39 Famous People From Michigan

This state is home to some superstars!

Famous people from Michigan including Eminem and Rosa Parks.
We Are Teachers; Wikimedia Commons

Michigan, sometimes called the Mitten State because of its shape, is not only famous for its beautiful lakes and bustling automotive industry. Michigan is also the birthplace of some of the most inspiring, talented, and famous people in the world. 

In this list, we’re going to take a journey through the lives of some of these incredible famous people from Michigan. We’ll discover musicians who’ve rocked stages worldwide, athletes who’ve set records and won medals, and innovators who’ve changed the way we live. Whether they’re dribbling a basketball, strumming a guitar, or exploring the mysteries of the universe, these Michiganders have made their mark in history and continue to inspire us every day.

So, grab your map of Michigan, circle up your students, and let’s go on an adventure to meet the most famous people from Michigan. You might be surprised to find out who shares a home state with you!

Famous TV, Film, and Movie Stars From Michigan

Tim Allen via Shutterstock

1. Tim Allen (b. 1953)

Actor and comedian Tim Allen was born in Denver, Colorado, but he was raised in Birmingham, Michigan. He’s best known for his role as Tim “The Toolman” Taylor on the TV show Home Improvement and as the voice of Buzz Lightyear in the Toy Story series. Allen’s humor and everyman appeal have made him a household name and a staple in American entertainment.

Learn more: Tim Allen at IMDb

Ella Anderson via Shutterstock

2. Ella Anderson (b. 2005)

Ella Anderson was born in Ypsilanti, Michigan. She is an actress well-known for her role as Piper Hart on the Nickelodeon series Henry Danger. Her performance on the show, along with roles in movies like The Boss and Mother’s Day, has made her a young up-and-comer in Hollywood.

 Learn more: Ella Anderson at IMDb

Kristen Bell via Wikipedia Commons

3. Kristen Bell (b. 1980)

Kristen Bell, from Huntington Woods, Michigan (15 miles northwest of Detroit), is a beloved actress and singer, best known for her role as Veronica Mars and as the voice of Princess Anna in Disney’s “Frozen” series. Her talent, charm, and advocacy work in the field of mental health have made her a respected and admired figure in the entertainment industry.

Learn more: Kristen Bell at IMDb

Ken Burns via Wikipedia Commons

4. Ken Burns (b. 1953)

Ken Burns, renowned for his distinctive documentary style, became famous for exploring American history with depth and narrative flair. Born in Brooklyn but raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, his upbringing influenced his storytelling approach. His ties to Michigan helped cultivate his interest in history and storytelling, leading to acclaimed series like The Civil War.

Learn more: Ken Burns at IMDb

Selma Blair via Wikipedia Commons

5. Selma Blair (b. 1972)

Selma Blair, born in Southfield, Michigan (a suburb of Detroit), is a famous actress who is known for her roles in films like Cruel Intentions, Legally Blonde, and The Sweetest Thing. Her ability to bring depth to characters in diverse genres has made her a beloved figure in Hollywood. Blair’s strength in her battle with multiple sclerosis is depicted in an award-winning documentary called Introducing, Selma Blair.

Learn more: Selma Blair at IMDb

Christie Brinkley via Wikipedia Commons

6. Christie Brinkley (b. 1954)

Christie Brinkley, born in Monroe, Michigan, is an American model, actress, and entrepreneur. She is best known for her appearances in the late 1970s and 1980s as a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model. In fact, she was featured on three consecutive covers. Beyond modeling, she has enjoyed success in acting, business, and activism and was once married to and has a child with musician Billy Joel.

Learn more: Christie Brinkley at Britannica

Jerry Bruckheimer via Wikipedia Commons

7. Jerry Bruckheimer (b. 1943)

Jerry Bruckheimer, born in Detroit, Michigan, is a well-known film and television producer. His extensive portfolio includes hits like Top Gun, Pirates of the Caribbean, and CSI. Bruckheimer’s knack for combining thrilling storytelling with groundbreaking special effects has made him a worldwide star and one of the most famous people in the entertainment industry originally from Michigan.

