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

Florence Parry Heide

Florence Parry Heide
Hometown: Kenosha, WI You Know Her From: Children’s books such as The Shrinking of Treehorn, Some Things Are Scary, That’s What Friends Are For Florence Parry Heide was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on February 27, 1919. Her father was David W. Parry, a banker, and her mother was Florence Fisher, a columnist and actress. During her childhood years, Florence was educated at the Ellis School in Pittsburgh. She then studied at Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, and after two years she transferred to University of California at Los Angeles, where she eventually graduated in 1939. At the UCLA, she earned her B.A. in English. Florence worked in advertising and public relations in New York City before she returned to her hometown during World War II. She met Captain Donald C. Heide in October, 1943. He would later become her husband when they were married six weeks later, on November 27,... More

Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury
Birthplace: Waukegan, Il You Know Him As: An American novelist who wrote such books as “Fahrenheit 451” and “The Martian Chronicles” Did you know?: Ray Bradbury has never driven a car before. He told Playboy in an interview, “When I was 16, I saw six people die horribly in an accident. I walked home holding on to walls and trees. It took me months to begin to function again. So I don’t drive.” Bradbury also distrusts airplanes, the internet, computers and ATM machines. On Aug. 22, 1920, Ray Douglas Bradbury was the third son born to Leonard Spaulding Bradbury (a power/telephone lineman) and Esther Marie Moberg Bradbury (a Swedish immigrant) in Waukegan, Ill. From the time he was six until he was 12, Ray Bradbury and his family moved back and forth between Waukegan and Tucson, Ariz. because it was hard for his father to find work during the Depression. They... More

Ben Hecht

Ben Hecht
Screenwriter, novelist Grew Up In: Racine, WI You Know Him As: The Shakespeare of Hollywood Did you know?: Ben Hecht won an Academy Award for best original story (“Underworld”) at the very first Oscar ceremony in 1929. Ben Hecht (1894–1964) was an American screenwriter, director, producer, playwright, and novelist. Called “the Shakespeare of Hollywood”, he received screen credits, alone or in collaboration, for the stories or screenplays of some seventy films and as a prolific storyteller, authored thirty-five books and created some of the most entertaining screenplays and plays in America. Film historian Richard Corliss called him “the” Hollywood screenwriter, someone who “personified Hollywood itself.” The Dictionary of Literary Biography – American Screenwriters calls him “one of the most successful screenwriters in the history of motion pictures.” The family moved to Racine, Wisconsin, when Hecht was young, where he attended local schools. In his career, he is known to have... More

Kevin Henkes

Kevin Henkes
Children’s Book Author Birthplace:Racine, WI You Know Him From:You might have read “Kitten’s First Full Moon” to your children. Did You Know?:Kevin Henkes (pronounced HANK-us) was born on November 27, 1960 in Racine and is an American writer and illustrator of children’s books. He won the Caldecott Medal for U.S. picture book illustration, recognizing his first published work, “Kitten’s First Full Moon” (2004). As a writer he has been a runner-up for the companion Newbery Medal. Kevin Henkes thought he would be an artist until his junior year of high school, when one of his teachers encouraged him in his writing efforts. He discovered that children’s books combined both his literary and artistic interests. Henkes is author and illustrator of children’s picturebooks, many of which feature mice as their main characters. He also writes young-adult fiction. Henkes wrote his first book during his freshman year in college. The book’s theme... More

John Sieger

John Sieger
Birthplace: Kenosha, WI You Know Him From: Singer/songwriter and a member of the group Semi-Twang, who recorded “Salty Tears” in 1988. Did You Know?: Some of the songs John Sieger has written have been recorded by Dwight Yoakam and the BoDeans. John Sieger was born the fifth child of seven to Al and Martha Sieger in Kenosha. He started out in the music business by performing original and cover material in Kenosha and by playing the Chicago bar band scene. In 1971, Sieger was the guitarist in the Starboys dance band, which happened to be performing for a high school dance at Tremper High School in Kenosha. That evening Sieger met Michael Feldman (of Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Whad’ya Know?“) for the first time, as well as Feldman’s wife, Marge. Shortly after this meeting, Sieger and Marge got together, inciting a divorce between Marge and Michael. Despite this rocky start, John... More

