Photo sourced from Wikimedia

Top 10 Famous people from the state of Washington


This is the only American state that has been named after one of the United States presidents, George Washington. It should also not be confused with Washington DC which is the capital of the United States.

The state of Washington is located in the northwest region near the Pacific.  This 42nd state was formed in 1889 and is known for its glorious glaciers and apples.

Its capital city is Olympia. Other major cities include Seattle, Spokane Valley, Tacoma, Vancouver, and Kent. A popular television series depicting Seattle, Grey’s Anatomy, has some of the scenes shot in the city.

Now, this state has churned some of the most amazing and talented athletes, musicians, scientists, authors and activists, just to name a few.

Below are the top 10 famous people from the State of Washington.   

1. Jimi Hendrix – Musician

Photo by A. Vente – Wikimedia

James Marshall “Jimi” Hendrix music career spanned only four years. Despite this, he is still regarded as one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music.

Hendrix is one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century.

He was born in Seattle, Washington and started playing the guitar at 15. In 1961, he enlisted in the US Army but was discharged a year later.

Jimi then moved to Clarksville then Nashville, Tennessee. There, he began playing gigs on the chitlin’ circuit, earning a place in the Isley Brothers’ backing band.

He also played with Little Richard, with whom he continued to work through mid-1965.

As an accomplished singer, Hendrix has received several music awards during his lifetime and posthumously.

2. Bill Gates – Business Magnate

William Henry Gates III is best known as the chief founder of Microsoft Corporation.

Gates was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. His dad was a well-known lawyer while his mother served on the board of directors for the United Way of America.

Together with his colleague Allen, they founded Microsoft in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1975. This became the world’s largest personal computer software company.

While still at Microsoft, Gates served as the chairman, CEO and chief software architect. As of 2014, Gates was the largest individual shareholder in the company.

He has pursued other business ventures as a philanthropist such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It is one of the world’s largest private charities.

3. Fred Couples – Golfer

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Frederick Steven Couples competed on the PGA Tour and the PGA Tour Champions. He is a former World No. 1 and has won 64 professional tournaments.

Couples is mostly remembered for the Master’s Tournament in 1992, and the Players Championship in 1984 and 1996.

In August 2011, Fred won his first senior major at the Senior Players Championship. The following year, he won the Senior Open Championship.

Fred was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2013. He is also a designer for golf courses with his design partner, Gene D. Bates.

The Bates Golf Design Group has won over 20 award-winning championship golf courses worldwide.

4. Bing Crosby – Actor & Singer

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Bing Crosby, also known as Harry Lillis Crosby achieved great popularity in radio, recordings, and motion pictures. Crosby is one of America’s most famous entertainers of all time.

His radio show became popular in 1931 and shortly after he ventured into filmmaking.

In 1944, Crosby won an Academy Award for Going My Way. During most of his career, he dominated the music charts with nearly 300 hit singles to his credit.

It was Crosby who influenced the development of the post-World War II recording industry.

He was the first entertainer to tape his radio shows and master his commercial recordings onto magnetic tape.

5. Sammy White – Baseball Player

White was a Major League Baseball catcher and right-handed batter who played with the Boston Red Sox from 1951 to 1959). He played for Milwaukee Braves in 1961 and Philadelphia Phillies in 1962.

He was born in Wenatchee, Washington and played baseball in college. Sammy was crowned All-American college basketball player while he was a student at the University of Washington.

His first professional game was when he signed with the Seattle Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League in 1949.

After the major league of that season ended, he was to join the Minneapolis Lakers but his contactor stopped him.

Sammy was a solid defensive catcher, with a good arm and the ability to get the most out of a Boston pitching staff.

6. Linda Buck – Biologist

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Linda Brown Buck is best known for her work on the olfactory system.

She was awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine together with Richard Axel for their work on olfactory receptors.

In 1991, the duo discovered how hundreds of genes in our DNA code for the odorant sensors located in the olfactory sensory neurons in our noses.

The research made way for genetic ad molecular analysis of the mechanisms of olfaction. She was awarded the Takasago Award for Research in Olfaction in 1992.

Then in 2003, she was inducted into the National Academy of Sciences and the Institutes of Medicine 2006.

Brown is currently on the faculty of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Seattle.

7. Pamela Reed – Actress

Pamela Reed is known for playing Arnold Schwarzenegger’s hypoglycaemic police partner in the 1990 movie Kindergarten Cop.

Additionally, Pamela is the matriarch of Gail Green in Jericho. She appeared as Marlene Griggs-Knope on the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation.

She started her acting career as a regular on the CBS drama series The Andros Targets in 1977.

Reed also had two small roles in the films The Long Riders (1980) and Melvin and Howard (1980).

8. Mary McCarthy – Critic & Author

Photo Dick DeMarsico – Wikimedia

Mary Therese McCarthy is best known for her novel The Group, her marriage to critic Edmund Wilson, and her storied feud with playwright Lillian Hellman.

She was one of the leading American women intellectuals of the 20th century. Furthermore, she was known for her sharp humour and keen perception of the American intellectual landscape. 

 As a fictional writer, cultural critic, and political analyst, McCarthy was associated with the anti-Stalinist liberal magazine, Partisan Review, in the 1930s and 40s. 

Nothing was off-topic for her. Mary openly spoke on sexuality, contraception, abortion and several other taboo topics.

9. Smohalla – Poet

Smohalla was a Wanapum dreamer-prophet. He was associated with the Dreamers movement among Native American people in the Pacific Northwest’s Columbia Plateau region.

He came from a small Sahaptin-speaking tribe closely related to the Nez Percé. Smohalla grew up to become a locally celebrated medicine man and a warrior of distinction.

It is believed that he was born between 1815 and 1820 in the Wallula area, present-day Washington state.

As a spiritual leader, he had about 2000 followers whom he urged to go back to the ways of their ancestors.

Although the government opposed his teachings, he practised his religion until his death.

10. Audrey Wurdemann – Poet

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Audrey Wurdemann Auslander was the youngest winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry at the age of 24, for her collection Bright Ambush. She was born in Seattle, Washington.

Wurdemann is believed to be the great-great-granddaughter of Percy Bysshe Shelley, although no Shelley lineage can be connected to her family.

Her first collection of poetry, ‘The House of Silk’ was published when she was 16. It was sponsored by California poet George Sterling.

Audrey graduated with honours from the University of Washington in 1931. After graduating she travelled through Asia.

She married poet and novelist Joseph Auslander in 1932. Subsequently, she worked together with him on the novels My Uncle Jan and The Islanders.