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Famous People from Pennsylvania

If you’ve ever used electricity, or enjoyed classic TV, you’ve got someone from Pennsylvania to thank. The state has not only been responsible for some great historical moments, but also produced many noteworthy people. Here are the most famous people from the state that have made an impact.

Early Pennsylvania

The great inventor, politician, and one of America’s founding fathers Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston. However, his life truly began when he ran away to Pennsylvania at 17. Even at a young age he would do great things, including publishing the Pennsylvania Gazette a mere six years later. He would also go on to invent the lighting rod and work on electricity.

Edward Goodrich Acheson was born in Washington, Pennsylvania. Graphite’s creation method is due to his hard work. He worked with another famous American inventor, Thomas Edison, and installed incandescent lamps. He discovered silicon carbide when experimenting with materials in his lab. In the end he commercialized his inventions and had a total of 69 patents.

The state also gave birth to one of the greatest writers of her time, Gertrude Stein. She was born in West Allegheny, Pennsylvania but would spend her later life in California and Paris. Perhaps her biggest achievement in addition to her novels was hosting her Paris salon. Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, and Henri Matisse all passed though.

The Golden Age of television

Pennsylvania was responsible for producing many of the biggest names in the history of early television. Fred Rogers of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood had a loyal following of multiple generations. So too did Ethel Waters, who was both an actress and a jazz musician. She grew up in the slums of Philadelphia but made it to Broadway, and eventually Hollywood. She appeared in the films “Pinky”, “The Sound and the Fury”, and “Cairo”.

Grace Kelly, known for the film “Rear Window” made it big in Hollywood. However, she went on to marry the prince of Monaco. Her son, Prince Albert II, became the ruler of modern Monaco.

The modern muses

In modern times, many famous and groundbreaking people continue to come from this great state. Tara Lipinski, a young figure skater, won an Olympic medal at just 15 years old in 1998. She went down in history as the youngest woman to ever do so. She was born in Philadelphia. Two of the 20th centuries most famous actors, Richard Gere and Will Smith, are both from Pennsylvania. Born in Philadelphia, Gere was popular in the 1980s and 1990s. His star rose after films such as “An Officer and a Gentleman”, and the romantic comedy “Pretty Woman”. He is also known for his activist work.

Smith was also born in Philadelphia. He has gained fame not just for movies, but also television and music. He started out as a rapper, and his “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” TV show famously had him performing an opening song that mentioned West Philadelphia as his birthplace.