16 People You Didn’t Know Were from Utah
Maybe you moved to Utah from out of state, or maybe you’ve lived here your entire life. Either way, one billion in Monopoly moneys says you’ll be surprised by this list of notable Utahns. (For these purposes, the term “Utahn” can include anyone who was born or has lived in Utah.)
The leading actress from “Footloose” and “Safe Haven” was born in Orem, Utah. She is also known for winning ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” with Apolo Ohno and the movies “Rock of Ages” and “Burlesque.”
Although he is most famous for his science fiction novel “Ender’s Game,” Card has dabbled in other artistic pursuits, such as writing screenplays and articles, contributing to Marvel comics, copyediting and running a theater company behind the Utah State Mental Hospital in Provo, Utah. He moved to Orem, Utah, as a teen because his father got a job at BYU. He attended BYU and currently lives in Ogden.
As in “Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch” … AKA the Robin Hood of the West … AKA Robert LeRoy Parker. Yeah, that guy. It turns out he was born in Beaver, Utah. He’s one of the most famous wild west outlaws, and one of his hideouts sits on the Green River near the Utah–Wyoming border. His gang robbed a train heading for Castle Dale, back in 1897 (their only hold-up in Utah).
The Killers frontman grew up in Nephi, Utah, before moving to Las Vegas. On living in a noncoastal state, he says, “I’ve always had this thing about it not really mattering where you’re from, because there’s always been this big cloud over America saying you have to live in L.A. or you have to live in New York to make it. I always knew it didn’t matter as long as you had the songs.”
Jennings is best known for being a 74-time consecutive Jeopardy champion. His trivial knowledge earned him over $2.5 million and the record for most consecutive wins on the show. He didn’t move to Utah until he got accepted to BYU, where he ran an academic competition team. He competed on Jeopardy while working as a computer programmer in Salt Lake City.
The former owner of the L.A. Lakers was born in Salt Lake City during the Depression. He worked his way to the top, bought the Lakers, then signed on to promote the Utah Jazz in 1985. Greg Miller, son of the former Jazz owner Larry H. Miller, said this of Buss: “Buss basically said ‘Listen, this guy’s for real, he’s going to do good things for the NBA, so we need to support him in his ownership [bid].’ From that moment on my dad always had a great affinity and great respect for Dr. Buss.”
Yes … The Roseanne. Best known for her 1990s self-titled sitcom, Roseanne got her start in good ol’ Salt Lake City.
Founder of Atari and father of electronic gaming, Bushnell was born in Ogden, Utah. He invented the first computerized video game, Pong, and Chuck E. Cheese’s children’s play centers.
This rock band got its start in Orem, Utah, and once they found a record label, they flew to Los Angeles, leaving their home state for the first time ever.
Although Farnsworth never received fame or fortune for inventing the television, he learned much of what he needed to succeed at BYU and the U of U in Utah. His ideas for creating images using electricity followed him to California where he invented the television. In 1987, a statue was erected in his honor at the Utah State Capitol.
Author of the Fablehaven series, Mull currently lives in Utah with his wife and kids. He graduated from BYU in 2000 and wrote his first novel shortly after that.
Wal-Mart founder. I know, right? Walton was stationed in Salt Lake City with the Army in the 1940s. His wife didn’t like living in such a large town and vowed to never live anywhere with a population larger than 10,000. Look at that hat. What a boss.
Fields, owner of Mrs. Fields’ Cookies, now lives in Utah with her husband and two daughters. She started her company at the age of 20 and made $75 on her first day, despite her husband’s prediction that she couldn’t make $50. After that he changed his tune and is now a huge supporter of the company.
Known as the father of artificial organs, Kolff worked at the University of Utah. He invented the kidney dialysis machine and played a major role in the invention of the artificial heart. His position at the U of U attracted leading researchers in his field to Utah.
That’s right. Neon Trees hails from Provo, Utah, and they’re proud of it. A couple members attended BYU, and one even went to the Utah College of Massage Therapy. After playing a gig in Las Vegas, the Killers asked them to open for them on tour. They like the idea of being from someplace different and paving the way for other bands in the area.
Zamboni was born into an ice-making family. Born in Eureka, Utah, he moved to California where his family owned the Iceland Skating Rink. Before he invented the ZAMBONI ice resurfacing machine, workers would scrape the ice with a tractor, gather the shaved ice, hose it down with water, then have to wait for the ice to freeze. His machine did all those things in less time.