Al Alberts - Singer and TV Personality

Al Alberts - Chester/Darby

Al Alberts (Al Albertini) was born in Chester, Pennsylvania in 1922. He grew up in Darby, graduated from South Philadelphia High School, attended Temple University, and joined the U.S. Navy where he met Dave Mahoney. Together they went on to form the Four Aces.

In 1954 they hit the best selling record list twice with Three Coins in the Fountain, a song by Jule Styne that he wrote for the movie of the same name, for which it won the Academy Award for Best Song.

In 1955, they repeated their success with the song Love is a Many Splendored Thing, also an Academy Award winner.

On the Way to Cape May was released in 1960 and became a Jersey Shore anthem for families from Philadelphia and Southeastern Pennsylvania.

In later years, Alberts became a television personality, hosting a one-hour Saturday afternoon talent show called Al Alberts Showcase. It featured a panel of local children known as the Teeny Boppers, and a group of teenage dancers called the Show Stoppers. Local talents of all ages would sing songs and perform dance routines. This show helped launch the careers of Andrea McArdle, Sister Sledge and Teddy Pendergrass. The show remained on the air for 32 years.

Alberts died in Port Charlotte, Florida at the age of 87.

Lloyd Alexander - Author of Children's Books

Lloyd Alexander - Drexel Hill

Lloyd Alexander was born in Philadelphia in 1924 and grew up in Drexel Hill, Delaware County. He graduated from Upper Darby High School at the age of 16 and went on to Haverford College.

Alexander believed that "adventure" not college was the best place to become educated, and decided to enlist in the Army during World War II. He received combat intelligence training in Maryland and in Wales before deployment to Germany at the later stages of the War.

After leaving the Army he attended the University of Paris where he met his wife and lifelong partner, Janine Denni.

Alexander became known for his writing of fantasy for children, which he called "the most creative and liberating experience” of his life.  The book Time Cat (1963) was a fantasy inspired by one of his pet cats, Solomon. Solomon would visit the office while Alexander was working, but the author would never see him come or go.

Lloyd Alexander is best known for his 5 novel series, The Chronicle of Prydain (1965) which is based on Welsh mythology, inspired by the medieval castles, scenery and literature of Wales, a knowledge that he was exposed to during the War. The Disney animated film The Black Cauldron (1985) was based on the first two books.

Alexander received the Newbery Award in 1969 from the American Library Association for the last in the Prydain series, The High King, and the National Book Award for The Marvelous Misadventures of Sebastian

He is an honoree on Upper Darby High School's Wall of Fame.

Jennifer Aniston - Actress, Producer, Business Woman & Philanthropist

Jennifer Aniston - Eddystone

Jennifer Aniston was born in 1969 to John Aniston and Nancy Dow, both aspiring actors. When Jen was five years old, she and her parents moved into the three-bedroom home in Eddystone, Delaware County owned by her beloved grandmother, Stella Anastassakis. While there, she enrolled in Eddystone Elementary School until her father got a big break as a soap opera star on Days of Our Lives, and the family moved to New York City.

While in Eddystone, Jen made life-long friends, and returned to her grandmother's house during summers.

Jen attended the Rudolf Steiner School in New York and went on to Fiorello LaGuardia High where she trained as an actress.

Aniston worked through the ranks on Broadway while supporting herself as a telemarketer, messenger and waitress until she got her break in what would be the smash TV comedy, Friends. She won a Golden Globe in 2003 and an Emmy for the Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in 2008.

During this period her film career took off as well as her personal life. She married Brad Pitt in 2000, with the couple divorcing in 2005. She has also starred in many top movies, and was nominated for the Broadcast Film Critics Award, Golden Globe and Drama and Screen Actors Guild for Best Actress.

Aniston is considered one of the richest women in entertainment, and has given significant amounts of money to Doctors without Borders, Friends of El Faro, an orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico, Feeding America and OmniPeace as well as many other charities. She also has her own perfume line, simply called: Jennifer Aniston.

Paul Arizin - Basketball Legend

Paul Arizin - Springfield

"Pitchin' Paul" Arizin spent his entire NBA career with the Philadelphia Warriors (1950-1962). He retired with the third highest career point total in NBA history (16,266 pts.). He was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996.

Arizin made the Villanova  varsity team in his Sophomore year in 1947 and played on the team for three years. In 1950 he was named the Collegiate Basketball Player of the Year after leading the nation with 25.3 points per game.

He was selected by the Warriors with their first pick in 1950, and became one of the greatest NBA players of the '50s despite sitting out two seasons due to military service during the Korean War.

Arizin was inducted into the Naismth Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1978. He died in his sleep in 2006 at the age of 78 in the home he had lived in for 52 years.

John Bartram - Botanist

John Bartram - Darby

John Bartram was born in Darby in Colonial Pennsylvania in 1699. He was born into a Quaker family on a farm and throughout his life considered himself a plain farmer with no education beyond the local school. Despite this, he read widely and maintained a lifelong interest in medicine and medicinal plants.

Bartram is sometimes called The Father of American Botany, and his
 8-acre botanic garden, Bartram's Garden, in Kingsessing on the Schuylkill River is sited as the first true botanic collection in North Americas.

