Famous People from Idaho

Not a whole lot of famous people come out of Idaho. Not only is it not the largest state in terms of population which means statistically celebrities are likely to live elsewhere, but it also does not have something like Hollywood or the seat of the United States government to churn out famous people like a factory. Idaho does not really have a major role on the world stage. Sure, it is an important state that offers the world a lot, but it is no California, New York, or Distract of Columbia, and that means it has very few people who grow up in Idaho and go on to earn the recognition of the world. However, that does not mean it has no people like that. There are still many famous people that grew up in Idaho or got their start there, and it is always fun to learn about who those people are and what their connection to Idaho is. What follows are some famous people you probably know a little bit about and all of them have some kind of connection to Idaho, whether they were born there or made Idaho a large part of their life without growing up in its borders.

You probably remember the 2008 election well and all of the different parties involved. As with most elections in American history, it was a turbulent time, and one of the figures that came to prominence within that election was Sarah Palin and her potentiality for Vice President with John McCain as president. Obviously, neither won the election, but Sarah Palin was definitely a large figure in the election gossip and debate scene. Though Palin was born in Idaho, she did not stick around for very long. If you know anything about her, you know she was involved in Alaskan politics, and that is because her family moved there when she was a baby. However, she did come back to Idaho for at least a part of her college experience, moving around between several colleges. Her home is definitely Alaska now, but she has a strong connection to Idaho.

If you were a fan of the television show, Breaking Bad, you are probably familiar with the actor Aaron Paul, who played the sidekick of Jessie to the protagonist, Walter White. Breaking Bad was and is Aaron Paul’s largest claim to fame, but he has been involved in several different movie and TV show projects since that series wrapped up. Paul was born and raised in Idaho. Once he graduated high school, he very quickly moved on to make his way in Hollywood, but he still spent a large portion of his formative years in Idaho. It is hard to say what his connection to Idaho is today, but there is a minor holiday named after him thanks to Governor Butch Otter. 

Now, we should get into some historical figures that came from Idaho. First, did you know Sacagawea was an Idaho native, quite literally? If you only know Sacagawea as the face of one of the dollar coins you hardly ever see any more, the reason she is so important to our history is that she was a guide for the Lewis and Clark expedition. Of course, Idaho was not Idaho the state then, but just the territory. There were settlers coming in every now and again, but nothing like the surge of settlers that would come later. One of the most important things Sacagawea did for the Lewis and Clark expedition was form a connection with the different native tribes they met along their way west. Further, her presence in the expedition meant that the party looked much more legitimate. A large group of people moving through the land would normally look like a threat, but because the expedition had a native woman as a guide, it meant many more people would help them and trust them. This was especially helpful in tribal lands where war parties never had women with them, and so the expedition did not look like a war party.

Another Idahoan born in Idaho when it was not a state was Ezra Pound. If you do not have some knowledge of American poetry, you probably have no idea who Ezra Pound is, but he was a very important poet in the early 1900s. In fact, he only died in the early 70s, meaning he was a relevant part of the world of poetry for a significant period of time and was a part of a time that made large changes to the way American read and wrote poetry. One of the most notable things about Pound was his close relationship with T.S. Eliot, who you might have heard of even if you have no connection of your own to poetry. The two men were friends and frequently edited each other’s work, meaning that much of the quality of Eliot’s work owes itself to Pound’s influence. Pound lived a pretty turbulent life and had some run-ins with the United States government and the governments of other countries having to do with his fascist ideals. He was not a popular man in America during the years of World War 2.

This is just a fraction of a fraction of all of the famous people to come out of Idaho, but they are perhaps some of the most notable and influential, though Sarah Palin’s influence mostly declined after the 2008 election was over. There are hundreds and possibly thousands of actors, famous pilots, notable business people, athletes, musicians, and other people in positions that have gotten them famous and many of them were born, lived, or died in Idaho.

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