The Windy City is the birthplace of many talented and important public figures. From actors and musicians to politicians and presidents, many celebrities are proud to call Chicago their home city. Whether you’re a Chicago native, a transplant, or just passing through, learning about celebrities born in Chicago can help you feel connected to the city and the talented people hailing from it. We put together this list of nine famous celebrities born in Chicago, Illinois, so you can gain even more appreciation for the talented and hardworking people of our hometown.
Renowned actor Harrison Ford was born in Chicago in 1942. He’s been highly successful in Hollywood, playing iconic roles like the intrepid titular character of the “Indiana Jones” trilogy and the resourceful smuggler Han Solo in “Star Wars.” In addition to his film credits, he formerly served as a volunteer firefighter for the Park Ridge Fire Department. He attended college at Ripon College in Wisconsin, but it’s safe to say he considers Chicago his home city. Fans love him for his gruff and candid personality.
John Cusack is well-known in Hollywood for working in a variety of roles. He’s an actor, producer, and screenwriter, having started his career on the stage at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company. His film acting career began with coming-of-age dramas and comedies like “Sixteen Candles,” “The Sure Thing,” and “Better Off Dead.”
John Cusack has also been in independent films like “The Grifters” and “Bullets Over Broadway.” Further crediting his range as an actor, he voiced the leading male character in the animated musical “Anastasia,” and he also acted in several television shows, including the sitcom “Frasier” and the science fiction drama “Utopia.”
Born and raised in Chicago, Robin Williams was a beloved actor and comedian. His career began with performing standup comedy in the ’70s and progressed to many well-loved roles in film and television. Some of his acting credits include “Dead Poets Society,” “Good Will Hunting,” “Jumanji,” “Aladdin,” “Mrs. Doubtfire,” and “Night at the Museum.” He was known for his improv comedy and impressive range, which allowed him to play many different types of characters with charm, comedy, and heartfelt charisma.
Chaka Khan is the stage name of Yvette Marie Stevens, who was born in Chicago in 1953. She’s a singer and songwriter who began her five-decade long musical career in the ’70s with funk and R&B. She’s sold an estimated 70 million records across the globe and has won 10 Grammy Awards. A Chicago native, she was born and raised in the city, growing up in the Hyde Park area. Her sister, Taka Boom, and her brother, Mark Stevens, are also successful musicians.
Born in Evergreen Park, Illinois, Jenny McCarthy is a well-known actress, model, writer, and television personality. Her career began in 1993 and she remains a popular public figure. In her television career, she started as co-host of the MTV game show “Singled Out” and then went on to star in the sitcom “Jenny.”
Some of her film credits include “Scream 3,” “John Tucker Must Die,” “Dirty Love,” and “Santa Baby.” In 2013, she began working as a host on several television talk shows, including “The View” and her own show called “The Jenny McCarthy Show.” Starting in 2019, she has been a judge on the singing competition show “The Masked Singer.”
Jesse Williams is another Chicago-born actor, but also has credits as a director and producer. He’s best known for his role as Dr. Jackson Avery on the ABC medical drama series “Grey’s Anatomy.” In addition to his TV acting career, he’s also appeared in the films “The Cabin in the Woods,” “The Butler,” and “Band Aid.” Further, he voiced and did motion capture for the character of Markus in the adventure video game “Detroit: Become Human.” As an executive producer, he worked on “Two Distinct Strangers,” a short film that won an Academy Award in 2021.
Walt Disney, the creative visionary behind The Walt Disney Company, was born in Chicago in 1901. In addition to being a renowned entrepreneur, he was an animator, director, film producer, screenwriter, voice actor, and philanthropist. His creative talent and endless imagination helped lead The Walt Disney Company to success, and the company is now one of the most well-known and beloved producers of media worldwide. The characters, movies, and cartoons produced by The Walt Disney Company are iconic in popular culture.
Jennifer Hudson is a famous singer and actress born in Chicago. This multi-talented celebrity has worked in recorded music, film, television, and theater. She’s won all four major American entertainment awards, including an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony. Her love of performing began when she was 7 and started performing in her church choir and participating in her local community theater. She has proudly carried her Chicago roots with her throughout her career.
Michelle Obama is the former first lady of the United States. Her husband Barack Obama was president from 2009 to 2017. Michelle Obama was born in Chicago and raised on the South Side. She attended and graduated from both Princeton University and Harvard Law School. After working at the law firm Sidley Austin, she later became involved with several non-profit organizations. She also worked as the associate dean of Student Services at the University of Chicago, as well as the vice president for community and external affairs at the University of Chicago Medical Center.
During her time as the first lady, Michelle Obama advocated for poverty awareness, nutrition, education, physical activity, and healthy eating. She’s a well-loved and respected role model for many, but particularly for women. This Chicago native is regularly considered one of the most influential and admired women in America.
These are just nine of the most famous, popular, and influential Chicagoans. Did we miss your favorite Chicago-born celebrity? Let us know by contacting us at America Auto Insurance. We’d love to add your favorite public figure to our list.