Famous Texans: A Look at the State’s Most Notable Figures in Politics, Entertainment, and More

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Texas is one of the most interesting states in the United States. A mix of cultures, religions, and lifestyles, it’s no wonder why it has produced some of the most notable figures in history. From renowned politicians to legendary entertainers, the Lone Star State has been home to a diverse range of influential individuals who have shaped the United States in countless ways. 

In this article, we list the most famous Texans in the world of politics, entertainment, sports, and more. So, join us to learn about some famous Texan personalities from the past and present. 

Politics and Government 

Texas has a unique political landscape, with a state government that operates independently of the federal government. Here are some famous names in the government and politics of Texas:

Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson was born in Stonewall, Texas, in 1908. After a lengthy career in politics and government, he served as the 36th President of the United States from 1963–1969. Nicknamed “LBJ” and “Landslide Lyndon” due to his impressive electoral triumphs, Johnson achieved a series of groundbreaking legislative initiatives known as the Great Society. His signature achievement was signing into law the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, which ended segregation in public places and banned employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. 

Sam Houston 

Samuel Houston

Sam Houston was born near Lexington, Virginia in 1793 and later moved to Tennessee before settling in Texas. A hero of both the Texas Revolution and Mexican-American War, he served twice as President of the Republic of Texas before it became a U.S. state. He later went on to become one of the state’s first U.S senators from 1846 to 1859 and its seventh governor from 1859 till 1861. Throughout his life he was particularly known for his commitment to honoring treaties with Native Americans and protecting their rights. 

Barbara Jordan

Barbara Jordan

Barbara Jordan was born in Houston in 1936 and became the first African American from the Texan Senate since Reconstruction. She served Texas’s 18th Congressional District from 1973 till 1979 before becoming a professor at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law where she taught until her death in 1996. During her time in Congress she chaired the House Judiciary Committee during Nixon’s Impeachment proceedings and delivered a powerful keynote address during the 1976 Democratic National Convention. It is still remembered today for its rousing call for equality and justice for all Americans regardless of race or creed. 

Ann Richards

Ann Richards

Ann Richards was born near Waco, Texas in 1933 and was known as an influential advocate for progressive policies throughout her life. She served two terms as Texas State Treasurer from 1983 till 1991 before being elected the 45th Governor of Texas from 1991 till 1995. She secured better educational opportunities for low-income children by raising teacher salaries and championed Medicaid expansion for those living with HIV/AIDS before it was politicized.  

Rick Perry

Rick Perry

Rick Perry was born in Paint Creek, Texas in 1950 and went on to become a successful politician himself before being elected Governor of Texas from 2000 till 2015. As governor, Perry oversaw a period of significant economic growth in Texas, particularly in the energy sector. He also championed conservative policies on issues such as abortion, gun rights, and same-sex marriage He also ran twice unsuccessfully for President.  

Business and Industry

The Texas business landscape is full of notable figures who have had a massive impact on the state and the world. Some of the Lone Star State’s most notable figures in industry and business include:

Michael Dell

Michael Dell

Michael Dell is one of the most well-known figures in business. He founded Dell Technologies, one of the world’s largest technology companies, in 1984 at just 19 years old. Dell led his company to produce personal computers for both businesses and individuals, eventually making it the world’s largest PC maker. Today, Dell Technologies provides a wide range of technology products and services worldwide, making it one of Texas’s most successful business ventures. 

Ross Perot

Ross Perot

Ross Perot is another iconic Texan figure who achieved success in a variety of industries. After founding Electronic Data Systems (EDS) in 1962 and serving as its CEO until 1986, Perot became a household name in 1992 when he ran for president as an independent candidate. Following his presidential bid, Perot founded Perot Systems Corporation, which was later acquired by Dell Technologies in 2009. 

Howard Hughes

Howard Hughes

Howard Hughes is Texas’s most famous industrialist and entrepreneur. As one of the wealthiest people in history, Hughes was an aviation pioneer who built aircraft for both commercial and military purposes during World War II. 

After his service in the military, Hughes turned his attention to Hollywood where he produced movies such as Hell’s Angels, and Scarface. He is also known for winning two Harmon Trophies, Collier Trophy, and Congressional Gold Medal for his aviation achievements. 

