As a city, Indianapolis has made its mark on history. As the state capital of Indiana and home to one of our most well known sports teams (the Colts), it is no surprise that famous people have called this place home at some point in their lives. Here are just a few:
– John Dillinger, a famous gangster who was gunned down by the FBI in 1934 after robbing several banks and making national headlines. He is buried at Crown Hill Cemetery on Indianapolis’ north side.
– David Letterman, talk show host of The Late Show with David Letterman for 33 years from 1982 to 2015 as well as numerous other television programs during his storied career. In 1993 he began living part time in Montana but still owns property within city limits including a house along the White River between Meridian Hills and Broad Ripple neighborhoods which he purchased in 1998.
– James Dean lived here briefly while attending school at University High School before dropping out due to conflicts that arose with his stepfather over him wanting to become an actor. Today, the school is known as Broad Ripple High School and it features a small memorial to him on its grounds next to his sister’s gravesite.
– Wilbur Shaw was born in Shelbyville but moved with family to Indianapolis at age 12 where he quickly became involved with race car driving earning himself three wins of the Indy 500 before dying suddenly during practice laps for the 1939 running of that same race (he had won previously back in 1937). A museum dedicated to his career is located within Speedway, Indiana near IMS.
– Kurt Vonnegut Jr., author most famous for writing Slaughterhouse Five (1969) also lived here briefly after returning from WWII until moving westward again due to clashes between him and many fellow veterans. He came back to visit numerous times and is buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis where he died suddenly of a heart attack.
– William Henry Harrison was born here as well as his grandson Benjamin (the only president to be elected from Indiana). His father, grandfather and great-grandfather all served terms as the Governor of Virginia before him but it would not stop him from being elected President of The United States in 1840 when he became ill with pneumonia during his inaugural address, passing away after 32 days in office. In 1841 his body was reinterred on its way westward along the National Road which ran through Shelbyville near North Salem Elementary School until they stopped making that road due to concerns about local bridges built decades earlier.
Additionally, actors Steve McQueen, Gene Hackman and David Hasselhoff have attended high school here for a time as well.
Lastly, the first man to walk on the moon, astronaut Neil Armstrong also lived here for a time after graduating from Purdue University in 1955 before working as an engineer with NACA (predecessor of NASA). He moved back into his family home in Ohio when he was selected by NASA and remains there today.
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