Iowa is a state in the midwest that most of us equate with farming. Did you know that some of the most famous people in the world were born and raised there? From Olympic Gold Medalists to other athletes and Hollywood celebrities have called the Hawkeye State their home. It’s also produced its share of musicians and well-known politicians. Here are twenty of our favorite celebrities from all professions from Iowa.
1. John Wayne
Famous People confirms that Iowa was the birthplace of the legendary actor John Wayne. His career spanned multiple decades. He started as a young actor, playing minor roles until his breakthrough role in “Stagecoach” catapulted him to heights of fame. He was best known for his appearance in Western films. He is known for appearances in John ford films during the 1950s including the “Cavalry Trilogy,” “The Searchers,” and numerous war films. He was born on May 26, 1907, in Winterset, Iowa. He died on June 11, 1979, at the age of 72 from cancer.
2. Herbert Hoover
Herbert Hoover was the 31st President of the United States. He was also known as The Grand Old Man, The Man of Great Heart, The Great Humanitarian, Friend of Helpless Children, and several other endearing nicknames. Former President Hoover was born in West Branch, Iowa August 10, 1874. He died at the age of 90. He was one of the most famous politicians in the history of Iowa.
3. Corey Taylor
Singer, musician, and songwriter Corey Taylor is another celebrity personality from the state of Iowa. He is best known for his position as the lyricist and lead vocalist for the metal bands Slipknot and Stone Sour. Taylor was one of the most in-demand music professionals working with Apocalyptica, Soulfly, Anthrax, Junk Beer Kidnap Band, Disturbed, and Korn. he has released multiple albums and appeared as a guest singer/musician on many with other bands. He has collaborated on numerous musical projects with various bands through the years. Taylor was also named on Hit Parades list of the Top100 Metal Vocalists of All Time. Corey Taylor is one of the greatest metal artists in the nation. He was born in Des Moines, Iowa December 8, 1973, and is 48 years old as of 2022.
4. Ashton Kutcher
Ashton Kutcher is a well-known Hollywood celebrity who is also known for his fiscal conservative and liberal social-political outlooks. He gained notoriety as a young actor, also becoming famous as a model, and later producer, and investor. He invested in several sports and restaurant endeavors. He is listed as a celebrity in the fashion as well as entertainment industries. Ashton Kutcher was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa February 7, 1978. he was born Christopher Ashton Kitcher. As of 2022, she is 44 years old.
5. Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins is a professional wrestler performing in the WWE per the RAW team. He began his wrestling career in 2003 and won two WWE Heavyweight championships. Rollins is a muscular, long-haired favorite in the WWWE who also made his debut in film in 2016 and he made a video game debut in 2013 with “WWE 2K14.” he was born in Davenport, Iowa May 28, 1986, and is 35 years old as of 2022.
6. Elijah Wood
Elijah Wood is best known as an American actor who played the part of Frodo Baggins in the epic “Lord of the Rings” franchise. Wood began his career as a professional actor as a child. When he turned seven he was a child model. His film debut happened when he was nine years old. He appeared in “The Good Son,” “Radio Flyer,” “Flipper,” and “North” before adulthood. He also appeared in “Deep Impact,” “The Ice Storm,” and “The Faculty” when he was a teenager. “The Lord of the Rings” part was his biggest breakthrough role. Wood was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa January 28, 1981. As of 2022, he is 41 years old.
7. Danielle Colby
Danielle Colby is a reality television personality and Burlesque Dancer best known for her appearances on the reality television series “American Pickers.” She is also known as Dannie Diesel and Danielle Colby Chertow. She is also recognized for her knowledge of the value of vintage items. She helps the guys out picking for barn finds to locate people who have valuable old items for sale. She does much of the sleuthing for the guys when they’re out on the road looking for valuables to bring back to the shop for resale. Her knowledge of old cars, motorcycles, trucks, signs, and clothing is impressive. She is also an expert in public relations, convincing people with large quantities of old items, even hoards, to entertain the notion of selling them. Danielle was born in Davenport, Iowa December 3, 1975. As of 2022, she is 46 years old.
8. Kate Mulgrew
Actress Kate Mulgrew is a prominent actress with a career that goes back decades. Kate gained popularity for her role in the daytime soap opera “Ryan’s Hope” as Mary Ryan. She has also appeared in numerous other notable films and television shows including the part of Captain Kathryn Janeway on “Star Trek Voyager.” She is also a stage actress, performing in many theater productions. She is also an influencer and supporter of the Alzheimer’s Association National Advisory Council and other medical organizations in memory of her mother who passed away from the disease while Kate was a young woman. She is a strong Catholic who stands against abortion and capital punishment. Kate was born Katherine Kiernan Maria Mulgrew, born in Dubuque, Iowa April 29, 1955. As of 2022, she is 66 years old.
