Bert Gordon

Bert Gordon
Filmmaker Birthplace: Kenosha, WI You Know Him As: Director of the classic B-horror flick “The Amazing Colossal Man.” Did you know?: Bert Ira Gordon (born September 24, 1922 in Kenosha) is an American film director most famous for such science fiction and horror B-movies as “The Amazing Colossal Man” and “Village of the Giants.” At the age of nine, Gordon began making home movies in 16mm. After being educated at the University of Wisconsin, Gordon began his work in show-biz doing television commercials in the early days of the medium. He soon moved on to film, specializing in “gimmick” movies, usually involving giants or gigantic animals. His first two films, “King Dinosaur” (1955) and “Beginning of the End” (1957), were fairly crude even by the standards of the mid ’50s, involving giant lizards and locusts. Most of Gordon’s work is in the idiom of giant monster films, for which he... More

Katie Cleary

Katie Cleary
Model Birthplace: Glenview, Illinois You Know Her As: A model who carries the #11 briefcase on the TV game show, “Deal or No Deal.” She also was in the first season of the reality TV show, “America’s Next Top Model.” Did you know?: Cleary attended Carthage College in Kenosha and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Marketing in 2004. On Sept. 21, 1981, Katie Cleary was born in Glenview, IL, a suburb of Chicago. An only child, she was raised by her mother and lived with two cats; her father and grandparents were close by and were important to her life. Cleary gained much strength and confidence from her mother’s hard work, love and determination. “If it wasn’t for my mother’s support and strength, I would never have the drive to do what I am doing today,” says Cleary on her web site. Since she was small, Cleary dreamed... More

Jim Bittermann

Jim Bittermann
Journalist Born in:Waukegan, IL You Know Him From: CNN Did You Know?:Jim Bittermann is Senior European correspondent for CNN since 1996. Bittermann graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Southern Illinois University in 1970 and began in print journalism from 1969 to 1970 as a reporter for the Waukegan News-Sun in Waukegan, Illinois. His television career began at WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee from 1970 to 1972. From 1972 to 1973 he worked at WQED-TV in Pittsburgh and 1973 to 1975 he was as a reporter for WKYC-TV in Cleveland, Ohio. Bittermann was with CBC News as a Toronto-based correspondent and producer for the broadcaster’s newsmagazine from 1975 to 1978. From 1978-1990, he was a European correspondent for NBC News. Based in Rome from 1978–1979, he covered two Papal transitions and the travels of Pope John Paul II. From 1980-1990, he was based in Paris. While there, he reported on many... More

Charles Siebert

Charles Siebert
Director/Actor Birthplace: Kenosha, WI You Know Him As: Doctor Stanley Riverside II from the TV drama “Trapper John MD” and director of various TV shows, including “Xena, Warrior Princess.” Did you know?: Charles Siebert has appeared on TV crime shows like “Murder, She Wrote,” “Matlock” and “Perry Mason.” Charles Siebert was born on March 9, 1938, in Kenosha- the eldest of four sons to Donald and Hannah (Rosenblum) Siebert. Siebert pursued higher education at Marquette University in Milwaukee, to get a degree in journalism. But he realized journalism wasn’t the right path for him. When trying to decide upon a new subject to study, Siebert paged through a course catalog for the school. From this random act, he stumbled upon the course, “Acting 1.” “Out of nowhere I suddenly had a purpose and tremendous energy …we ran a semi-professional theatre, and I was devoting 50 weeks a year, seven days... More

Jim Rygiel

Jim Rygiel
Visual Effects Artist Birthplace: Kenosha, WI You Know Him As: Visual effects supervisor of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Did you know?: Both Jim Rygiel and his wife, Theresa Ellis Rygiel, have earned Clio awards for excellence in advertising and design. On December 31, 1969, Jim Rygiel was born in Kenosha to parents Betty and Ed. Ed Rygiel worked at American Motors in Kenosha for 30 years “and got out of there just before they shut it down,” said Rygiel to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, he probably was going to work there too until, “I walked into the place, took the tour and walked out with a headache. I never went back.” While still young, Rygiel realized that he would need to take chances if he wished to do something other than farming or factory work, so, he followed his imagination. As a child, Rygiel “watched TV until my... More

