St. Louis, a city nestled along the mighty Mississippi River, is a treasure trove of talent, birthing some of the most extraordinary individuals who have left an undeniable mark on the world. From the realms of entertainment to sports, politics to literature, and beyond, St. Louis has been a proud launchpad for the rise of many renowned personalities. Join us on a whimsical journey through time as we explore the lives of these incredible individuals, who have made their hometown gleam brighter than the Gateway Arch on a starlit night.
Famous People From St. Louis
Without further ado, check out the famous people who have called St. Louis home:
Kimora Lee Simmons – Fashion Maven and Entrepreneur
Kimora Lee Simmons, the renowned fashion model, designer, and businesswoman, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on May 4, 1975. Growing up in the city, she attended Lutheran North High School before her modeling career took off. Simmons gained prominence as a runway model during her teenage years and later became a prominent face in the fashion industry. As the former creative director of the iconic fashion brand Baby Phat, she played a pivotal role in shaping urban fashion trends. Simmons’ St. Louis roots serve as a foundation for her journey to become a prominent figure in the world of fashion and entrepreneurship.
Chuck Berry – Rock ‘n’ Roll Rhythm Rebel
Born on October 18, 1926, in St. Louis, Missouri, Charles Edward Anderson Berry, better known as Chuck Berry, is one of the most influential figures in the history of rock ‘n’ roll. Berry’s connection to St. Louis runs deep, as it was in the city’s emerging music scene that he honed his guitar skills and developed his signature sound. Performing at local clubs and establishing himself as a rock ‘n’ roll pioneer, Berry’s innovative music style and energetic performances helped shape the genre as we know it today. Hits like “Johnny B. Goode” and “Maybellene” catapulted him to worldwide fame, making him an iconic figure not only in St. Louis but in the annals of music history.
Maya Angelou – Empress of Words
Marguerite Annie Johnson, widely known as Maya Angelou, was born on April 4, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri. Angelou’s upbringing in St. Louis played a significant role in shaping her journey as a poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist. Her early experiences with racism and discrimination in the city inspired her to become a powerful voice for change. Angelou’s autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” delves into her formative years, including her time in St. Louis. Her eloquent and poignant writings continue to touch the hearts of readers worldwide, making her a revered figure both in her hometown and beyond.
Josephine Baker – Dancing Diva Extraordinaire
Josephine Baker, born Freda Josephine McDonald on June 3, 1906, in St. Louis, Missouri, became a legendary figure in the world of entertainment. Although she later gained international fame in Paris, France, Baker’s roots trace back to her childhood in St. Louis. Growing up in poverty, she began her career in the city’s entertainment scene, performing in various clubs and theaters. It was her exceptional talent and charismatic presence that propelled her to become one of the most celebrated performers of the 20th century. Despite her incredible success abroad, Baker always held a special connection to her hometown of St. Louis.
T.S. Eliot – Literary Luminary
Thomas Stearns Eliot, known as T.S. Eliot, was a renowned poet, playwright, and literary critic, born on September 26, 1888, in St. Louis, Missouri. Although he spent a significant portion of his life in England, his formative years were shaped in the vibrant atmosphere of St. Louis. Eliot attended Smith Academy and later enrolled at Harvard University. His upbringing in the city influenced his early works, and his poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is said to contain references to St. Louis landmarks. Eliot’s impact on modernist literature continues to be felt, and his connection to St. Louis remains an essential part of his legacy.
John Goodman – Versatile Actor and St. Louis Native
John Goodman, the versatile and acclaimed actor, was born on June 20, 1952, in Affton, a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri. Known for his remarkable range and captivating performances, Goodman has left an indelible mark on the world of film and television. From his iconic role as Dan Conner in the TV series “Roseanne” to memorable characters in movies like “The Big Lebowski” and “Monsters, Inc.,” Goodman’s talent and St. Louis’ upbringing have helped shape his successful career in the entertainment industry.
Akon – R&B Sensation with St. Louis Ties
Aliaune Thiam, popularly known as Akon, was born on April 16, 1973, in St. Louis, Missouri. This Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter, and producer rose to international fame with chart-topping hits like “Lonely” and “Smack That.” While Akon spent a significant part of his childhood in Senegal, his family eventually settled in St. Louis. It was here that he began honing his musical talents, eventually launching a successful career that spanned continents and solidified his place as an R&B sensation. In an interview, Akon once mentioned how rough it was living in East St. Louis… This is why we try to help people find the safe places to live around STL!!
Yogi Berra – Baseball’s Wise Wizard
Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra, the legendary baseball player and Hall of Famer, was born on May 12, 1925, in St. Louis, Missouri. Berra’s St. Louis roots influenced his journey as one of the most celebrated catchers in baseball history. While he is best known for his achievements with the New York Yankees, where he won 10 World Series championships, Berra’s connection to St. Louis remains strong. His remarkable athletic prowess, combined with his wit and humor, continue to make him a beloved figure in both St. Louis and the wider baseball community.
