20 of Our Favorite Celebrities from Detroit

Tom Selleck

There is a diverse and rich community of celebrities who come from Detroit. These people have helped shape the culture and society we live in today. Some famous people do not live there anymore; however, they are still tied to the city as they continue to visit or maintain business interests. We have chosen 20 people, but many more could have been included.

20. Sonny Bono

Sonny Bono was an American singer and actor. He was the husband of Cher for a few years. He is remembered as being one half of the musical duo Sonny and Cher and his appearances on The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, sporting a rather unusual Beatles-Esque hairdo. He became mayor of Palm Springs in 1988. He also served in the United States Congress for one term after winning an election. He died in 1998 in a skiing accident at the age of 62.

19. Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney is one of the co-founders and former CEO and President of Bain Capital. He was also the Republican Party candidate for President in 2012. He is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, commonly known as Mormons. Romney was born in Michigan and is a graduate of Brigham Young University. He is a former Massachusetts governor and was on the National Advisory Board of the Marriott Corporation. He was also on the board of directors for several other companies.

18. Jack White

Born John Anthony Gillis, Jack White is an American singer-songwriter, producer, and actor. He is best known as one of the two lead singers of The White Stripes’ rock duo. He was born in Detroit but moved to Nashville when he was six years old. Before starting his career as a musician, Jack White started as a solo folk singer. He later became known for being the lead performer of The White Stripes. In 2004, he released his first solo album called “Blunderbuss,” earning three Grammy Awards nominations in 2012 and 2013.

17. Lily Tomlin

Lily Tomlin is an American actress, comedienne, political activist, and voice artist. She has been a major force in American comedy since the late 1960s, when she began her acting career. In 1974, she won a Tony Award for her performance as Frankie in Neil Simon’s “Applause.” She was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe award for her role as Linnea Reese in Robert Altman’s “Nashville” (1975). Tomlin is a long-time supporter of LGBT and feminist causes and environmental and political movements.

16. Robert Wagner

Robert John Wagner, Jr. is an American actor of stage, screen, and television, best known for starring in several television shows in the 1960s through the 1980s. He starred in several popular shows that Aaron Spelling produced, including “It Takes a Thief” (1968), “Switch” (1975), and “Hart to Hart” (1979). The latter show co-starred Stefanie Powers, who played his wife. Wagner was also a two-time Emmy Award nominee for his work in “It Takes a Thief” and “Hart to Hart.”

15. Judy Greer

Judy Greer is an American actress and author. She became known for playing the role of Kitty Sanchez on “Arrested Development” as well as several other roles in films such as “13 Going on 30” (2004), “The Descendants” (2011), and “Jurassic World” (2015). In 2014, Greer began hosting an online series of workout videos called “Reluctantly Healthy.” Her first book by the same name was published in 2015.

14. Ellen Burstyn

As the movie industry flourished in the 1920s and 1930s, many people were drawn to it to make quick bucks or for fame. The same was true in the city of Detroit, where there were plenty of aspiring actors and actresses who were trying to make a name for themselves. One of them was Ellen Burstyn, whose parents moved from Michigan to the Bronx in New York City after World War II. She grew up and attended Blessed Sacrament Academy and then went on to study at Manhattanville College, where she graduated with honors.

13. Charles Lindbergh

A well-known aviator and inventor, Charles Augustus Lindbergh is remembered for his historic nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean. He received the Congressional Medal of Honor for this heroic act, making him an international star overnight. Charles Lindbergh was born in Detroit, Michigan, on February 4, 1902, to parents Charles August Lindbergh and Evangeline Lodge Land.

12. Casey Kasem

Born in Detroit, Michigan, Casey Kasem began his radio career in the 1950s while studying at Wayne State University. He started as a D.J. for WJBK-AM and then became a full-time host of the nationally syndicated “American Top 40” from 1970 until 1988, when he left to focus on being an actor. He was one of the few D.J.s working at the time who had an acting career and was able to work on both fronts.

11. Tyron Woodley

Born in Ferguson, Missouri, Tyron Woodley is a former American football defensive end who played for the Oakland Raiders of the National Football League (NFL). The Raiders drafted him in the fourth round of the 2007 NFL Draft. From 2009 to 2011, he became one of their starting outside linebackers and made the rel= “no opener no-referrer” Pro Bowl in 2010.

10. Smokey Robinson

Smokey Robinson is an American R&B/soul singer-songwriter, record producer, and former record executive. He was the founder and led the Motown vocal group The Miracles as its lead singer until 1972. As a solo artist, Smokey recorded 35 Top 40 hits for Motown between 1959 and 1987. In 1998, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Miracles.

9. Lizzo

Education Dropped out of the University of Minnesota. However, she took music classes at McNally Smith College of Music, located in St. Paul, Minnesota. Lizzo released her debut album on June 13, 2013, titled “Lizzobangers” on cassette tape. The album garnered a lot of critical acclaims and was even nominated for Best New Album by Pitchfork Media in the year 2014.