Bartram also collected seeds and sent them from America and Canada to European gardeners. In 1765, he was rewarded a pension from King George III as the King's Botanist for North America.

Among Bartram's many plant discoveries was the Franklin Tree, Franklinia alatamaha, found in southeastern Georgia in 1765, later named by his son William Bartram.

John Bartram High School in Philadelphia is named after him.

Ed Bolden - Baseball Team Owner and Executive

Edward Bolden - Concordville/Darby

Ed Bolden was born in Concordville, Delaware County in 1881. He was the founder of the Negro Baseball League World Champion Darby Hilldales. The team was formed in 1910 by Darby resident Bolden who began his career as a domestic servant and later worked for the U.S. Post Office. At its beginning, Hilldales was a "boys" team and it was developed by Bolden into one of the "powerhouse teams" of the Negro leagues.

Hilldales was a charter member of the Eastern Colored League in 1923 and won the first-place pennants in 1923, 1924 and 1925. The Team won the Negro League World Series against the Kansas City Monarchs in 1925.

Bolden was a marketing genius who fostered the construction in 1914 of Darby Field, also known as Hilldale Park. The location of the ballpark was convenient for his fan base, and easy to reach after Bolden arranged with the local streetcar company to run a line straight to the park and add extra cars on game days. Beginning in 1917, Bolden earned additional income by leasing out the stadium and selling advertising in the park.

Bolden continued in baseball into the 1940s and earned a reputation for "fair dealing and clean playing”. He supported integration, and as it became more accepted, the major leagues would pirate players for their farm teams. With integration came Jackie Robinson, and the world of baseball changed forever.

Fran Brill - Puppeteer & Actress

Fran Brill - Chester
Frances "Fran" Brill was born in Chester, Delaware County in 1946. She is best known for her roles on Sesame Street and playing Lily in the Frank Oz movie, What About Bob?

Brill graduated from Boston University College of Fine Art and began her career  in the theatre, making her Broadway debut in the 1969 play Red, White and Maddox. On TV she was featured in many daytime and nighttime dramas including The Guiding Light, All My Children, The Edge of Night, Law and Order, Third Watch and The West Wing.

Most notably were her continued roles on Sesame Street, for which she won an Emmy Award. She created and was puppeteer for the Muppets called Zoe, Little Bird, Betty Lou, and Prairie Dawn.

Brill retired from Sesame Street and puppeteering in 2014.

David Brooks - Columnist/Pundant

David Brooks - Radnor

David Brooks is a conservative columnist and political and cultural commentator who writes for the New York Times.

Brooks moved from New York to the Philadelphia area when he was 12 years old, graduated from Radnor High School in 1979 and received a degree in history from the University of Chicago.

He has worked as an editorial writer and film reviewer for The Washington Post, a senior editor at The Weekly Standard, a contributing editor at Newsweek and The Atlantic Monthly, and is now a commentator on National Public Radio.

In 2000 he published a book of commentator entitled Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Crust and How They Got There to considerable acclaim. In 2004, he wrote a sequel: On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now (and Always Have) in the Future Tense. In 2011 he authored The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character and Achievement.

Brooks currently lives in Washington, D.C.

John Cappelletti - American Football Running Back

John Cappelletti - Upper Darby

Born in 1952, John Capelletti is a former American football running back for the NFL's Los Angeles Rams.

He grew up in Upper Darby and attended Monsignor Bonner High School in Drexel Hill.

Prior to his professional career, Capelletti attended Penn State University and as a senior tailback, he gained 1,522 yards on 286 carries scoring 17 touchdowns as the Nittany Lions claimed an undefeated season. In 1973, John was awarded the Heisman Trophy, the Maxwell Award, the UPI College Football Player of the Year award, the Walter Camp Award and the Chic Harley Award.

The relationship between Capelletti and his younger brother, Joey, who died of leukemia in 1976, was made into a TV movie called Something for Joey.

Capelletti went on to play professional football from 1974 through 1983 for the Los Angeles Rams and the San Diego Chargers. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1993.

At Penn State in 2013, Capelletti's jersey number 22 was retired at a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of his winning of the Heisman and the undefeated 1973 team.  It is the first number retired by any Penn State sport.

Leroy Burrell - Olympic Track Star

Leroy Russell Burrellwas born in 1967 and grew up in Lansdowne and attended Penn Wood High School. He is a former track and field athlete who won gold in the 100 m ahead of Carl Lewis at the 1990 Goodwill Games in Seattle. He won the silver in the 100 m behind Lewis at the 1991 World Championships, and twice set the world record for the 100 m sprint, setting a time of 9.90 seconds in June 1991. This was broken by Carl Lewis that September at the World Track and Field Championships. In that race, Burrell came in second, yet he beat his own record. Burrell set the record for a second time when he ran 9.85 sec in July 1994, a record that stood until the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, when Donovan Bailey ran 9.84 sec.

Since his retirement in 1998, Burrell has replaced his old college mentor, Tom Tellez, as coach of the University of Houston's track team. Burrell has led UH to 14 men’s Conference USA titles (nine indoor, five outdoor) and nine women’s titles (four indoor, five outdoor). He was inducted into the Texas Track and Field Coaches Hall of Fame in 2014.