Learn more: Jerry Bruckheimer at IMDb

Bruce Campbell via Wikipedia Commons

8. Bruce Campbell (b. 1958)

Bruce Campbell hails from Royal Oak, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. He is an actor and author who is best known for his role as Ash Williams in the cult classic horror series The Evil Dead. Campbell’s contributions to film and television, combined with his witty personality, have cemented his status as a cult B-film icon in the entertainment industry.

Learn more: Bruce Campbell at IMDb

Dean Cain via Wikipedia Commons

9. Dean Cain (b. 1966)

Dean Cain was born in Mount Clemens, Michigan, although he grew up in California. He is most often associated with his role as Superman in the TV series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. His portrayal of the iconic superhero in the 1990s captured the hearts of audiences worldwide. 

Learn more: Dean Cain at IMDb

Dave Coulier via Shutterstock

10. Dave Coulier (b. 1959)

Dave Coulier, born in St. Clair Shores, Michigan (a suburb of Detroit), is a comedian who is best known for his role as Joey Gladstone on the popular TV sitcom Full House. His gift for impressions and family-friendly humor made him a beloved figure on the show and one of the most famous people from Michigan.

Learn more: Dave Coulier at IMDb

Francis Ford Coppola via Wikipedia Commons

11. Francis Ford Coppola (b.1939)

Francis Ford Coppola was born in Detroit (although he grew up in New York) and is a legendary filmmaker known for directing cinematic masterpieces such as The Godfather series and Apocalypse Now. Coppola’s visionary storytelling and innovative techniques have earned him numerous awards and a special place in film history. His impact on cinema is profound, so even though he didn’t spend much time in The D, we still claim him! 

Learn more: Francis Ford Coppola at IMDb

David Alan Grier via Wikipedia Commons

12. David Alan Grier (b. 1956)

David Alan Grier, born in Detroit, Michigan, is a versatile actor and comedian. He is recognized for his work on the groundbreaking 1990s sketch comedy show In Living Color. His ability to portray a wide range of characters with humor and depth has earned him admiration in television, film, and theater, including appearing on Broadway.

Learn more: David Alan Grier at IMDb

Keegan-Michael Key via Wikipedia Commons

13. Keegan-Michael Key (b. 1971)

Keegan-Michael Key, born in Southfield, Michigan, and raised in Detroit, is an actor, comedian, and writer. Well known for his comedic work with Jordan Peele in their sketch comedy series Key and Peele, Key also famously voiced Toad in The Super Mario Bros. Movie and is known for his role as chief of police in Wonka. Key’s contributions to television and film continue to earn him a growing fan base.

Learn more: Keegan-Michael Key at IMDb

Taylor Lautner via Wikipedia Commons

14. Taylor Lautner (b. 1992)

Taylor Lautner, born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is an actor and martial artist best known for his portrayal of Jacob Black in the Twilight saga. His role in the series launched his status as a teen heartthrob. Lautner’s athletic abilities and dedication to his roles have made him a versatile actor in both the action and comedy genres.

Learn more: Taylor Lautner at IMDb

Burt Reynolds via Wikipedia Commons

15. Burt Reynolds (1936-2018)

Burt Reynolds was born in Lansing, Michigan, but his family moved to Florida when he was 5. He became a film and television star with his charismatic presence, Southern charm, and rugged good looks. Reynolds is best known for his roles in the 1970s films Smokey and the Bandit and Deliverance. His blend of humor and machismo made him one of the most popular stars of the 1970s and 1980s.

Learn more: Burt Reynolds at IMDb

J.K. Simmons via Wikipedia Commons

16. J.K. Simmons (b. 1955)

J.K. Simmons, hailing from Grosse Pointe, Michigan, is an acclaimed actor known for his great variety of performances in film, television, and theater. He gained widespread fame for his role as Terence Fletcher in Whiplash, which earned him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He also played main characters in the TV series The Closer and Law & Order and appears in Farmers Insurance commercials. Simmons’ impressive range and dedication to his craft have made him a respected figure in the entertainment industry.

