fath (born 1984) Actress known for her roles on Days of Our Lives and One Life to Live[48] Born in Lexington[48]
Don Galloway (1937–2009) Actor[49] Born and reared in Brooksville[49]
Rebecca Gayheart (born 1971) Actress[50] Born in Hazard[50]
Billy Gilbert (1894–1971) Actor and comedian[51] Born in Louisville[51]
D. W. Griffith (1875–1948) Filmmaker[52] Born in La Grange[52]
Florence Henderson (1934–2016) Actress best known for her role on The Brady Bunch[53] Reared in Owensboro[53]
Boyd Holbrook (born c. 1981) Actor[54] Born in Prestonsburg[54]
Josh Hopkins (born 1970) Actor[55] Born in Lexington[55]
Elizabeth Ann Hulette, aka "Miss Elizabeth" (1960–2003) Professional wrestling manager and valet[56] Born in Louisville, reared in Frankfort[56]
Josh Hutcherson (born 1992) Actor[57] Born in Union[57]
Ashley Judd (born 1968) Actress[58] reared in Ashland[58]
Patricia Kalember (born 1956) Actress[59] Partly reared in Louisville[59]
Robert Karnes (1917–1979) Actor[60] Born in Paducah, Kentucky
Tommy Kirk (born 1941) Actor Born in Louisville
Jennifer Lawrence (born 1990) Oscar-winning actress[61] Born and reared in Louisville[61]
Maggie Lawson (born 1980) Actress[62] Born in Louisville[62]
Matt Long (born 1980) Actor[63] Born in Winchester[63]
Lee Majors (born 1939) Actor reared in Middlesboro
Terrence Mann (born 1951) Actor[64] Born in Ashland
William Mapother (born 1965) Actor[65] Born in Louisville[65]
Victor Mature (1915–1999) Actor[66] Born in Louisville[66]
Melissa McBride (born 1965) Actress and casting directorl[67] Born in Lexington[67]
Catherine McCord (born 1974) Actress and model[68] Born in Louisville[68]
Marie McDonald (1923-1965) Actress and singer Born in Burgin
Charles Middleton (1874-1949) Actor Born in Elizabethtown
Charles Napier (1936–2011) Actor[69] Born in Scottsville[69]
Patricia Neal (1926–2010) Oscar-winning actress[70] Born in Packard (Whitley County)[70]
Grady Nutt (1937–1981) Religious humorist; television personality (Hee Haw)[71] Lived in Louisville from 1960 until his death including the entire time of his rise to fame[71]
Warren Oates (1928–1982) Actor[72] Born in Depoy (Muhlenberg County)[72]
Sean O'Bryan (born 1963) Actor[73] Born in Louisville[73]
Annie Potts (born 1952) Actress[74] Reared in Franklin[74]
Lawrence Pressman (born 1939) Actor[75] Born in Cynthiana[75]
Wes Ramsey (born 1977) Actor[76] Born in Louisville[76]
Jeffrey Reddick Screenwriter, actor, and film producer[77] reared in Jackson[77]
Jessica Rey (born 1982) Actress[78] Born in Fort Campbell[78]
Rob Riggle (born 1970) Actor[79] on The Daily Show, The Office and Saturday Night Live Born in Louisville[79]
Kelly Rutherford (born 1968) Actress[80] on Melrose Place and Gossip Girl Born in Elizabethtown
Jeri Ryan (born 1968) Actress[81] reared in Paducah[81]
Mitchell Ryan (born 1928) Actor[82] Born in Louisville[82]
Diane Sawyer (born 1945) TV journalist[83] Born and reared in Glasgow;[83] lived in Louisville[84]
Michael Shannon (born 1974) Actor Born in Lexington
William Shatner (born 1931) Actor Seasonally resides in Woodford County
Molly Sims (born 1973) Actress and model[85] Born in Murray[85]
J. Smith-Cameron (born 1955) Actress[86] Born in Louisville[86]
Hal Sparks (born 1969) Actor[87] reared in Peak's Mill[87]
Harry Dean Stanton (born 1926) Actor[88] Born in West Irvine (Estill County)[88]
Chrishell Stause (born 1981) Actress known for her role on All My Children[89] Born in Draffenville (Marshall County)[89]
Martha Stewart (born 1922) Actress Born in Bardwell
Madame Sul-Te-Wan (1873–1959) Actress[90] Born in Louisville[90]
Gus Van Sant (born 1952) Film director[91] Born in Louisville[91]
Jim Varney (1949–2000) Actor and comedian[92] Born in Lexington[92]
