Guest Author - Lynn McMonigal
Minnesota is more than just The Land of 10,000 Lakes and The Gopher State. The state is also home to many famous Americans. Here are just a few of them. How many do you recognize?
Frances Ethel Gumm was born on June 10, 1922 in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. She was the youngest of three daughters who often performed together in a Vaudeville act as The Gumm Sisters. Eventually, little Frances gained the attention of top level executives in the motion picture industry, and signed a contract with MGM Studios. During a career that lasted over 40 years, she earned awards for both her singing and acting. Her list of awards include a Golden Globe Award, a Juvenile Academy Award, 2 Grammy Awards (with 6 of her recordings eventually being inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame), and a Tony Award. At the age of 39 she was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement in motion pictures, and remains the youngest ever recipient of this award. Never heard of Frances Ethel Gumm? Don’t worry—most people know her by her stage name of Judy Garland. Her most famous recording comes from her most famous film role; her rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” in the movie The Wizard of Oz is one of the most famous movie songs of all time.
Judy Garland may be one of the most famous actors to be born in Minnesota, she is far from being the only on. Though she was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, this blonde actress became famous for her life at a radio station in Cincinnati, Ohio. Most of her acting career revolved around TV shows and movies, including lead roles as actresses Jayne Mansfield and Thelma Todd. She did make a few movies, including one that led to a public romance with, marriage to and later divorce from actor Burt Reynolds. Though she still continues to make occasional guest appearances on popular television shows, Loni Anderson is best known as Jennifer Marlowe on the popular 1980’s sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati.
Another Anderson from Minnesota also made his mark on television in the 1980’s. Actor Richard Dean Anderson had a prominent role on the daytime drama General Hospital in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. From there, he moved on to playing MacGyver for seven seasons on the show of the same name. When the show ended, his career didn’t. He had roles in a few feature films before he moved on to playing a lead role on the sci-fi hit Stargate SG-1. Anderson took a break in his acting career to spend time with his daughter, but still makes guest appearances from time to time.
When it comes to the entertainment industry, the state of Minnesota has made some significant contributions. These are just a few of the artists this state has shared with the world.