Famous Mississippians

Rural churches gave young artists like Elvis Presley their first opportunities to sing or perform. Presley, born and reared in Mississippi, is called by some the greatest single influence on popular culture in the twentieth century.

include: Leontyne Price, James Earl Jones, Eric Roberts, Walter Payton, Gerald ("Major Dad") McRaney, Shelby Foote, Tom Lester ("Eb" on "Green Acres"), Stella Stevens, Cynthia Geary, Ray ("My Favorite Martian") Walston, Parker Posey, Brette Favre, Archie Manning, Oprah Winfrey, Conway Twitty, Tammy Wynette, Faith Hill,  LeAnn Rimes, Dorothy Moore, B.B. King, Keith Thibodeaux ("Little Ricky on I Love Lucy), Morgan Freeman, Donna Douglas ("Elly Mae Clampett" of the Beverly Hillbillies), Charley Pride, Bo Diddley, John Lee Hooker, Robert Johnson, Elmore James, Mississippi John Hurt, Howlin' Wolf, Jimmy Buffett, Red Barber, Netscape President Jim Barksdale, Jerry Clower, Marty Stuart, Jimmie Rogers, Bobbi Gentry (Ode to Billie Jo), Jeannie C.Riley (Harper Valley P.T.A.), Jerry Rice, "Jumpin'" Gene Simmons (HauntedHouse), Lake Speed, John Stennis (41 years, 2 months in the U.S. Senate),Barrett Strong (Money), Zig Ziglar, "Fingers" Taylor, Rufus Thomas (Walkin' the Dog), Ike Turner, Wesley Walls, Sela Ward, Jim Weatherly, Murray Kellum, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Johnny Winter, Elizabeth Spencer, Dana Andrews, Moe Bandy, Mayor Marion Barry, The Blackwood Brothers, Blind Melon, Delaney & Bonnie Bramlett (Bonnie & Delaney),Ace Cannon, The Chambers Brothers, Sam Cooke, Dizzy Dean, Willie Dixon,Tyrone Davis, Paul Davis, Mike Espy, Marcus Dupree, Steve Forbert, Pete Fountain, Rowdy Gaines, L.C. Greenwood, Ray Guy, Mickey Gilley, Fannie Lou Hamer, Guy Hovis, Jim Henson, Thelma Houston, Beth Henley, Willie Mitchell, The Mississippi Mass Choir, Mac McAnally, Thalia Mara, O.B McClinton, Charlie McCoy, Steve McNair, James Meredith, Medgar Evers, Charles Evers, Diane Ladd, Denise Lasalle, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fred Knoblock, Albert King, Belle Kearney, Deacon Jones, Charlie Musselwhite, Willie Morris, Muddy Waters, Matt "Guitar" Murphy, Paul Ott, Dunbar Rowland, Jim Buck Ross, Felder Rushing, David Ruffin (of the Temptations), Jimmy Ruffin (brother of David Ruffin), Otis Rush, Sid Salter, Johnny Russell, Jimmy Reed, Mary Wilson(of the Supremes), Al Wilson, Joe Frank Carollo (of Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds), Fred Montalvo (owner of ICEE, the world's largest frozen beverage company), Oliver Pollock (inventer of the $ sign), and Resin Bowie (buried in Port Gibson, inventor of the Bowie Knife, and brother to Jim Bowie), to name a few
A remarkable number of writers have emerged from Mississippi -- William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Tennessee Williams, Margaret Walker Alexander, Richard Wright -- and the list is ever growing. Richard Ford is the state's most recent Pulitzer Prize winner, and John Grisham is the state's best-selling author of our time.

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