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Notable North Carolinians



  • Musicians
    • 9th Wonder (born January 15, 1975 in Winston-Salem)
    • Ryan Adams (born 1974 in Jacksonville), singer/songwriter
    • Tori Amos (born 1963 in Newton), singer
    • Jimmy Capps (born 1939 in Fayetteville), county music studio guitarist
    • Travis Cherry (born May 17, 1975 in Raleigh), producer, musician, songwriter
    • J. Cole (born January 28, 1985 in Germany, moved to Fayetteville at 8 months old)
    • George Clinton (born 1941 in Kannapolis), funk musician
    • John Coltrane (born September 23, 1926 in Hamlet)
    • Billy "Crash" Craddock (born June 16, 1939 in Greensboro)
    • Charlie Daniels (born 1936 in Wilmington), singer/songwriter
    • Roberta Flack (born February 10, 1937 in Black Mountain)
    • Ben Folds (born September 12, 1966 in Winston-Salem)
    • Blind Boy Fuller (1908–1941, born in Wadesboro), blues guitarist and singer
    • Ben E. King (born 1938 in Henderson), singer/songwriter
    • Del McCoury (born 1939 in Bakersville) bluegrass music legend
    • Ronnie Milsap (born January 16, 1943 in Robbinsville)
    • Thelonious Monk (1917–1982, born in Rocky Mount), jazz & blues pianist
    • Petey Pablo (born July 22, 1973 in Greenville)
    • Phonte (born in Greensboro)
    • Max Roach (1924–2007, born in Pasquotank County), jazz drummer
    • Earl Scruggs (born January 6, 1924 near Shelby, Cleveland County)
    • Nina Simone (1933–2003, born in Tryon), singer
    • Billy Taylor (born July 24, 1921 in Greenville)
    • James Taylor (March 12, 1948, moved to Chapel Hill at age 3)
    • Randy Travis (born 1959 in Marshville), country music singer
    • Loudon Wainwright III (born 1946, Chapel Hill), songwriter, folk singer, humorist and actor
    • Doc Watson (born 1923 in Deep Gap), folk guitarist
    • Link Wray (1929–2005, born in Dunn), Pioneering rock musician and songwriter
    • American Idol contestants
  • Actors/Actresses
    • Sandra Bullock (attended East Carolina University in Greenville from 1982-1986)
    • Billy Crudup (born July 8, 1968, graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
    • Jennifer Ehle (born December 29, 1969 in Winston-Salem)
    • Eileen Fulton (born September 13, 1933 in Asheville)
    • Zach Galifianakis (born October 1, 1969 in Wilkesboro)
    • Ava Gardner (born December 24, 1922 in Grabtown, Johnston County)
    • Pam Grier (born 1949 in Winston-Salem), actress
    • Andy Griffith (born June 1, 1926 in Mount Airy)
    • George Grizzard (1928–2007, born in Roanoke Rapids), Emmy and Tony-winning actor
    • Michael C. Hall (born 1971 in Raleigh) actor
    • Andie McDowell (born April 21, 1958 in South Carolina; summer vacation home was in Arden; lived in Asheville from 1998 to 2011)
    • Julianne Moore (born 1960 in Fort Bragg), actress
    • Soupy Sales (1926–2009, born in Franklinton), comedian
    • Amy Sedaris (born March 29, 1961, grew up in Raleigh)
    • Ben Vereen (born 1946 in Laurinburg), actor, entertainer
    • Evan Rachel Wood (born September 7, 1987 in Raleigh)
  • Media
    • David Brinkley (July 10, 1920 – June 11, 2003, born in Wilmington) Newscaster
    • Carl Kasell (born April 2, 1934 in Goldsboro) National Public Radio
    • Howard Cosell (March 25, 1918- April 23, 1995, born in  Winston-Salem) Sportscaster
    • Cecil B. DeMille (1919–1959, born in Washington) film director
    • Gallagher (born 1947 in Fort Bragg), comedian
    • Star Jones (born 1962 in Badin) TV personality
    • Charles Kuralt (September 10, 1934–July 4, 1997, born in Wilmington) TV journalist
    • Doug Marlette (December 6, 1949–July 10, 2007. Born in Greensboro) cartoonist and writer
    • Edward R. Murrow (April 25, 1908-April 27, 1965, born in Pole Cat Creek, Guilford County)
    • Charlie Rose (January 5, 1942, born in Henderson) TV journalist
    • Tom Wicker (June 18, 1926– November 25, 2011, born in Hamlet) journalist
    • Clarence Avant (February 25, 1931- , born in Climax), American music executive, film producer and entertainment icon


