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Famous People

Famous People from Des Moines


Des Moines, the charming capital of Iowa with a lot to offer, is currently home to roughly 215,000 people. Despite the modest population size, many outstanding people born or raised in Des Moines went on to lead admirable careers, signifying the promise the city offers to its great people. Nationally renowned athletes, authors, and actors have all gone through the ranks and risen to fame partially thanks to the rich culture and history of De Moines. This includes multiple MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL players, NASCAR drivers, Olympians, politicians, and TV-stars. In this post we direct the honor at a few of our most accomplished people who managed to go from humble beginnings to influencing the whole world.


Cloris Leachman (April 30, 1926)


This name likely won’t ring a bell for the younger generations today, but during her most prolific period in the ’70s, the actress/comedian was one of the US’s biggest TV-stars. Cloris won 8 Primetime Emmy Awards out of 22 nominations, making her their most acclaimed actress (together with Julia Louis-Dreyfus). She also boasts an Academy Award plus a Golden Globe Award.


Shawn Johnson East (January 19, 1992)


Shawn is a gymnast who won a gold medal in balance beam at the Beijing Olympics 2008, together with three additional silver medals. This well-liked person took the gymnast world by storm before being forced to retire at only 20 years of age because of a knee injury.


Steve Higgins (August 13, 1963)


This writer/producer has received a handful of Emmy nominations thanks to outstanding writing for comedy series and programs. His most known work is writing and producing for SNL and announcing on “The Tonight Show” starring Jimmy Fallon.


Slipknot (1995)


Technically, Slipknot is a band that has contained 15 members throughout the years. Since a majority of them were born in De Moines, and because the heavy metal outfit racked up 10 Grammy nominations and one award, we had to include them.


Gabby Douglas (December 31, 1995)


Gabby was born elsewhere, but the historic former gymnast came to De Moines as a young teen and her career skyrocketed. She is the first African American to become the Olympic individual all-around champion.


Edna May Griffin (1909 – February 8, 2000)


Edna was a civil rights activist from Kentucky who successfully pushed the State of Iowa to illegalize service-refusal based on race when she lived in De Moines.


Ben Silbermann (July 14, 1982)


This billionaire entrepreneur is co-founder and currently CEO of Pinterest.


Brandon Routh (October 9, 1979)


This actor is best known for starring as Superman in the “Superman Returns” movie and as The Atom in multiple interconnected TV-series.


Harrison Barnes (May 30, 1992)


Already established as an NBA star following an ACC Rookie of the Year award in 2011, NBA Champion in 2015 and Olympic champion the following year with the national team, Barnes still has a bright future ahead of him. 

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