Joyce Meyer – Inspirational Author and Speaker
Joyce Meyer, born on June 4, 1943, in St. Louis, Missouri, is a renowned author, speaker, and television personality. Growing up in the city, Meyer experienced a challenging childhood marked by abuse and hardship. However, she found solace and strength in her faith and went on to become a prominent Christian author and speaker. Through her bestselling books, such as “Battlefield of the Mind” and “Beauty for Ashes,” and her motivational speeches, Meyer has inspired millions with her message of hope, resilience, and personal growth.
Eberhard Anheuser – Brewing Pioneer
Eberhard Anheuser, born on September 27, 1806, in Bad Kreuznach, Germany, is a significant figure in St. Louis’s brewing history. Anheuser moved to St. Louis in 1843 and established the E. Anheuser & Co. brewery, which would later merge with the Busch family’s brewery to become Anheuser-Busch. Anheuser’s commitment to brewing excellence, innovation, and quality laid the foundation for the iconic beer brand that is synonymous with St. Louis and the United States today. His contributions to the brewing industry and his impact on St. Louis’s cultural heritage are undeniable.
Nelly – Hip-Hop Superstar from the Lou
Cornell Iral Haynes Jr., known by his stage name Nelly, was born on November 2, 1974, in Austin, Texas, but grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. Considered one of the most successful and influential hip-hop artists of his time, Nelly’s St. Louis roots run deep. With chart-topping hits like “Hot in Herre” and “Dilemma,” he put the city on the map and showcased his unique style and infectious energy to the world. Nelly’s love for his hometown is evident in his music, and he continues to be an ambassador for St. Louis through his philanthropy and community involvement.
Cedric the Entertainer – Comedy King with St. Louis Swagger
Born Cedric Antonio Kyles on April 24, 1964, in Jefferson City, Missouri, Cedric the Entertainer spent his formative years in St. Louis. This talented comedian, actor, and television host honed his craft in the city’s vibrant comedy scene before rising to national prominence. Known for his distinct humor and larger-than-life personality, Cedric the Entertainer has graced the stages of iconic venues and brought laughter to millions. His St. Louis roots have played a significant role in shaping his comedic style and his genuine connection to the city.
Jenifer Lewis – The “Black Mother of Hollywood”
Jenifer Lewis, born on January 25, 1957, in Kinloch, Missouri, is an acclaimed actress and singer known for her powerful performances on stage and screen. While Kinloch is a small town near St. Louis, it has been an integral part of Lewis’s journey. Often referred to as the “Black Mother of Hollywood,” she has portrayed memorable characters in films like “What’s Love Got to Do with It” and “The Princess and the Frog,” as well as television shows such as “Black-ish.” Lewis’s upbringing in the St. Louis area has influenced her artistry and her unwavering commitment to representation and social justice.
Doris Roberts – Emmy-Winning Actress with St. Louis Roots
Doris Roberts, born Doris May Green on November 4, 1925, in St. Louis, Missouri, was a beloved actress known for her versatile performances on stage, television, and film. Roberts won the hearts of audiences around the world with her role as Marie Barone in the hit sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond.” Her St. Louis upbringing contributed to her down-to-earth nature and relatable characters. With her exceptional talent and warm on-screen presence, Roberts became an iconic figure in the entertainment industry and a proud representative of her St. Louis origins.
William S. Burroughs – Countercultural Literary Icon
William S. Burroughs, born on February 5, 1914, in St. Louis, Missouri, was a pioneering author and central figure of the Beat Generation. Burroughs’ St. Louis upbringing, particularly his experiences attending Harvard School in St. Louis and his familial ties to the Burroughs Corporation, had a profound impact on his life and work. Known for his experimental writing style and boundary-pushing narratives, Burroughs became an influential voice in counter cultural literature with novels such as “Naked Lunch” and “Junky.” His avant-garde approach and St. Louis connections continue to shape his legacy in the literary world.
Jack Dorsey – Tech Innovator and Co-Founder of Twitter
Jack Dorsey, born on November 19, 1976, in St. Louis, Missouri, is a prominent technology entrepreneur and software engineer. As the co-founder and original CEO of Twitter, Dorsey played a pivotal role in revolutionizing social media and communication. Growing up in St. Louis, he attended Bishop DuBourg High School before eventually venturing into the world of technology. Dorsey’s St. Louis roots have undoubtedly influenced his entrepreneurial spirit and innovative mindset, as he continues to make significant contributions to the tech industry.
Jackie Joyner-Kersee – Olympic Superstar and Philanthropist
Jackie Joyner-Kersee, born on March 3, 1962, in East St. Louis, Illinois, is an iconic track and field athlete renowned for her achievements in the Olympic Games. Though technically from the Illinois side of the metropolitan area, Joyner-Kersee’s impact on the entire St. Louis region cannot be overstated. Throughout her career, she won numerous Olympic medals and set world records in heptathlon and long jump events. Beyond her athletic success, Joyner-Kersee is deeply committed to philanthropy and has made a positive impact on the community through her charitable efforts.
