Sure, everyone knows about the Clintons being proud natives of the Natural State as well as legendary poet & author Maya Angelou hailing from tiny Stamps, Arkansas. However, how there have been many famous people born in Arkansas can you
really name? Here’s a list of 11 celebrities from Arkansas. You may be surprised to learn who they are!
1. Mary Steenburgen: An Academy Award-winning actress from North Little Rock, Steenburgen was discovered by Jack Nicholson. She has starred in "Ragtime", "Parenthood", "Back to the Future III", "The Butcher's Wife", and many other movies.
Steenburgen won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in "Melvin and Howard" in 1981. She also produced and starred in "The End of the Line", a movie filmed in Arkansas.
2. Glen Campbell: A native of Delight in Pike County, Arkansas, this famous pop/country singer and songwriter hosted his own TV variety shows, "The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour" and "The Glen Campbell Music Show". His hit recordings include: "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Wichita Lineman," "Rhinestone Cowboy" and "Gentle on My Mind."
Campbell appeared in the movies "True Grit", "Any Which Way You Can", "Uphill All The Way", and "Family Prayers".
3. John Grisham: A lawyer and best-selling author from Arkansas, Grisham's list of acclaimed works include "A Time to Kill," "The Rainmaker," "The Firm," "The Pelican Brief," "The Client" and "The Chamber," all of which have been successfully translated into movies. His book "A Painted House" was made into a Hallmark television movie and filmed on location in Lepanto, Arkansas.
Grisham was born in Jonesboro and lived in various towns throughout Northeast Arkansas. There are currently over 225 million John Grisham books in print worldwide.
4. Johnny Cash: The late, great "Man in Black" was born to a Kingsland, Arkansas sharecropper on February 26, 1932. His first big hit was "Folsom Prison Blues" which rose to the Top Five in country singles in 1956. "I Walk the Line" became Cash's first No. 1 hit. In 1957, he made his first appearance at the Grand Ole Opry, and by 1958, he'd published 50 songs, sold more than six million records and moved to the Columbia Records label.
Some of his other well-known recordings include "A Boy Named Sue," "Orange Blossom Special," "Ring of Fire" and "Jackson," which he recorded with his wife June Carter Cash.
5. Al Green: This legendary gospel and soul singer is an eight-time Grammy Award winner. A native of Jacknash, Arkansas, he’s been referred to as “the quintessential soul man.” The Right Reverend recorded nine best-selling gospel albums.
Reverend Green continues to preach every Sunday morning. His many secular hits include “Tired of Being Alone”, “Let’s Stay Together,” “Look What You Have Done For Me,” “I’m Still in Love with You,” and “You Ought to be with Me.”
6. Ronnie Dunn: An El Dorado, Arkansas native, Dunn is a member of the award winning country music duo Brooks and Dunn. Their recording hits include: "Maria," "Boot Scootin' Boogie" and "Hard Working Man."
Brooks and Dunn received the 1996 CMA Entertainers of the Year Award and will reunite in late 2015 to perform a series of concerts in Las Vegas with fellow country legend Reba McEntire.
7. John Daly: A professional golfer from Dardanelle, Arkansas, Daly became an overnight celebrity by winning the 1991 PGA Championship. He played golf at Dardanelle High School and the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville before joining the professional circuit.
In 1995, he won the British Open along with other PGA championships including the 2004 Buick Invitational. He is best known for being one of the tour's longest hitters.
8. Charles “Sonny” Liston: Nicknamed “the Bear” for his massive physique, Liston was born in the small St. Francis County, Arkansas community of Sand Slough. Liston won the world heavyweight boxing championship by knocking out Floyd Patterson in the first round on September 25, 1962.
Liston would hold the title until February 25, 1964 when he lost the title to Cassius Clay who later became Muhammed Ali. Liston was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991.
9. Scottie Pippen: Pippen was born September 25, 1965 in Hamburg, Arkansas. He graduated from the University of Central Arkansas and is a celebrated former professional basketball player, most remembered for leading the Chicago Bulls (together with Michael Jordan) to six championships and for being one of the best all-around players of all time.
Pippen played briefly with the Houston Rockets and the Portland Trail Blazers before returning to the Chicago Bulls where he retired in 2004. The Chicago Bulls retired Pippen's jersey number "33" on December 9, 2005.
10. Levon Helm: This Turkey Scratch, Arkansas native was a drummer, vocalist and original member of the legendary group, The Band, best-known for "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down". He also played supporting roles in films such as Coal Miner's Daughter, The Right Stuff, and End of the Line. Helm was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award in 2008 for his work with The Band.
Winner of a 2008 Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album, the late Levon Helm was named by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the "100 Greatest Singers of All Time" in 2003. Helm was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with his fellow members of The Band.
11. Billy Bob Thornton: A native of Hot Springs, Thornton directed and starred in the classic film "Sling Blade", a movie he filmed in Malvern, Arkansas. He received two Oscar nominations for the film, one for Best Actor and one for Best Screenplay, the latter of which he won.
Thornton was again nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 1999 for "A Simple Plan." He also starred in cult holiday hit "Bad Santa" and is the vocalist/drummer of The Boxmasters, a country/rockabilly band founded by Thornton in 2007.
The Natural State has a number of notable citizens who have made a name in the sports, arts, music, political, and film genres. The vast culture of Arkansas is more diverse than many may think upon first glance!