Learn more: J.K. Simmons at IMDb

David Spade via Shutterstock

17. David Spade (b. 1964)

David Spade, born in Birmingham, Michigan (a suburb of Metro Detroit), is a comedian known for his sharp wit and memorable roles on the long-running television series Saturday Night Live. He has also starred in hit movies like Tommy Boy and Joe Dirt. Spade’s razor-sharp wit has made him a comedic legend in the world of entertainment.

Learn more: David Spade at IMDb

Famous Musicians From Michigan

Alice Cooper at Shutterstock

18. Alice Cooper (b. 1948)

Born in Detroit, Michigan, Alice Cooper is a legendary shock-rock musician. He is known for his concerts, with memorable hits like “School’s Out” and “Poison.” Cooper’s pioneering use of horror imagery in rock music has made him an iconic rock star, influencing countless artists in this genre. His contributions to music and stagecraft have solidified his status as the “Godfather of Shock Rock.”

Learn more: Alice Cooper at Biography

Eminem via Wikipedia Commons

19. Eminem (b. 1972)

Born Marshall Bruce Mathers III in St. Joseph, Missouri, Eminem is an internationally known music artist. His family moved to Warren, Michigan (a suburb of Detroit) when he was 11 years old. Eminem is known for his complex lyrics, dynamic rap skills, and profound impact on the music industry. His award-winning gritty narratives, often inspired by personal experiences, have resonated with millions.

Learn more: Eminem at Biography

Aretha Franklin via Wikipedia Commons

20. Aretha Franklin (1942-2018)

Aretha Franklin, born in Memphis but raised in Detroit, Michigan, is celebrated as the “Queen of Soul” for her unparalleled vocal talent and profound impact on music and culture. Her hits, including “Respect” and “Chain of Fools,” showcase her powerful voice and emotional depth.

Learn more: Aretha Franklin at Biography

Madonna via Shutterstock

21. Madonna (b. 1958)

Madonna, one of the bestselling female artists of all time, was born in Bay City and raised in Rochester Hills, Michigan. This global pop icon is known for pushing the boundaries of pop music in the 1980s and 1990s. Her career includes hits like “Vogue” and “Material Girl.” Madonna’s influence extends beyond music into fashion, culture, and activism.

Learn more: Madonna at Biography

Diana Ross via Shutterstock

22. Diana Ross (b. 1944)

Diana Ross, born in Detroit, Michigan, is an iconic singer and actress. She became one of the most famous people from Michigan when she was the lead singer of the 1960s trio the Supremes, one of the world’s bestselling girl groups of all time. Her successful solo career includes hits like “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “I’m Coming Out.” Ross’s incredible talent, stage presence, and trailblazing career in music and films like Lady Sings the Blues have made her a legend in the entertainment industry. She also happens to be the mother of actress Tracee Ellis Ross.

Learn more: Diana Ross at Biography

Bob Seger via Wikipedia Commons

23. Bob Seger (b. 1945)

Bob Seger, born in Detroit, Michigan, is a rock-and-roll singer-songwriter whose career spans several decades. Famous for hits like “Night Moves” and “Old Time Rock and Roll,” Seger’s unique raspy voice has helped to make him an icon in American music. His work resonates with themes of love, life, and the American experience, endearing him to fans worldwide.

Learn more: Bob Seger at Billboard

Stevie Wonder via Wikipedia Commons

24. Stevie Wonder (b. 1950)

Stevie Wonder, a legendary musician known for his genius in composition, vocal performance, and instrumental skill, was born in Saginaw, Michigan. Blind since shortly after birth, Wonder signed with Motown Records at age 11 and has since gifted the world timeless hits like “Superstition” and “Isn’t She Lovely?” His innovative contributions to music, along with his advocacy for civil rights and disability issues, have made him a beloved figure worldwide.

Learn more: Stevie Wonder at Biography

Famous Athletes From Michigan

Jerome Bettis via Shutterstock

25. Jerome Bettis (b. 1972)

 Jerome Bettis, also known as “The Bus,” was born in Detroit, Michigan. Bettis is one of the most famous NFL players from the state. He had a distinguished career as a running back, primarily with the Pittsburgh Steelers. His achievements include winning Super Bowl XL in his final NFL season, which was held in Detroit! Bettis was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015, cementing his legacy as one of the all-time greats in the sport.

