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Famous and Infamous Clevelanders

Greater Cleveland has been home to presidents, movie stars, poets, writers, and villians. Learn more about these famous -- and infamous -- people who once resided in Cleveland.

Ohio Astronauts
Like presidents, Ohio has given birth to more than its share of astronauts. Two of the most noted--Neil Armstrong and John Glenn--are Ohioans. Perhaps it is their example or perhaps Ohio is just being true to her moniker, "The Birthplace of Flight." Learn a little more about each of Ohio's astronauts.

Thomas Edison and Northeast Ohio
Thomas Alva Edison, inventor of the incandescent lightbulb, the first photograph, and over 1000 other inventions, was born right here in Northeast, in Milan, in north central part of the state. Although his family moved away from Ohio when he was seven years old, his influence can still be felt in the region.

Hal Holbrook - Mark Twain and More
Hal Holbrook, born Harold Rowe Holbrook Jr. in Cleveland in 1925, is a versatile stage, screen, and television actor. Although he left Northeast Ohio as a boy, Holbrook has returned numerous times, starring in Cleveland Play House productions, among other projects. He is nominated for a 2008 Academy Award for his work in "Into the Wild," making him at 83 the oldest man ever nominated for an Academy Award.

Ruby Dee -- Portrait of a Cleveland-Born Actress
Ruby Dee, born in Cleveland in 1924, is a versatile stage, screen, and television actress. Although she left Northeast Ohio as a young girl, Ms. Dee (nee Ruby Ann Wallace) has returned numerous times, starring in Karamu House productions, among other projects. She is nominated for a 2008 Academy Award for her work in "American Gangster."

Alan Freed: The Man who Gave Cleveland "Rock and Roll"
Alan Freed wasn't born in Cleveland, but he left his mark there. A popular radio announcer during the 1950s, Freed coined the term "Rock and Roll" to describe the music he played--songs by Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and other similar artists.

John D. Rockefeller and Cleveland
John D. Rockefeller, the "World's Richest Man" in the early 20th century, was born in the Finger Lakes region of New York, but moved with his family to Northeast Ohio when he was young. Rockefeller, who went on to found the Standard Oil Company, left his mark on Northeast Ohio, donating money for parks, buildings, and some of the area's most beloved institutions.

Jim Tressel
Jim Tressel, born in Mentor Ohio and educated at Berea's Baldwin-Wallace College, has been the head coach of the Ohio State University fooball team since 2001. Tressel, whose previous coaching jobs include stints at the University of Akron, Miami University, and Youngstown State University, has a career winning percentage of over 73%.

Drew Carey -- Cleveland's Comedian
Drew Carey, born and raised in Cleveland, is best known for his "Drew Carey Show," which ran ten years and featured a host of Cleveland references. Carey, now an LA resident, is still a fan of Cleveland sports teams and makes frequent visits to the city.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2007 Inductees
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its 2007 inductees on January 8, 2007. These talented musicians, producers, and songwriters -- R.E.M, Van Halen, Patti Smith, the Ronettes, and Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five -- will be honored at the annual Induction ceremony in New York City on March 12, 2007 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

Architect Philip Johnson
Philip Johnson, born in Cleveland, was a museum director, writer, and, most notably, an architect known for his unconventional designs. He is best known for his 1949 "Glass House" in New Canaan CT.

Dennis Kucinich
Dennis Kucinich is a six-term Congressman from Ohio as well as a former Cleveland mayor and councilman. He is running for President in the 2008 election on a staunch anti-war campaign. Learn more about him here.

Football's -- and Cleveland's -- John Heisman
John Heisman, born in Cleveland's Ohio City in 1869, was an early player, coach, and advocate of the game that became America's passion. Today, he is best known as the man whose name adorns college football's most prestigious award, but John Heisman gave much more to the game than just a statuette.

