I would wager that if you were to ask a hundred people who the most famous Oklahoman was, you'd probably get a dozen different answers. Odds are, a lot of those answers could be determined by each different age group too.

Shealah Craighead
Shealah Craighead

For instance, being an elder millennial radio enthusiast, I would say Paul Harvey.

The man was a legend not only in Oklahoma radio but nationwide. I can remember a large portion of the students of my Northern Oklahoma high school would pause what we were doing at lunch just to tune in and hear Paul Harvey's "The Rest of the Story" segment on the local radio station.

Harvey delivered a fifteen-minute broadcast about lesser-known or obscure Americana every day on 1600 radio and American Forces Network stations for fifty-something years.

Is he the most famous Oklahoman ever? Perhaps it would be better to say he once was.

I asked my parents who they thought the most famous Oklahoman might be. Dad said Will Rogers.

Rogers was one of the most famous men of his time. Not a comedian, but a humorist who received tremendous success in radio broadcasting. He was also one of the driving figures that helped push Oklahoma into statehood.

OKC even named the airport after him, which is odd considering he died in a plane crash with the man OKC named the smaller airport after--Wiley Post.

Will Rogers Standing On Stage
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Mom instantly said Garth Brooks.

No doubt, Garth Brooks is really well known around the world to the Baby Boomers. He rose to fame in Oklahoma in the 1980s first playing the bar scene in Stillwater before hitting it big nationwide with his debut self-titled album. It was just enough country to be country, and poppy enough to gain wide appeal.

Held in regard as the "most electrifying artist in country" he still tours the world for massive crowds on the success of his first eight albums and countless repackaged boxed sets containing those early hits.

Country music artists come up regularly in this discussion.

While Garth may be the once-juggernaut Oklahoman, there are plenty more who were mentioned.

Toby Kieth has experienced a resurgence in popularity in the last few months, especially so after his death. Vince Gill stays pretty popular in his circle of fans too.

Carrie Underwood and Blake Shelton came up a bunch among the younger coworkers, and the world was reminded that Reba McEntire still existed with her placing on The Voice and Super Bowl performance this year.

It's not just musicians.

There are a bunch of a-listers out in Hollyweird that hail from the Sooner State too.

While everyone loves to claim Brad Pitt--born in Shawnee-- he actually grew up in Missouri. I think that's sort of like how I tell people I've been to California... which is true, but it was actually just a six-hour layover at the LAX airport. The irony there was the only restaurant in the terminal was Oklahoma Joe's Route 66 Grill.

Arguably, the most successful Oklahoman in Hollywood is probably Ron Howard, and unless you remember watching Andy Griffith or Happy Days, his brother Clint is probably more recognizable.

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There are a lot of actors from Oklahoma you probably didn't even know about. Mainly because they aren't known for hugely popular movies and are often found in smaller rolls.

James Garner, Kristin Chenoweth, Bill Hader, James Marsden... Even Doctor Phil is from Oklahoma.

No disrespect to the incredible body of work Ron Howard has laid in his Hollywood tenure, but Chuck Norris might be the most famous Oklahoman.


Born and raised in the tiny little town of Ryan, Oklahoma along the Texas border, you can't deny even kids these days can recognize him--if not from his movies and TV roles, but from the timeless jokes that still float around today.

Chuck Norris doesn't have a chin. He has a third fist under his beard...

Does that make Chuck the most famous Oklahoman? I mean, politician and culture appropriator Elizabeth Warren is from OKC too, but she left her roots a long time ago when fact-checkers started looking into it, right?

Who do you think is the most famous Oklahoman? App-chat it to us in the app.

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