Jimmy Caras - Billiards Champion

Jimmy Caras – Upper Darby/Springfield
Jimmy Caras may not be a household name, but in his 93 years he literally "racked up" a set of accomplishments few have achieved. Caras, who was born in Scranton, PA, lived in Upper Darby and Springfield from the 1940s into the 1980s, and became ranked by Billiards Digest as the 10th greatest pocket billiards player of the 20th century. He is a 4 time World Champion and was inducted in the Billard Congress of America Hall of Fame in 1977. His name is connected to billiards giants like Willie Mosconi, Luther Lassiter, Irving Crane and Ralph Greenleaf, a champion Caras beat in a match when he was just 17 years old. Later in life he beat Wimpy Lassiter in 11 straight victories after losing the initial game.

Born in 1909, Caras had forsaken tournaments in the early '60s in favor of teaching and  traveling for Brunswick, the sporting goods manufacturer he had represented since the 1930s. Then in 1962 Caras defeated Willie Mosconi  at the New York Athletic Club in a match taped for Wide World of Sports. He returned to the sport at top level in 1967 winning the United States Open in St. Louis.

Caras' main hangout in Delaware County was Drexeline Billiards Club, still one of the the top billiards parlors in the Philadelphia area. After his wife Marjorie died, Jimmy moved into an apartment in Drexel Hill near the Club and showed up nightly.

He moved to Jacksonville, Florida and lived with his daughter Linda later in life, She said he played a game or two of pool every day until he died in 2002.

Dick Clark - DJ & TV Personality

Dick Clark - Drexel Hill

Richard Augustus Wagstaff Clark, Jr. (Dick Clark) was born and raised in Mt. Vernon, New York. He began his career working in the mailroom of an AM station in Rome, New York that was owned by his uncle and managed by his father. He soon became a stand-in for vacationing weathermen, and within a few months he was announcing station breaks.

After a few stints in broadcasting, Clark moved to Drexel Hill after taking a job as a disc jockey at radio station WFIL. A TV station with the same call letters began broadcasting a show called Bob Horn's Bandstand. Clark was doing a similar show on the radio station and soon became a stand-in for Horn.

Clark took over for Horn in 1956 becoming the regular host. The show changed its name to American Bandstand and debuted nationally in 1957. Clarks's rapport with the live teenage audience and dancing participants made the show an instant success.

Clark moved American Bandstand to Los Angeles from Philadelphia in 1964. During the '60s, many recording artists were introduced on the show such as Ike and Tina Turner, The Beach Boys, Simon and Garfunkle and Chubby Checker.

Clark branched out into other areas such as hosting game shows like The Object Is and The $10,000 Pyramid, and from 1972 to 2003 he hosted Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve.

In addition to his broadcast work, Dick Clark became a highly successful producer and businessman owning a series of diners and a theater in Branson, Missouri. He passed away in 2012 at the age of 82.

Mary Ellen Clark - Olympian

Mary Ellen Clark - Radnor

Mary Ellen Clark was born in 1962 and attended Radnor High School. Clark was voted "one of the top-10 women athletes in the country" by the United States Olympic Committee in 1996. She won bronze medals in diving in Barcelona in 1992 and in Atlanta in 1996.

Clark's career includes a stint as a member of the United States Diving Team. She has been a three-time member of the United States Pan American Team and a seven-time National Champion.

Clark has been the diving coach at Amherst Regional High School since 2004 and the diving coach for the Wellesley College diving team since 2012. She is also a motivational speaker and personal trainer.

Pete Conrad - Astronaut

Pete Conrad - St. Davids

Charles "Pete" Conrad was born in 1930 into a well-to-do real estate and banking family. His father lost his money during the Great Depression and the Conrads moved in with his mother's brother, Edgerton Vinson in Devon and later to a small carriage house in St. Davids, Delaware County.

With the financial assistance of his Uncle Edgerton, Pete was enrolled in the Haverford School, but had difficulties with his studies due to dyslexia. In 11th grade, he was placed in the Darrow School in New Lebanon, New York where their style of teaching enabled Pete to excel so much that he was awarded a full Navy ROTC scholarship to Princeton University. He graduated in 1953 with a BS in Aeronautical Engineering and joined the Navy as an Ensign.

Conrad became an aircraft carrier pilot and flight instructor, and with the encouragement of astronaut Alan Shepard was convinced to apply for NASA's space program. He was accepted and selected to pilot the Gemini 5 capsule in 1965, and in 1969 became Commander of the Apollo 12 mission. Conrad became the third man to walk on the moon. His words for his first steps were, ""Oooh, is that soft and queasy."

Conrad died in a motorcycle accident in 1999, less than three weeks before the 30th anniversary of the first moon landing. He was buried with full honors at Arlington Cemetery near Washington, D.C.

Jim Croce - Singer, Songwriter, Musician

Jim Croce - Upper Darby

Though born in South Philadelphia, Jim Croce spent his formative years in Delaware County and graduated from Upper Darby High School in 1960. He attended Villanova, and while there became a member of the Villanova Singers and Villanova Spires, and performed off campus as a part of the group The Coventry Lads.

Croce got his first long-term gig at a suburban bar and steak house in Lima, Pennsylvania, called The Riddle Paddock. His set list covered several genres, including blues, country, rock and roll, and folk.