Jack Warden (1920–2006) Actor[93] Reared in Louisville[93]
Muse Watson (born July 20, 1948) Actor Attended Berea College; lives in Berea
Chuck Woolery (born 1940) Game show host[94] Born in Ashland[94]
Sean Young (born 1959) Actress[95] Born in Louisville[95]
Steve Zahn (born 1967) Actor Lives in Scott County

Government and political leaders[edit]

Name Notable for Connection to Kentucky
Alben W. Barkley (1877–1956) Vice President of the United States[96] Born in Graves County, lived much of his adult life in Paducah[96]
Louis Brandeis (1856–1941) Supreme Court Justice[97] Born and reared in Louisville[97]
John C. Breckinridge (1821–1875) Vice President of the United States[98] Born just outside Lexington[98]
John Y. Brown, Jr. (born 1933) Governor of Kentucky[99] Born in Lexington[99]
A. B. "Happy" Chandler (1898–1991) Governor of Kentucky and Baseball Commissioner[100] Born in Corydon[100]
Cassius Marcellus Clay (1810–1903) Abolitionist, Ambassador to Russia negotiating purchase of Alaska and newspaper editor[101] Born and lived in Clermont;[101] resident of Madison County; buried in the Richmond Cemetery
Henry Clay (1777–1852) Statesman[102] Lived in Lexington[102]
Jefferson Davis (1808–1889) President of the Confederate States Born in Christian County, Kentucky
Wendell Hampton Ford (1924–2015) 53rd Governor of Kentucky, 1971–1974; 45th Lieutenant Governor 1967–1971; U.S. Senator 1974–1999, member Democratic Party, veteran of Army and Kentucky National Guard, serving 1944-1946 and 1949-1962 Born and reared in Owensboro
Sara Beth Gregory (born 1982) Member of Kentucky State Senate; former member of state House, first elected at age 28; attorney[103] Born in Monticello in Wayne County[103]
Brett Guthrie (born 1964) Member of United States House of Representatives from Kentucky's 2nd congressional district[104] Born in Florence, Alabama; resides in Bowling Green[104]
John Marshall Harlan (1833–1911) Supreme Court Justice[105] Born in Boyle County[105]
Jimmy Higdon (born 1953) Current member of the Kentucky State Senate, former member of the Kentucky House of Representatives, businessman[106] Born in Taylor County; resident of Lebanon in Marion County[106]
Clayborne F. Jackson (1806–1862) 15th Governor of Missouri[107] Born in Fleming County[107]
Richard M. Johnson (1780–1850) 9th Vice President of the United States[108] Born in Jefferson County[108]
Robert W. Johnson (1814–1879) C.S. Senator from Arkansas[109] Born in Scott County[109]
Mae Street Kidd (1909–1999) State legislator[110] Represented a district in Louisville[110]
Juanita M. Kreps (born 1921) Former United States Secretary of Commerce[111] Born in Lynch[111]
Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865) 16th President of the United States[112] Born in a portion of Hardin County that now lies in LaRue County[112]
Mary Todd Lincoln (1818–1882) Wife of Abe Lincoln and First Lady 1861-1865. Subject of multiple psychiatric case studies. Born and raised in Lexington
Mitch McConnell (born 1942) U.S. Senator from Kentucky since 1985 and Republican Leader of the U.S. Senate[113] Born in Sheffield, Alabama, and raised in Louisville[113]
Suzanne Miles (born 1970) Member of Kentucky House of Representatives from District 7[114] Born and resides in Owensboro[114]
Robert L. Miller (1927–2011) Mayor of Campbellsville, 1966–1998[115] Born in Taylor County and resident of Campbellsville[115]
Samuel Freeman Miller (1816–1890) Supreme Court Justice[116] Born in Richmond[116]
Doug Moseley (born 1928) State senator (1974–1987)[117] Resident of Campbellsville, Columbia, and Bowling Green[117]
Carrie Nation (1846–1911) Prohibitionist[118] Born in Garrard County[118]
Paul E. Osborne (born c. 1939) Mayor of Campbellsville (1999–2002)[115] Resident of Campbellsville[115]
