The Texas rugged terrain and bigger-than-life pride have not only inspired a slew of cowboy movies, but it is home to some of the most famous Americans. Here is a list of the top 50 Texans who have made our state proud.
1. Joe Green (born 1946)
“Mean Joe” received the consensus All-America honors when he played as a senior for the North Texas State Mean Green football team. Later, he went on to become the defensive tackle for Pittsburgh Steelers of NFL.
Today, Mean Joe Green is probably best remembered for his famous 1980 Coke commercial.
2. Anna Nicole Smith (1967–2007)
Smith first rose to fame when she received the 1993 Playmate of the Year award from Playboy magazine. She has modeled for Guess and H&M and was one of the highest-paid models in her time.
3. Barbara Mandrell (born 1948)
Her range of hits in the 1970s and 80s quickly catapulted her to fame. She had her TV show and was included in the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009.
4. Barry White (1944–2003)
One of the most famous soul singers, he won the Grammy twice. He has sold over 100 million records worldwide with 20 gold and 10 platinum singles.
5. Billy Gibbons (born 1949)
As the lead vocalist in ZZ Top, he had also opened four times for Jimmy Hendrix. He is also a record producer and actor, having appeared in Bones, among others.
6. Boxcar Willie (Lecil Travis Martin) (1931–1999)
A country music singer, he specialized in the old-time hobo style, donning a floppy hat and slacks when performing. He was also the United States Air Force Flight Engineer.
7. Carol Burnett (born 1933)
She is known for her own The Carol Burnett Show, an extremely popular comedy show. Her career spans over seventy years on television and she has also acted on stage.
8. Chris Cooper (born 1951)
Chris Cooper is an Academy Award-winning actor, having acted in several successful movies like Seabiscuit, Adaptation, Breach, America Beauty, October Sky among others.
9. Clint Black (born 1962)
Black is a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist as well as an actor and record producer. He has more than 30 singles in the US Billboards country charts.
10. Clyde Barrow (1909–1934)
One of the Bonnie and Clyde couples, Clyde was known was looting rural shops and gas stations. His pace of robbing and that they killed nine officers and 4 civilians, make them two of America’s notorious criminals.
11. Dan Rather (born 1931)
The former CBS Evening News anchor is a well-known journalist and rose to fame when he rescued thousands of people in the Hurricane Carle of 1961. He also served as White House correspondent in 1964.
12. Dennis Rodman (born 1961)
A former NBA forward, he was nicknamed The Worm. He had won NBA Defensive Player of the Year twice and had played for Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, and Dallas Mavericks
13. Don Henley (born 1947)
He was the drummer and lead vocalist with the Eagles from 1971 to 1980. He also launched his single debut album in 1982, I Can’t Stand Still.
14. Dwight Eisenhower (1890–1969)
He was the 34th President of the United States. He was a soldier and during the Second World War, he was a five-star general of the US Army, serving as Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe.
15. Earl Campbell (born 1955)
He was in the pro-football Hall of fame. He had played for Houston Oilers and New Orleans Saints. He is known for his aggressive style and was one of the best power running backs, winning Heisman Trophy.
16. Ernest Tubb (1914–1984)
He was dubbed the Texas Troubadour. Walking the Floor Over You was one of his greatest hits. He had many hits with Loretta Lynn and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
17. George H.W. Bush
He was the 41st President of the United States. He had served as the Director of Intelligence before that and was a US Ambassador to the United Nations.
18. Clyde Barrow (1909–1934 )Bonnie
Of the infamous, Bonnie and Clyde bank robbers who terrorized the south during a 21-month crime spree from 1932 to 1934.
Who is the most famous person from Texas?
19. Grant Hill (born 1971)
He is a seven-time NBA All-Star winner and won the NBA Sportsmanship Award three times. He purchased the Atlanta Hawks along with Tony Ressler.
20. Howard Hughes (1905–1976)
This eccentric billionaire was also a filmmaker and aviator. His colorful life had inspired biographies and movies alike. He set new records as a pilot, was an engineer, and later turned a philanthropist.
21. Janis Joplin (1943–1970)
This Blues, Soul, and Rock Singer was known for her mezzo-soprano vocal style. She started her journey with Big Brother and the Holding Company but later formed her band, the Kozmic Blues, and the Full Tilt Boogie Band.
22. Jerry Jones (born 1942)
An American billionaire and a businessman, he has owned the NFL team Dallas Cowboys since 1989. His big personality has inspired many characters on television and he is a prominent figure in the American baseball scene.
23. Jimmy Dean (1928–2010)
He is a renowned country singer, television anchor, and businessman. He also later created the Jimmy Dean sausage brand and was frequently seen on TV as he advertised for it.
24. “Lady Bird” Johnson (1912–2007)
Married to former President of the US, Lyndon B Johnson, Claudia Alta was also a successful investor. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977.