In the mid-sixties he performed with his wife as a duo and moved to New York City, but became disillusioned with the music business and returned to Pennsylvania.

His career took off in 1972 with two breakout albums, You Don't Mess Around with Jim and Life and Times. Much loved by his audiences, Croce's career was ended when his chartered Beechcraft crashed on take off from Natchitoches, Louisiana. Many of his songs were released posthumously.

Croce's son Adrian James, born in 1971, is a singer-songwriter and musician with his own record label, Seedling Records.

Ted Dean - Eagles Running Back

Theodore Curtis Dean was born in 1938 and is a former American football running back. He played professionally in the National Football League (NFL) for the Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings. Dean played college football at Wichita State University.

Dean graduated from Radnor High School and earned All-State honors for football and track, and was named to the National High School All American team. At Wichita State University, Dean received Honorable Mention All American honors and earned All-Missouri Valley Conference accolades following his junior and senior seasons.

Dean was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the fourth round (40th overall) of the 1960 NFL Draft. In his Rookie season, Dean led the NFL in kickoff returns and kickoff return yards gained. Dean's on-field success, which culminated in a game-winning touchdown for the Eagles in the 1960 NFL Championship Game, earned him a place in the 1961 Pro Bowl.

Following the 1960 season, Dean was hailed as an up-and-coming star. According to Ray Didinger, George Halas believed Dean was "going to become the best ever". However, Dean's football career was shortened by several injuries and his production never matched that of his rookie season. He was traded to the Minnesota Vikings prior to the 1964 NFL season, but only played in two games for the Vikings (his last two in the NFL) before an automobile accident caused further injuries.

Following his NFL career, Dean became an educator in the Philadelphia area.

Jasper Deeter - Actor, Director

Jasper Deeter (from a portrait by
Margot Comstock) - Rose Valley
Jasper Deeter was an anomaly in the course of American success stories. He was born in Mechanicsburg, PA in 1893, the grandson of an auto parts magnate and of a family of high achievers. He seemed the least likely to succeed. Deeter was expelled from Dickinson College and went through several failed attempts at a career.

After seeing the actor James O'Neill on stage, he turned to acting and became great friends with James' son Eugene. After Eugene O'Neill became a playwright, Deeter played the part of Smithers in the original production of Emperor Jones. He later convinced O'Neill to cast a real "black" actor in the leading part rather than a "white" actor in black makeup...a breakthrough in the theatre at its time.

Deeter left New York and moved to Philadelphia with $10 in his pocket and decided to pursue the "theater" on his terms. While traveling through the Philadelphia countryside, Deeter saw a barn in a rural part of the Philadelphia suburbs and decided to base a theatre company there. Thus was formed the Hedgerow Theatre in Rose Valley, the first repertory theatre in the country.

Over the years, performances grew to more than 200 plays. Actors, directors, lighting experts, and set designers came from far and wide to be part of the company and learn from Deeter. Future luminaries such as Richard Basehart, Ann Harding and Everett Sloan got their start at the Hedgerow and students from far and wide gravitated to the small theatre with its "honest" mission.

Deeter is remembered by many for the small roles he played in the locally produced 1958 horror films The Blob and 4-D Men. Deeter's legacy still lives on more than 90 years after starting his theatre company as a healthy, growing and productive Hedgerow Theatre.

Harry Dietzler - Artistic Director

Harry Dietzler - Upper Darby

Harry Dietzler is the "music man" of Upper Darby Township.  He has been the executive director of the Upper Darby Summer Stage community theater program since 1976 and has overseen hundreds of shows at the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center.

Dietzler was a Temple junior when he persuaded Upper Darby officials to give him $4,000 to put on a show. That led to the building of a program that Mayor Thomas Miccozzie said, "...keeps kids, who could be hanging out on street corners, backstage making costumes for shows. The atmosphere is an amazing thing to have in a community of our size."

Alumni of the program are actress/writer Tina Fey, Broadway actress Alyse Alan Louis, and Terrence J. Nolen and Amy Murphy, founders of the Arden Theatre Company in Philadelphia.

In 2011, Tina Fey wrote a personal letter nominating Dietzler for a Lifetime Achievement Award calling him "the irreplaceable heart of the Summer Stage Program."

Lauren Stevenson Yacini wrote about Dietzler, "There are few people in the Philadelphia region who have made as great an impact on the lives of young people as Harry Dietzler.” In addition to establishing Summer Stage in 1976, Harry founded the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center, the Greater Philadelphia Cappies (Critics and Awards Program) and the Upper Darby Arts and Education Foundation.

Babe D'Ignazio - Restauranteur and Philanthropist

Babe D'Ignazio - Chester/Media

One of Delaware County's most generous and colorful citizens was Silvio "Babe" D'Ignazio. He was born to Italian immigrants in Chester in 1918, graduated from Media High School and eventually would run and own one of Delaware County's most successful and longest lasting restaurants, The Towne House in Media.

A true humanitarian, Babe was well known for his annual Sword of Hope dinner dance, where he has raised $200,000 for the Delaware County unit of the American Cancer Society.

Babe was an all-star football player at Pennsylvania Military College and was a World War II veteran with the U.S. Air Corps. He was called back into action during the Korean conflict. His most endearing qualities were his sense of humor, altruism and humility.