  • Baseball
    • Jim "Catfish" Hunter (April 8, 1946– September 9, 1999, born in Hertford)
    • Gaylord Perry (born September 15, 1938 in Williamston)
    • Jim Perry (born October 30, 1935 in Williamston)
    • Jack Scott (Aptil 18, 1892, born in Ridgeway)
    • Enos "Country" Slaughter (April 27, 1916- November 30,1959 born near Roxboro)
  • Basketball
    • Phil Ford (born February 9, 1956 in Kannapolis)
    • Bobby Jones (born December 18, 1951 in Charlotte)
    • Michael Jordan (born February 17, 1963 in Brooklyn, moved to Wilmington at age 5)
    • Meadowlark Lemon (born April 25, 1932 in Wilmington)
    • Danny Manning (born May 17, 1966 in Hattiesburg, MS, moved to Greensboro)
    • Pete Maravich (attended Broughton High School in Raleigh)
    • Fred "Curly" Neal (born May 19, 1942 in Greensboro)
    • Jacques Dominique Wilkins (born in Paris on January 12, 1960; moved to Washington)
    • James Worthy (born February 27, 1961 in Gastonia)
  • Boxing
  • Football
    • Kelvin Bryant (born September 26, 1960 in Tarboro)
    • Roman Gabriel (born August 5, 1940 in Wilmington)
    • Charlie "Choo Choo" Justice  (born May 18, 1924 in Asheville)
    • Sonny Jurgenson (born August 23, 1934 in Wilmington)
    • Julius Peppers (born January 18, 1980 in Wilson)
  • Racing
  • Running
    • Marion Jones (born October 12, 1975, 1997 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
  • Soccer
    • Mia Hamm (born March 17, 1972 in Alabama)
  • Wrestling
    • Vince McMahon (born 1945 in Pinehurst) Chairman of the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)


  • Pulitzer Prize Winners
    • Paul Green (born 17 March 1894 in Lillington) Pulitzer Prize for Drama 1927
    • Hatcher Hughes (12 February 1881 in Polkville) Pulitzer Prize for Drama 1924
    • Vermont Royster (April 30, 1914-July 22, 1996, born in Raleigh) Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing 1953
    • Michael Skube (Raleigh News and Observer) Pulitzer Prize for Journalism- Criticism 1989
    • Claude Sitton (Raleigh News and Observer) Pulitzer Prize for Journalism- Commentary 1983
  • Writers
    • Maya Angelou (teaching at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem since 1991) Doris Betts (born June 4, 1932 in Statesville)
    • Orson Scott Card, sci-fi writer (moved to Greensboro in 1983)
    • Thomas Dixon (1864–1946, born in Shelby), author of Birth of a Nation
    • Charles Frazier (born November 4, 1950 in Asheville)
    • Kaye Gibbons (born May 10, 1960 in Nash County)
    • Allan Gurganus (born June 11, 1947 in Rocky Mount)
    • O. Henry (September 11, 1862– June 5, 1910, born in Greensboro)
    • Michael Malone (born in 1956 in Durham), author of comedic and mystery novels, and television writer
    • Jill McCorkle (July 7, 1958 in Lumberton)
    • David Payne (born 1955 in Henderson)
    • Reynolds Price (born February 1, 1933, Macon)
    • Guy Owen (born February 24, 1925–25 July 1981, born in Clarkton, Bladen County)
    • Tom Robbins (born 1936 in Blowing Rock), author of the bestselling novel Even Cowgirls Get The Blues and others
    • David Sedaris (born December 26, 1956, grew up in Raleigh sometime before 1968)
    • Betty Smith (lived in Chapel Hill from 1936-1971) wrote A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, 1943
    • Lee Smith (born in 1944, grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains)
    • Nicholas Sparks (lived in New Bern since 1996)
    • Timothy Tyson (born 1959 in Raleigh) author of Blood Done Sign My Name
    • Thomas Wolfe (October 3, 1900– September 15, 1938, born in Asheville)
  • Artists
    • Romare Bearden (1911–1988, born in Charlotte), African-American artist and writer
    • Harvey Littleton (born 1922, opened studio in 1976 in Spruce Pine) glass artist, founder of the American Studio Glass movement


