Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Factory of Fame

Posted November 18, 2009

If North Carolina has a factory of fame it would have to be Wilmington. What in the world is in the water down there?

This week on WRAL’s Morning News on Fox 50 we have been saluting NC towns with famous residents. Wilmington has a wealth of celebrities.

Take a look at Wilmington’s list. Can you think of another town to beat it? Consider the following:

Though he was born in Brooklyn basketball superstar Michael Jordan grew up in the Port City.

Two of the greatest broadcast journalists of the 20th century were born in Wilmington: Charles Kuralt and David Brinkley.

Two NFL quarterback greats came out of Wilmington: Sonny Jurgenson and Roman Gabriel.

Harlem Globetrotters great Meadowlark Lemon was raised in Wilmington.

And Wilmington was also home to boxing champion Sugar Ray Leonard.


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  • da_man Nov 24, 2009

    Lots of greats for sure. I'd like to mention my town of Asheville too. It's sports celebs born or raised here include Roy Williams, Charlie Justice, Brad Johnson, Brad Daugherty, Robert Pressley, etc. Actors/singers born or living here or spent a large part of their life here include Andie McDowell, Harry Anderson, Eileen Fulton, Shirley Hemphill, Roberta Flack, Warren Haynes and Artimus Pyle. Writers include Thomas Wolfe and F.Scott Fitzgerald. While George Vanderbilt of Vanderbilt fame was from New York, he lived most of his life at his famous Biltmore estate that he constructed here. Robert Morgan, Pilot of the Memphis Belle was from Asheville as well as Robert Moog who invented the Moog synthesizer. And Billy Graham still resides just outside of Asheville today. Lots of wonderful towns and great people throughout our great state.

  • bleslie Nov 18, 2009

    wufpack49 - thanks for the correction!

  • wufpack49 Nov 18, 2009

    Sorry Bill, but I believe Catfish was born in the town of Hertford which is in Perquimans County

  • 2thebeach Nov 18, 2009

    CSA General William McRae was from Wilmington.

  • bleslie Nov 18, 2009

    Yes, Charlie Daniels was born in Wilmington. Catfish Hunter grew up in Hertford County.

  • UNCfuturealumi Nov 18, 2009

    What about 'Catfish Hunter'? I am not sure about that, but seems it is the area to me..

  • maeveduir Nov 18, 2009

    wasn't charlie daniels born there too?

  • harnettcounty Nov 18, 2009

    How about Kristen Dalton who just gave up the title of Miss USA?

  • bleslie Nov 18, 2009

    Excellent adds. Thanks!

  • no more - no less Nov 18, 2009

    You can also add Dr. Jim Goodnight to the list.




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