A favorite family story is about a hitchhiker Babe picked up on Rt. 202. The man pulled a gun on Babe and car-jacked him. When he was asked to identify the man later at the State Police station, Babe dropped all charges and offered the man a job and a place to stay at his farm in Oxford.

According to his daughter-in-law Janet, Babe never held a grudge

Tina Fey - Writer, Actress & Producer

Tina Fey - Upper Darby

Tina Fey was born and raised in Upper Darby. She attended Cardington Stonehurst Elementary School, Beverly Hills Middle School, and attended and graduated from Upper Darby High School.

Fey graduated from the University of Virginia in 1992 with a BA in drama. Her career took off while performing with The Second City in 1997. She submitted several scripts to Saturday Night Live, and was hired by the show's producer, Lorne Michaels, as a writer. She was an "extra" in a 1988 episode, lost weight and began appearing on screen.

In 2001, Fey and the rest of the writers for SNL won a Writers Guild of America Award for SNL's 25th Anniversary Show. The following year, they won the Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program.

In 2002, Fey suggested a pilot episode for a sitcom about a cable news network at NBC. Though the pilot was rejected, it gave her the impetus to create another pilot that ended up airing as 30 Rock.

In 2007, Fey received an Emmy for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series, while 30 Rock won the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series.

After receiving 13 Emmy Award nominations in 2012, 30 Rock ended its run and has been hailed as "one of the greatest TV series of all time."

In 2011, Fey landed at the top of Forbe's Magazine's list of highest paid actresses. She continues her acting career, provides voiceovers for animated films, narrates, raps and has become a bestselling author with her book, Bossy Pants.

She is also listed on the Upper Darby High School Wall of Fame

Joel Dorn - Music Producer

Joel Dorn - Yeadon
Joel Dorn was born in Yeadon in 1942. In the early 50s in the Philly area he developed a taste for music of Ray Charles, the Drifters and other artists of the Atlantic Record label, and hoped to work for them from the time he was 14.

In his early 20s, Dorn worked as a DJ for Philadelphia station WHAT-FM when the station was known for serious jazz.

In the mid '60s, the head of Atlantic Records heard Dorn on the radio and offered him a chance to produce Thee Laws of Jazz. a record featuring Hubert Laws. He soon began producing other jazz records and became a vice president of the company.

Joel Dorn's production of Roberta Flack's of The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face and Killing Me Softly With His Song helped win 5 Grammies for the songs in the 1970s. He also produced albums for Max Roach, Bette Midler, the Allman Brothers, the Neville Brothers and Leon Redbone.

Dorn continued to expand in entrepreneurial directions following his stint with Atlantic  working for Capital, Warner Brothers, Columbia, Epic, A&M and Arista. In the late '80s he specialized in repackaging back catalogs for many labels, and also helped found many new labels.

Dorn died in Manhattan at the age of 65 in 2007.

W. C. Fields - Actor & Comedian

W.C. Fields - Darby
William Claude Dukenfield, better known as William Claude Dukenfield, better known as W.C. Fields, was born in Darby, Delaware County in 1880. As a child, he ran away from home repeatedly beginning at the age of nine. His education was sporadic and he did not get beyond grade school. At the age of 12 he worked selling produce for his father, followed by a stint at Strawbridge and Clothier, and then at an Oyster House. At 17 he performed a juggling act at church and theater shows.

Fields entered vaudeville as a "tramp juggler" in 1898, transforming into The Eccentric Juggler in 1900, and touring as "the world's greatest juggler". Broadway followed and then the movies where he adopted a persona as a "misanthropic and hard drinking egotist”. Among his trademarks were his raspy drawl and grandiloquent vocabulary. The character he played became synonymous with the person he appeared to be off screen.

Fields appeared in thirteen feature films for Paramount Pictures and achieved a career ambition in 1935 when he played Mr. Micawber in MGM's David Copperfield. He made numerous short films and in later life joined ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and Bergen's dummy Charlie McCarthy on The Chase and Sanborn Hour for weekly comedy routines. His last performance was in 1946 on a spoken-word album recorded at Les Paul's studio where he reenacted some of his old routines.

W.C. Fields died on Christmas in 1946.

Robert Francis - Poet

Robert Francis - Upland

Robert Churchill Francis, born and raised in Upland, Delaware County, was considered by Robert Frost to be our country's "most neglected poet."

He wrote in "a clear, concise, musical style somewhat reminiscent of Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson”, yet his style was uniquely his own.

He studied at Harvard, and taught at workshops and universities across the country. He wrote a dozen books of poetry and received both the Shelley Memorial Prize and the Rome Prize Fellowship awarded by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.  He lived the majority of his life in a small house in Amherst, Massachusetts.

He died in 1987.
Fair and Unfair

The beautiful is fair.  The just is fair.
Yet one is commonplace and one is rare,
One everywhere, one scarcely anywhere.
So fair unfair a world.  Had we the wit
To use the surplus for the deficit,
We'd make a fairer fairer world of it.

Robert Francis

Frank Furness - Architect

Frank Furness – Media

Frank Heyling Furness was born in Philadelphia in 1839. He designed more than 600 buildings, most of which were in the Philadelphia area. He is remembered for his eclectic, "muscular" and strangely scaled buildings. Surviving works include the University of Pennsylvania Library, Merion Cricket Club, and the Baldwin School.

