IRON ORE IN THEIR VEINS (or "Boys from the Hood")

These personages, whether they care to acknowledge it or not, do in fact hail from da' Region(Gary, Indiana).  Consequently, each qualifies as a "Home Boy":

Col. Charles E. McGee (Tuskegee Airman)
  • Col. Frank Borman (Astronaut)
  • Paul A. Samuelson (1st American to win Nobel Prize in Economics, 1970)
  • Joseph E. Stiglitz (Winner of Nobel Prize for Economics,  2001)
  • Karl Malden (Actor) [Real name is Mladen Sekulovich]
  • George Molchan (Advertising - "Little Oscar")
  • Richard G. Hatcher , Mayor (First Black to be elected mayor of a major metropolitan city)
  • Jackson Five (Music)
  • Janet Jackson (Music/Wardrobe Malfunction)
  • Michael Jackson (Music)
  • Rodney Taylor (Music) [One of The Essex of "Easier Said Than Done" fame]
  • The Spaniels (Recording Artists)
  • Deniece Williams (Recording Artist)
  • Vee-Jay Records (Once had The Beatles under contract!)
  • Jean Shepherd b. 26 Jul 1921-d. 16 Oct 1999 (Humorist/Author - "A Christmas Story")  
  •  Avery Brooks b. 1948 Actor notably in "Star Trek Deep Space 9," born in Evansville but grew up in Gary
     where his mother Eva C. Brooks was choir director and music teacher at Roosevelt High
  • Justice Robert D. Rucker (Indiana Supreme Court 1998-2017)
    The Lake Co. Court Building in Gary was renamed the Robert D. Rucker Courthouse in honor of the Gary Native who early in his legal career served as a Gary Asst. City Attorney.

  • Mike Epps Actor whose credits include "Sopranos" TV series, "The Fighting Temptations" (2003), "Resident Evil: Apocalypse" (2004) and "The Honeymooners" (2005) 

      Art LeFleur, aka LaFleur b.1943  Actor, "Bad Guys" (2006), "Hostage" (2005), "Field of Dreams" (1989), and numerous TV series dating back to the 1970s

  •   Claire Malis b.1944-d.2012  Actress whose works include TV series such as "One Life to Live", "St. Elsewhere", "Murphy Brown", "Picket Fences", "Murder She Wrote", "CSI Miami"

  • William Marshall b.1924-d.2003  Known as King of Cartoons on "Pee-Wee's Playhouse" TV series.  Acting career began in 1950s live TV's "Studio One" and "Dupont Show", later including movies "Blacula" (1972), "Othello" (1981), "Amazon Women on the Moon" (1987)

  •   Karen McDougal  b.1971  Playmate of the year 1998 

  • James McCracken b.1926-d.1988  Tenor.  Horace Mann grad and ex WWII sailor who debuted abroad at the Vienna State Opera, moving on to the Opera House of Zurich and eventually to the New York Met, where he gave over 400 performances

  •   Helene Stanley b.1929-d.1990  Actress from 1940s-'60s; works include "All the King's Men" (1949), "The Asphalt Jungle" (1950), "Davy Crockett" TV series (1954)

  • Gary Teen Graduates from College before Receiving Hgh School Diploma
       CBS NEWS May 1, 2017, 7:21 PM

    Raven OsborneGARY, Ind. -- Eighteen-year-old Raven Osborne is about to get her college degree.  "I graduate from college on May 5," she told CBS News' Jericka Duncan.  But when does she graduate from high school? May 22.

    Yes, it's true; Raven gets her college degree two weeks before her high school diploma.  "When people hear that … they're going, 'What?  How did she do that?'" Duncan said.  "Yeah they think I'm lying," Raven said.

    She did it through online classes, year-round community college and two years at Purdue University Northwest.  Her semester-long college courses counted as a full year of high school credit.

    "Sophomore year, that was the most work.  I had five high school classes and four college classes," she said.

    Raven attends the 21st Century Charter High School in Gary, Indiana.  The school is surrounded by dilapidated buildings, a common sight throughout the city.  Everyone here is required to take college classes on a college campus in order to graduate.  Some get just a few credits.  Five of this year's 43 graduates earned associate's degrees.  And then there's Raven.

    And how much did Raven pay for college?  "Absolutely nothing," she said.  "Not a dime."  The foundation that runs the school uses state funding to pay for college tuition and student transportation to nearby college campuses.

    This fall, Raven will be back at 21st Century Charter.  Instead of paying for college, the school will be paying her salary, $38,000 a year to teach.