T. Boone Pickens

T. Boone Pickens

A major figure in the energy industry, T. Boone Pickens has had a long career as an oil mogul and businessman. Pickens gained immense success through investments made with his pioneering leadership skills and extensive resources. In addition to his accomplishments as an oil magnate, Pickens has also earned acclaim for his philanthropic work with charities that support medical research and education youth programs throughout the United States.  He also made The Giving Pledge to give away half his wealth for charitable purposes. 

Red McCombs

Red McCombs is an influential Texan businessman who made his fortune by investing in an array of industries including real estate development, automotive retailing, media, oil production, banking, sports teams management, and more. After many successful investments he founded McCombs Enterprises, a holding company which controls various subsidiaries across Texas, in 1998. McCombs is also a major contributor to many charitable causes such as The M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) 

Here are the best architectural sights of San Antonio. 

Entertainment and Media 

When it comes to recognizing the remarkable Texans in entertainment and media, there is no shortage of names to honor.

Beyoncé 

Beyoncé

Few artists have achieved the global success and recognition of Beyoncé. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Beyoncé’s influence has transcended far beyond music, becoming an acclaimed actress and powerful public figure. Since first rising to fame as the lead singer for the iconic girl-group Destiny’s Child, she has since become one of the world’s biggest female solo-artists. 

Learn some interesting facts about Houston, Texas here. 

Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey is another well-known Texan. Best known for his roles in iconic films such as Dazed and Confused, romantic comedies like The Wedding Planner and drama productions like Dallas Buyers Club, McConaughey has made himself a widely recognizable figure with appearances in both television and film alike. Hailing from Uvalde, Texas, McConaughey has earned himself numerous allocations, including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson

In terms of music, Willie Nelson is among the most famous Texans to have made his mark on the industry. Born in Abbott, Texas, Nelson has experienced great success throughout his career as both a singer-songwriter and musician. His hits include On the Road Again and Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain. In recent times he has even achieved recognition for his activism work too. 

Selena Quintanilla

Selena Quintanilla

Selena Quintanilla is also among the list of highly regarded Texans making waves within the music industry. Rising to fame at a young age while performing with her family band ‘

Selena y Los Dinos. Quintanilla quickly became one of America’s most beloved Mexican-American artists prior to her untimely death in 1995. Born in Lake Jackson, her name continues to be honored through musical tributes even today. 

Janis Joplin

Janis Lyn Joplin

Janis Joplin is also highly remembered among Texas natives in the world of music. Born in Port Arthur, Texas – Joplin was a vocal powerhouse who wrote songs that still resonate with listeners today such as Me and Bobby McGee or Piece of My Heart. She went on to become an icon within the 1960’s culture during her short time making music. She passed away due to heroin overdose in 1970 at age 27. 

What to learn about the famous rock bands that hail from Texas? Click on the link. 

Sports

Texas has a rich sports history and has produced many legendary sports personalities across various sports.

Nolan Ryan

Nolan Ryan

Arguably one of the most famous pitchers in all of baseball, Nolan Ryan played with several major league teams including the Mets, Angels, and Astros. He was known for his use of a 108 mph fastball and for his impeccable accuracy. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999 and he still holds the MLB record for most no-hitters with seven. 

Babe Didrikson Zaharias

Babe Didrikson Zaharias

A multi-talented athlete, Zaharias was a famed track and field star who won two gold medals in the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles. She then turned her attention to professional golf, winning all major championships at the time, including U.S Women’s Open, Women’s Texas Open, All American Open, and Titleholders Championship. She was posthumously inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974. 

Earl Campbell

Earl Campbell

A Heisman Trophy winner and NFL legend with the Houston Oilers, Earl Campbell is best known as an offensive powerhouse during his time on the gridiron. He rushed for over 1,450 yards during his rookie season and topped the league with 1,934 rushing yards in 1980. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991. 

Roger Staubach

Roger Staubach

The longtime Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach was a two-time Super Bowl champion and six-time Pro Bowl selection. He made huge contributions to the Cowboys’ winning ways from 1969 till 1979. 

Staubach was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985 and he also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2018 for his contributions to society both on and off the field. 

Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk Nowitzki is one of the greatest players in NBA history, having won an MVP award and an NBA Finals MVP award during his time with the Dallas Mavericks from 1998 to 2019. He is also one of only six players to have recorded 30k points and 10k rebounds during their career and has been named to 14 All-Star teams throughout his career.  

Science and Innovation 

Texas is home to some of the most famous innovators, entrepreneurs, doctors, astronauts and other remarkable figures that have shaped not just their home state, but regions far wider with their memorable contributions across multiple fields. 

