Image via Flickr by Paul Miller
Chicago is a city known for its food, architecture, and sports fans. It’s a city that was built by the people who live there. Many successful people have come from Chicago, including artists, gangsters, public figures, actors, or sports players. Some were born there, and others have just lived there, but the one thing that they all have in common is they once called Chicago home.
The first is a man who brings a smile to your face. He is an artist recognized for his creativity and imagination. Best known for his drawings, Walt Disney was born in Chicago in 1901. Shortly after his birth, his family moved to Kansas City, Missouri. As he got older, his interest grew in art and drawing. In 1917, Walt moved back to Chicago and enrolled in McKinley High School. It was here that he took photos, drew pictures for the school paper, and studied cartooning.
Walt returned to Kansas City in 1919 and began work as a draftsman and inker in commercial art studios. This led to his early success. Walt started to learn cartooning through a correspondence school and later attended the Kansas City Art Institute and School of Design. In 1927, Walt introduced us to Mickey Mouse in one of the first cartoons with synchronized sound, named “Steamboat Willie.” This was the beginning of Walt’s success, and he went on to create iconic characters that are known around the world.
Walt created amusement parks and motion pictures for children of all ages. His imagination and energy, along with his creativity, have led him to be called one of the most successful industrialists in history.
Alphonse Gabriel Capone
A defining time in Chicago’s history was the 1920s, specifically the Prohibition Era. It was a time when everyone enjoyed jazz, drank gin from a bathtub, and mob bosses made the rules. One of the most famous crime bosses of the time was Al Capone, also known as “Scarface.”
Al Capone was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1899. Capone had a troubled childhood and dropped out of school in the sixth grade. He then became a member of a neighborhood gang, which led him to aspire to be a gangster, and by the age of 21, he had been involved in multiple violent crimes.
In 1919, Capone and his family moved to Chicago to work for crime boss Johnny Torrio. By 1925, Capone had worked his way up the crime ladder and became the #1 crime boss. From 1925-1931, Capone ran one of the largest illegal businesses in Chicago. In 1931, Capone was indicted for 22 counts of federal income-tax invasion. After being found guilty and serving his time, Capone retired to Florida.
Michael Jordan grew up with a loving family in Brooklyn, New York. His father introduced him to basketball on a court in the backyard. Michael played ball throughout his teen years and was accepted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he won the NCAA Division I Championship. In 1984, Jordan left college to enter the NBA.
Jordan began his basketball career when the Chicago Bulls drafted him in 1984. Jordan played with the Bulls for 13 seasons. During that time, he averaged 31.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game. He earned five MVP awards and six NBA trophies. Jordan’s name will forever be part of Chicago basketball.
Jordan retired from basketball in the fall of 2003. After playing for 19 years and retiring three times, he finally turned in his jersey for good. Jordan also played at the Olympic Games, was a spokesperson for Nike, starred in the major motion picture “Space Jam,” and played minor league baseball.
One of Hollywood’s leading men was born and raised in the Chicago area — he actually grew up in the Des Plaines suburb. In 1960, after graduating high school, Ford attended college in Wisconsin. He studied English and philosophy. By the mid-1960s, Ford and his future wife, Mary Marquardt, made their way to Hollywood.
Ford acted in small films but made his break when George Lucas discovered him for the 1973 drama “American Graffiti.” His breakthrough role was as Han Solo in “Star Wars” in 1977, the role that made Ford a star. He starred in many movies in the late 1970s-1980s, including the Indiana Jones Series, “Witness”, and “Blade Runner,” to name a few. By the early 2000s, Ford decided to decline offers and take fewer roles.
Ford has had many successes in both his personal and professional life. He currently resides on his ranch in Wyoming or at his home in Los Angeles.
Michelle LaVaughn Robinson was born on the South Side of Chicago. Raised in a close family, Michelle excelled in her education. She took accelerated classes and attended the city’s first magnet high school for gifted students. She attended Princeton University, majoring in sociology, and then completed her law degree at Harvard. Her first job was at Chicago firm Sidley Austin. This is where she met Barack Obama, her future husband. They were married in 1992.
Michelle left her corporate law position to work as an assistant to the mayor of Chicago. Michelle continued her public service work until 2007, when she was by her husband’s side during his campaign. When her husband faced a re-election campaign, Michelle traveled the country, giving speeches, and making public appearances.
Michelle Obama has volunteered countless hours to homeless shelters and other charities. In 2012, she initiated a new fitness program for kids as part of her Let’s Move program. Michelle is considered a strong role model for women and girls today. She is always a mother first, trying to create a normal, healthy life for her daughters.
In 2018, Michelle added author to her list of accomplishments. She wrote the book “Becoming,” telling of her roots and how a girl from the South Side found her voice. Michelle continues to volunteer and work with many charities today. She is part of our American history today, serving as the first African-American first lady.
Chicago is a metropolitan city that was shaped by the people who were born and raised there. The art, architecture, and atmosphere of Chicago are reflective of its people. At Pequod’s Pizza, we love to remember and honor those who have helped shape Chicago over the years.