5 Famous People from Wisconsin

When thinking of famous people from Wisconsin, you may think of Mark Ruffalo or Colin Kapernick; however, "The Badger State” is home to some historically famous folks.

Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957)

Born in Pepin County, Ingalls Wilder grew up to be a farmer, teacher, and writer. Although she moved to Kansas at a young age, her family eventually moved back to Pepin, which inspired the setting for her first book, Little House in the Big Woods. Fun fact: Laura Ingalls Wilder was a descendant of the family of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

John Fiedler (1925-2005)

You might not recognize his name, but you’re probably familiar with the beloved character Fielder voiced: Piglet from Winnie the Pooh. Fiedler was born in Platteville, Wisconsin, and after serving in the Navy, he moved to New York City to start acting. His 55-year career included him starring in 12 Angry Men, A Raisin in the Sun and The Bob Newhart Show

Gene Wilder (1933-2016)

Wilder was born Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and began acting at the age of eight, when his mother (diagnosed with rheumatic fever) asked him to try to make her laugh. Wilder was known for his iconic portrayal of Willy Wonka in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and starred in Silver Streak, Blazing Saddles, and Another You. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his work in The Producers and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay for co-writing Young Frankenstein.

Chris Gardner (1954-present)

Also from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Gardner is a self-made millionaire, motivational speaker and philanthropist. While raising his toddler son, Gardner struggled with homelessness, but eventually founded his own brokerage firm, Gardner Rich & Co. Gardner recorded his life-changing experience in a memoir, The Pursuit of Happyness, which became a movie starring Will Smith. 

Danica Patrick (1982-present)

Partick is a former professional racing driver that was born in Beloit, Wisconsin. She began karting at Sugar River Raceway in Brodhead, Wisconsin, and is the most successful woman in the history of American open-wheel racing. She was the first woman to win a Cup Series pole position in the 2013 Daytona 500 (by setting the fastest qualifying lap) and at the 2008 Indy Japan 300, she became the first woman to win a race in the history of top-level American open-wheel racing.

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