  • Played football for Gary Roosevelt.(1941-44)
    A three-time All-America at Indiana Univ. (1945-48)
    In 1949, he became the first black player drafted by an NFL club, Round: 13 / Pick 129 by the Chicago Bears
    The first African-American to play quarterback in the NFL (Baltimore-1953) , and the only man to play 7 positions.  He was a running back, a kick returner, a quarterback, a receiver, a punter and a defensive back.  He played for New York, Dallas, Baltimore and Philadelphia and was selected to play in the Pro Bowl in 1951, 1952 and 1953.
  •  Walter Hellman (World Champion Checkers Player)

  •   Robert Kearns (Inventor of the intermittent windshield wiper)

    The Gary native earned his first patent from the creation in 1967 and displayed his windshield wiper to executives at Ford -- only to see Ford  introduce it in 1969 without giving him any credit.

    Kearns, who died of brain cancer complicated by Alzheimer's disease in 2005, spent much of his life fighting for damages, all the way to the Supreme Court. He eventually got $30 million from Ford and Chrysler in the early 1990s.

    But before that victory came, Kearns suffered a mental breakdown and his marriage ended in divorce in 1989.

    Chicago Picasso  The "Chicago Picasso" (Manufactured at U.S. Steel-Gary Works)

  • John Dillinger   John Dillinger, posing on arrest with the Prosecutor Robert "Fighting Bob" Estill and Sheriff Lillian Holley.  Not the typical mugshot!  (Not from Gary.  Rather, Escapee from the Lake County Jail in Crown Point, IN - 1934.) 

    Dillinger Escape 'Humiliated' Sheriff
    March 27, 2008
    By Piet Levy Post-Tribune staff writer
    -- Thousands of people are tickled pink "Public Enemies," the John Dillinger biopic, is being filmed in Crown Point.  But there's one lady who, if alive, would "try to get as far away from that movie as she could."  That lady is Lillian Holley,
    Lake County's first female sheriff at the time of John Dillinger's famous 1934 escape from Lake County Jail.

    She wouldn't talk about it, even around her family, said her 90-year-old niece, LaVanche West.  "I just think she wanted that terrifying part of her life to be over," West said.  "It made her feel humiliated, to think that he could get out of that jail when she was so sure that he wouldn't escape."  Adding insult to injury was the getaway vehicle Dillinger used -- a brand new V-8 Ford owned by Holley herself. Holley proclaimed the Lake County Jail the strongest in Indiana, according to Bryan Burrough's book "Public Enemies," on which the movie is based.

    West said her aunt faced a lot of scrutiny, "just because she was a woman."  That only increased after Dillinger broke free.  People speculated she was afraid of Dillinger, and intended to let him escape, but Holley was cleared of involvement.  The staunch Democrat also upset people with her theory that town Republicans had smuggled a gun to Dillinger, West said.

    "She didn't like to be sheriff and didn't want to be in that position," West said.  "She was a homebody and I think she always wanted to stay in Hammond in her beautiful home and just be a social lady."  Her husband, Roy "Doc" Holley, preceded her as Lake County sheriff.  But he was shot and killed in 1933 trying to solve a dispute between a pair of farmers in Ross Township.  Lillian Holley agreed to finish his term.  West said Holley primarily accepted the position so she could pay for her twin daughters' college education.

    After Dillinger broke out, West said, Holley's daughters had to be protected by bodyguards, in case the outlaw wanted to take revenge.  West herself was in Terre Haute at the time, but she was still afraid.  "I didn't think anything like that would ever happen in our family," West said.  "I feared they would be harmed by the fellow who escaped."

    Holley didn't seem too scared when she spoke to reporters after Dillinger's escape.  Her words to the Post-Tribune are famous:  "If I ever get John Dillinger back in the Lake County Jail, I'll shoot him in the head with my own gun."  Holley never had the chance, not that she would really take it, West said.  "She would have never shot a gun at anyone," West said.  "She was a little, petite person.  I'm sure that was just bravado."

    Holley dreaded media recaps of the Dillinger escape, all the way until 1994, when she died at age 103.  But West herself is eager to see "Public Enemies," and thinks actress Lili Taylor ("The Haunting," "Six Feet Under"), who plays Holley in the film, bears a resemblance to her. 

  • Anna Sage, the "Lady in Red" who accompanied Dillinger to the Biograph the night of his death.  Prior to being paid off by J. Edgar Hoover and subsequently deported, Ms. Sage was the Madam of a house of ill repute in da' Region.  Her real name was Ana Cumpanas.

  • Octave Chanute (Not from Gary.  Did his early flight experiments there - 1896)

    "The only people who voluntarily travel to Gary are duty-bound realatives." - Time Magazine
    "The best way to see Gary, through the rear-view mirror!" - New City

    See additional info on:  Little Oscar, Tom Harmon and the Spaniels
    If you know of others omitted from this "auspicious" list, do let me know via  EMail

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    Created 25 Aug 1999 - 07:19:37 Hrs.   Updated 8 May 2017 - 17:58:32 Hrs.
    © 2008-2017, G. David Yaros.  All rights reserved.