21 Famous People from El Paso
Interested to know the most famous people from El Paso? Or the biggest celebrities who were born in El Paso, Texas?
El Paso has produced a wealth of talented and accomplished individuals who have made a name for themselves in various fields. From actors, authors and musicians to athletes and politicians, the city has been home to an array of noteworthy figures who have left an indelible mark on their respective industries.
Ads are how we pay our bills and keep our blog free for you to enjoy. We also use affiliate links; if you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no cost to you.
Some of the most famous individuals from El Paso include Debbie Reynolds, Vikki Carr, John Cameron Mitchell, Lydia Cornell, and many others. These individuals have demonstrated a level of talent and perseverance that have not only made them successful, but also serve as an inspiration to others from their hometown and beyond.
Their stories and accomplishments serve as a testament to the enduring spirit and talent of the people of El Paso.
Famous People Born in El Paso, Texas
There are several famous people and celebrities who were either born in or have strong ties to El Paso, Texas. Here are a few of our favorite success stories!
These are 21 people you may not know are from El Paso. We also have 28 Things You Probably Don’t know about El Paso, Texas.
Sandra Day O’Connor
Sandra Day O’Connor was the first woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court. She was both the first woman nominated and the first confirmed to the court She was born in El Paso in 1930 and grew up on a ranch in Arizona.
Patrick Graham Forrester
Patrick Graham Forrester, born in El Paso, is a retired United States Army colonel, Army aviator, and a NASA astronaut. He served as Chief of the Astronaut Office and flew on three Space Shuttle missions, including STS-105, STS-117, and STS-128.
Oscar Zeta Acosta
Oscar “Zeta” Acosta Fierro, an American attorney, activist, novelist, and politician, was born in El Paso, Texas on April 8, 1935. He was an important figure in the Chicano Movement and known for his friendship with author Hunter S. Thompson.
Acosta is most famous for his novels Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo and The Revolt of the Cockroach People. Although he disappeared during a trip to Mexico in 1974 and is presumed dead, his legacy and impact on Chicano literature and politics continue to be celebrated today.
Aileen Mehle, born in El Paso in 1918, was an American society columnist known by the pen name Suzy or Suzy Knickerbocker. She had an illustrious career in journalism spanning over five decades and her column was syndicated to 100 newspapers including the New York Daily News, the Washington Post, and the Chicago Tribune, reaching over 30 million readers.
Susana Martinez, born in El Paso, Texas, is a notable American politician and attorney who made history as the first female Governor of New Mexico and the first Hispanic female governor in the United States. Martinez served as the 31st governor of New Mexico from 2011 to 2019 and was also the chair of the Republican Governors Association from 2015 to 2016.
Famous Actors from El Paso
El Paso, Texas has been the birthplace and hometown of many successful actors, who have left their mark in the film and television industry. Here are a few of the most notable.
Debbie Reynolds was an actress, singer, and dancer who was born in El Paso in 1932. She appeared in many films, including “Singin’ in the Rain,” and was also a popular nightclub performer and recording artist.
Gene Roddenberry: Gene Roddenberry was the creator of the popular science fiction television series “Star Trek.” He was born in El Paso in 1921 and later attended high school in Los Angeles.
Throughout her career, Vikki has won three Grammy Awards and was bestowed with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 9th Annual Latin Grammy Awards in 2008. With her unique voice and musical style, Vikki Carr has become a beloved figure in the music industry and continues to inspire generations of fans around the world.
Judith Ivey, a veteran stage actress, was born in El Paso, Texas and is known for her impressive career in entertainment. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including two Tony Awards. Her first Tony win was for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her performances in Steaming (1983), followed by a win for Hurlyburly (1985).
While Ivey’s television and film career spans over four decades, she is perhaps best known for her portrayal of Texan B.J. Poteet in the popular show Designing Women (1986), a role she took on for a one-year run after replacing Julia Duffy.
Irene Ryan, a talented actress with a diverse background in vaudeville, radio, and film, was born in El Paso, Texas in 1902. Despite her impressive resume, Ryan wasn’t yet a household name until she landed the iconic role of Granny on the hit television show The Beverly Hillbillies.
Ryan’s comedic timing and natural charm quickly made her a fan favorite and propelled her to overnight fame. In addition to her television work, Ryan also accompanied legendary entertainer Bob Hope on his famous military tours, earning a reputation as “the gal who makes Bob Hope laugh.”
Lydia Cornell, an award winning actress, was born in El Paso and has made a name for herself in the entertainment industry. Her breakout role came on the hit ABC series “Too Close for Comfort,” where she played the daughter of legendary actor Ted Knight’s character. The show was a massive success during its prime time slot on ABC, and even more in worldwide syndication.
