Mississippi contributes so much to American culture in a variety of ways. One of these ways includes the contributions of several famous people who call Mississippi home. Here are some of Mississippi’s actors, authors, athletes, artists, musicians, and other notable people from the great Magnolia State:
Starting with The King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley was born in 1935 in Tupelo. Presley began his music career in 1954 at Sun Records in Memphis. His first single, “Heartbreak Hotel,” quickly followed in January of 1956. His first on-screen acting role hit theaters later that year in November with Love Me Tender. When you visit Tupelo, you will find that the spirit of The King is still alive and well today!
Britney Spears, born in McComb, began her career with The Mickey Mouse Club. Spears went on to be one of the most successful pop stars of all time.
William Faulkner was born in 1897 in New Albany. He won two Pulitzer awards for fiction with “A Fable in 1954” and “The Reivers in 1962.” One of his most famous novels, The Sound and the Fury, is No. 6 on the list of 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. In many of his books, the fictional setting of Yoknapatawpha County mirrors Lafayette County and Oxford, where he lived most of his life.
Oprah Winfrey was born in 1954 in Kosciusko. Winfrey is best known for The Oprah Winfrey Show, the highest-rated show of its kind in history. Nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011, Winfrey has also spearheaded several other projects, including films, schools, and a wide variety of charity work.
Eudora Welty was born in 1909 in Jackson and is another famous Mississippi author. Welty won the Pulitzer Price in 1973 for The Optimist’s Daughter.
Archie Manning was born in 1949 in Drew. Manning was the Ole Miss starting quarterback for three years. Manning retired from the NFL in 1984 and raised three sons — Cooper, Peyton, and Eli.
Jimmy Buffett was born in 1946 in Pascagoula. Buffett’s most famous song, “Margaritaville,” is the anthem of the Parrotheads. Aside from his music career, Buffett is also a best-selling writer and involved in two restaurant chains named after his songs — Margaritaville Café and Cheeseburger in Paradise.
Robin René Roberts was born in 1960 in Tuskegee, Alabama, and raised in Pass Christian. Roberts was one of the first female sportscasters on ESPN, reporting from 1990 to 2005. She later became a co-anchor of Good Morning America.
Brett Favre was born in 1969 in Gulfport. Favre was the starting quarterback for the University of Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles before being chosen with the 33rd overall pick in the 1991 NFL Draft. Favre is the only quarterback in NFL history to throw for more than 70,000 yards, 500 touchdowns, 6,000 completions, and 10,000 pass attempts. Favre still lives in Hattiesburg and is actively involved with local high school athletics and USM athletics.
Lacy Chabert, born in 1982, is a Purvis native. Chabert is known for her roles in the popular Mean Girls movie and several Lifetime movies.
Muddy Waters was born in 1913 in Issaquena County. The Mississippi Delta blues musician is also known as the “Father of Modern Chicago Blues.”
James Earl Jones
James Earl Jones was born in 1931 in Arkabutla. Jones has won Tony Awards, Golden Globes, and Emmys for his multiple roles on stage and screen. He is also well-known for his iconic voice acting, including his legendary roles as Mufasa in The Lion King and Darth Vader in Star Wars.
Conway Twitty was born in 1933 in Friars Point. Twitty held the record for the most No. 1 single songs with 40 chart-topping hits until George Strait broke it in 2006.
Tammy Wynette was born in 1942 in Itawamba County. She is known as the First Lady of Country Music, and her most popular song, “Stand By Your Man,” is still played often today.
B.B. King was born in 1925 in Berclair. The King of Blues is considered one of the most influential blues musicians of all time as one of the “Three Kings of the Blues Guitar” along with Albert King and Freddie King.
In Biloxi, Eric Roberts was born in 1956 and is the brother of Julia Roberts, who was born in Georgia. Roberts received Golden Globe nominations for his early starring roles in King of the Gypsies in 1978 and Star 80 in 1983.
Rick Ross was born in 1976 in Coahoma County. The GRAMMY-nominated rapper was the first artist signed to Sean “Diddy” Combs.
Lance Bass was born in 1979 in Laurel. Bass was one of the five ’90s heartthrobs making up the music group, *NSYNC. The group had eight GRAMMY nominations across their three albums.
Faith Hill was born in 1967 as Audrey Faith Perry in Ridgeland and grew up in Star. The country pop singer and occasional actress is one of the most successful country artists of all time, having sold more than 40 million records worldwide.
Charles & Medgar Evers
Charles and Medgar Evers, born in Decatur, were both highly influential leaders of the Civil Rights Movement.
John Lee Hooker
John Lee Hooker was born in 1917 in Coahoma County. The blues musician developed his driving-rhythm boogie style, distinct from the 1930s–1940s piano-derived boogie-woogie style. Some of his best-known songs include “Boogie Chillin’,” “Crawling King Snake,” “Dimples,” “Boom Boom,” and “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer.”
Brandy Norwood, better known by her mononym Brandy, was born in 1979 in McComb. Her music has earned her one GRAMMY Award, three American Music Awards, and seven Billboard Music Awards.
LeAnn Rimes was born in 1982 in Jackson. Margaret LeAnn Rimes Cibrian rose to stardom at 13 following the release of “Blue,” becoming the youngest country music star since Tanya Tucker.
Sam Cooke was born in 1931 in Clarksdale. Cooke had 30 U.S. top 40 hits between 1957 and 1964.
Jerry Rice was born in 1962 in Starkville and grew up in Crawford. He played college ball at Mississippi Valley State University from 1981 to 1984. As a standout wide receiver, he earned the nickname “World.” Rice was drafted sixteenth overall in 1985 to the San Francisco 49ers and is widely considered the best receiver in NFL history.
Gerald McRaney was born in 1947 in Collins. The Ole Miss alum is best known as one of the television stars of Simon & Simon, Major Dad, and Promised Land. He was a series regular for the first season of Jericho and the final season of Deadwood.
Believe it or not, there are even more famous people from Mississippi! Including Ben and Erin Napier of Laurel, who currently star in HGTV’S popular television show, Hometown. As well as famous playwright Tennessee Williams, puppeteer Jim Henson, and actress Sela Ward. Talent and creativity are literally born and bred in Mississippi as the list of influential people from the Hospitality State seems nearly endless!