8. Bob Seger

Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, he grew up in the Detroit suburbs of Oakland County. His father was a public school administrator and part-time musician, while his mother was a commercial photographer. He grew up listening to country, R&B, and classical music. He was also exposed to the early rock-and-roll of Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, etc.

7. Francis Ford Coppola

Francis Ford Coppola (born April 7, 1939) is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter. He was a central figure in the New Hollywood cinema movement. He has been widely acclaimed as one of Hollywood’s most innovative and influential film directors thanks to his groundbreaking film, The Godfather (1972); The Godfather Part II (1974); Apocalypse Now (1979). He has an estimated net worth of 100 million dollars.

6. Ben Carson

They dropped out of Yale University and the University of Michigan’s medical school, respectively, before getting their Ph.D. degrees. Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016 awarded his career as a neurosurgeon, and he also ran for President in 2016 under the Republican Party. He is also a member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity.

5. Ken Jeong

Ken was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. His father, Darrow, is a General Motors plant worker and a physician who emigrated from South Korea to Detroit during the Vietnam War. His mother is also from South Korea. In 1974, when he was five years old, his family emigrated from South Korea to Greensboro, North Carolina. He attended Walter Hines Page High School, where he took part in the Thespians Club and became a member of the National Honor Society.

4. Tom Selleck

Tom Selleck is an American actor and film producer. He is known for starring as private investigator Thomas Magnum in the T.V. series “Magnum, P.I.” from 1980 to 1988, a phenomenal hit of his career. He is also known for his role in the popular movie “The Three Musketeers” (1993).

3. Glenn Frey

Famous for his acting and singing talent, Glen Frey is an American singer-songwriter. He was at the helm of the Eagles band, which he co-founded in 1971 with Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, and Randy Meisner. Later on, his solo career started to soar high as well. He has won six Grammys during his successful career and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He died on January 18, 2016, due to rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis, and pneumonia.

2. Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper is an iconic singer, songwriter, and actor who has done so many things in his life. He was born on February 4, 1948, in Detroit, Michigan. His father was a high school teacher who wanted him to follow in his footsteps, so he went to college, where he became an outstanding athlete and footballer for the Arizona Wildcats football team, which later earned him a scholarship at the University of Arizona. He dropped out to play football for the Oakland Raiders, where he wasn’t successful, so his family asked him to come back to school. He went on to join the army but didn’t stay there for long as he got out of it and became a part-time singer.

1. Diana Ross

In Detroit during the 1960s, Diana was a part of the singing group The Primettes, along with Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson. In 1971, Diana released her first solo album called “Diana Ross” it didn’t do well, but later on, her career skyrocketed with hits like “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Endless Love.” She starred in movies such as the comedy, The Wiz (1978), Lady Sings the Blues (1972), and Mahogany(1975). She has won eight Grammy Awards, five American Music Awards, three Emmy awards, among many other accolades.

What makes someone a celebrity?

A celebrity is someone who has some degree of fame. This can be earned in several ways, for example, being a popular singer or actor. However, many more possibilities help contribute to one’s celebrity status. Having an exceptional talent within their profession would also qualify you as a celebrity who may not be widely known to the general population but is well known in your specific industry. Another thing contributing to celebrity status is being a public figure in an area where many people constantly see them. This could be someone in the government or the entertainment industry, where their work is constantly being publicized through news sources or social media accounts.

What makes Detroit, MI unique?

Detroit, MI is known worldwide for its contributions to the car manufacturing industry. It is perhaps most well-known as the home of the Ford Motor Company and General Motors (G.M.). The motor industry was founded here over 100 years ago, which has increased the global presence of this area immensely. Since then, many more automotive companies have moved to Detroit, and they continue to do so today. The city is also well-known for its music and arts community. Many notable musicians such as Eminem, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, and Alice Cooper have made this area their home at some point in their lives, contributing to Detroit’s cultural image.

What makes Detroit a ‘Motor City’?

The city of Detroit was founded along the banks of the Detroit River in 1701. It was settled by the French and quickly became a successful trading post due to its location at the meeting point of two rivers. The city’s growth continued until today when it is one of the largest and most populated in North America (3,917,090 according to the 2010 census). Its prosperity over the years has been largely due to the automotive industry, which was founded here over 100 years ago by Henry Ford. It is now home to three major automobile manufacturers part of the Big Three Automakers, including General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, who have since merged. The city’s importance in this area has made it known as “Motown” or “Motor City,” which is still frequently used today.


Detroit has given us some of the most talented and hardworking individuals who have made a name for themselves in different fields. From musicians to sports players and actors, we can say that you don’t need to spend much time and money here only to become successful and famous. It would be best to work hard and never give up on your dreams.

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