H. Foster Pettit (1930–2014) Member of the Kentucky House of Representatives for Fayette County, 1965 to 1970; mayor of Lexington, 1972 to 1978[119] Native and resident of Lexington[119]
Scott Pruitt (born 1968) Attorney General of Oklahoma[120] Grew up in Lexington[120]
Herman Rattliff (1926–2014) Kentucky State Representative from Taylor County[121] Born in Green County; resides in Campbellsville[121]
Stanley Forman Reed (1844–1980) Supreme Court Justice[122] Born in Minerva[122]
Wiley Blount Rutledge (1894–1949) Supreme Court Justice {1943–1949} Born in Cloverport
Tony Snow (1955–2008) White House Press Secretary to President George W. Bush[123] Born in Berea[123]
James Speed (1812–1887) United States Attorney General under Abraham Lincoln[124] Born in Jefferson County[124]
Adlai E. Stevenson I (1835–1914) Vice President of the United States[125] Born in Christian County[125]
Zachary Taylor (1784–1850) 12th President of the United States[126] Raised in Kentucky[126]
Ken Upchurch (born 1969) Member of the Kentucky House of Representatives from District 52[127] Resides in his native Monticello in Wayne County[127]
Fred M. Vinson (1890–1953) Chief Justice of the United States[128] Born in Louisa[128]
Roger Vinson (born 1940) Senior Federal Judge[129] Born in Cadiz[129]
John D. Watkins (1828–1895) Educator, lawyer, district attorney, state court judge, state senator, and presidential elector in Minden in Webster Parish in northwestern Louisiana[130] Born in Caldwell County and graduate of Cumberland College (Princeton, Kentucky)
James E. Whitlock (born 1934) State Representative[131] Resident of Marion County[131]
David L. Williams (born 1953) Member of the Kentucky State Senate from 1987 to 2012, president of the state Senate from 2000 to 2012; Republican U.S. Senate nominee in 1992, gubernatorial nominee in 2011; current 40th District circuit judge[132] Born in Burkesville in Cumberland County[132]
Max Wise (born 1975) Member of the Kentucky State Senate from District 16 in south central Kentucky[133] Born, reared, and resides in Campbellsville in Taylor County[134]
Whitney Young (1921–1971) Civil rights administrator[135] Born in Lincoln Ridge[135]
Ron Ziegler (1939–2003) White House Press Secretary to President Richard Nixon[136] Born in Covington[136]

Infamous persons[edit]

Name Notable for Connection to Kentucky
Larry Birkhead (born 1973) Father of Anna Nicole Smith's daughter, Dannielynn Hope Marshall Birkhead Born, resides in Louisville[137]
Ray Chapman (1891–1920) Only Major League Baseball player to be killed during a game Born in Beaver Dam[138]
Floyd Collins (1887–1925) Cave explorer[139] Trapped and killed in Sand Cave[139]
Lynndie England (born 1982) Convicted in the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal[140] Born in Ashland[140]
Charles Manson (born 1934) Convicted serial killer Raised in Ashland

Musicians[edit]

Name Notable for Connection to Kentucky
David "Stringbean" Akeman (1916–1973) Country and comedy musician, member of the Grand Ole Opry, cast member on Hee Haw Born in Annville
John J. Becker (1886–1961) Composer[141] Born in Henderson[141]
Adrian Belew (born 1949) Guitarist and vocalist for the band King Crimson[142] Born in Covington[142]
Kenny Bishop (born 1966) Gospel and Christian singer[143] Raised in Richmond[143]
Mark Bishop (born 1965) Southern gospel singer[144] Raised in Richmond[144]
Laura Bell Bundy (born 1981) Country singer and actress[145] Raised in Lexington[145]
Steven Curtis Chapman (born 1962) Contemporary Christian musician[146] Born and raised in Paducah[146]
John Conlee (born 1946) Country singer Born and raised in Versailles
Billy Ray Cyrus (born 1961) Country singer and actor[147] Born in Flatwoods[147]
