Photo by DMerk via the Pittsburgh Beautiful app
Our readers enjoyed our iconic Pittsburghers post so much that there were a handful of comments with other ideas for even more notable Pittsburghers throughout our city’s rich history. Here are seven more ‘burgh icons to be proud of.
1. Gene Kelly
The triple threat singer, dancer and actor Gene Kelly was born in East Liberty in 1912. When he was eight, his mother Harriet enrolled his brother James and he in dance classes and as they say, the rest is history. Kelly is best known for starring in Singin’ in the Rain, as well as On the Town and An American in Paris before musicals fell out of trend in the late 1950s. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1933.
2. Billy May
Billy May was born in Pittsburgh in 1916. He was known for composing music for TV and movies, including The Green Hornet, The Mod Squad and Batman. His love for music started when he played the tuba in the high school band. When he was 17, he started playing for Gene Olsen’s Polish-American orchestra.
3. Andrew Carnegie
Andrew Carnegie was a Scottish-American industrialist, businessman and philanthropist. He led the growth of the American steel industry and ended up becoming one of the richest Americans in history. He built Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Steel Company which he ended up selling J.P. Morgan in 1901 for $303.5 million. It ended up becoming the U.S. Steel Corporation. Carnegie devoted a big portion of his life to philanthropy, including local libraries and scientific research.
4. Fred Rogers
The iconic Fred Rogers has had lasting power, long after his death nearly 20 years ago. He was a TV personality, musician, puppeteer and even a Presbyterian minister. He hosted Mister Rogers Neighborhood, a children’s TV show that ran for over 30 years. Rogers is honored through days like National Cardigan Day and a recent movie starring Tom Hanks called It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.
5. Michael Keaton
Actor Michael Keaton was born in 1968 in Kennedy Township. He is also known for producing and directing. He first became famous for his roles on sitcoms like All’s Fair and The Mary Tyler Moore Hour. He has starred in movies like Mr. Mom, Batman, and Beetlejuice. He was born the youngest of seven children at Ohio Valley Hospital and was raised between Coraopolis and Forest Grove.
6. David McCullough
American author and historian David McCullough was born in Point Breeze. He attended Shady Side Academy and later Yale. He is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, winner of the National Book Award and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His first book was The Johnstown Flood and he has since gone on to write about many historical events and people.
7. August Wilson
Playwright August Wilson was born in the Hill District in 1945. He wrote a series of plays called The Pittsburgh Cycle. He received two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama for the plays. Wilson was the fourth of six children. His father was a baker and pastry cook and his mother cleaned homes. His birth name was Frederick August Kittel, Jr. but he later changed it to August Wilson to honor his mother after his father’s death (his mom was named Daisy Wilson).