Actor Ashton Kutcher, Olympian Shawn Johnson, Football hall-of-famer Kurt Warner, wrestling icon Dan Gable. These are some of the most common names mentioned when you ask about famous people from Iowa. To a lesser degree, actors Ron Livingston and Michelle Monaghan might be thought of next. Herbert Hoover is the Iowan who became President. But we set out to find some of the folks you might not have known or have forgotten are/were from Iowa. Check out this list.


  • 1

    Johnny Carson

    Heeeere's Johnny! The late 'Tonight Show' host was born in Corning, in the western part of Iowa.

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  • 2

    Glenn Miller

    Glenn Miller is a famous jazz musician who was born in Clarinda, Iowa in 1904. He scored more number one hits than Elvis Presley and the Beatles, according to Wikipedia.

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  • 3

    John Wayne

    The Duke. The actor who made the 'Western' a famous movie genre, was born in Winterset.

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  • 4

    George Gallup

    Here's a really cool one. When you hear references to the 'Gallup poll', you can take pride in knowing said poll was invented by an Iowan! George Gallup is from Jefferson, Iowa.

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  • 5

    Donna Reed

    Born in Denison, Iowa this actress is famous for her role as Mary Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life" and won an Oscar for "From Here to Eternity" as well as starring in her own classic television hit "The Donna Reed Show".

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