Did You Know? Actor Terrence Howard was born in ChicagoThe Oscar, Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe award nominee was born here in Illinois.

Howard was born on March 11, 1969 and had a rough childhood. He was abused by his father and saw his father commit a crime when he was 2 years old. Howard knew that wasn’t the environment he wanted to be in, and at the age of 16, he legally divorced himself from his parents. At the age of 18, he moved to New York to pursue his dreams of being an actor.

In New York, Howard attended the Pratt Institute, where he majored in chemical engineering. He didn’t end up receiving a degree, because he started to accept small acting roles. One of his first roles was beside Bill Cosby on The Cosby Show. He continued to do television shows until 1995.

Howard has appeared in the movies Big Momma’s House, Angel Eyes, Biker Boys and Ray, just to name a few. He was also in the Academy-Award winning film Crash and received a National Board of Review Award for best breakthrough performance.

Howard currently lives outside of Philadelphia.

Learn more:
Terrence Howard’s Filmography and Movies
Terrance Howard’s IMDB profile

Did You Know? Melissa McCarthy was born in PlainfieldIf the film Bridesmaids left you in stitches then you’ve experienced the comedic prowess of Melissa McCarthy.

McCarthy was born on August 26, 1970 in Plainfield. She graduated from Joliet Catholic Academy before moving to New York to pursue a career as a stand-up comedian. While in New York, she appeared in numerous notable clubs and trained at The Actor’s Studio.

Eventually, McCarthy moved to Los Angeles, where she took part in the sketch comedy theater The Groundlings. She was a staple of the main stage with The Groundlings while also playing various film roles.

Her breakout role came as Sookie St. James in the television show Gilmore Girls. In 2010, she landed a starring role in the CBS sitcom Mike & Molly, for which she received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.

Her most notable role came as Megan in the 2011 film Bridesmaids, which netted her nominations for an Academy Award, a Screen Actor’s Guild Award and a Critics’ Choice Movie Award. Since Bridesmaids, McCarthy has starred in numerous films with actors and actresses like Jason Bateman, Sandra Bullock and Paul Rudd. She married fellow Bridesmaids actor Ben Falcone in 2005, and the couple currently lives in Los Angeles with their two daughters.

Learn more:
Melissa McCarthy Biography
Melissa McCarthy's IMDB profile

Did You Know? Boxing champ Ken Norton was from IllinoisKen Howard Norton Sr. was born on August 9, 1943 in Jacksonville, Illinois.

Norton was a heavyweight boxer during a classic era in American boxing. His athletic career began in high school, where he participated in track, baseball, and football. He went on to play football for Truman State University in Missouri, but his collegiate career was cut short by injuries. He left Truman State and began his boxing career while serving in the U.S. Marine Core in 1963.

After his four year tour, he left the Marines and became a pro boxer in 1967. He won his first 16 fights. His most notable fight came in 1973 against former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali. Looking for a way to win back the title, Ali figured that he could beat Norton to earn a fight against the new champion, Joe Frazier. However, Norton defeated Ali in 12 rounds and ended up breaking Ali’s jaw in the process. This would not be the last time that the two would meet in the ring. They fought again in 1973 and in 1976, and Ali went on to win both matches by decision.   

Norton won the WBC heavyweight title in 1978 after the current champion, Leon Spinks, refused to fight Norton and elected to fight Muhammad Ali instead. Norton finished his career in 1981 with a record of 42-7-1. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in New York in 1992. Ken Norton Sr. passed away in Nevada in September of 2013 at the age of 70. Norton had four children, and his son Ken Norton Jr. played in the NFL for 13 seasons.
Learn more:
Ken Norton Sr. Bio
The boxing record of Ken Norton Sr.

Did You Know? Acclaimed children’s author and illustrator Shel Silverstein was an Illinois nativeShel Silverstein grew up in Chicago and attended Theodore Roosevelt High School, the Art Institute of Chicago and Roosevelt University

His most notable works, “The Giving Tree” and “Where the Sidewalk Ends,” are still read by children across the world and hold sentimental value for many generations. Many of his works are sold worldwide, and “The Giving Tree” has been translated into more than 30 languages.

In addition to his children’s books, poetry and cartoons, Silverstein was an accomplished songwriter. His most recognizable song is Johnny Cash’s 1969 single: “A Boy Named Sue.” He also wrote songs for Waylon Jennings, Gordon Lightfoot and Loretta Lynn.

Learn more:
Shel Silverstein biography
The Official Shel Silverstein site

Did You Know? The founder of Walgreen’s was a war veteran born in Knox CountyPharmacist and businessman Charles Walgreen, best known for founding Walgreen’s pharmacy, enlisted with the 1st Illinois Volunteer Calvary at the start of the Spanish-American War. While serving in Cuba, he contracted malaria and yellow fever, which he would battle for the rest of his life.

After being discharged, Walgreen returned to Chicago and worked as a pharmacist for Issac Blood. When Blood retired, Walgreen bought the store from him. He soon acquired other stores, and built his famous chain of pharmacies — Walgreen's.

Walgreen revolutionized the drug store industry, introducing several new innovations: lunch counters, soda fountains and malted milk. By 1927, Walgreen had become an undeniable success, having established 110 stores.

Walgreen was also inducted into the Labor Hall of Fame.

His son, Charles Rudolph Walgreen, Jr., and grandson, Charles R. Walgreen III, both shared his name and played prominent roles in the company he founded.

Learn more:
The life of Charles Walgreen