25. Lamar Hunt (1932–2006)
He was a successful businessman, and one of the founders of the American Football League, Major League Soccer, and North American Soccer League. He also built the theme parks of Worlds of Funs and Oceans of Fun.
26. Lance Armstrong (born 1971)
Perhaps the most successful cyclist of this era, he won the Tour de France seven times, although he was stripped of his titles after a doping scandal. He founded the Lance Armstrong Foundation after he was diagnosed and recovered from cancer.
27. Larry Hagman (born 1931)
The son of actress Mary Martin, he was a notable actor himself. He is best known for portraying the ruthless oil baron J R Ewing in the soap Dallas and astronaut Anthony Nelson in I Dream of Jennie.
28. Lee Harvey Oswald (1939 to 1963)
He assassinated President Kennedy in 1963 and later, also killed a police officer. Later, he was himself by Jack Ruby, a nightclub owner, while he was held in custody.
29. Lyle Lovett (born 1957)
He was a singer, songwriter, and record producer. He won four Grammy Awards for his country music and has 13 albums and 25 singles to his credit.
30. Lyndon B. Johnson (1908–1973)
He was the 36th President of the United States. He was Vice-President to John Kennedy and took office after his assassination. He was a teacher and a congressional aide before being elected to the House of Representatives.
31. Mark Cuban (born 1958)
A billionaire and an entrepreneur, he is the owner of Dallas Mavericks of NBA. He is also a TV personality and investor and has been listed in the Forbes 400 list in 2019.
32. Mary Kay Ash (1918–2001)
The founder of Mary Kay cosmetics, her company had operations in more than 36 countries. Her fortune was estimated at 98 million after her death.
33. Michael Dell (born 1965)
The founder of Dell Inc., he is a billionaire and a philanthropist. He has invested in other companies like MSD capitals and at the moment Dell is one of the best technology infrastructure companies in the world.
34. Mickey Gilley (born 1936)
He was a prominent country music singer in the 1970s. Later he shifted to pop songs in the late 1980s to an extent. He has 42 singles and his greatest hit is Room Full of Roses.
35. Morgan Fairchild (born 1950)
She rose to fame with the soap opera Search for Tomorrow in 1973. She later starred in Dallas and then in Flamingo Road and was nominated for the Golden Globe for the latter.
36. Nolan Ryan (born 1947)
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame. He was a pitcher in the MSB. He is an all-time leader in no-hitters with seven in his tally. His career spanned over 27 years.
37. Pat Green (born 1972)
He has seven studio albums to his credit and 15 singles have entered the Billboard Hot Country charts. He returned to independent music in 2011 and returned to Texas the same year.
38. Red Adair (1915–2004)
Paul Neil, was known as Red Adair, was an oil well firefighter. He was venerated because he came up with techniques of preventing and containing oil well blowouts in this hazardous industry.
39. Rip Torn (born 1931)
This actor had a career spanning six decades. He was nominated for an Oscar for his role in Cross Creek. He was also a successful voice actor and was nominated for 6 Emmy awards.
40. Robert M. Edsel (born 1956)
He is a businessman and a prolific author, with three non-fiction books to his credit. He is the founder of the founder and Chairman of the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art.
41. Roger Staubach
An eminent footballer, he later became a business tycoon in his own right. He played as a quarterback for Dallas Cowboy and is nicknamed Captain America.
42. Sandra Day O’Connor (born 1930)
She was an eminent politician and was the first woman Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the US. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.
43. Shaquille O’Neal (born 1972)
He was a professional basketball player, with a career spanning nineteen years. He was one of the tallest players in his time and 7’1’’. He is a sports analyst on TV.
44. Steve Martin (born 1945)
Martin is a writer, musician, actor, and comedian. He is known for his absurdist comedies and hosted Saturday Night Live quite frequently.
45. T. Boone Pickens (born 1928)
He is a business tycoon and a philanthropist. With a net worth of $500 million, he has invested significantly in the energy industry and was a corporate raider in the 1980s.
46. Tommy Lee Jones (born 1946)
A renowned actor, he won an Oscar for his role in The Fugitive in 1993. He has starred in multiple biographical films of eminent personalities playing the protagonist in most of them.
47. Walter Cronkite (1916–2009)
The CBS news anchor and broadcast journalist was once known as the most trusted man in the US. He has covered many important historical events like the Vietnam War, the Kennedy assassination, and the moon landing.
48. Waylon Jennings (1937–2002)
He was a singer and songwriter and had been a part of several bands in his career. One of his best albums is the Lonesome. He also collaborated with Johny Cash and Willie Nelson.
49. Willie Nelson (born 1933)
Nelson rose to fame with Shotgun Willie and later, with his album Stardust. He sang a particular genre of country music, the outlaw country. He is also a renowned activist.
50. Willie Shoemaker (1931–2003)
The most successful jockey in history, he had a record for most professional jockey victories for 29 years. His small stature did not prevent him from becoming a champion in thoroughbred horse racing.