Posted on August 19, 2019

Fabulous Famous People From North Carolina

Pictures of Famous People From North Carolina

Famous people from North Carolina is our focus. Individuals who have made significant contributions using their unique gifts and abilities. They include actors, athletes, musicians, presidents, speakers, and more. How many of the following names do you know? (Our sincere apologies that we cannot list every famous person from North Carolina.)

Famous People From North Carolina:

  • Alma Adams (b. 1946, U.S. Congresswoman 2014 to the present, High Point)
  • Clay Aiken (b. 1978, pop singer, Raleigh)
  • Fantasia Barrino (b. 1984, singer, American Idol winner, High Point)
  • Caleb Brandham(1866-1934, inventor of Pepsi-Cola, New Bern)
  • David Brinkley (1920-2003, television newscaster, Wilmington)
  • Joey Cheek (b. 1979, Olympic gold medalist speed skater, Greensboro)
  • Eric Church (b. 1977, country singer, songwriter, Chapel Hill)
  • John Coltrane (1926-1967, jazz musician, Hamlet)
  • Chelsea Cooley (b. 1983, Miss USA 2005, Mint Hill)
  • Howard Cosell (1918-1995, television sports journalist, Winston-Salem)
  • Bucky Covington (b. 1977, singer, Rockingham)
  • Cecil B. DeMille (1881-1959, film director and producer, Washington)
  • Charlie Duke (Apollo 16 astronaut, tenth man to walk on the moon)
  • James Buchanan Duke (1856-1925, tobacco and electric power industrialist best know for the introduction of modern cigarette manufacture and marketing, Durham)
  • Kony Ealy (b. 1991, defensive end for Carolina Panthers, Morganton)
  • Dale Earnhardt, Sr. (1951-2001, renowned NASCAR driver, winner of 76 races, Kannapolis)
  • Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (b. 1974, championship-winning NASCAR driver, Kannapolis)
  • Roberta Flack (b. 1937, Grammy Award-winning singer, Asheville)
  • Nnenna Freelon (b. 1964, six-time Grammy-nominated jazz singer, Durham)
  • Gallagher (b. 1947, comedian, Fort Bragg)
  • Ava Gardner (1922-1990, actress, Smithfield)
  • Joe Gibbs (b. 1940, Hall of Fame head coach for NFL’s Washington Redskins, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing, 3-time Superbowl Champion, 4-time NASCAR Cup Series Championship winner, Mocksville)
  • Billy Graham (1918-2018, world-renowned evangelist and unofficial religious advisor to U.S. Presidents from Dwight D. Eisenhower to Bill Clinton, Charlotte)
  • Franklin Graham (b. 1952, Christian evangelist and missionary, son of Billy Graham, Asheville)
  • Anne Graham Lotz (b. 1948, Christian evangelist and daughter of Billy Graham, Montreat)
  • Andy Griffith (1926-2012, actor, singer, director, Mt. Airy)
  • Bill Haas (b. 1982, professional golfer, Charlotte)
  • P.J. Hairston (b. 1992, player for Charlotte Hornets, Greensboro)
  • Jackee Harry (b. 1956, actress, Winston-Salem)
  • John Isner (b. 1985, professional tennis player, Greensboro)
  • Charles Kuralt (1934-1997, journalist, CBS television personality, Wilmington)
  • Andrew Jackson (1767-1845, 7th President of the United States from 1829-1837 born in Waxhaw–may be from the South Carolina side)
  • Dale Jarrett (b. 1956, long-time NASCAR driver, winner of 1999 NASCAR Championship, Conover)
  • Glenn Jarrett (b. 1950, former NASCAR driver, Conover)
  • Ned Jarrett (b. 1932, former NASCAR driver, two-time NASCAR champion, Conover)
  • Andrew Johnson (1808-1875, 17th President of the United States from 1865-1869, from Raleigh)
  • Junior Johnson (b. 1931, moonshiner, early superstar of NASCAR)
  • Marc Johnson (b. 1970, professional skateboarder, Winston-Salem)
  • Star Jones (b. 1962, television personality, Badin)
  • Joseph Lane (1801-1881, Army general and member of the U.S. Senate from Oregon)
  • Sugar Ray Leonard (b. 1956, championship boxer, 1976 Olympic gold medalist, Wilmington)
  • Davis Love III (born 1964, professional golfer, attended UNC-Chapel Hill, Charlotte)<
  • Dolley Madison (1768-1849, wife of President James Madison, Guilford County)
  • Ronny Milsap (b. 1946, country singer, songwriter, Robbinsville)
  • Scotty McCreery (b.1993, country singer, American Idol Season 10 winner, Garner)
  • Julianne Moore (b. 1960, actress, Fort Bragg)
  • Edward R. Murrow (1908-1965, CBS news journalist and pioneer of television, near Greensboro)
  • Julius Peppers (b. 1980, All-American football players and basketball player for UNC-Chapel Hill; only athlete in history to have played in both NCAA Final Four and NFL Super Bowl)
  • Lee Petty (1914-2000, stock car driver, pioneer of NASCAR, 3-time NASCAR champion in the 1950s; father of Richard Petty)
  • Richard Petty (b. 1937, stock car driver holder of NASCAR record for all-time victories at 200; son of  Lee Petty)
  • Kellie Pickler (b. 1986, singer, American Idol contestant, Albemarle)
  • James K. Polk (1797-1849, 11th President of the United States, 1845-1849, Mecklenburg County)
  • Kevin Reddick (b. 1989, linebacker for Carolina Panthers, New Bern)
  • Jerry Richardson (b. 1936, NFL Player for Baltimore Colts, owner of Carolina Panthers, Spring Hope)
  • Charlie Rose (b. 1942, interviewer, journalist, Henderson)
  • Soupy Sales(1926-2009, comedian, Franklinton)
  • Earl Scruggs (1924-2012, bluegrass banjo player, Shelby)
  • Nina Simone (1944-2003, singer, Grammy Award Hall of Fame, Tryon)
  • Melvin Steward (b. 1968, 2-time Olympic gold medalist, International Swimming Hall of Fame)
  • James Taylor (b. 1948, singer, songwriter in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)
  • Randy Travis (b. 1959, singer in Country Music Hall of Fame, Marshville)
  • Reginald VelJohnson (b. 1952, actor, Raleigh)
  • Ben Vereen (b. 1946, actor, entertainer, Laurinburg)
  • Brian Vickers (b. 1983, NASCAR driver, Thomasville)
  • Doc Watson (1923-2012, folk guitarist, Deep Gap)
  • Thomas Wolfe (1900-1948, author of classic literature, Asheville)