Skeeter Davis (1931–2004) Country singer[148] Born in Dry Ridge[148]
Jackie DeShannon (born 1941) Singer-songwriter Born in Hazel
Don Everly (born 1937) Member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame[149][150] Born near Central City[149]
Phil Everly (1939-2014) Member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame[149][150] Born near Central City[149]
Red Foley (1910-1968) Singer in Country Music Hall of Fame Born in Blue Lick
Crystal Gayle (born 1951) Country singer[151] Born in Paintsville[151]
Troy Lee Gentry (1967-2017) Country singer[152] Born in Lexington[152]
Ashley Gorley Country songwriter and record producer[153] Born in Danville[153]
Grandpa Jones (1913–1998) "Old time" country and gospel music singer, member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry; cast member on Hee Haw Born in Niagara
Tom T. Hall (born 1936) Country singer and songwriter[154] Born in Olive Hill[154]
Lionel Hampton (1908–2002) Jazz musician[155] Born in Louisville[155]
Larnelle Harris Gospel singer[156] Born in Danville[156]
Telma Hopkins (born 1948) Singer and actress[157] Born in Louisville[157]
Jonah Jones (1919-2000) Jazz trumpeter Born in Louisville
Naomi Judd (born 1946) Country singer[158] Born and raised in Ashland[158]
Wynonna Judd (born 1964) Country singer[159] Born and raised in Ashland[159]
James Kottak (born 1962) Former drummer for hard rock groups Kingdom Come, Wild Horses and Warrant; current drummer for German heavy metal band The Scorpions[160] Born in Louisville[160]
Nick Lachey (born 1973) Member of the band 98 Degrees;[161] married to Jessica Simpson and starred on reality show Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica Born in Harlan[161]
Homer Ledford (1927–2006) Bluegrass musician and instrument maker Lived in Winchester
Brian Littrell (born 1975) Member of the Backstreet Boys[162] Born in Lexington[162]
Patty Loveless (born 1957) Country singer[163] Born in Pikeville[163]
Loretta Lynn (born 1934) Country singer[164] Born and raised in Butcher Holler[164]
Les McCann (born 1935) Soul jazz piano player and vocalist; crossover artist into R&B and soul Born in Lexington
Bill Monroe (1911–1996) "Father of bluegrass music" and member of the Country Music Hall of Fame[165] Born and raised in Rosine[165]
Eddie Montgomery (born 1963) Country singer[166] Born in Danville, raised in Garrard County[166]
John Michael Montgomery (born 1965) Country singer[167] Born in Danville, raised in Garrard County[167]
Will Oldham (born 1970) Songwriter and musician[168] Born in Louisville[168]
Joan Osborne (born 1963) Singer and songwriter[169] Born in Anchorage[169]
Artimus Pyle (born 1948) Former drummer for the Southern Rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd Born in Louisville
Dottie Rambo (1934–2008) Member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame[170] Born in Madisonville, raised in Morganfield[170]
Kevin Richardson (born 1971) Member of the Backstreet Boys[171] Born in Lexington, raised in Irvine[171]
Jean Ritchie (born 1922) Folk singer[172] Born in Viper (Perry County)[172]
Jordan Smith (born 1994) Pop singer, winner of The Voice season 9 Born in Harlan (Harlan County)
Ricky Skaggs (born 1954) Bluegrass and country music artist[173] Born and raised in Cordell (Lawrence County)[173]
Kevin Skinner (born 1974) Country singer, winner of 2009 America's Got Talent[174] Native of Mayfield[174]
Chris Stapleton (born 1978) Country singer Born in Lexington
Rick Steier (born 1960) Former guitarist for hard rock groups Kingdom Come, Wild Horses and Warrant[175] Born in Louisville[175]
Mark Stuart (born 1968) Member of the Christian band Audio Adrenaline[176] Born and raised in Owensboro[176]