Dr. Henry Schwan -- Father of the Decorated Christmas Tree
In 1851, the Rev. Heinrich Christian Schwan, a German immigrant and Lutheran pastor, added to Cleveland, Ohio's rich history when he introduced the first lighted Christmas tree in Zion Lutheran church and helped spread the tradition across America. Now, over a century and a half later, Schwan's "Tannenbaum," has branched out into numerous variations though its history remains rooted in Germanic tradition.

Carl B. Stokes
Carl B. Stokes is best known for being Cleveland's 51st mayor -- the first Afro-American mayor of a major United States city. He was also a soldier, a lawyer, a member of the Ohio House of Representatives, a broadcaster, a judge, a father, brother to a Congressman, and a US Ambassador. Read more about this fascinating Clevelander.

James Spangler - Inventor of the Hoover Vacuum Cleaner
James Spangler, a janitor from Canton Ohio, invented the vacuum cleaner in 1907. Read more about him in this biography from the About Guide to Inventors.

Thomas Edison
Born in Milan Ohio, west of Cleveland, Edison grew up to be one of the 20th century's most brilliant inventors. Visitors can tour his boyhood home and museum in Milan. Read more about Edison in this biography by the About Guide to Inventors.

Charlie Frye
Charlie Frye, born August 28, 1981, is the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns in 2006. Learn more about him.

Eliot Ness
Many people remember Eliot Ness as the Treasury Agent who, with his group of "Untouchables," brought down Chicagoan Al Capone, but did you know that he spent time in Cleveland -- as the city's Director of Public Safety, as the Chairman of a NE Ohio safe manufacturer, and even as an (unsuccessful) candidate for mayor?

Viktor Schreckengost
Viktor Schreckengost, born in Sebring Ohio near Alliance, is a legendary designer and artist. His work has encompassed designing pottery for Rocky River based Cowan Pottery, teaching at Cleveland Institute of Art, and designing such diverse products as children's toys, dinnerware, lawn furniture, and a radar recognition system used during World War II.

Louis Bromfield: Mansfield's Favorite Son
Louis Bromfield, born in 1896, was a prolific author of 31 fiction and non-fictions works, including the 1927 Pulitzer Prize-winning "Early Autumn." In addition to writing, he is known for his 1000-acre Richland County farm, Malabar Farm, one of the first organic, self-sustaining farms in the country.

LeBron James
LeBron James swept into Northeast Ohio's consciousness when as a High School student in Akron, he shattered school and state basketball records. Today, the basketball phenom is the centerpiece of the Cleveland Cavaliers as well as a model of how to handle a meteoric rise to fame and wealth with style and class.

Terrence Howard
Terrence Howard, although born in Chicago, spent most of his formative years in Cleveland. The grandson of a noted New York stage actress, Howard, nonetheless resisted the tempations of acting until he was "discovered" on the streets of NYC. He has proven himself a skilled actor, with roles in "Crash," "Their Eyes Were Watching God," and "The Best Man." He was nominated for a 2005 Academy Award for Best Actor for his work in "Hustle and Flow."

Laura Paglin
Laura Paglin is a Cleveland Heights-based independent film maker. Her film, "No Umbrella - Election Day in the City," was one of 50 films chosen out of 4000 entries to be screened at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.

Robert Lockwood Jr.
Grammy-award winning Bluesman, Robert Lockwood Jr is a Cleveland institution. Born in Arkansas, he brought his soulful sound to Cleveland in 1961. Now over 90 years old, he still plays weekly at Fat Fish Blue, downtown, as well as other periodic gigs.

Famous Clevelanders
Cleveland and the surrounding suburbs have been home to a diverse list of famous people, from Presidents to comedians, from actors to athletes. Learn more about those that were born or lived in Cleveland.

Jeptha Wade
Jeptha Wade was the founder of Western Union Telegraph Company and a big Cleveland philathropist during the late 19th century. His generousity helped make possible the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cleveland Zoo, and Lakeview Cemetery, among other institutions.

Les Roberts
Learn more about Les Roberts, Cleveland-based mystery author and former Hollywood screenwriter.

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