  • Of course, there are always people who make history in North Carolina, but who were not born in our state. This is a list of some of those notable people:

  • Maya Angelou (1928-2014, poet, historian, author, actress, playwright, producer, director, and professiona at Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem)
  • Orson Scott Card (b. 1951, lecturer and author of the award-winning science fiction book Ender’s Game, Greensboro)
  • John Hope Franklin (1915-2009, historian and professor of African-American history at Duke University and North Carolina Central University, also a civil-rights activist in the 1950s and 1960s, Durham)
  • Michael Jordan (b. 1963 in Brooklyn NY but grew up in Wilmington, basketball legend for the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, leading UNC to the 1982 basketball championship and winning six NCB titles with the Chicago Bulls, Charlotte)
  • Mike Krzyzewski (b. 1947, long-time men’s basketball coach for Duke University, garnering four NCAA basketball national championships, Durham)
  • Sue Myrick (b. 1941, Mayor of Charlotte 1987-1991; U.S. Congresswoman from North Carolina 1995-2013, Charlotte)
  • Dean Smith (1931-2015, retired men’s basketball coach for the University of North Carolina; member of the NCAA Hall of Fame; earned 879 wins and 2 national championships in his career, Chapel Hill)
  • Nicholas Sparks (b. 1965 in Omaha, Nebraska; author of romance novels set in North Carolina; lives in New Bern)
  • John Tesh (b. 1952, musician and television personality, beset known for hosting Entertainment Tonight 1986-1996, Winston-Salem)
  • George Washington Vanderbilt (1862-1914, billionaire who created the Biltmore Estate in the North Carolina mountains; the largest privately owned mansion  in the Western Hemisphere and North Carolina’s top tourist attraction, Asheville)


  • There are many wonderful places (and items of memorabilia) located in North Carolina that honor these people, including: arenas, art, books, entertainment venues, halls of fame, historic homes and estates, golf courses, libraries, music, museums, pictures, race tracks, recordings, stadiums, statues, universities, videos, and more. Our friendly North Carolina Bed and Breakfast Inns members (located across the state) can recommend places of interest in their respective local areas.