USA Famous People of Rhode Island

Rhode Island Biographies

Harry Anderson (born October 14, 1952) Actor and magician.  He starred in the sit-com Night Court; born in Newport. Born in Newport, Rhode Island, Anderson was a street magician before becoming an actor. He is famous for the role of Judge Harry Stone on the 1984-1992 television series Night Court. In addition to eight appearances on Saturday Night Live between 1981 and 1985, Anderson had a recurring guest role as con man "Harry the Hat" on Cheers, toured extensively as a magician, and did several magic/comedy shows for broadcast, including Harry Anderson's Sideshow (1987). Anderson starred in the 1985 Tales from the Darkside episode 'All a Clone by the Telephone'. In 1990 he starred in the successful television adaptation of Stephen King's It directed by Tommy Lee Wallace. From 1993 to 1997, Anderson starred in the sitcom Dave's World, based loosely on the life and columns of humor columnist Dave Barry. Together with long-time friend Turk Pipkin, Anderson wrote a book called Games You Can't Lose: A Guide for Suckers, a collection of gags, cons, tricks and scams. • Harry Anderson Books
Nicholas Brown (1729 - 1791) An instrumental figure in convincing leaders to ratify the U.S. Constitution; Rhode Island College was renamed Brown University after him. • Nicholas Brown Books
George Michael Cohan (pronounced "Coe-han") (July 3, 1878–November 5, 1942), known professionally as George M. Cohan, was an American entertainer, playwright, composer, lyricist, actor, singer, dancer and producer. Known as "the man who owned Broadway" in the decade before World War I, he is considered the father of American musical comedy. A full-length dramatic musical entitled George M that depicted his life and which celebrated his music was produced on Broadway in 1968, as did the Academy Award-winning film Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942). Composer and actor who is called the father of U.S. musical comedy. Cohan was born in Providence, Rhode Island to Irish Catholic parents. A baptismal certificate (which gave the wrong first name for his mother) indicated that he was born on July 3, but the Cohan family always insisted that George had been "born on the Fourth of July!" George's parents were traveling Vaudeville performers, and he joined them on stage while still an infant, at first as a prop, later learning to dance and sing soon after he could walk and talk.

He completed a family act called The Four Cohans, which included his father Jeremiah "Jere" (Keohane)  Cohan (1848–1917), mother Helen "Nellie" Costigan Cohan (1854–1928), and sister Josephine "Josie" Cohan Niblo (1876–1916). Josie, who died of heart disease at a young age, was married to Fred Niblo Sr. (1874–1948),  • George Michael Cohan Books • George Michael Cohan Discography

Bobby (Robert Leo) Hackett  (January 31, 1915 – June 7, 1976) was a jazz musician who played trumpet, cornet and guitar, and played with the Glenn Miller Orchestra during 1941–1942.

Hackett was born in Providence, Rhode Island. He made his name as a follower of the legendary cornet player Bix Beiderbecke: Benny Goodman hired him to recreate Bix's famous "I'm Coming Virginia" solo at his (Goodman's) 1938 Carnegie Hall concert. It seems that from then on, Hackett was determined to shake off the "new Bix" tag, and always proclaimed that he was a "Louis (Armstrong) man." A dream come true for Hackett was his inclusion in Louis Armstrong's 1947 Town Hall Jazz Concert.

He was in considerable debt and difficulties by the early 1940s, following the commercial failure of his big band.[citation needed] To make matters worse, his lip was in bad shape after dental surgery, making it difficult for him to play the trumpet or cornet. Glenn Miller came to Hackett's rescue, offering him a job as a guitarist with the Miller Band. Despite his lip problems, Hackett could still play occasional — beautiful — short solos, and he can be heard playing a famous one with the Glenn Miller Orchestra on "A String of Pearls." • Bobby (Robert Leo) Hackett Books • Bobby Hackett Discography

Julia Ward Howe (1819 - 1910) Reformer, writer, and poet that wrote the words to “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”; lived in Portsmouth and Newport. • Julia Ward Howe Books
Napoleon (Larry) Lajoie (1874 - 1959) Baseball player elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1937; born in Woonsocket. • Napoleon (Larry) Lajoie Books
H.P. (Howard Phillips) Lovecraft (1890 - 1937) Author.  He wrote the book Necronomicon and was interested in science fiction and supernatural stories; born in Providence • H.P. (Howard Phillips) Lovecraft Books
Horace Mann (1796 - 1859) Known as the father of American public education and served as the first head of the Massachusetts state board of education graduated from Brown University. • Horace Mann Books
Samuel Slater (1768 - 1835) English manufacturer who built the first water-powered textile mill in 1791 in Pawtucket; migrated to Rhode Island in 1780. • Samuel Slater Books
Gilbert Stuart (1755 - 1828) Artist that painted the George Washington that appears on the dollar bill; born in Saunderstown. • Gilbert Stuart Books
Roger Williams (1604 - 1683) He was a Puritan leader and the founder of Rhode Island. • Roger Williams Books