Did You Know? Actor Harrison Ford was born in ChicagoActor Harrison Ford was born July 13, 1942, in Chicago. His mother, Dorothy, was a radio actress, and his father, Christopher, was an advertising executive and actor. He has one brother, Terence, who was born in 1945.

Throughout his childhood, Ford was heavily involved with the Boy Scouts of America and achieved the rank of Life Scout. He attended Maine East High School in Park Ridge, where he was the first student to broadcast on the high school’s radio station and the first sportscaster during his senior year in 1960. He went on to attend Ripon College in Wisconsin, where he got his first experience in a drama class.

In 1964, Ford moved to California, where he worked various jobs in the music and film industry, including a job building cabinets for director George Lucas. This position eventually helped him to land an acting job in two blockbuster films directed by Lucas. He was cast as Han Solo in the “Star Wars” films and as Indiana Jones in the “Indiana Jones” films.

Ford has had roles in over 60 films since 1966 and has been nominated for four Golden Globes and an Academy Award. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and has received the Cecil. B DeMille Award, the first ever Hero Award, and the AFI Life Achievement Award.

Learn more:
Check out his IMDb Profile

Did you know? The first Ferris wheel was created in IllinoisThat’s right. That fun, slow circling, classic amusement park ride was invented by George Washington Ferris, who was a civil engineer from Illinois.

Ferris built the wheel for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. His invention was and is still is the largest wheel ever built standing at 25 stories high and weighing 1,300 tons! With its size, it could hold large amounts of people, too; more than 1,400 to be exact.

Passengers could see for 50 miles from the very top. It took 20 minutes for the wheel to make a complete turn, which could be good or bad for the daring people who rode on it.

Don’t try looking for the Ferris wheel, because when the Chicago World’s Fair was over the wheel was relocated to the St. Louis exposition and then was dismantled because of its expensive operation.

Pieces of the Ferris wheel were used to build the USS Illinois during World War I.

Learn more:
A more detailed history off the Ferris Wheel
Learn more about Chicago’s World’s Fair

Did You Know? Comedian Danny Pudi is from IllinoisDanny Pudi, best known for his role in the NBC series Community, was born and raised on the south side of Chicago.

Pudi, son of an Indian father and Polish mother, knew at a young age that performing was in his future.

While studying at Marquette University, Pudi was the recipient of the inaugural Chris Farley Scholarship, named after the famed comedian who graduated from the school in 1986. Pudi then went on to study at The Second City, a Chicago-based improvisational theatre that was formed in the 1950s.

Before making his debut on mainstream television, Pudi appeared in advertisements for products including Snickers, Verizon, McDonald’s, Pokémon and, most famously, T-Mobile.
Pudi has made cameo appearances in The West Wing, Cougar Town and Hot in Cleveland. He also has appeared in numerous films.

He currently plays Abed Nadir on the hit comedy Community, an NBC sitcom recently renewed for a 6th season by Yahoo! Screen.


Did You Know? The cartoonist best know for creating Popeye is from IllinoisElzie Crisler Segar, known as E.C. Segar, was a cartoonist best known for creating Popeye. He was born Dec. 8, 1894, in Chester. Segar began working with his father painting houses and hanging paper before taking his musical talents to the local theater. This opened up a path for him to the Chester Opera House, where he worked as a film projectionist and did live performances.
After taking a class in cartooning, Segar dedicated his time to becoming a cartoonist and eventually moved to Chicago, where he published his first comic in the Chicago Herald in March 1916. His career in Chicago was short-lived as he moved to New York in 1919 to work for the New York Journal. He first featured Popeye in a 1929 Thimble Theatre comic strip, and the character immediately caught on with readers.

Segar passed away in 1938, but the fame of his comics lived on as Popeye comics were routinely reprinted, and in 1971 the National Cartoonists Society created the Elzie Segar award in his honor. In 1977, Chester named a park in Segar’s honor and erected a bronze statue of Popeye in the park, which is now the meeting place for the annual Popeye Picnic. A Popeye movie was created in 1980, and in 2006 all of Segar’s Thimble Theatre comics that featured Popeye were published in a six-volume book by a comic book publishing company.

Learn more
Popeye Website
Popeye Picnic Website
E.C. Segar Bio

Did you know? Jazz musician Lonnie Plaxico is from IllinoisPlaxico was born in Chicago and knew he loved music. He decided to teach himself to play the electric bass. By the time Plaxico was 14, he was a professional electric and acoustic bass player and had performed next to other prominent jazz figures.

He has produced Grammy-winning collaborations with Art Blakey and Cassandra Wilson and has recorded five albums.

Learn more:
Read Lonnie Plaxico's biography.
View a list of albums.