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson is a renowned astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, and one of the most recognizable scientists in the world. He was born in New York City but moved to San Antonio when he was nine years old. He earned his undergraduate degree in physics from Harvard and his doctorate from Columbia in astrophysics. He is well-known for his appearances on TV shows such as The Daily Show and Real Time with Bill Maher and his books about science for the public. 

Michael E. DeBakey

Michael E. DeBakey

Michael E. DeBakey was an American surgeon, biomedical scientist, and inventor. He was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana but spent much of his life working in Houston and dedicated himself to enhancing cardiac care procedures around the world. His career spanned more than 60 years during which he made great advances in both surgery and medical sciences including performing the first successful coronary artery bypass graft. 

Dr. Denton Cooley

Denton Cooley

Dr. Denton Cooley was a cardiothoracic surgeon born in Houston, Texas. He became one of the most recognized surgeons in history thanks to pioneering developments in heart surgery techniques. In 1970 he performed the first successful artificial heart transplant and later went on to perform several more transplants over the course of his career. 

H. Ross Perot Jr

Henry Ross Perot Jr

  1. Ross Perot Jr is a real estate developer and American businessman from Dallas who has served as Chairman of The Perot Companies since 2006. He has been involved in business and entrepreneurship for many years. At age 23, he made the first circumnavigation of the world in a helicopter. Perot Jr. is known for his philanthropy, particularly in the areas of education and the arts.  

Mae Jemison

Mae Jemison

Mae Jemison is an American physician, entrepreneur and former NASA astronaut. She grew up near Houston Texas after moving there at age three with her family. 

Jemison became the first African-American woman to fly into space aboard space shuttle Endeavour mission STS-47 where she conducted experiments related to weightlessness and motion sickness in space flight. She has received numerous honors for her accomplishments and continues to be a role model and inspiration for generations of women scientists worldwide. 

Social Justice and Civil Rights

Here are some notable Texans who have made significant contributions to the fight for civil rights and social justice:

Hector P. Garcia

Hector P. Garcia

A decorated doctor who served with General Douglas MacArthur’s forces during World War II and later became an advocate for Mexican American civil rights. Dr. Garcia founded American GI Forum (AGIF) to further these causes throughout Texas. His influence can be seen both nationally and internationally today as he continues to inspire civil rights leaders worldwide with his example of peaceful protests against discrimination toward Mexican Americans in Texas. 

Emma Tenayuca

Emma Tenayuca

Emma Tenayuca is often referred to as La Pasionaria de Texas (Spanish for The Passionate One) due to her passion for improving labor conditions amongst pecan shellers at a younger age than most activists at that time period. She devoted her life to numerous civil rights causes ranging from labor unions to education reform within Mexican American communities throughout Texas. 

Cesar Chavez

Cesar Chavez

One of the most prominent figures of the 18th century, civil rights movement leader Cesar Chavez formed United Farm Workers (UFW) which helped end injustices conducted against migrant workers throughout California. It soon made its way into Texas’s labor scene by seeking better wages among its agricultural workers. Though he was constantly met by resistance from governments and large corporations alike he remained tireless in his efforts until his death. His efforts were recognized by President Obama awarding him with the Presidential Medal Of Freedom and also throughout various landmarks being erected across Texas in his remembrance. 

James Farmer

James Farmer

A passionate civil rights leader whose work focused largely on peaceful protests against racial segregation within public schools throughout Texas. James Farmer also advocated for voting reforms amongst African Americans during his time working with Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) organization beginning 1942. He had a profound impact on Texas’ civil rights movement which later earned him recognition when President Clinton presented him with the Presidential Medal Of Freedom in 1998.

Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde originally hails from Houston Texas where she first began writing her works towards the late 1960s before eventually being featured amongst various literary festivals around the world. Best known across America as a Lesbian poet whose works focused largely on feminism, racism and homophobia within America. Yet it is revered worldwide as powerful pieces showcasing intersectionality between multiple social topics. She left behind a small yet powerful legacy within Houston’s literary scene where she served as mentor to several young writers from African American communities. 

Conclusion 

The individuals discussed in this article are just a few of the most influential figures in Texas state’s history. These famous Texans have inspired countless people with their contributions to politics, sports, entertainment, social justice, and more. They are admired by those in the Lone Star State and beyond, and their legacies will remain alive as long as they are remembered. Their stories will inspire generations and serve as models for those who strive to make their mark on the world.

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