Mork from Ork and other famous Chicagoans

From the Saturday, Aug. 16, editions of The Daily Journal (Kankakee, Ill.) and The Times (Ottawa, Ill.) …

mork_350_092712The WISCH LIST

By Dave Wischnowsky

Today, Chicago is home to 2.7 million people. Over the decades, it’s been the birthplace of many more – some of them quite famous, although their Windy City roots may not be as nearly well known as they are.

Earlier this week, when the news broke that beloved comedian and actor Robin Williams had died from an apparent suicide, it came as a shock. But what also came as a surprise to me was that Williams was born in 1951 at St. Luke’s Hospital in Chicago, a fact that, if I’d ever known it, I’d long since forgotten.

Curious, I did some digging this week about other famous actors who hail from Chicago, and here are a few of the most interesting ones.

Tom Bosley

Best known for portraying a character that lived in Milwaukee, the man behind “Howard Cunningham” of “Happy Days” fame was actually from Chicago.

Born Oct. 1, 1927 to Jewish parents Dora and Benjamin Bosley, Tom attended DePaul University in Lincoln Park, where in 1947 he made his stage debut in “Our Town” with the Canterbury Players of the Fine Arts Theatre.

Harrison Ford

Born July 13, 1942, at Chicago’s Swedish Covenant Hospital, Ford’s mother, Dorothy, was a former radio actress, while his father Christopher was an advertising executive and former actor.

In 1960, Harrison graduated from Maine East High School in Park Ridge, where he was the first student voice broadcast on the school’s new radio station, WMTH.

Karl Malden

During his seven-decade film and television career, Malden memorably played Lt. Mike Stone on the 1970s crime drama “The Streets of San Francisco” and was the longtime spokesman for American Express.

He also was born as Mladen Sekulovich on March 22, 1912, in Chicago to Serbian parents, who raised him in Gary, Ind. After changing his name in 1934, Malden moved to Chicago to pursue formal dramatic training at the Goodman School then associated with Goodman Theater.

Bob Newhart

Born and raised in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood, Newhart’s parents were Julia, a housewife, and George, the co-owner of a plumbing and heating supply business.

After graduating from St. Ignatius College Prep in 1947, Newhart enrolled at Chicago’s Loyola University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business management.

Frances McDormand

She made a name for herself by playing the savvy police chief Marge Gunderson with the funny accent in the 1996 dark comedy “Fargo,” but long before then McDormand was born in Chicago on June 23,1957.

As an infant, Frances was adopted by Noreen and Vernon McDormand, a Disciples of Christ pastor who specialized in restoring congregations and ultimately moved the family to small towns around the country. Frances has said that her biological mother may have been one of the parishioners at Vernon’s church.

John C. Reilly

Perhaps best known for playing Will Ferrell’s dim-witted sidekick in the goofy buddy films “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” and “Step Brothers,” Reilly is a native of Chicago.

Born on May 24, 1965, as the fifth of six children to a father who ran in industrial linen supply company, Reilly attended Brother Rice High School on Chicago’s South Side and is an alumnus of DePaul.

Raquel Welch

Born in Chicago as Jo Raquel Tejada on Sept. 5, 1940, Welch’s father was an aeronautical engineer from La Paz, Boliivia, while her mother was the daughter of prominent architect and Urbana native Emery Stanford Hall.

As a teen, Raquel’s family moved to southern California, where she eventually won the title of Miss Fairest of the Fair at the San Diego County Fair and went on to have a bit of Hollywood fame from there.

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