Johnny Carson, born in Corning, Iowa, is best known for hosting The Tonight Show for over thirty years, but began his show business career doing magic tricks at the local Elks Lodge. He served in the Navy during World War II, and then graduated from the University of Nebraska before working in local radio and television. His first national television project was a daytime quiz show on ABC called Who Do You Trust?
William "Buffalo Bill" Cody
Born in LeClaire, Iowa, William Cody grew up on the Iowa prairie, and came to embody the spirit of the West. More than anyone else, he shaped popular concepts of the "Wild West" through his extravagant theatrical shows. He served with the Union Army during the Civil War, and after the war continued as a scout and dispatch carrier in Kansas. It wasn't until 1867 that he became a buffalo hunter and earned his famous nickname. His famous "Buffalo Bill's Wild West" show featured a buffalo hunt with real buffalo, a staged Indian attack and sharp shooters like Annie Oakley. For one season, Chief Sitting Bull traveled with the show.
Born in West Branch, Iowa, and the son of a Quaker blacksmith, Herbert Hoover became the 31st President of the US. After attending Stanford University, Hoover traveled abroad, and after the outbreak of World War I, he was asked to assist the US government in getting Americans abroad safely home. This led to his appointment by President Wilson to head the Food Administration. His humanitarian work after the War influenced Presidents Harding and Coolidge to appoint him Secretary of Commerce. He became a candidate for President at the time of the stock market crash in 1928, and his experience in the government contributed to his election. Unfortunately, his enemies blamed the repercussions of the crash on him, and he was defeated in the next election. He died at age 90 in New York City.
Ann Landers & Abigail Van Buren
Two of the most well known newspaper columnists in the world, "Ann Landers" and "Dear Abby" were twins Esther Pauline Friedman and Pauline Esther Friedman. Born in Sioux City, Iowa, the two took different routes to writing nationally syndicated advice columns, and for a time in their lives were estranged from one another. Later in life, they reconciled.
Born Marion Michael Morrison in Winterset, Iowa, John Wayne was the son of the town pharmacist. He earned his nickname "Duke" from his childhood dog, with whom he was inseparable. He earned a football scholarship to the University of Southern California and got a job working on movie sets. He eventually began to earn roles in movie serials and westerns. His big break came when he earned the starring role in the 1939 movie Stagecoach, and then went on to star in heroic roles in westerns and war movies. Although nominated once for an Academy Award, he never won an Oscar.