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17 Legends from Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is a unique city that we call home. We are the city of champions, bridges, and a host of other things.

In this article, we explore 17 famous individuals that trace their roots back to Pittsburgh.

#1) Dan Marino

Considered by most to be the greatest NFL quarterback to never win a Super Bowl, Marino grew up in the South Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh and attended high school at Pittsburgh Central Catholic. Marino played college football at the University of Pittsburgh and was drafted in the first round of the 1983 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins.

Marino has held or currently hold dozens of records that are associated with the quarterback position. He was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005.

#2) James Irwin

James "Jim" Irwin was an American astronaut that served as a Lunar Module Pilot for the Apollo 15 Mission to the moon. Apollo 15 was the fourth human lunar landing mission.

Irwin was the eighth person to ever walk on the moon. Tragically, of those first 8 to walk on the moon, Irwin was the first and youngest of them to die when he passed away at age 61 in 1991.

#3) Jim Kelly

Jim Kelly is another NFL quarterback great that has roots that trace back to Pittsburgh


Kelly was the third quarterback selected in the 1983 draft, the same year as Dan Marino.

He lead the Buffalo Bills to four consecutive Super Bowls from 1991 to 1994. Unfortunately, the Bills lost in each of these Super Bowl appearances. Much like Dan Marino, Kelly is also considered to be one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time to never hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

Jim Kelly was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002.

#4) The Warner Brothers

Harry, Sma, Albert, and Jack Warner, known as The Warner Brothers, originally came from Ohio.

However, their ties to the Pittsburgh region can be seen in New Castle, PA. They made a name for themselves in 1907 when they opened the first silent movie nickelodeon in downtown New Castle.

The Warner family tradition has been continued by Granddaughter Cass Warner. She founded the Harry M. Warner Film Institute at Slippery Rock University.

#5) Andrew W. Mellon

The Mellon family's massive wealth began with Andrew W. Mellon. Mellon invested money into multiple financial and industrial ventures including steel, aluminum, coal, utilities, railroads, banks, and even more.

Mellon National Bank, which helped shape Pittsburgh into an eventual industrial giant, was started by Andrew's father but was developed into a major player by Andrew.

Mellon served as the Secretary of Treasury under presidents Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover. After resigning the office of the Secretary of Treasury in 1932, he served as the US Ambassador to Great Britain for a year.

#6) Henry J. Heinz

Henry J. Heinz was a German-American entrepreneur who founded Pittsburgh's legendary H. J. Heinz Company based in Pittsburgh.

During his lifetime, Heinz developed his company into a national brand that made more than 60 food products. This list included the legendary Heinz tomato ketchup.

Heinz was a revolutionary for his time by offering his workers health benefits, recreation facilities and other cultural amenities. In addition to his tremendous treatment of his employees, Heinz introduced high sanitary standards for the manufacturing of food.

Henry's grandson, John Heinz, served as a United States Senator from 1977 until 1991 when he tragically died in a plane crash.

#7) Stan Musial

"Stan the Man" Musial is considered to be one of the best Major League Baseball players of all time.

He won the NL Batting championship seven times. Musial won the league's Most Valuable Player (MVP) award three times When he retired in 1963, he sported a .331 lifetime batting average, 475 home runs, and for many years held the National League record for base hits of 3,630.

Musial was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969.

#8) Perry Como

Perry Como was a legendary American singer born in Cannonsburg, PA. Before CBS radio gave him a weekly show, Como worked as a barber in Cannonsburg.

RCA later signed him to a record deal where he posted 42 top 10 hits over the course of 14 years.

In 1950, CBS launched The Perry Como Show which ran for five years and another eight years on NBC.

Como won Emmy Awards for most outstanding TV personality in 1956 and 1957.

#9) Michael Keaton

Born in Coraopolis, Michael Keaton attended Montour High School and later Kent State University.

Before Keaton played Batman in 1989 his involvement in the film industry began as a stagehand on Mister Rogers Neighborhood in 1968.

Keaton won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy for his critically acclaimed performance in Birdman.

#10) Joe Namath

"Broadway Joe" Namath earned his nickname for outspoken and controversial NFL persona.

Namath grew up in Pittsburgh and played for the New York Jets, where he won a Super Bowl in 1969.

Namath played his last season in the NFL with LA Rams in 1977. Eight years later, he was inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame.

#11) Johnny Unitas

Considered to be one of the greatest professional football players of all time, Johnny Unitas held every passing record in the league at one point in time.

Unitas won the NFL's MVP in 1959, 1964, and 1967. Until broken by Drew Brees in 2012, Unitas held the record for the most consecutive games with a touchdown pass.

He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979.

#12) Joe Montana

Of all of the top notch quarterbacks that Pittsburgh has produced, Montana is considered to be the greatest. He attend Ringgold High School before playing his college ball at Notre Dame.

Regarded by many as the greatest Quarterback in NFL history, Montana won 4 Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers. Montana was Super Bowl MVP in 1982, 1985, and 1990.

He won the NFL's MVP in 1989 and 1990.

#13) Honus Wagner

Honus Wagner was a professional baseball player for an astounding 21 seasons, playing from 1897 to 1917. The majority of his 21 year tender was played for his hometown, Pittsburgh Pirates.

Wagner won an astounding eight batting titles, which has only ever been done by one other player in MLB history, Tony Gwynn.

In 1936, Wagner was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, becoming one of the first five members of the club. Amazingly, he received the second highest vote total trailing only Ty Cobb and tied with Babe Ruth.

#14) Fred Rogers

Fred Rogers was born just outside of Pittsburgh in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.

Rogers was the host of the public television children's show Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. The show aired from 1968 to 2001.

Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was known for Fred’s charm and ability to communicate in a delicate way with his young audience.

Roger's legacy has continued after his passing in 2003 with the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning & Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe.

#15) Arnold Palmer

Another Latrobe, PA born legend, Arnold Palmer was a professional golfer.

Considered by many to be the greatest professional golfer of all time, he was known for the charisma he brought to the sport.

Palmer was one of the first superstar athlete's of the television age, which began in the 1950s.

Palmer's humble and modest background helped change the perception around golf from an upper-class activity to a more popular and mainstream sport

Palmer posted 95 professional wins during his career including 7 majors. Palmer was also the first golfer to ever have won over $1 million in prize money.

#16) Andy Warhol

Born in Pittsburgh in 1928, Andy Warhol was an artist, director, and producer who played a major role in the visual art movement known as pop art. The uniqueness of his works pursued showcasing the relationships between artistic expression, advertising, and celebrity culture.

The highest price ever paid for a Warhol painting was $105 million for his 1963 canvas which he titled Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster).

#17) Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie was originally born in Scotland in 1835. Carnegie was an industrialist, philanthropist, and business magnate.

After leading the expansion of the steel industry in the United States, Carengie had become one of the richest Americans in history.

Carnegie’s wealth during his time is estimated to have been over $372 billion in today's money.

During the final 18 years of his life, he gave away around $350 million (about $5.5 billion in 2019 dollars) to various universities, charities, and foundations. This was almost 90 percent of his fortune.

He aimed to encourage the other wealthy members of society to do similar when he published The Gospel of Wealth in 1889 which explained how the rich should use their wealth to improve society. Carnegie found success in this aim. A wave of philanthropy followed.