Learn more: Jerome Bettis at Steelers

Tara Lipinski via Wikipedia Commons

26. Tara Lipinski (b. 1982)

Figure skater Tara Lipinski was born in Philadelphia, but after moving with her mother to Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, in 1993, she spent a significant period of her life in training at the Detroit Skating Club. She made history by winning the gold medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, at just 15 years old, becoming the youngest individual gold medalist ever in the winter games at the time. Her training in Michigan, alongside her remarkable talent and dedication, contributed to her becoming one of the most celebrated figure skaters in the history of the sport and one of the most famous people in Michigan history.

Learn more: Tara Lipinski at Britannica

Mike Modano via Shutterstock

27. Mike Modano (b. 1970)

Mike Modano, one of the greatest American-born hockey players in the history of the NHL, was born in Livonia, Michigan. He spent most of his career with the Minnesota North Stars/Dallas Stars franchise, becoming the all-time leading scorer among American-born players in the NHL, with 561 goals and 1,374 points. Modano’s speed, skill, and scoring ability made him a standout player throughout his career, and he played a crucial role in helping the Dallas Stars win the Stanley Cup in 1999

Learn more: Mike Modano at NHL.com

Serena Williams via Shutterstock

28. Serena Williams (b. 1981)

Serena Williams was born in Saginaw, Michigan. Along with her sister Venus, Serena has dominated women’s tennis for decades. She won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, the most by any player in the Open Era, and ranked no. 1 worldwide on several occasions. Her powerful playing style, incredible comeback victories, and longevity in the sport have made her a legendary tennis figure and one of the greatest athletes of all time.

Learn more: Serena Williams at National Women’s History Museum

Floyd Mayweather Jr. via Wikipedia Commons

29. Floyd Mayweather Jr. (b. 1977)

Floyd Mayweather Jr., born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is a world-renowned professional boxer, often considered one of the greatest boxers of all time. With an undefeated record, multiple world titles in five weight classes, and an Olympic bronze medal, Mayweather’s defensive prowess and strategic boxing have won him admiration in the world of sports. His achievements in the ring have solidified his legacy in boxing history.

Learn more: Floyd Mayweather Jr. at Britannica

Famous Teachers, Politicians, Intellectuals, Activists, and Other VIPs From Michigan

John Dewey via Wikipedia Commons

30. John Dewey (1859-1952)

Although born in Vermont, the distinguished educator John Dewey spent a large part of his career at the University of Michigan, where he developed many of his influential ideas on education and philosophy. Dewey, a philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer, is considered one of the founders of the progressive education movement in the United States. His work emphasized the importance of experiential learning, democracy in education, and the development of critical thinking skills in students. Dewey’s theories have had a big impact on educational practices not just in the United States but worldwide, making him one of the most cited and influential figures in the field of education.

Learn more: John Dewey at Biography

Gerald R. Ford via Wikipedia Commons

31. Gerald R. Ford (1913-2006)

Gerald R. Ford, the 38th president of the United States, was raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Born Leslie Lynch King Jr. on July 14, 1913, in Omaha, Nebraska, he was taken as an infant to Grand Rapids, Michigan, by his mother following her separation and divorce from his father. He was later renamed after his stepfather, Gerald Rudolff Ford. Ford represented Michigan in the U.S. House of Representatives for 25 years before becoming vice president and then president. He assumed the presidency in August 1974, following the resignation of Richard Nixon, becoming the only person to serve as both vice president and president of the United States without being elected. People remember his presidency for its efforts to heal the nation during the tumultuous times following the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal.

Learn more: Gerald R. Ford at The White House

Henry Ford via Wikipedia Commons

32. Henry Ford (1863-1947)

Henry Ford, born in Dearborn, Michigan, was the founder of the Ford Motor Company, making him one of the most famous people in Michigan history. He revolutionized the automotive industry by introducing the assembly line technique of mass production, making cars affordable for the average American. Ford’s innovations not only transformed manufacturing but also had a huge impact on the 20th-century economy.

