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.