Mary Travers (1936-2009) Folk singer with Peter, Paul and Mary Born in Louisville
Merle Travis (1917–1983) Member of the Country Music Hall of Fame[177] Born in Rosewood (Muhlenberg County)[177]
Keith Whitley (1955–1989) Country singer[178] Born in Sandy Hook[178]
Dwight Yoakam (born 1956) Country singer[179] Born in Pikeville[179]

Scientists and inventors[edit]

Name Notable for Connection to Kentucky
James Gilbert Baker (1914–2005) Astronomer, designer of optics systems, co-founder of Louisville Astronomical Society Born in Louisville, graduated from the University of Louisville
George Devol (1912–2011) Inventor of Unimate, the first industrial robot[180] Born in Louisville[180]
Rex Geveden Associate Administrator of NASA[181] Born in Mayfield[182]
Robert H. Grubbs (born 1942) 2005 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry[183] Born in Marshall County, raised in Paducah[183]
G. Scott Hubbard (born 1948) NASA Scientist, associate director of NASA's Ames Research Center, "Mars czar"[184] Born and raised in Elizabethtown[184]
William Lipscomb (born 1919) 1976 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry[185] Raised in Lexington[185]
Garrett A. Morgan (1877–1963) Traffic light and gas mask inventor[186] Born in Paris[186]
Thomas Hunt Morgan (1866–1945) 1933 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine[187] Born in Lexington[187]
Phillip A. Sharp (born 1944) 1993 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine[188] Born in Falmouth[188]
Nathan Stubblefield (1860–1928) Inventor, demonstrated wireless radio[189] Born in Murray[189]
John T. Thompson (1860–1940) Inventor of the "Tommy" Gun[190] Born in Newport[190]
George Whitesides (born 1939) Harvard University chemistry professor[191] Born in Louisville[191]
Terrence W. Wilcutt (born 1949) Astronaut[192] Born in Russellville[192]

Sports figures[edit]

Name Notable for Connection to Kentucky
Nate Adcock (born 1988) MLB relief pitcher[193] Born in Elizabethtown[193]
David Akers (born 1974) NFL placekicker[194] Born and raised in Lexington[194]
Shaun Alexander (born 1977) NFL running back[195] Born and raised in Florence[196]
Muhammad Ali (born Cassius Clay) (1942–2016) Olympic and professional boxing champion and activist[197] Born and raised in Louisville[197]
Dave Anderson (born 1960) MLB infielder and coach[198] Born in Louisville[198]
Derek Anderson (born 1974) NBA shooting guard[199] Born in Louisville[199]
Josh Anderson (born 1982) MLB center fielder Born and raised in Somerset
Bill Arnsparger (born 1926) New York Giants and LSU head coach Born in Paris, Kentucky
Len Barker (born 1955) MLB pitcher Born in Fort Knox
Jeremy Bates (1974) Boxer nicknamed "The Beast" Born in Argillite
Butch Beard (born 1947) NBA player and coach Born and raised in Hardinsburg[200]
Gus Bell (1928-1995) MLB player Born in Louisville
Todd Benzinger (born 1964) MLB player Born in Dayton, Kentucky
Bernie Bickerstaff (born 1944) Head coach of five NBA teams Born in Benham
Rob Bironas (1978–2014) NFL placekicker Born and raised in Louisville[201]
Gay Brewer (1932-2007) Pro golfer, 1967 Masters champion Raised in Lexington
Don Brumfield (born 1938) Hall of Fame jockey Born in Nicholasville
Greg Buckner (born 1976) NBA shooting guard and coach[202] Born in Hopkinsville[202]
Jay Buhner (born 1964) MLB outfielder Born in Louisville
Jim Bunning (1931-2017) Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher[203] and politician[204] Born in Southgate[203]
Chris Burke (born 1980) MLB second baseman[205] Born in Louisville[205]
Paul Byrd (born 1970) MLB pitcher[206] Born in Louisville[206]
Dwane Casey (born 1957) Head coach of NBA's Toronto Raptors[207] Born in Morganfield[207]