Randy Orton – WWE Superstar with St. Louis Roots
Randy Orton, born on April 1, 1980, in Knoxville, Tennessee, spent a significant part of his childhood in St. Louis, Missouri. As a third-generation professional wrestler, Orton’s St. Louis connections are tied to his family’s wrestling legacy. He followed in the footsteps of his father, “Cowboy” Bob Orton Jr., and grandfather, Bob Orton Sr., both renowned figures in the wrestling world. Orton’s remarkable talent and undeniable charisma have propelled him to become one of the most successful WWE superstars of his generation.
Betty Grable – Hollywood Starlet with St. Louis Beginnings
Elizabeth Ruth Grable, known as Betty Grable, was born on December 18, 1916, in St. Louis, Missouri. Grable rose to fame as a glamorous actress and pin-up girl during the Golden Age of Hollywood. Her captivating beauty and talent captivated audiences, making her one of the highest-paid and most popular stars of her time. Grable’s St. Louis beginnings played a significant role in shaping her journey to stardom, and she remains an iconic figure in both film and pop culture history.
J-Kwon – St. Louis Rapper
J-Kwon, born Jarrell Antonio Houston Jr., on March 28, 1986, in St. Louis, Missouri, is a rapper known for his chart-topping hit single “Tipsy.” Raised in St. Louis, J-Kwon burst onto the music scene in the early 2000s, capturing the attention of listeners with his energetic style and catchy hooks. “Tipsy” became a global sensation, propelling him to stardom. J-Kwon’s musical career represents the vibrant hip-hop culture of St. Louis and his city’s contribution to the rap genre.
Chingy – St. Louis Rapper
Howard Bailey Jr., better known by his stage name Chingy, was born on March 9, 1980, in St. Louis, Missouri. As a rapper, singer, and actor, Chingy rose to fame in the early 2000s with his debut album “Jackpot” and hit singles like “Right Thurr” and “Holidae In.” Hailing from St. Louis, Chingy’s music showcased his unique style and reflected the city’s vibrant hip-hop scene. With his catchy hooks and energetic delivery, he solidified his place as one of the notable artists to emerge from the St. Louis music scene.
Redd Foxx – Comedy Legend with St. Louis Roots
John Elroy Sanford, known professionally as Redd Foxx, was born on December 9, 1922, in St. Louis, Missouri. Foxx was a pioneering comedian and actor, best known for his role as Fred G. Sanford in the TV sitcom “Sanford and Son.” His influential comedic style and boundary-pushing humor made him a legend in the entertainment industry. Foxx’s St. Louis roots shaped his early experiences in show business, and he remains an esteemed figure in the realm of comedy.
Miles Davis – Jazz Trumpeter and Composer
Miles Davis, born on May 26, 1926, in Alton, Illinois, but raised in East St. Louis, Illinois, was a jazz trumpeter, composer, and bandleader. Davis is widely regarded as one of the most influential musicians in the history of jazz. His innovative approach and boundary-pushing sound transformed the genre, ushering in new eras of jazz music. Growing up near St. Louis, Davis’s early exposure to the city’s vibrant music scene and his subsequent rise to prominence continue to inspire musicians to this day.
Danny Meyer – Acclaimed Restaurateur and Hospitality Entrepreneur
Daniel Meyer, commonly known as Danny Meyer, was born on March 14, 1958, in St. Louis, Missouri. Meyer is a highly successful restaurateur and hospitality entrepreneur, renowned for his visionary approach to the dining experience. He is the founder of Union Square Hospitality Group, which operates several critically acclaimed restaurants, including Union Square Cafe and Shake Shack. Meyer’s St. Louis background has undoubtedly influenced his commitment to creating exceptional dining experiences and fostering a strong sense of hospitality.
Ozzie Smith – Baseball Hall of Famer and St. Louis Cardinals Legend
Ozzie Smith, born on December 26, 1954, in Mobile, Alabama, is a former professional baseball player known for his remarkable career as a shortstop, primarily with the St. Louis Cardinals. While Smith was not born in St. Louis, his tenure with the Cardinals from 1982 to 1996 solidified his status as a beloved figure in the city. Renowned for his acrobatic defensive skills and charismatic personality, Smith earned the nickname “The Wizard” and became an icon in St. Louis baseball history.
Tina Turner – Queen of Rock and Roll
Anna Mae Bullock, famously known as Tina Turner, was born on November 26, 1939, in Nutbush, Tennessee, but spent a significant part of her life in St. Louis, Missouri. Turner’s remarkable music career and electrifying performances catapulted her to the status of the Queen of Rock and Roll. After relocating to St. Louis in her teens, she began her musical journey, which ultimately led her to worldwide fame. Turner’s powerful voice, captivating stage presence, and unwavering resilience have made her a legendary figure in the music industry, and her St. Louis roots remain an integral part of her story.