9. Shawn Johnson
Shawn Johnson is a famous gymnast. She was born in Des Moines, Iowa January 19, 1982. She is 30 years old as of 2022. Shawn is best known as a 16-year old gymnastic star who won the gold medal on the balance beam at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. Shawn also won gold at the 2007 World Championship in Stuttgart, Germany. She won numerous medals and evens during her career. She is now retired at the age of 30.
10. Johnny Carson
Travel Iowa confirms that the late Johnny Carson was born in the town of Corning, Iowa in 1925. He was best known as a talk show host and comedian with his show “The Late Show with Johnny Carson.” He was one of Iowa’s most famous sons. he grew up on 13th street. The home that he previously lived in as a boy has been restored and turned into a memorial museum featuring memorabilia and photos highlighting his successful and long-running career.
11. Meredith Willson
Meredith Willson was one of the most famous bandleaders and composers of our time. he was born in River City, Iowa, and grew up in the town. A complex was built in the hometown of the composer of The Music Man. the attached museum features period furnishings and musical treasures along with family memorabilia from his childhood and career.
12. Carrie Chapman Catt
Carrie Chapman Catt was the founder of the League of Women Voters. She was one of the most influential women of her era. She grew up in her hometown of Charles City, Iowa. Her home was built in 1866 and is now on the National Historic Register. She fought valiantly for equal voting rights for women around the world.
13. Donna Reed
The late Donna Reed was America’s Sweetheart. She was a talented actress, best known for her film career and for her variety show called “the Donna Reed Show. She was born in Denison, Iowa in 1921. A German Opera House circa 1914, contains the Donna Reed Heritage Museum and the Donna Reed Theater with memorabilia and personal items from the actress.
14. Henry A. Wallace
Henry A. Wallace was best known as the Vice President of the United States from 1941 through 1945. His long and successful political career also includes appointment as the US Secretary of Agriculture from 1933 to 1941. He was also an Iowa farmer and founder of the Pioneer Hi-Bred seed corn company. He became editor of Wallace’s Farmer Magazine, carrying on the tradition of the publication. His grandfather founded the magazine. He is just one more celebrity personality born and bred in the state of Iowa.
15. Fred Grandy
Fred Grandy is a former actor turned politician. Fred is best known for his role in the popular television series “The Love Boat.” Grandy played the part of Gopher, the first mate on the luxury cruise ship. He also appeared in the television series “Monster Squad” as Walter in 1976. He appeared in multiple films and television shows and co-hosted a radio program titled “The Grandy and Andy Show.” He served in Congress for eight years but lost an election for Iowa governor to Terry Branstad in 1994. Fred Grandy was born in Sioux City, Iowa in 1948.
16. Dr. Norman Borlaug
Iowa is also the birthplace of Dr. Norman Borlaug. He is a celebrated Nobel Peace Prize laureate for his work in agriculture that helped to ease families and save millions of lives in famine-stricken areas. he was born in Cresco. he is recognized and honored at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates in Des Moines, Iowa. Dr. Borlaug is the founder of The World Food Prize.
17. George Gallup
George Gallup is a pioneer of public polling techniques. Gallup is the founder of the Gallup Poll which is the most famous polling method in the United States. He is another son of Iowa that has made his fellow Iowans proud. His boyhood home is in Jefferson, Iowa, and has been converted to a Bed and Breakfast.
18. Steve Higgins
Steve Higgins is an American comedian who was born in Des Moines, Iowa. He is best known as the announcer of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” Higgins is also a talented writer and producer credited with wiring for and producing “Saturday Night Live.”His brother Dave wrote for and produced the popular television series “Malcolm in the Middle.” Talent seems to run in this family of Iowans.
19. Kurt Warner
Wikipedia confirms that famed American football quarterback Kurt Warner and Iowan is another product of the state. He was a National Football League player for twelve seasons, best known for his time with the Arizona Cardinals and the St. Louis Rams. He was named Most Valuable Player twice and Super Bowl Most Valuable Player once. Kurt Warner is one of the most famous athletes from the state of Iowa, and one of the most accomplished NFL players. He has instilled a sense of pride in fellow Iowans.
20. Cloris Leachman
Cloris Leachman was a famous actress and comedian who has appeared in numerous television sitcoms and films. She is best known for her recurring role in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” She maintained a steady stream of work in the entertainment business because of the high demand for her skills and talents. She was one of the most celebrated ladies from Des Moines, the city of her birth in 1926. She passes away recently, in 1921, but her legacy will continue through the films she leaves behind and the fond memories. Cloris starred in the film “The Last Picture Show,” for which she won an Academy Award. She also appeared in “Young Frankenstein,” “Bad Santa,” and “Malcolm in the Middle.” She has a long list of accomplishments and credits in her professional acting portfolio. Leachman fits into any genre easily. The Cloris Leachman Excellence in Theater Arts Award is an honor bestowed upon members of the Des Moines theater community. They continue to honor her memory. Cloris moved away from Iowa in pursuit of her dreams and her career, but she never forgot where she came from. The people of Des Moines will never forget her significant contributions to the entertainment world.