Steve Cauthen (born 1960) National Horse Racing Hall of Fame jockey[208] Born in Covington,[208] raised in Walton[209]
Rex Chapman (born 1967) NBA shooting guard[210] Born in Bowling Green,[210] attended Owensboro's Apollo High School[211]
Jerry Claiborne (1928–2000) College Football Hall of Fame coach[212] Born in Hopkinsville[212]
Tyler Clippard (born 1985) MLB pitcher Born in Lexington
Blanton Collier (born 1906) Cleveland Browns and Kentucky head coach Born in Millersburg
Cris Collinsworth (born 1959) Wide receiver for Cincinnati Bengals, TV sportscaster[213] Resides in Fort Thomas[214]
Earle Combs (1889–1976) Baseball Hall of Famer[215] Born in Pebworth (Owsley County)[215]
Tim Couch (born 1977) NFL quarterback[216] Born and raised in Hyden[216]
Dave Cowens (born 1948) Basketball Hall of Famer[217] Born and raised in Newport[217]
Denny Crum (born 1937) Basketball Hall of Fame coach[218] Lives in Louisville
Dermontti Dawson (born 1965) NFL center Born in Lexington
Paul Derringer (1906–1987) MLB pitcher Born in Springfield[219]
E. A. Diddle (1895–1972) Basketball Hall of Fame coach[220] Born in Gradyville (Adair County)[220]
Scott Downs (born 1976) MLB relief pitcher[221] Born in Louisville[221]
Brian Doyle (born 1954) MLB infielder Born in Glasgow
Denny Doyle (born 1944) MLB infielder Born in Glasgow
Laura duPont (1949-2002) Tennis player Born in Louisville
Hugh Durham (born 1937) College Hall of Fame basketball coach Born in Louisville
Steve Finley (born 1965) MLB outfielder[222] Raised in Paducah[223]
Woodie Fryman (1940–2011) MLB infielder Born and raised in Ewing
Joe Fulks (1921–1976) Basketball Hall of Famer[224] Born in Birmingham (Marshall County)[224]
Clarence Gaines (1923-2005) College Hall of Fame basketball coach Born in Paducah
Tyson Gay (born 1982) Sprinter, 2007 world champion at 100 and 200 meters[225] Born[226] and raised in Lexington
Jack Givens (born 1956) Basketball player, 1978 Final Four MVP Born in Lexington
Sean Green (born 1979) MLB relief pitcher[227] Born in Louisville[227]
Ted Greene (born 1936) AFL linebacker[228] Born in Kentucky
Darrell Griffith (born 1958) College Hall of Fame basketball player Born in Louisville
Don Gullett (born 1951) MLB pitcher Born in Lynn, attended high school in South Shore
Eddie Haas (born 1935) Major League Baseball player Born in Paducah
Cliff Hagan (born 1931) Hall of Fame basketball player Born in Owensboro
Joe B. Hall (born 1928) College Hall of Fame basketball coach Born in Cynthiana
Clem Haskins (born 1943) NBA player and coach Born in Campbellsville
Nicky Hayden (1981–2017) MotoGP racer[229] Born and raised in Owensboro[229]
JB Holmes (born 1982) PGA Tour golfer[230] Born and raised in Campbellsville[230]
Paul Hornung (born 1935) Notre Dame and Pro Football Hall of Famer, sportscaster[231] Born and raised in Louisville[231]
Allan Houston (born 1971) NBA shooting guard[232] Born and raised in Louisville[232]
Lou Johnson (born 1932) MLB outfielder Born in Lexington
Monique Jones (born 1979) IFBB professional bodybuilder Born in Fort Knox
Gregory Kaidanov (born 1959) U.S. chess grandmaster[233] Lives in Lexington[233]
Austin Kearns (born 1980) MLB outfielder[234] Born in Lexington[234]
Shawn Kelley (born 1984) MLB relief pitcher[235] Born in Louisville[235]
Shipwreck Kelly (1910–1986) NFL halfback Born in Simstown[236]
Roy Kidd (born 1931) College Football Hall of Fame coach[237] Born in Corbin[237]
Jeremy Mayfield (born 1969) NASCAR driver[238] Born and raised in Owensboro[238]
Carl Mays (1891-1971) MLB outfielder Born in Liberty
George McAfee (1918–2009) Pro Football Hall of Fame halfback for Chicago Bears[239] Born in Corbin[239]
Mary T. Meagher (born 1964) 1984, 1988 Olympic medalist swimmer Born in Louisville
Trever Miller (born 1973) MLB pitcher[240] Born in Louisville[240]