  • Nobel Prize Winners
    • Daniel L. McFadden (born July 29, 1937 in Raleigh) The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences 2000
    • Kary B. Mullis (born December  28, 1944 in Lenoir) Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1993
    • Dr. Oliver Smithies (professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill since 1988) Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology 2007
    • Robert F. Furchgott (born June 4, 1916. 1937 B.S., Chemistry, University of North Carolina) Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1998
    • Peter Agre (UNC-CH Fellow, hematology/oncology, 1978-1981) Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2003
    • Martin Rodbell (Former UNC-CH adjunct professor) Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1994
    • Rudolph Marcus (UNC-CH post-doctoral fellow, 1951; UNC-CH faculty, 1951-1952) Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1992
    • Gertrude B. Elion and George H. Hitchings (adjunct professors at the UNC School of Medicine) Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, 1988


  • Religion
    • Billy Graham (born November 7, 1918 near Charlotte)
    • Anne Graham Lotz (born May 1948 in Montreat) daughter of Billy Graham
    • Franklin Graham (born July 14, 1952 near Asheville) son of Billy Graham
  • Military
    • Eugene Gray Payne, Major General, USMC. (graduate of North Carolina State University)
  • Astronauts
    • Michael J. Smith (April 30, 1945–January 28, 1986, born in Beaufort)
    • Dr. William Thornton, (born April 14, 1929 in Faison)
    • Dr. Ronald Ervin McNair, (October 21, 1950 – January 28, 1986; born in S.C; graduate of N.C. A &T University, 1971; physicist and astronaut, died in the Space Shuttle Challenger accident)
  • Miscellaneous
    • Caleb Bradham (1866–1934, born in New Bern) inventor of Pepsi-Cola
    • Oscar Scott Woody (April 15, 1868-April 15, 1912, born in Roxboro) Mail clerk on board the SS Titanic



Please add astronaut hall of fame Curtis l brown,born in elizabethtown nc and we are proud of him.


Hello earl,

Thank you for the information, we will look into adding him to the list.

Best Wishes,

Christopher - NC Government and Heritage Library


How about adding David Thompson, born 7/13/1954 in Shelby, NC? He played basketball at NC State and later played in both the ABA and the NBA. He is also in the Basketball Hall of Fame.


Thanks for the information!

Erin Bradford, Government and Heritage Library


Please consider adding:
Ronnie Bowman who was born William Franklin Bowman July 9th 1961 in Mt Airy. He is a professional singer,songwriter,musician,studio session vocalist and record producer. Has released 4 albums of his own appeard on dozens of others. He produced 2 albums for NC band The Steep Canyon Rangers and others. Has toured with Leeann Womack and Alan Jackson as a supporting vocalist and musician. Has won many awards from IBMA,BMI,BILLBOARD MAGAZINE and most recently an ACM award for song of the year "Nobody To Blame" by Chris Stapleton. Find his all of his info,bio and career music credits at ALLMUSIC.COM

Stuart Scott ESPN Sports anchorman (now deceased) from Winston-Salem
Thank you for your consideration.
Mike Sands


Please add Astronaut Ron McNair, N.C. A&T (Greensboro). Died in the Challenger disaster.


Dear Bill,

Thank you so much for visiting this entry and taking the time to suggest the inclusion of Dr. McNair.  I have added him to this list.

Best wishes,

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library


Please add these writers who live in Hillsborough: Allan Gurganus, Michael Malone, Lee Smith (born in Virginia), David Payne, Jill McCorkle. Thanks.


Great suggestions! We've added them to the list. Please let us know if there are any others we should add. Thanks for taking the time to post your suggestions to NCpedia!

Emily Horton, Government & Heritage Library, State Library of NC


You need to add country singer Eric Church to the list. He's from the Granite Falls area, Caldwell County.

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