When it comes to famous people who have lived in Philadelphia, the city certainly has a wide variety of interesting people. Where else but Philadelphia could you be talking about Ben Franklin and Dick Clark in the same breath? Both of them are very famous former residents. They have a lot of company.
Probably the best known of all the former residents is Ben Franklin. Though he is not a native son, he was born in Boston, he spent much of his adult life in Philadelphia. The house that he shared with his wife Deborah and two children no longer exists however there are remnants of it still available to see. You can peer into his cistern and even though that doesn’t sound very exciting everyone does it anyway.
If you take the Lights of Liberty Tour you will see the outline of what they think his former house may have looked like lighting up the evening sky. There is a museum adjacent to the former house site where you can familiarize yourself with both his life and his inventions. He was quite a prodigious inventor as well as quite the ladies man. A man of many talents and many charms, Philadelphia is proud to claim him as their own.
One of Philadelphia most famous residents ever was a woman whose claim to fame is that her descendants remember a story about her making a flag for General George Washington. During her life time she was a very hard working woman who ran an upholstery business and raised children. The legends about her didn’t begin until after her death, Today her house is a must visit for anyone who visits Philadelphia. Her name was Betsy Ross.
Another native born Philadelphian who has a claim to fame is Katherine Drexel, canonized as a saint in the Catholic Church in 1988. It was her work among the native Americans and the blacks that made her one of only a hand full of American born saints. Katherine was born in 1858 into a wealthy and influential family. During her lifetime, she spent 20 million dollars of her own money funding the programs dearest to her heart.
On October 1, 1952 a show debuted in Philadelphia that would change the face of music in America forever. Originally called Bob Horn’s Bandstand, it was with a new name “American Bandstand” and a new host Dick Clark that it really took off. Every teen in America wanted to be on that show and hear the local Philadelphia talent. Famous alumni include Fabian, Chubby Checker, Bobby Rydell, Bill Haley and the Comets, Frankie Avalon and James Darren.
Philadelphia has continued to produce some of the most famous singers and musicians in the world including Pink, Patti LaBelle, Jim Croce, Mario Lanza and Eddie Fisher
From the Hollywood scene famous Philadelphians include the gorgeous Princess of Monaco, Grace Kelly, acting legends Lionel, John and Ethel Barrymore, W.C. Fields, Jack Klugman, Kevin Bacon, Richard Geer, Will Smith, Bill Cosby and Kim Delaney.
From the world of sports boxers Joe Frazier and Sonny Liston, Basketball can thank Philly for Wilt “the Stilt” Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant and Julius Erving.
Authors James Michener and Louisa May Alcott were both born in Philadelphia. Still among the arts, we have sculptor Alexander Calder, Thomas Eakins and Andrew Wyeth. Edgar Allen Poe also spent some of the most prolific years of his career in Philadelphia and though he lived in several houses. Only one has survived and can still be visited.
I am sure that even as we speak, there are young Philadelphians about to make their mark in the world. This city has and will continue to produce an amazing array of talent. No doubt there will be many additions to the famous people who call Philadelphia home.
I have been an Internet writer for more than 16 years. While I specialize in travel, I write on a variety of subjects. I love genealogy, food, and fashion. I have 10 grandchildren so family travel is something we often do.