Cornell’s performance on the show earned her a Best Actress nomination at the AFI Method Fest and a People’s Choice Award win. In addition to her television work, Cornell has appeared in over 200 shows and films in 27 countries, showcasing her talent on a global stage. More recently, she has been seen on hit shows like HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm and Variety’s Power of Comedy, as well as on the Kelsey Grammer Comedy Hour.
John Cameron Mitchell
Born on April 21, 1963, in El Paso, Texas, John Cameron Mitchell is a multifaceted artist known for his work as an actor and writer. He is perhaps best known for his iconic role in the 2001 film Hedwig and the Angry Inch, where he played the lead character and received critical acclaim for his performance.
Mitchell also wrote and directed the film adaptation of the stage production, further cementing his reputation as a talented artist. In addition to his work on Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Mitchell has also gained recognition for his performances in other films such as Shortbus (2006) and How to Talk to Girls at Parties (2017).
His unique perspective and artistic vision continue to inspire and captivate audiences around the world.
Tucker is an actor most known for his role in Rogue One Star Wars Story. Alan Tudyk, a celebrated actor and voice artist, originally hails from El Paso, Texas, but spent most of his formative years in Plano.
Musicians Born in or From El Paso, Texas
El Paso, Texas has produced a number of notable musicians across various genres. From rock to country, these musicians have left their mark on the music industry with their talent and unique style.
Vikki Carr, born as Florencia Vicenta de Casillas-Martínez Cardona on July 19, 1940, is a renowned American singer known for her exceptional vocal talent that has spanned over four decades.
Born in El Paso, Texas, Vikki has a diverse musical background that ranges from pop and jazz to country, but it is her Spanish-language performances that have brought her the most success.
James David Ward
James David Ward, an accomplished musician, was born in El Paso, Texas. He is known for his exceptional skills as a self-taught guitarist and pianist.
Ward is the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist for the popular band Sparta, and he co-founded the influential post-hardcore band At the Drive-In at just 17 years old in 1993. With his innovative style and unique approach to music, Ward has become a prominent figure in the world of rock music.
Matt Miller also from the post-hardcore band Sparta, was also born in El Paso, Texas. He is a highly talented musician who plays bass for Sparta. He has been an integral part of the band’s success and has played a pivotal role in shaping their unique sound.
Matt’s passion for music started at an early age, and he has since honed his skills and become a highly skilled bassist. Apart from his work with Sparta, he has also collaborated with other notable artists and contributed to various music projects.
Khalid Donnel Robinson, known mononymously as Khalid, is a Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter. He was born in Fort Stewart, Georgia but moved to El Paso with his family during his high school years. He attended Americas High School and began making music while living in El Paso.
More Famous People from El Paso or Who Called El Paso Home
Cormac McCarthy is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author who was born in Providence, Rhode Island, but spent much of his childhood in El Paso. Many of his novels, including “All the Pretty Horses” and “No Country for Old Men,” are set in the American Southwest.
Eddie Guerrero was a professional wrestler who was born in El Paso in 1967. He was a popular wrestler in the WWE and was known for his high-flying moves and his catchphrase, “Latino Heat.”
Tony Lama was a famous bootmaker and entrepreneur who founded the Tony Lama Boot Company. He was born in Syracuse, New York, but moved to El Paso with his family when he was a child. The company he founded in El Paso has become one of the most iconic boot brands in the United States.
Jim Ward is a musician who is best known as the lead guitarist and co-vocalist of the band Sparta. He was also a founding member of the influential post-hardcore band At the Drive-In, which formed in El Paso in the 1990s.
Don Haskins was a legendary college basketball coach who led the Texas Western College (now the University of Texas at El Paso) men’s basketball team to a national championship in 1966. He was known for his commitment to recruiting and developing African American players, and his team’s victory in the championship game is considered a watershed moment in the history of college sports.
Fergie Olver is a former television sportscaster who got his start in El Paso. He went on to become a prominent sports broadcaster in Canada, where he hosted several popular shows and covered major sporting events like the Olympics and the Super Bowl.
Wrapping it up!
El Paso has been home to many accomplished individuals across various fields. From astronauts and musicians to writers and politicians, El Paso has produced some of the most notable figures in American history.
These people have left a lasting impact not only in El Paso but also in the rest of the world, with their contributions in the fields of art, science, politics, and entertainment. The city’s rich cultural heritage and diversity have undoubtedly played a role in shaping the lives and careers of these famous El Pasoans.
Their legacies continue to inspire new generations and remind us of the potential for greatness within us all.