Idlewild, located on Idelwild Circle in Media, was his summer home. It's just a short walk from the Moylan-Rose Valley train station, which enabled Furness to commute to his architectural office in Philadelphia.

Though much of his work was destroyed for being "out of fashion with the times”, his legacy remains strong. The 2012 centenary of Furness' death was observed with exhibitions at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, the Library Company of Philadelphia, the Athenaeum of Philadelphia, and the Delaware Historical Society.

Idlewild was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2013.

Thomas Garrett - Abolitionist, Businessman

Thomas Garrett - Drexel Hill/Upper Darby

Thomas Garrett was born to a prosperous family in Drexel Hill, Upper Darby. The house, Thornfield, where he was born and lived until 1822, still stands and is recorded on the National Register of Historic Places.

In a Quaker family already inclined towards abolitionism, Thomas became especially dedicated after a family servant was kidnapped by men, who planned to sell the woman as a slave in the South.

Garrett split with his Orthodox Quaker family and moved to Wilmington in the neighboring slave state of Delaware to pursue his struggle against slavery. While building a prosperous iron and hardware business, he also served as stationmaster on the last stop of the Underground Railroad, the pathway to the North for blacks seeking freedom from slavery.

Facing heavy fines for his activities, Garrett continued his mission until the Civil War ended slavery. He is known for having assisted 2500 slaves to freedom.

Garrett died in 1871 and his body was carried to his internment along the streets of Wilmington, to the Quaker Meeting House on 4th Street by freed slaves.

Bill Haley - Singer, Musician

Bill Haley - Boothwyn/Chester

Bill Haley (William John Clifton Haley) was born in Highland Park, Michigan in 1925, and moved with his family to Boothwyn, Pennsylvania when he was 7. Both of his parents were musicians, and Haley began playing on a cardboard guitar he made himself.

Haley had his first professional job at the age of 13, playing and entertaining at an auction for $1 a night. He left home at 15, working at whatever jobs were presented and became known for his yodeling and his western swing style.

Moving back to Pennsylvania, Haley became music director of Chester radio station WPWA (later designated WCZN), a job that he held for six years while also playing at clubs around Philadelphia, in a group known as Bill Haley's Saddlemen. The group recorded Rocket 88 in 1951, a song that predated Rock Around the Clock and is thought by some historians as the first rock and roll record.

He renamed the group Bill Haley with Haley's Comets in 1953 (changing it to Bill Haley & His Comets), and recorded Rock Around the Clock in 1954. Though unsuccessful on its release, the song became a number one hit around the world after appearing as the theme song for the 1955 film Blackboard Jungle starring Glenn Ford.

Though historically significant, Haley and his group had few hits in the U.S. His success was eclipsed in 1956 by a younger and sexier Elvis Presley, who soon owned the Rock and Roll brand created by Haley.

Bill Haley continued to perform throughout the world until is death in 1981 at the age of 55.

Dorrance (DoDo) Hill Hamilton - Philanthropist

DoDo Hamilton - Wayne, Delaware County

DoDo Hamilton lives in Wayne, Delaware County. She is an American heiress of the Campbell Soup fortune and is one of the wealthiest Americans according to Forbes Magazine. She is, and has been, a supporter of many Philadelphia organizations including the University of the Arts, Bryn Mawr Hospital and Thomas Jefferson University.

Following the death of her husband in 1997, DoDo founded the SVB Foundation, a non-profit organization that seeks to preserve rare breeds of livestock. It is the only private organization in the United States that gathers and stores semen and embryos of the animals in its collection. SVB is located in Newport, Rhode Island, one of the places where the Hamiltons owned a home.

Throughout her life she loved gardens and horticulture and was an annual participant in the Philadelphia Flower Show. After visiting the Williamson College of the Trades in Media, PA, she fostered its horticulture program and donated significantly to its program.

Mrs. Hamilton passed away on April 18, 2017 at her home in Boca Grande, Florida at the age of 89.

Brendan Hansen - Olympic Gold Medalist Swimmer

Brendan Hanson - Havertown

Brendan Joseph Hansen was born in 1981 and grew up in Havertown, Delaware County. He is a competitive swimmer who specializes in breaststroke events. He is a six-time (three gold, one silver, two bronze) Olympic medalist, and is also a former world record-holder in both the 100-meter and 200-meter breaststroke.

He has won a total of twenty-five medals in major competitions spanning the Olympics, the World Championships and the Pan Pacific Championships. He has been competing since 2001 and is known for his unique style of breaststroke, which incorporates a kick that is much narrower than other swimmers.

Most recently, Brendan was a member of the 2012 United States Olympic team and won the bronze medal in the 100-meter breaststroke and a gold medal in the 4x100-meter relay.

Hansen is also a former record holder of the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke, as well as the 4x100-meter medley, long and short course.

Brian Hayes - Science Writer

Brian Hayes - Upper Darby

Brian Hayes grew up in Upper Darby and graduated from Upper Darby High School in 1967. He never attended college and got his first job after high school as a writer for a bowling newsletter. By age 20 he had secured a job as a copy editor for The Baltimore Sun. A year later he took charge of the newspaper's Sunday book-review section.

