Although many of the people here were not actually born in Arizona, for their life’s work, they were/are noted as Arizonans. We thought that a short list of notable people would be of interest.
Cochise – (Circa 1810 – June 8, 1874) Chokonen Chiricahua Apache, led the war with the Mexicans and Americans from 1857 to his death in 1874. He was born in the Chiricahua Mountains and his burial place is unknown to this day although it is believed to be somewhere in the Stronghold. There are no known photographs of Cochise.
Geronimo (1829 – 1909) a Bedonkohe Apache, was the last of the Apache Leaders who fought against Mexico and the United States in the Apache Wars (1861 – 1886). The Apache Wars ended with his surrender. “Geronimo” was the name given to him during a battle with Mexican soldiers. Geronimo’s Chiricahua name is often rendered as Goyathlay or Goyahkla in English. Geronimo was born near Turkey Creek, a tributary of the Gila River in New Mexico, then part of Mexico. His grandfather (Mahko) had been chief of the Bedonkohe Apache. He had three brothers and four sisters.
The Apache Kid (c. 1860 – after 1894), his given name is Haskay-bay-nay-ntayl, was a White Mountain Apache scout, and later a renegade, in the states of Arizona and New Mexico, and the Mexican states of Sonora and Chihuahua. We do not actually know when he died.
Zane Grey (January 31, 1872 – October 23, 1939), an American author, is best known for Western Adventure novels like Riders of the Purple Sage (1912), his best-selling book. In addition to the success of his printed works, they later had second lives and continuing influence when adapted as films and television productions. As of 2012, 112 films, two television episodes, and a television series, Dick Powell’s Zane Grey Theater, had been made that were based loosely on his novels and short stories.
Shorten Bread (Born? – Died November 12, 1913) Shorten Bread and his son Shorten Bread Jr. are buried in the Old Post Cemetery at Ft. Huachuca. They were Apache Scouts. Shorten Bread was killed in a drunken brawl with his friend, Apache Scout Josh, who was the scout who pursued the Apache Kid when he went renegade.
Andy Devine, (October 7, 1905 – February 18, 1977) Actor, Born in Flagstaff. Best known for his role as Cookie in the Roy Rogers show.
Helen Hull Jacobs (August 6, 1908 – June 2, 1997) Tennis champion, winner of 10 Grand Slam titles among others, was born in Globe, AZ.
Barry Goldwater – (January 1, 1909 – May 29, 1998) Born in Phoenix he was a former Senator from Arizona. Goldwater ran for President in 1964.
Ettore “Ted” DeGrazia (June 14, 1909 – September 17, 1982) – American Artist born in Morenci, AZ he is best known as the artist who painted Los Ninos for a Unesco Card. His architectural work of art, his home, is now a Gallery and Museum in Tucson.
Stan Jones (June 5, 1914 – December 13, 1963) Born in Douglas, Arizona, Jones was a Western music songwriter and actor. He is best known for the song “Ghost Riders in the Sky”.
Stewart Udall (January 31, 1920 – March 20, 2010 ) The Former Secretary of the Interior, was born in St. Johns, AZ.
Rose Mofford (June 10, 1922 – September 15, 2016) Born in Globe, Arizona, Mofford was the state’s first female secretary of state and first female governor from 1988 – 1991 after the impeachment of Evan Mecham.
Cesar Chavez (March 31, 1927 – April 23, 1993) Cesar Chavez was born in Yuma, Arizona in 1927. He organized, founded and led the United Farmworkers Association in 1962. He was a farmworker in Arizona and California. It is to his tireless efforts that farmworkers owe what rights they have gained. He died not far from there in San Luis, at the age of 66.
Joan Ganz Cooney (1929 – ) Producer of Sesame Street, was born in Phoenix, AZ.
Sandra Day O’Connor (March 26, 1930 – ) The first woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court in 1981, retired in 2006. She was born in El Paso, TX and raised on a 180,000 acre ranch outside of Duncan, AZ. Her book is, “Lazy B. Growing up on a Cattle Ranch in the American Southwest.”
Barbara Eden, (August 23, 1931 – ) Actress, best known for “I dream of Jeannie”, was born in Tucson.
Bruce Babbitt (June 27, 1938 – ) Born in Flagstaff, Babbit was governor of Arizona from 1978 – 1987, and Secretary of the Interior from 1993 – 2001. He is a champion for nature and conservation.
Senator John McCain (August 29, 1936 – August 25, 2018) an Arizona Senator and war hero. He was a Presidential Candidate in 2000, losing to Barack Obama. He was born at a Naval Hospital in Panama.
Linda Ronstadt (July 15, 1946 – ) Singer born in Tucson. She has earned 11 Grammy Awards, two Academy of Country Music awards, an Emmy Award, an ALMA Award, and numerous United States and internationally certified gold, platinum and multiplatinum albums. She has also earned nominations for a Tony Award and a Golden Globe award. She was recently honored (2019) at the Kennedy Awards.
Steven Spielberg (December 18, 1946 – ) is an Academy Award-winning filmmaker, best known for movies such as ET, Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, Raiders of the Lost Ark and more. He was born in Cinncinnati, OH and grew up in Phoenix, AZ.
Stevie Nicks ( May 26, 1948 – ) Singer with Fleetwood Mac was born in Phoenix, AZ.
Lynda Carter, (July 24,1951 – ) Actress, best known or her role as Wonderwoman was born in Phoenix, AZ.
David Spade (1965 – ) Comedian/actor, gained fame on Saturday Night Live, He was born in MIchigan but grew up in Scottsdale.
Gabrielle (Gabby) Giffords, (June 8, 1970 – ) The former Congresswoman from Tucson was critically wounded in a mass shooting in Tucson in 2011. She recovered and is actively pursuing gun control laws with her husband, Astronaut Mark Kelly.
Phil Mickelson (June 16, 1970 – ) a Professional golfer, and 3-time Augusta National Masters winner. He was born in San Diego and attended ASU Tempe, on a Golf Scholarship. He is a Scottsdale resident.
Thanks to Lesley for her contribution. There are certainly more famous Americans who are known for their part in the shaping of America. If you have any suggestions, please let us know. Contact us. We love to hear from you.