Ben Sidran

Ben Sidran
Musician Raised in: Racine, WI You Know Him As: Former member of the Steve Miller Band Did you know?: Ben Sidran was also a member of The Ardells and played with Boz Scaggs. Sidran was raised in Racine, Wisconsin, and attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1961, where he became a member of The Ardells along with Steve Miller and Boz Scaggs. When Miller and Scaggs left Wisconsin for the West Coast and stardom, Sidran stayed behind to earn a degree in English literature. After graduating in 1966, Sidran enrolled in the University of Sussex, England, to pursue a PhD degree in American Studies. Sidran rejoined Miller in an English recording studio the next year, playing on the album “Children of the Future.” While in England, he was a session musician for artists that included Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Peter Frampton and Charlie Watts. After a brief stint in... More

Electric Hellfire Club

Electric Hellfire Club
Industrial/Metal/Experimental Band Formed In:Kenosha, WI You Know Them From:Opening act for Danzig, Gwar, Type O Negative, among many others. Did You Know? The Electric Hellfire Club is an industrial metal band mixing elements of glam metal, techno, gothic rock, psychedelia, black metal themes and experimental noise. The band’s music has been described as “electro evil,” and contains tongue-in-cheek references to evil, violence, sex, devil worship, and mass murder. The band also makes use of sampling, mainly from grindhouse horror films and criminal documentaries. Based in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the Electric Hellfire Club was formed in 1991 when Thomas Thorn (aka Buck Ryder), departed the industrial/techno band My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult. The Electric Hellfire Club initially comprised Thorn (vocals, keyboard programming), co-founder and keyboardist Shane Lassen (aka Rev. Dr. Luv), and guitarist Ronny Valeo. After the initial string of live shows, drummer Eric Peterson (aka Janna Flail) would be... More

Lane Brody

Lane Brody
Birthplace: Racine, WI You Know Her From: Co-wrote and recorded hit song, The Yellow Rose of Texas. Did You Know?: Lane Brody was born Lynn Connie Voorlas on September 24 (year unknown — between 1956-’60) in Oak Park, Illinois. The name aspect is confusing with Mrs. Brody as she’s recorded under 4 different ones: Lynn Voorlas, Lynn Nilles, and Lane Brody. A proper birth certificate simply called her Eleni, Greek for “Lane.” Grandfather, Arisdis Voorlas (1880-1918), immigrated to the United States from Osmanga, Greece in 1904 and worked as a core maker in Racine, Wisconsin, where he also married Sophia Asshposia James. Lane’s parents, Gust Voorlas and Jane Ellis Voorlas, married in September of 1948 and owned a restaurant in Kenosha, ‘The Bill Of Fare,’ once located in Town & Country Plaza (off 75th Street and 47th Avenue). Lane and brother Peter often helped out at the family restaurant as... More

Lazarus A.D.

Lazarus A.D.
Heavy Metal Band Formed in: Kenosha, WI You Know Them As: Opening act for Anthrax, Testament, and more. Did you know?: Lazarus A.D. were originally formed as “Lazarus” in 2005, they later added the “A.D.” to avoid legal issues.   Lazarus A.D. is a thrash metal band from Kenosha, Wisconsin, consisting of Jeff Paulick, Dan Gapen, Alex Lackner, and Ryan Shutler. Originally formed as “Lazarus” in 2005. The “A.D.” was added to avoid potential legal issues. In 2006, Lazarus A.D. was selected as an opening act for Anthrax, they released their debut album, “The Onslaught” the following year, to rave reviews in the metal underground, drawing the attention of Metal Blade Records. Metal Blade re-released the album in 2009 and Lazarus A.D. spent the year touring with bands such as Amon Amarth, Goatwhore, Testament, and Unearth. They have released their most recent record “Black Rivers Flow” through Metal Blade Records... More
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