His major interests had always been in science, and still in his early 20s, by skill, talent and hubris he landed a job on the editorial staff of Scientific American, which at that time was the most distinguished monthly journal of discovery. He became chief editor of and column writer for the magazine, and remained with the publication into the early 1980s.

Since 1993 he has been writing the Computing Science column for American Scientist, a renowned magazine among scientific scholars. His work has also appeared in many other publications including The American Scholar, The Norton Reader, Discover and Natural History. He is also the author of two books: Infrastructure: A Field Guide to the Industrial Landscape, and Group Theory in the Bedroom, and Other Mathematical Diversions.

Monika Horan

Monika Horan, Darby
Best known as Amy MacDougall-Barone, girlfriend then wife of Raymond's brother Robert, on the TV sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, Horan grew up in Darby and attended Archbishop Pendercast High School in Upper Darby. She credits her acting career and motivation on her participation in the Delaware County Center of the Performing Arts where she performed during High School.

She attended Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, graduating with a degree in Theater Performance in 1984 and then moved to New York City where she performed in off-off Broadway theatre while working as a telephone sales agent for Telecharge

Her career includes stints on TV shows, L.A. Law, In Living Color, The Bold and the Beautiful, and most recently The Middle.

She met and married married the Executive Producer of Everybody Loves Raymond, and currently live in Los Angeles with her husband and two children.

Lee Iacocca - Corporate Leader

Lee Iacocca - Chester

Though Lee Iacocca was born in Allentown, his legacy began in the Ford Motors Chester plant. After earning his Masters Degree from Princeton University he secured a much sought-after engineering trainee job with Ford in 1946.

Engineering trainees did a stint working on the floor at the Rouge, but he wanted to sell cars, not build them. In 1949, he transferred back East as fleet sales manager for Ford's Chester, Pennsylvania zone office. One promotion he brainstormed while in Chester is still known in Ford folklore as the Iacocca Plan. In 1956, buyers in the Chester territory were offered a new 1956 Ford for $56 a month. It was thunderously successful. Iacocca was yanked back to Dearborn, Michigan and became head of the Ford Division in 1961.

While at Ford, Iacocca pioneered the building of the ever-popular Mustang. In 1970 he rose to the presidency of Ford and earned a reputation for being one of the greatest salesmen in U.S. history.

Iaccoca went from Ford to Chrysler in 1978 and turned Chrysler around from losses to posting huge profits in 1984.

In 1999, Iacocca ventured into E-bikes, and is still working at the age of 90.

Joan Jett - Rock Musician, Producer

Joan Jett - Lansdowne

Joan Jett was born Joan Marie Larkin in Lankenau Hospital in Wynnewood in 1958. Her parents lived in Lansdowne, Delaware County.

Joan had her first guitar lesson at the age of 14, but quit soon after because her instructor taught folk music rather than rock.

She and her parents moved to Los Angeles where she was exposed to "glam rock" music and its style of performance.

In the early '70s she became a founding member of The Runaways, alongside drummer Sandy West and Jackie Fox, Lita Ford, and Cherie Currie. Jett shared some lead vocals, played rhythm guitar, and co-wrote songs for the group.

In the 1980s Joan performed with the Blackhearts and released the hit albums, Album (1983) and Glorious Results of a Misspent Youth (1984) with a string of Top 40 hits following. She performed in sell out tours with The Police, Queen and Aerosmith.

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts continue to perform to sell out crowds around the world with groups such as Nirvana, Aerosmith and the Foo Fighters. She and Hot Topic released Joan's first line of clothing in 2014.

Harry Kalas - American Sportscaster

Harry Kalas - Media

Harry Norbert Kalas was born in 1936 in Naperville, Illinois, but became the beloved voice of the Philadelphia Phillies from 1971 until his death in 2009.

He was a long time resident of Media and made his mark in Delaware County as he did with fans throughout the Philadelphia region.

Kalas graduated from the University of Iowa in 1959, was drafted into the US Army and stationed in Hawaii, and after discharge began calling minor-league game baseball games for the Hawaii Islanders team.

He made his major-league debut in 1965 with the Houston Astros and called the first game at the Astrodome in 1965. In 1971 Kalas came to Philadelphia as the replacement for Bill Campbell, calling the first game at Veterans Stadium. He also called the last game at Veterans Stadium in 2003 and the first game at Citizens Bank Park in 2004.

Kalas also worked with NFL Films following the passing of John Facenda.

Harry Kalas received many awards throughout his lifetime including the Ford C. Frick Award from the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Person of the Year by the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia in 2004. He was also inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame in 2004. Only 21 others have received this distinction.

Martin Luther King, Jr. - Minister, Peacemaker and Political Activist

Martin Lurther King, Jr. -
Chester Theological Seminary, Upland

The Crozer Theological Seminary was a multi-denominational religious institution located in Upland, Delaware County. The seminary mostly served as an American Baptist Church School for the training of students for entry into the Baptist Ministries.

Of its many notable students, the most famous was Martin Luther King, Jr. who entered the institution in 1948 and graduated in 1951. King later studied and earned his doctorate at Boston University.

Needless to say, this graduate from the seminary became one of the most celebrated American figures of the 20th century. In 1964, King received the Nobel Prize Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through non-violence. He helped to organize the Selma to Montgomery marches, worked on the issue of housing segregation in Chicago, and expanded his focus to include poverty and the Vietnam War.

