Lincoln, NE

A Look at Some Famous People From Lincoln, NE

James Logie
Photo by Pieter van de Sande on Unsplash

Whether they were born here, moved here, or just passed through, several famous people have called Lincoln home.

This will just be a quick look at some of those people that you may, or may not know, spent time in Lincoln.

In a short list like this, it's impossible to include everyone and anyone left off is unintentional. This is also in no particular order, but just to give you a quick snapshot of the famous people connected to Lincoln.

Dick Cavett

The great Dick Cavett was one of the most prominent talk show hosts in TV history. He was born in Buffalo County, Nebraska, but would move to Lincoln when both his parents received teaching jobs.

Cavett spent time at Lincoln High School. From a young age, Cavett liked to entertain and helped run a Saturday morning radio show. He was also president of the student council.

Cavett attended Yale and spent time in theatre. He continued to develop his talent for radio production. He would direct several dramas for the school's radio station.

In 1960, Cavett was living in New York. He made an appearance in a few movies and TV shows. It was during this time that he started to write some jokes used by Jack Paar used on his Tonight Show monologues.

Cavett even appeared on The Tonight Show in a sketch. He then worked as a talent coordinator for the show. Cavett spent some time as a stand-up comic and also some work in commercials.

Cavett's first work in talk shows started in 1968 when he hosted This Morning on ABC. Eventually, the show would move to prime time and became The Dick Cavett Show. This was a very successful show and got him nominated for an Emmy Award ten different times.

Hilary Swank

The award-winning actress was born in Lincoln on July 30th, 1974. Swank's family would end up moving to Washington state and she was actually a very accomplished swimmer.

Swank competed in the Junior Olympics in swimming and was ranked 5th in the state of Washington. While she was swimming, she also had an interest in acting.

At the age of 9, she appeared in a school production of the Jungle Book. Despite her swimming accomplishments, it was acting that caught hold of Swank. This ended up with her moving to Los Angeles with her mother.

In 1992, Swank made her feature film debut appearing in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. One of her first big roles was in The Next Karate Kid which was part of the Karate Kid series.

She took a role on Beverly Hills 90210 and then gave one of the best performances of her career in Boys Don't Cry. This role won her an Academy Award and Golden Globe.

Dick Cheney

Dick Cheney was born in Lincoln, Nebraska on January 30th, 1941. Cheney grew up in Lincoln before the family moved to Wyoming. Cheney would spend some time attending Yale.

In 1966, he started to work as a staff aide for Governor Warren Knowles. A few years later, he would move to Washington. His political career would really begin in 1969. He was an intern for a congressman during the Nixon Administration.

Cheney would hold several positions over the years including deputy assistant to the president. He would serve under President Gerald Ford. Cheney also served as White House Chief of Staff.

Cheney was elected to represent Wyoming in 1978. Then, in 1987, he was elected chairman of the House Republican Conference. Cheney also served as House Minority Whip.

From 1989 to 1993, Cheney was the secretary of defense under George H.W. Bush. Cheney would go on to serve as Vice President from 2001 to 2009.

Ted Sorensen

You may not recognize the name, but you've definitely heard his words. Ted Sorensen was a writer, lawyer, and presidential advisor. The reason you have probably heard his words is that he wrote several speeches for John F. Kennedy.

Sorenson was born in Lincoln, on May 8, 1928. Like others on this list, he attended Lincoln High School and graduated in 1945. Sorensen then attended the University of Nebraska College of Law and graduated first in his class.

It didn't take long for his skills to make an impact. in 1953, at just 24 years old, Sorensen became chief legislative aide for John F. Kennedy. JFK was a Senator at the time and Sorenson would write many of his speeches.

In fact, most of the chapters in JFK's book, Profiles in Courage, were written by Sorensen. When Kennedy became president, Sorensen became his special counsel and main speechwriter.

Sorensen helped write one of the most famous inaugural addresses ever. This was the "ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."

Sorensen also crafted several other important speeches including the famous "We choose to go to the moon" speech which Kennedy delivered in 1962.

Sandy Dennis

Sandy Dennis was an Academy Award-winning actress who lived in Lincoln. She was born in Hastings, Nebraska, but grew up in Lincoln. She graduated from Lincoln High School in 1955. Dennis was classmates with Dick Cavett.

She attended the Unversity of Nebraska and started to appear in community theatre. When she was 19, Dennis moved to New York to study acting.

Her first big role--and television debut--was in 1956 when she appeared on Guiding Light. Dennis also appeared on Broadway with Warren Beatty.

Her time on Broadway won her a Tony Award for the play A Thousand Clowns. Dennis would then transition into the movies. One of her biggest roles was playing Honey in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

That role won Dennis an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. She appeared in several movies before getting back into television. and appeared on shows like The Love Boat, and Alfred Hitchock Presents.

Wrapping it Up

As mentioned, this is just a small sampling of the famous people that come from Lincoln, Nebraska. We couldn't include everyone, but it gives you an idea of the range of talent who has called the city home.

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Personal trainer, podcaster, Amazon best-selling author. Writing about some health, a little marketing, and a whole lot of 1980s.


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