Jeff Cesario

Jeff Cesario
Comedy Writer/Producer/Actor Birthplace: Kenosha, WI You Know Him For: Writer for The Larry Sanders Show & The Marriage Ref Jeff Cesario was born into an Italian family in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Growing up, the youngest of three sons, Cesario was a very talented drummer. After graduating from Mary D. Bradford High School class of ’07, Cesario denied a musical scholarship to Northwestern University and   decided to attend University of Wisconsin- Madison. At Madison, Jeff composed for Jazz bands and marching bands. After getting a degree in communications, Cesario tried the competitive career of feature sports writing. Eventually, comedy caught Jeff’s attention and seemed to be the perfect mix of skills he enjoyed! To prep for his possible comedic career, Cesario kept a folder of jokes quoted from other comedians that he would later spice up and personalize in his own way. In 1977 while on vacation in Hollywood, Cesario made... More

Laura Kaeppeler

Laura Kaeppeler
Beauty Pageant titleholder Born In:Kenosha, WI You Know Her As:Miss America 2012 Did You Know?Laura Marie Kaeppeler (born March 2, 1988) is an American beauty pageant titleholder crowned Miss America 2012 on January 14, 2012, representing the state of Wisconsin. Kaeppeler was the first woman representing Wisconsin to win Miss America since Terry Anne Meeuwsen won in 1973. Kaeppeler, was born to Jeff and Sue Kaeppeler in Kenosha, Wisconsin. She attended St. Joseph High School and Carthage College, where she graduated in 2010 with a degree in music. Kaeppeler received a $2000 scholarship for winning a Preliminary Talent award with her rendition of the Luigi Arditi waltz “Il Bacio”. In the swimsuit competition, she wore a white bikini. When asked if beauty queens should declare their political viewpoint, she answered, “Miss America represents everyone, so I think the message to political candidates is that they represent everyone as well. And... More

Michael Feldman

Michael Feldman
Radio Personality Birthplace: Milwaukee, WI You Know Him As: Host of Public Radio’s “Whad’ya know?” program. Did you know?: Michael Feldman taught briefly at both Tremper High School and Reuther High School in Kenosha. Michael Feldman was born in 1950 in Milwaukee to David and Geraldine Feldman, the youngest of four sons. He made his radio debut in 1965 when his winning essay earned him an appearance on a radio program in Milwaukee. Feldman was the only child in his family not to have achieved a degree in medicine or law to fall back on. Instead, he graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1970 with a degree in English. After graduation, he had no idea what to do with his degree, so he decided to try education and accordingly pursued a teaching degree. By 1971 he had a position at Tremper High School in Kenosha as an English teacher.... More

Irving Wallace

Irving Wallace
Author Birthplace: Chicago, Il You Know Him As: Author of best-selling books “The Chapman Report” (1960), “The Prize” (1963) and “The Fan Club” (1974). Did you know?:His daughter, Amy Wallace, was the longtime lover of Carlos Castaneda, who was famous for writing several books detailing personal accounts of training in Native American shamanism with Don Juan Matus. She would eventually write a book about her 27 years with Castenada, released after his death, entitled “Sorcerer’s Apprentice: My Life With Carlos Castaneda” (2003). On March 19, 1916, Irving Wallace was born to Bessie Liss and Alexander Wallace, a clerk in a general store in Chicago, Ill. Both of his parents were born in Russia and emigrated to the United States in their teens. Instead of in his birth city, however, Wallace grew up 65 miles to the north in Kenosha. Wallace might have developed his passion for writing and reading from... More

Kevin J. Anderson

Kevin J. Anderson
Sci-Fi Author Birthplace:Racine, WI You Know Him From: Writer of many Star Wars and Dune spin-off novels. Did You Know?:Kevin J. Anderson was born March 27, 1962 in Racine, Wisconsin. He is an American science fiction author with over forty bestsellers. He has written spin-off novels for Star Wars, StarCraft, &!@*#an A.E., and The X-Files, and with Brian Herbert is the co-author of the Dune prequels. His original works include the Saga of Seven Suns series and the Nebula Award-nominated Assemblers of Infinity. He has also written several comic books including the Dark Horse Star Wars collection Tales of the Jedi written in collaboration with Tom Veitch, Predator &!@*#les (also for Dark Horse), and X-Files &!@*#les for Topps. Some of Anderson’s superhero novels include Enemies & Allies, about the first meeting of Batman and Superman, and The Last Days of Krypton, telling the story of how Krypton came to be... More
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