King was assassinated in 1968 and posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was established as a U.S. federal holiday in 1986.

Anna Moffo - Opera Diva and Actress

Anna Moffo - Wayne

Anna Moffo was born in Wayne, Pennsylvania to first generation Italian parents. After graduating from Radnor High School where she performed in school shows and plays, she turned down an offer from Hollywood to attend the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia.

Moffo continued her education in Rome where she studied with Mercedes Llopart and Luigi Ricci. She made her official operatic debut in 1955 at Spoleto as Norina in Don Pasquale. With very little experience, she was offered the challenging role of Cio-Cio in an Italian TV production of Madame Butterfly and became an overnight sensation in Italy.

After many roles overseas, Moffo returned for her American debut as Mimi in La Boheme at the Lyric Opera House in Chicago. Her Metropolitan Opera debut took place in 1959 when she appeared as Violetta in La Triviata, a part that would become her signature role. She performed at the Metropolitan Opera for 17 years, appeared in both movies and TV, and toured throughout the world.

Moffo's heavy workload led to physical exhaustion and a serious vocal breakdown in 1968 from which she never fully recovered. Her last performance at the Met was during the 1983 Centennial celebrations, where she sang the Sigmund Romberg duet Will you Remember with Robert Merrill.

Anna Moffo died in 2006 at the age of 73.

Danny Murtaugh - Professional Baseball Player and Manager

A native of Chester, Pennsylvania, Danny Murtaugh played during nine seasons for the Philadelphia Phillies (1941–43, 1946), Boston Braves (1947) and Pittsburgh Pirates (1948–51).

Most notable is that Murtaugh became the second winningest manager in Pittsburgh Pirates history behind Hall of Famer Fred Clarke and is one of two managers to spend four or more stints with one club.

Murtaugh took over the helm of the Pirates big club in 1957 and turned around the Pittsburgh franchise to finish 7th the season he took over for Bobby Bragen and then beat the heavily favored New York Yankees in the 1960 World Series. The 1960 World Series is the only Fall Classic to end on a walk off home run as Pirates second baseman Bill Mazeroski blasted a home run off New York’s Ralph Terry in the bottom of the ninth of Game 7.

Health issues forced Murtaugh to resign following the 1964 season, but he would manage three more times with the Pirates. In 1970 and 1971, Danny led the Pirates to the National League East title and his second World Series title. Danny Murtaugh compiled a 1,115-950 record over 15 seasons with the Pirates (1957-1064, 1967, 1970-1971, 1973-1976).

Alice Neel, Portrait Artist

Alice Neel (from self portrait), Colwyn, Delaware County

Alice Neel was an American painter and considered "one of the greatest portrait artists of the 20th century”.

She was born in Merion Square, Philadelphia in 1900 and moved to Colwyn, Delaware County in mid-1900. After graduating from Darby High School, Neel took a civil service exam and got a high-paying clerical position. While working, she enrolled in the Fine Arts program of the Philadelphia School of Design for Women.

Neel's life was troubled and difficult. Her world was composed of artists. intellectuals and political leaders in the Communist party. Her paintings were predominately of friends, family and lovers she had met along the way. She lived in a mansion in Cuba and then became an impoverished single mother during the 1930s and 1940s.

Toward the end of the 1960s, the feminist movement brought intensity in the interest in Neel's work, and in 1970, Alice was commissioned to do a portrait of the feminist activist Kate Millet for Time magazine.

At the age of 79, Neel received the National Woman Caucus for Art award for outstanding achievement from President Jimmy Carter. She was given a retrospective of her work at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1974, and in 2001 a retrospective at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Since then she has hailed with retrospect at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas, the Whitechapel Gallery in London and the Moderna Museet Malmo in Sweden, and interest in her art and life continues to grow thirty years after her death at age 84.

Peter Nero - Pianist, Conductor and Composer

Peter Nero - Media

Though Nero has lived in Media, Delaware County for several years, he began life in Brooklyn, New York as Bernard Nierowin in 1934. Despite the fact that his family was non-musical, Nero showed remarkable natural ability on the piano after beginning lessons at age 7. While attending New York's High School of Music and Art, he won a scholarship to study part-time at the Juilliard School of Music in Manhattan.

In 1951 he won a contest sponsored by New York radio station WQXR that was judged by an illustrious jury that included pianist Vladimir Horowitz. From there he went on to win several contest including Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts.

By the 1960s he became a sought after pianist of popular music and recorded more than twenty albums for RCA Victor in the 60s including a Grammy winning recording for Best Performance by an Orchestra or Instrumentalist with an Orchestra for The Colorful Peter Nero.

Since the early 1950s Nero made numerous appearances as a pianist in concert halls, theatres, and night clubs and on television throughout North America and Europe; has also appeared as a guest artist with various orchestras, including the Boston Pops. Conductor and music director for the Philly Pops since 1979; pop music director and conductor for the Florida Philharmonic since 1981, and for the Tulsa Philharmonic since 1987; has been guest conductor for dozens of other orchestras. He also was the composer of Sunday in New York (film score); Blue Fantasy and Improvisations; His World; 70 & Suite in Four Movements; The Diary.