Home-grown celebrities

Maybe it was a the result of an odd planetary alignment, or just some kind of Hoosier hoodoo. Whatever the case, Indiana hatched a disproportionate share of talented individuals who left their mark on 1980s popular culture.

Hoosier cut-up
News-Sentinel file photo

Hoosier cut-up
David Letterman, an Indianapolis native and Ball State graduate, has been known for his wiseacre hosting of late-night talk shows for the past 18 years. He has won seven Emmy Awards.

Michael Jackson

Born: Aug. 29, 1958, in Gary
Claim to fame: Singer with the Jackson 5 and the Jacksons; hugely successful solo artist
Major achievements: 1982's "Thriller" sold more than 20 million copies and is one of the top-selling albums of all time
Catch phrase: Self-proclaimed "King of Pop"
Last seen: In a hyperbaric with chimp Bubbles; last album was 1997's "Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix"

John Mellencamp

Born: Oct. 7, 1951, in Seymour
Claim to fame: Released 17 studio albums since 1976; helped organize Farm Aid concert series to benefit family farmers
Major achievements: Achieved critical and commercial success; many of his songs have reached the Top 10; career survived numerous name changes — Johnny Cougar, John Cougar, John Cougar Mellencamp and John Mellencamp
Catch phrase: "Little Pink Houses for you and me"
Last seen: Doing a soundcheck at Memorial Coliseum

David Letterman

Born: April 12, 1947, in Indianapolis
Claim to fame: Gap-toothed, wiseacre host of late-night talk shows for 18 years — 11 at NBC on "Late Night with David Letterman" and the past seven on CBS' "The Late Show with David Letterman"
Major achievements: Seven Emmy Awards; 22 appearances on "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson"; bachelor's degree in radio and television from Ball State University in Muncie; gets to work alongside Paul Schaffer
Catch phrase:"And now, ladies and gentlemen, tonight's Top Ten List"
Last seen: Weeknights on WANE, Channel 15

Shelley Long

Born: Aug. 23, 1949, in Fort Wayne
Claim to fame: Five years as pretentiously pedantic barmaid Diane Chambers on "Cheers"
Major achievements: An Emmy Award and two Golden Globes for "Cheers" gig; stint with Chicago's famed "Second City" improvisational troupe; South Side High School cheerleader and, as South Side speech-team member, was first woman in 20 years to win National Forensic League's oratory competition.
Catch phrase: "Oh, Sam . . ."
Last seen: Sporting Florence Henderson's shag in "A Very Brady Sequel"

Janet Jackson

Born: May 16, 1966, in Gary
Claim to fame: Actress on television's "Good Times" and "Diff'rent Strokes"; successful singer
Major achievements: Several hit solo albums — "Control," "Rhythm Nation 1814," "Janet" and "Velvet Rope"
Catch phrase: "What have you done for me lately?"
Last seen: Recently toured in support of "Velvet Rope"

Axl Rose

Born: Feb. 6, 1962, in Lafayette
Claim to fame: Singer/agitator with Guns N' Roses, now a recluse
Major achievements: Multiplatinum album "Appetite for Destruction" helped kill wave of ‘80s hair metal
Many successful tours and only a few riots. His band helped refine, and redefine, rock ‘n' roll excess
Catch phrase: "Take me down to the Paradise City"
Last seen: Preparing first Guns N' Roses record in six years

Izzy Stradlin

Born: April 8, 1962, in Lafayette
Claim to fame: Rhythm guitarist with Guns N' Roses
Major achievements: Helped write many of GNR's best songs. Solo artist with two records
Catch phrase: "I'm with Axl"
Last seen: Released CD "117O" in 1998

Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds

Born: April 10, 1959, in Indianapolis
Claim to fame: Successful producer, singer, performer and songwriter
Major achievements: "Tender Love" sold 2 million copies in 1989; produced CDs by Paula Abdul, Bobby Brown and Mariah Carey, and Eric Clapton's hit "Change the World" for "Phenomenon" soundtrack
Catch phrase: None, but should be, "I am the hit-maker"
Last seen: Still a major player in the recording industry; a stretch of Interstate 65 outside Indianapolis bears his name

unction(w,d,s,l,i){w[l]=w[l]||[];w[l].push({'gtm.start': new Date().getTime(),event:'gtm.js'});var f=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0], j=d.createElement(s),dl=l!='dataLayer'?'&l='+l:'';j.async=true;j.src= 'https://www.googletagmanager.com/gtm.js?id='+i+dl;f.parentNode.insertBefore(j,f); })(window,document,'script','dataLayer','GTM-KVWHXLX'); Contact Us | FortWayne.com