C. J. Mosley (born 1983) NFL defensive end[241] Born in Fort Knox[241]
Tori Murden (born 1963) First woman to make solo crossing of Atlantic Ocean by rowboat or ski to geographic South Pole Raised and lives in Louisville
Bobby Nichols (born 1936) Pro golfer, 1964 PGA Championship winner Born in Louisville
Betty Pariso (born 1956) IFBB professional bodybuilder Born in Cynthiana[242]
John Pelphrey (born 1968) University of Kentucky basketball player and Florida assistant coach Born in Paintsville
Kenny Perry (born 1960) Professional golfer[243] Born in Elizabethtown, raised in Franklin, graduated from high school in Lone Oak[243]
Mel Purcell (born 1959) Pro tennis player Raised in Murray
Frank Ramsey (born 1931) Basketball Hall of Famer[244] Born in Corydon[244]
Jon Rauch (born 1978) Professional baseball pitcher[245] Born in Louisville and raised in Westport[245]
Pee Wee Reese (1918–1999) Baseball Hall of Famer[246] Born in Ekron[246]
Mark Reynolds (born 1983) MLB infielder[247] Born in Pikeville[247]
Weston Richburg (born 1991) Professional football player[248] Born in Louisville[248]
Rajon Rondo (born 1986) Professional basketball player[249] Born in Louisville[249]
Gene Roof (born 1958) Major League Baseball player Born in Paducah
Phil Roof (born 1941) Major League Baseball player Born in Paducah
Jack Roush (born 1942) International Motorsports Hall of Famer[250] Born in Covington[251]
Howard Schnellenberger (born 1934) College football coach, Miami, Louisville and Florida Atlantic Raised in Louisville
Frank Selvy (born 1932) College Hall of Fame basketball player Born in Corbin
John Shelby (born 1958) MLB outfielder[252] Born in Lexington[252]
Jeff Sheppard (born 1974) Basketball player for Kentucky Wildcats resides in London (Laurel County)
Phil Simms (born 1955) NFL quarterback and TV sportscaster[253] Born in Lebanon, raised in Louisville[253]
C. J. Spillman (born 1986) NFL safety and special teamer[254] Born in Louisville[254]
Woody Stephens (1913-1998) Hall of Fame thoroughbred trainer Born in Stanton
Danny Sullivan (born 1950) C.A.R.T. and Formula 1 auto racer; winner of 1985 Indianapolis 500[255] Born in Louisville[255]
Jacob Tamme (born 1985) NFL tight end[256] Born in Lexington[256]
Dan Uggla (born 1980) MLB second baseman[257] Born in Louisville[257]
Wes Unseld (born 1946) Basketball Hall of Famer[258] Born and raised in Louisville[258]
Darrell Waltrip (born 1947) NASCAR driver and broadcaster[259] Born and raised in Owensboro[259]
Michael Waltrip (born 1963) NASCAR driver[260] Born and raised in Owensboro[260]
Jeff Walz (born 1971) Louisville women's basketball coach[261] Born and raised in Fort Thomas[261]
Larry Warford (born 1991) NFL offensive lineman[262] Raised in Richmond[262]
Brandon Webb (born 1979) Major League Baseball pitcher[263] 2006 National League Cy Young Award winner[264] Born and raised in Ashland[263]
Todd Wellemeyer (born 1978) MLB pitcher Born in Louisville

Visual artists[edit]

Name Notable for Connection to Kentucky
John James Audubon (1785–1851) Wildlife artist[265] Spent much of his career painting in Henderson[265]
Lance Burton (born 1960) Stage magician[266] Born in Louisville[266]
Frank Duveneck (1848–1919) Figure and portrait painter[267] Born in Covington[267]
Larry Elmore (born 1948) Fantasy artist Born in Louisville
Fontaine Fox (1884–1964) Cartoonist[268] Born in Louisville[268]
Harlan Hubbard (1900–1988) Artist and author[269] Born in Bellevue, Kentucky and lived in Fort Thomas, Kentucky and Trimble County, Kentucky
Mac King (born 1959) Stage magician[270] Born in Hopkinsville[270]
Loren Long Illustrator[271] Raised in Lexington[271]
David W. Mack (born 1972) Comic book artist and writer[272] Lives in Bromley, graduate of Northern Kentucky University[272]
