MT. PLEASANT, Mich. -- Michigan is famous for many things such as being the birthplace of a musical revolution, putting the world on wheels thanks to the automotive industry, and having some of the most breathtaking natural scenery in the nation. What you might not have known, however, is that there are many big names who call the Mitten State home!
Graff Mt. Pleasant brings you 11 famous Michiganders we should all be proud of.
1. ALICE COOPER
Born Vincent Damon Furnier in Detroit on February 4th, 1948, Alice Cooper's legendary career as "The Godfather of Shock Rock" spans over half a century. With his distinctive raspy voice and wild live shows, Alice Cooper invented the subgenre of "shock rock" and inspired a generation of performers that followed after him. In addition to being a musician, Cooper has also appeared on the big screen in movies such as Wayne's World (1992), Diary of a Mad Housewife (1970), and Dark Shadows (2012).
The "Material Girl" and reigning "Queen of Pop" since the 1980s was born in Bay City and raised in Rochester Hills, where she graduated from Rochester Adams High School with perfect grades and a dance scholarship to the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance. Known for her lighter-than-air vocals and revolutionary imagery and lyrics that became the catalysts of a revitalized discussion of feminism in America, Madonna set the stage for empowering female superstars in pop music like Pink, Lady Gaga, and Jennifer Lopez.
3. BRUCE CAMPBELL AND SAM RAIMI
Fans of fright know this dynamic duo as the star and director of the influential horror franchise, The Evil Dead, but did you also know that they're both from Michigan? As childhood pals growing up in Royal Oak, Campbell and Raimi would make Super 8 movies together with a camera given to Raimi by his father. Their first serious collaboration was a 30 minute short entitled Within the Woods, which was more of a proof of concept used to attract investors to produce what would be the film that would launch both of their careers. The Evil Dead enjoys a place amongst the greatest horror movies of all time and spawned three more feature-length films including a remake, video games, comic books, and more recently a Starz television series intended as a sequel to the original trilogy.
4. DIANA ROSS
Born and raised in Detroit, Diana Ross rose to fame as the lead singer of the Supremes who were Motown's most successful act in the 1960s, and remain the best charting girl group in American music history as well as one of the best-selling girl groups of all time. In addition to helping to catapult the musical and cultural revolution that was Motown, Ross is the most successful female music artist in history according to the Guinness Book of World Records whose legacy has inspired the work of many other musicians, as well as cleared the way for future African-American R&B and soul musicians (especially women) to achieve mainstream success.
5. THE WHITE STRIPES
Known for their melding of blues and garage rock, raw minimalism in composition and performance, and their signature color scheme, the White Stripes also proudly call Michigan home. Jack White grew up in a large Catholic family in Detroit as the seventh son of 10 children, while Meg hails from the suburb of Grosse Pointe Farms and worked in Royal Oak, where the two met. With humble beginnings in the underground Detroit music scene, they rose to national then international fame six studio albums later. These days the Stripes are no longer making music together, with Meg choosing to leave the public eye. Jack, on the other hand, continues going strong with his record label Third Man as well as a successful solo career.
Marshall Mathers may not have been born in Michigan, but this is where he was made. He got his start in the Detroit underground hip-hop scene, participating in freestyle rap battles at West 7 Mile's Hip-Hop Shop and the Shelter at St. Andrew's Hall. Eventually, he caught the ear of legendary hip-hop virtuoso Dr. Dre and went on to become one of the world's best-selling artists of all time. Eminem is praised for his technical and inventive lyrical ability, coupling a robust vocabulary with complex rhyme schemes that involve bending words so they rhyme, multisyllabic rhyming, multi-word bars, and use of melody. He even recently set the world record for Most Words in a Hit Single with "Rap God", which contains 1,560 words expertly laced through six minutes and four seconds, which averages out to be 4.28 words per second, spitting 97 of those words in one 15 second segment alone at "supersonic speed".
7. JEFF DANIELS
Hailing from Chelsea, MI where he still resides, Jeff Daniels is a proudly Michigan-made legend of the stage and screen with a long list of credits including Terms of Endearment (1983), Speed (1994), Good Night, and Good Luck (2005), and of course Dumb and Dumber (1994). He attended Central Michigan University where he participated in the theater program and is the founder and current executive director of the Chelsea-based Purple Rose Theatre Company. When he isn't acting, he's making music having released six-full length albums to date and performing frequent gigs notably around Ann Arbor.
8. KID ROCK
Robert James Ritchie, better known as Kid Rock, grew up on a sprawling six-acre estate in Romeo where he helped his family pick apples and tend to their horses. He discovered hip-hop in the 1980s and taught himself how to rap and DJ, going on to participate in local talent shows in Detroit. Since then, his eclectic sound has drawn from hip-hop, rock, and country with lyrical content ranging from humorous boasting raps to more serious social and political issues. A self-taught musician, he is said to play every instrument in his backing band. Kid Rock does extensive charity work through his Kid Rock Foundation, which raises funds for multiple causes including military veterans. He is also an advocate for affordable concert tickets, making an effort to sell those for his own performances as low as possible, and gets a percentage of concession and ticket sales rather being paid for the show.
9. SHERILYN FENN
Born and raised in Detroit, Sherilyn Fenn is best-known for her role as Audrey Horne on David Lynch's cult-classic television show, Twin Peaks, in the early 1990s and again in 2017 for the third season revival of the series. While she grew up to be an actress, Fenn comes from a family of music greats including jazz musician Art Quatro (her grandpa), barrier-breaking female rockers Arlene and Suzi Quatro (her mom and aunt, respectively), and Leo Fenn (her dad) who managed Alice Cooper.
10. JAMES EARL JONES
Born in Arkabutla, Mississippi. Made in Jackson, Michigan. After graduating from the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, the legendary James Earl Jones began his acting career at the Ramsdell Theatre in Manistee. His over 60-year legacy includes a long list of stage and screen credits, though most people probably know him as the voice of Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, and Mufasa in Disney's The Lion King.
11. MAGIC JOHNSON
Hailing from Lansing and a Michigan State alum, Magic Johnson's illustrious career includes first selection overall in the 1979 NBA draft, playing point-guard for the Los Angeles Lakers for 13 seasons, receiving an MVP award as a rookie, bringing home Olympic gold in 1992 as part of "The Dream Team", and two-time induction to the Basketball Hall of Fame. After being stricken with HIV and abruptly retiring in 1991, he returned the next year to play in the All-Star game which netted him another MVP award. He then retired for another four years and returned to the Lakers in 1996 for 32 more games before retiring a third and final time. Since then, Magic has become a fervent activist for HIV/AIDS prevention.
It's always cool to see people from your home state go on to do amazing things, for themselves, their craft, and for the world. These are just 11 famous people who call our wonderful Mitten State home, but do you know any others we missed? Have you met any of those we've listed here? Share your stories with us! Additionally, as the weather continues to warm up and you start planning more weekend getaways and summer road trips, make sure to get your vehicle checked out and serviced. After a long winter, your car, truck, or SUV can have a lot of issues that need to be addressed. We recommend bringing your vehicle to our Service Center to complete your Spring Car Care maintenance routine and get it back in top working condition!
At Hank Graff Mt. Pleasant we strive to provide our customers with a car buying experience that is accommodating, stress-free and fun! Visit us at our Chevrolet dealership located at 4580 E Pickard Rd in Mount Pleasant, Michigan 48858 or our Buick GMC Cadillac dealership located at 116 N. Mission St in Mount Pleasant, MI 48858.