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Famous Montanans

Montana's rugged country and frontier spirit have produced some wonderfully unique and colorful personalities. Jeannette Rankin, was the first woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives; C.M. Russell, was a famous Western artist who captured the old west on canvas and modern-day paleontologist Jack Horner discovered a nest of Maiasaurs. Check out these, and other famous Montanans.

Native Montanans

Philip Aaberg
Composer and award winning, Grammy nominated pianist. Born near Chester, MT where he resides, plays music and operates a B&B.
Eric Bergoust
From Missoula, MT won the Olympic Gold Medal for Aerial Ski Jumping in Nagano, 1998.
Katie Blair
Born in Billings, Montana on December 29, 1987. She is an American beauty queen, who held the Miss Teen USA 2006 title. She is the first woman from Montana to win a major pageant title.
Dana Carvey
Born in Missoula, Montana on June 2, 1955. He is an American Emmy-award winning actor and comedian known for his work on Saturday Night Live and the spin-off movie Wayne's World.
Gary Cooper
Motion picture actor. Born Frank James in Helena on May 7, 1901.
Patrick Duffy
Television actor, star of Dallas and Step by Step. Born in Townsend on March 17, 1949.
Chet Huntley
News commentator of Huntley-Brinkley fame. Born Chester Robert Huntley in Cardwell on December 19, 1911.
Daredevil. Born Robert Craig Knievel in Butte on October 17, 1938.
Myrna Loy
Motion picture actress. Born Myrna Williams in Radersburg on August 2, 1905.
Wally McRae
First cowboy poet to be awarded the National Heritage Award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Born in 1936 near Forsyth as a 3rd generation Montanan.
Montie Montana
Member, Cowboy Hall of Fame. Born in Wolf Point.
George Montgomery
Motion picture and television actor. Born George Letz in Brady in 1916.
Kenneth J. Ralston
Western artist born in Choteau in 1896. Went by J.K. Ralston.
Jeanette Rankin
First woman elected to U.S. House of Representatives and only person to vote against U.S. entry into both WWI and WWII. Born near Missoula on June 11, 1880.
Martha Ray
Motion picture actress. Born Margie Yvonne Reed in Butte on August 27, 1916.

Adopted Montanans

A.B. Guthrie, Jr.
Writer. Born in Indiana, he lived in Montana as a child. Graduated from Montana State University. Had a newspaper career in Kentucky but retired and returned to Montana to write. Won the Pulitzer Prize for his book, "The Way West.'' Also wrote "The Big Sky" and the screenplay for "Shane."
Norman Maclean
Born in 1902 in Iowa, grew up in Missoula, and lived on Seeley Lake after his retirement from the University of Chicago, where he was an English professor. He loved to fish the Blackfoot River, which led to the novella, "A River Runs Through It" and later "Young Men and Fire" about the Mann Gulch Fire.
Mike Mansfield
Statesman. Born in New York, then sent at an early age to live with relatives in Montana. Formerly a U.S. Senator from Montana and Senate Majority Leader, he served as the U.S. Ambassador to Japan for 11 years.
Charlie Russell
Painter and sculptor. Born in Saint Louis, Missouri, in 1864, he came to Montana at the age of 15 to be a cowboy. He sketched, painted and sculpted the frontier he saw and became one of the most famous Western artists. His log cabin studio and home in Great Falls are open to the public. His art pieces are on display at the C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls and the Historical Society in Helena.

New Montanans

Tom Brokaw
NBC News anchor. Divides his time between the Boulder Valley south of Big Timber and New York City.
Russell Chatham
Artist-writer. Livingston.
Richard Ford
Novelist. Divides his time between Chester and New Orleans.
David Letterman
Late-night TV host and entertainer. Owns ranch where he lives part-time between Choteau, MT and New York City, NY.
Tom McGuane
Novelist and cutting horse rancher. Boulder Valley south of Big Timber.
Greg Mortensen
Humanitarian and co-author of "Three Cups of Tea" makes his home in Bozeman, MT.
Doug Swingley
Four time winner of the Iditarod sled dog race lives near Lincoln, MT.
Ted Turner
Cable television magnate and rancher. Southwestern Montana.
Hank Williams, Jr.
Country, western singer. Bitterroot Valley.




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