Friday, August 24, 2012

10 People I'll Bet You Didn't Know Were From North Dakota

1)  JOSH DUHAMEL, actor

WHY YOU MIGHT KNOW WHO HE IS:  Before he was the lead actor is TV's Las Vegas, and before he had starring roles in all three Transformers movies (so far), Duhamel was a soap opera star in the long-running series All My Children. These days, he's known mostly for his work in films. Josh was born in Minot, North Dakota.

2)  LOUIS L'AMOUR, novelist

WHY YOU MIGHT KNOW WHO HE WAS:  One of the most famous writers ever of Western fiction, L'Amour penned 89 novels, 14 short-story collections, and 2 works of nonfiction during his lifetime. Twenty-four years after his death, L'Amour's works are still very popular and many have been made into movies for television and the silver screen. Louis was born in Jamestown, North Dakota.

3)  JONNY LANG, singer/songwriter, guitarist

WHY YOU MIGHT KNOW WHO HE IS:  Lang is a Grammy Award-winning recording artist in the blues, gospel, and rock music genres. As a guitarist, Jonny is known for his impressive guitar solos and his constant use of wide vibratos. Lang's 2006 album, the gospel-influenced Turn Around, earned him his first Grammy Award (so far). Jonny was born in Fargo, North Dakota.

4)  ANGIE DICKINSON, actress

WHY YOU MIGHT KNOW WHO SHE IS:  A veteran of over 50 films, including Rio Bravo, Ocean's 11 (the original version), Ocean's Eleven (the remake), Dressed To Kill, and Pay It Forward, Dickinson may still be best known for her starring role in the 1970s hit series Policewoman, for which she was thrice nominated for an Emmy Award. Angie was born in Kulm, North Dakota.

5)  SACAGAWEA, famous Native American

WHY YOU MIGHT KNOW WHO SHE WAS:  A Lemhi Shoshone woman, Sacagawea accompanied the Lewis and Clark Expedition in their exploration of the Western United States between 1804 and 1806 as an interpreter and guide. Since 2000, Sacagawea has appeared on the face of the U.S. $1 coin, which is more commonly referred to as the "Sacagawea dollar." Sacagawea was actually  born in what is now Idaho, but spent the majority of her life in the Fort Lisa area of North Dakota.

6)  LAWRENCE WELK, bandleader

WHY YOU MIGHT KNOW WHO HE WAS:  Welk was the host of the popular TV variety show that bore his name – The Lawrence Welk Show – which aired from 1955 all the way to 1982! If you watched much PBS growing up like my family did, you probably saw at least a few episodes of this show, which – even in reruns only a decade or so after the end of its run – seemed to me to be VERY dated! But apparently some people liked Welk's "champagne music" quite a bit, because it was still being shown on PBS a few years ago on Saturdays – for all I know, it still is. Welk was born in Strasburg, North Dakota.

7)  TRAVIS HAFNER, baseball player

WHY YOU MIGHT KNOW WHO HE IS:  Unless you're a Cleveland Indians fan, you might not know who Hafner is. If you are a Cleveland Indians fan, Hafner is probably not your favorite player. Blessed with tons of superstar potential (or maybe chemically enhanced with it – who knows?), Travis has spent nearly as much time in his career on the disabled list as he has on the field – or at least that's the way it seems. When he's played and been healthy, he's been really good. But he has a hard time not getting injured. Having hit exactly 200 homeruns (at the time of this writing), Hafner has the most career homeruns of any North Dakotan Major League Baseball player. (For whatever that's worth.) Travis was born in Jamestown, North Dakota.

8)  WIZ KHALIFA, rapper

WHY YOU MIGHT KNOW WHO HE IS:  If you're a fan of mainstream rap (I'm not), you might be familiar with this guy's music. I haven't personally heard a single bar of Wiz's "wizardry," and I'm not really that interested in doing so. Khalifa (whose real name is Cameron Jibril Thomaz) has enjoyed considerable success from his hit singles "Say Yeah" and "Black And Yellow."Apparently, a significant number of his raps are centered around the acquisition of and the smoking of marijuana, which Wiz himself boasts of doing on a daily basis. Not surprisingly, when Khalifa made a stop at East Carolina University as part of his "Waken Baken" tour (???) a couple of years back, he was arrested for possession and trafficking of marijuana. Wiz spent the night in a Greenville jail, posted his $300,000 bail the next day, and went on about his business. Khalifa was born in Minot, North Dakota.

9)  ALF CLAUSEN, composer

WHY YOU MIGHT KNOW WHO HE IS:  You might never have seen his face before now (I hadn't), but there's a good chance you've heard some of Alf Clausen's music. Why? Because Clausen has spent the majority of his career composing theme songs and incidental music for several popular TV shows, including Moonlighting, ALF (ironically!), and The Simpsons. Alf has also written music for several successful films such as Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Weird Science, and The Naked Gun. Clausen's work has been nominated for an Emmy Award an astonishing 30 different times, and has won 2 Emmys. Clausen was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but spent the majority of his childhood in Jamestown, North Dakota.

10)  PEGGY LEE, singer

WHY YOU MIGHT KNOW WHO SHE WAS:  A jazz and pop music singer whose career spanned six decades, Lee first came to national attention as a singer in Benny Goodman's big band. Peggy (born Norma Deloris Egstrom) is probably best known for her hit song "Fever." In addition to being a successful singer and songwriter (though she didn't actually write "Fever"), Lee was also a popular film actress, appearing in the 1952 remake of The Jazz Singer; singing and voicing four different characters in Disney's The Lady And The Tramp (for which she also wrote several songs); and starring in Pete Kelly's Blues (a role which earned Lee an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress). Peggy was a three-time Grammy Award winner. She was born in Jamestown, North Dakota.

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