Learn more: Henry Ford at Biography

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha via Wikipedia Commons

33. Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha (b. 1976)

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a pediatrician, professor, and public health advocate, played a crucial role in uncovering the Flint water crisis. Born in the United Kingdom and raised in Royal Oak, Michigan, Dr. Hanna-Attisha’s research revealed elevated levels of lead in the blood of children in Flint, Michigan, after the city’s water supply switched to the Flint River in 2014. Her relentless pursuit of the truth in the face of government denial brought national attention to the crisis, leading to significant public health interventions to address the lead contamination. Dr. Hanna-Attisha’s work has not only had a profound impact on the community in Flint but has also made her a prominent figure in public health advocacy and environmental justice. 

Learn more: Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha at Michigan State University

Rosa Parks via Wikipedia Commons

34. Rosa Parks (1913-2005)

Rosa Parks was born in Tuskegee, Alabama. She became a symbol of the Civil Rights Movement for her act of defiance on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus in 1955. Later in her life, she moved to Detroit, Michigan, where she continued her activism and worked alongside other civil rights leaders. Parks’ refusal to give up her seat to a white man and her subsequent arrest sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a pivotal event in the fight against racial segregation. 

Learn more: Rosa Park Facts

Ernest Hemingway via Wikipedia Commons

35. Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)

Celebrated American writer Ernest Hemingway spent parts of his youth in Michigan, specifically in the Petoskey area, where his family owned a summer home on Walloon Lake. Though born in Oak Park, Illinois, Hemingway’s experiences in Michigan influenced his early writing, particularly the Nick Adams stories, which reflect his love and appreciation for the natural beauty of the northern Michigan woods and lakes. Hemingway, a Nobel Prize Laureate in Literature (1954), is renowned for his terse prose style and classic works such as The Old Man and the Sea, A Farewell to Arms, and For Whom the Bell Tolls.

 Learn more: Ernest Hemingway at The Nobel Prize

Charles Lindbergh via Wikipedia Commons

36. Charles Lindbergh (1902-1974)

Charles Lindbergh was born in Detroit, Michigan. He joined the ranks of the most famous people in Michigan when he became an international hero in 1927 as the first person to fly solo nonstop across the Atlantic Ocean, from New York to Paris. His plane, a Ryan NYP, was famously called the Spirit of St. Louis. The groundbreaking flight made Lindbergh a household name. It also served as a turning point in the history of aviation, changing the way the world viewed air travel.

Learn more: Charles Lindbergh at Biography

Theodore Roethke via Wikipedia Commons

37. Theodore Roethke (1908-1963)

The poet Theodore Roethke was born in Saginaw, Michigan, in 1908. Roethke is renowned for his introspective and nature-inspired poetry, which explores spirituality, the human psyche, and his personal experiences, particularly his childhood spent in the greenhouses of his family’s floral business. His work, characterized by its rhythmic complexity and lyrical intensity, has earned him widespread acclaim, including the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1954 for The Waking and two National Book Awards for Poetry

Learn more: Theodore Roethke at Poetry Foundation

Claude Shannon via Wikipedia

38. Claude Shannon (1916-2001)

Claude Shannon, born in Petoskey, Michigan, is celebrated as the “father of information theory.” His groundbreaking 1948 paper introduced concepts that became fundamental to understanding data transmission and storage, shaping the digital revolution. Shannon’s Michigan upbringing fostered his early curiosity, leading to innovations that underpin modern computing and telecommunications.

Learn more: Claude Shannon at MIT

Malcolm X via Wikipedia Commons

39. Malcolm X (1925-1965)

Malcolm X was born in Nebraska, but he was raised in Lansing, Michigan. His experiences with racism and his family’s hardships significantly influenced his later work as a civil rights activist. Malcolm X became a prominent figure in the Nation of Islam, advocating for African American rights, self-sufficiency, and the importance of identity and pride among Black Americans. His pilgrimage to Mecca led to a profound transformation in his views, embracing Sunni Islam and advocating for racial unity and peace toward the end of his life. Malcolm X’s legacy as a Muslim leader, his contributions to civil rights, and his impact on American and global discussions about race and religion continue to be celebrated and studied extensively.

Learn more: Malcolm X at Britannica

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Michigan is the birthplace of some of the most inspiring, talented, and famous people in the world. Learn more about them here.