30 Famous People From Alabama Part Three

Entries 11 to 15 in our list of famous people from Alabama include a former heavyweight boxing champion and one of Charlie’s Angels.

(This article was originally published at Socyberty.com on 29 December 2010.)

Emmylou Harris

Emmylou Harris by C Kuhl

Emmylou Harris by C Kuhl

Emmylou Harris is a musician and singer-songwriter known primarily for her work in the country music genre. She was born in Birmingham, Alabama on 2 April 1947 but spent her childhood in North Carolina and Virginia. She studied music at the University of North Carolina before embarking on her musical career, releasing her first album, Gliding Bird, in 1970. Harris recorded and performed with Gram Parsons from 1971 until Parsons’ death in 1973. Harris has recorded more than 20 studio albums and 70 singles during her career. She is still recording and performing and has a string of Grammy and Country Music Association awards to her name.

Gustav Hasford

Gustav Hasford by Dale Dye

Gustav Hasford by Dale Dye

Gustav Hasford was born in Russellville, Alabama on 28 November 1947. During the Vietnam War he served in the United States Marine Corps as a combat correspondent. He used his experiences of the war as the basis of his first semi-autobiographical novel The Short-Timers, which was published in 1979 and became the 1987 film Full Metal Jacket. In 1988, Hasford was convicted of possessing stolen property when he was found to have thousands of books from 70 libraries in storage; he served three months in San Luis Obispo County Jail. Hasford died from heart failure resulting from untreated diabetes on the island of Aegina, Greece on 29 January 1993.

Evander Holyfield

Evander Holyfield by John Kloepper

Evander Holyfield by John Kloepper

Evander Holyfield was born in Atmore, Alabama on 19 October 1962, the youngest of nine children. He took up boxing at the age of 12 and by 15 he was the Southeastern Regional Champion. In 1983 he won silver at the Pan American Games and took bronze in the 1984 Olympics. As a professional boxer, Holyfield started as a light heavyweight and has been world champion at both Cruiserweight and Heavyweight. He famously beat Mike Tyson in a 1997 fight after Tyson was disqualified for biting off a piece of Holyfield’s ear. Holyfield is still boxing professionally at the age of 48.

Kate Jackson

Kate Jackson is a film and television actress who has received multiple Emmy and Golden Globe nominations and has been an award winner in Germany. She was born Lucy Kate Jackson in Birmingham, Alabama on 29 October 1948. After a few small roles Jackson appeared in the crime series The Rookies before finding fame as Sabrina Duncan in Charlie’s Angels. She left Charlie’s Angels after three seasons and in 1983 starred alongside Bruce Boxleitner in The Scarecrow and Mrs King, also taking on co-producer and directing duties. Jackson has twice undergone surgery for breast cancer and once to correct a heart defect. She is active in raising awareness of both diseases.

Helen Keller

Helen Keller by Charles Milton Bell

Helen Keller by Charles Milton Bell

Helen Keller was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama on 27 June 1880 and lost both her sight and hearing following an illness at the age of 19 months. After consulting Alexander Graham Bell the Keller family brought Anne Sullivan into their home to teach Helen. Sullivan remained a companion to Keller for the next 49 years. Keller then attended Perkins Institution for the Blind to learn braille and Horace Mann School for the Deaf to learn to speak and lip-read with her fingers. She wrote 12 books and many articles about her experiences and was an active campaigner for disabled rights, women’s suffrage and socialism. Keller died in Easton, Connecticut on 1 June 1968. Her story has been told many times, most notably in the play and film The Miracle Worker.

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