Kate Matthews (1870–1956) Photographer[273] Born in New Albany, Indiana, but spent most of her life in Pewee Valley[273]
Ralph Eugene Meatyard (1925–1972) Photographer[274] Born in Normal, Illinois, but established his photography and optometry careers in Lexington[274]
Don Rosa (born 1951) Cartoonist, Donald Duck illustrator[275] Born in Louisville[275]
Gideon Shryock (1802–1880) Architect[276] Born in Lexington[276]
Moneta Sleet Jr. (1926–1996) 1969 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography[277] Born in Owensboro[277]
Bruce Tinsley (born 1958) Cartoonist, known for his comic strip Mallard Fillmore[278] Born in Louisville[278]
Edgar Tolson (1904–1984) Woodcarver and folk artist[279] Born in Trent Fork[279]

Other notable persons[edit]

Name Notable for Connection to Kentucky
Damon E. Allen (1921–2009) Optometrist[280] Born in Fordsville; practiced in Columbia; resided in Campbellsville; lobbied for optometrists to prescribe medication for patients
David Boaz (born 1953) Executive Vice President of the Cato Institute[281] Born in Mayfield[281]
Ben M. Bogard (1868–1941) Clergyman, founder of American Baptist Association; pastor of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church of Little Rock, Arkansas, pastor under Southern Baptist Convention in 1890s Kentucky[282] Born in Elizabethtown[282]
LaVerne Butler (1926–2010) Clergyman and college president[283] Born in Henderson County; pastor of 9th & O Baptist Church in Louisville, president of Mid-Continent University in Mayfield, also resided in Lexington
Brian Cashman (born 1967) Senior VP and General Manager of New York Yankees[284] Raised in Lexington[284]
Edgar Cayce (1877–1945) Mystic[285] Born in Beverly, seven miles (11 km) south of Hopkinsville[285]
Thomas D. Clark (1903–2005) Historian credited with preserving much of Kentucky's history[286] Lived in Lexington, taught at University of Kentucky for more than seven decades[286]
Chris Clarke (born 1957) Southern Baptist missionary to the equestrian community[287] Operates Happy Trails Ministry in Burna[287]
David and Mary Conley The Amazing Race contestants known as "Team Kentucky" Live in Stone[288]
Tara Conner (born 1985) 2006 Miss USA[289] Raised from early childhood in Russell Springs[289]
Mordecai Ham (1877–1961) Tent revivalist who preached the sermon, converting Billy Graham to Christianity Born in Allen County[290]
Heather French Henry (born 1974) 2000 Miss America[291] Born in Augusta, raised in Maysville[291]
Duncan Hines (1880–1959) Food critic[292] Born in Bowling Green[292]
Willie Hocker (1862–1944) Designer of the current Arkansas flag Born in Madison County
Robert S. James (1818–1850) Revivalist Pastor; father of Jesse James and Frank James; co-founder of William Jewell College Born in Logan County
Casey Jones (1863–1900) Railroad engineer of song; killed trying to stop a train collision; subject of a television series based loosely on his career[293] Born in Cayce[293]
Brandi Mudd (born 1989) Elementary School Teacher and contestant from MasterChef season 7 Born in Irvington
Venus Ramey (born 1924) 1944 Miss America[294] Born in Ashland, raised in Paintsville[295]
Gene Robinson (born 1947) First openly gay noncelibate Episcopal bishop[296] Born in Lexington[296]
Col. Harland Sanders (1890–1980) Founder of KFC[297] Lived in Corbin[297]
"Papa" John Schnatter (born 1962) Founder of Papa John's Pizza[298] Lives in Anchorage[298]
Forest Shely (1924–2010) Physician who served 56 years as a trustee of Campbellsville University[299] Born in Lawrenceburg and resided in Campbellsville[299]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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