12 Famous People From Dayton, Ohio

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Want to know which famous people are from Dayton, Ohio? We’ve got you covered with all our favorite historical figures, celebrities, athletes, and more!

If you don’t already know which famous people are from Dayton, Ohio, this list is going to surprise you.

We are home to some of the biggest names from history, movies, tv shows, the sports world, and more.

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Famous People From Dayton, Ohio

Here are just a few of the most famous people that are from Dayton, Ohio.

Historical Figures From Dayton, Ohio

While there are more people that have contributed to history that aren’t on this list, I wanted to stick to names that would (or should) be nationally recognized, so that wherever you’re reading this from you would know who I’m talking about.

1. The Wright Brothers

First up, we have the Wright Brothers.

If you don’t know who they are, they were the first people to successfully fly a powered airplane.

Because of them, Dayton is the birthplace of aviation.

Just as a little bit of background, Wilbur Wright, the older brother was not actually born in Dayton.

The family moved around a lot, but the brothers spent most of their years in Dayton, including their entire adult lives.

Orville Wright, the younger brother, was born in Dayton, moved around a bit as a kid, but came back to Dayton soon after and spent the rest of his life here.

You can visit a couple historical sites to learn about their contribution to flight at the National Museum of the US Air Force and at multiple spots throughout the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park.

The Wright Brothers

2. Paul Laurence Dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar is a famous novelist, poet, and short story writer who is known for being the first African-American poet to earn national distinction and acceptance

A fun fact about him is that he actually went to school with the Wright Brothers and was friends with them.

He is most celebrated for how some of his writing incorporated African-American and regional dialects and others were conventional, formal English style writing.

You can still see his house as part of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park.

Paul Laurence Dunbar

Celebrities From Dayton, Ohio

Now for some of the most well-known celebrities that are from Dayton, Ohio.

There are way more than the ones mentioned below, but I think these names are the most recognized.

3. Nancy Cartwright

Nancy Cartwright is a very well-known voice actress that was born in Dayton, Ohio.

She grew up in Kettering and attended St. Charles (where I attended CCD classes as a kid) and then Fairmont High School.

Here are some of her most notable animated tv and film roles:

  • Bart Simpson, Maggie Simpson, and various characters – The Simpsons
  • Chuckie Finster, Junk Food Kid – The Rugrats (later years) & All Grown Up!
  • Rufus – Kim Possible
  • Mindy – Animaniacs
  • Phantasmo, Shortstuff, Rufus – Lilo & Stitch: The Series
  • additional characters – Fat Albert
  • Gloria Glad – Richie Rich
  • additional voices – Alvin & The Chipmunks
  • Pistol Pete – Goof Troop
  • unnamed mermaid – The Little Mermaid
  • Wolf Pup, Doe, Macaw, Skunk, Chimp – The Jungle Book: Mowgli’s Story
  • Dana – The Land Before Time VI: The Secret of Saurus Rock

4. Allison Janney

While Allison Janney was born in Boston, she was actually raised in Dayton, Ohio.

She attended Miami Valley School, which is a private, independent school in Dayton.

Here are some of her most notable film and tv roles:

  • Brenda MacGuff – Juno
  • Peach – Finding Nemo, Finding Dory
  • C.J. Cregg – The West Wing
  • Prudy Pingleton – Hairspray
  • Charlotte Phelan – The Help
  • Ginger – Guiding Light
  • Charlene Doofenshmirtz – Phineas and Ferb
  • Bonnie Plunkett – Mom
  • woman in Christmas shop – Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
  • Ms. Perky – 10 Things I Hate About You
  • Barbara Fitts – American Beauty
  • Gladys Sharp – Over The Hedge
  • Betty Thompson – The Way, Way Back
  • Dottie Piper – The DUFF

5. Rob Lowe

While Rob Lowe was born in Charlottesville, Virginia, he was raised in Dayton, Ohio.

He attended Oakwood Junior High.

His first professional acting role was in a play at Wright State University when he was just 12 years old.

Here you’ll start to see the trend that the most notable actors from Dayton, Ohio all seemed to be in the tv show The West Wing.

Coincidence?

Here are some of his most notable film and tv roles:

  • Billy Hicks – St. Elmo’s Fire
  • Benjamin Kane – Wayne’s World
  • Paul Barish – Tommy Boy
  • Uncredited Cameo & Young Number Two – Austin Powers franchise
  • Sam Seaborn – The West Wing
  • Robert McCallister – Brothers & Sisters
  • Chris Traeger – Parks & Recreation
  • Simba – The Lion Guard

6. Martin Sheen

Martin Sheen was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio.

His dad worked for NCR, the company that invented the cash register, which is what brought his family to the area.

Being raised Catholic, he attended what is now Chaminade Julienne High School.

He then deliberately failed his entrance exam into the University of Dayton so that he could pursue acting.

Here are some of his most notable movie and tv roles:

  • Kit Carruthers – Badlands
  • Captain Benjamin L. Willard – Apocalypse Now
  • General Robert E. Lee – Gettysburg
  • Roger Strong – Catch Me If You Can
  • Thomas Avery – The Way
  • Ben Parker – The Amazing Spider-Man
  • President Josiah Bartlet – The West Wing
  • Martin Goodson – Anger Management (series)
  • Robert Hanson – Grace and Frankie

7. Katt Williams

Katt Williams is a comedian and actor that was born in Cincinnati, but raised in Dayton, Ohio up until about the age of 13 when he moved to Florida.

He’s known for his stand-up comedy, but has been in a handful of movies and has appeared in some tv shows as well.

Here are some of his notable movies and tv shows:

  • Harry Beaver – Epic Movie
  • Lord Have Mercy – Norbit
  • Blaine Fulda – Scary Movie 5
  • Freddie – The Tracy Morgan Show
  • Bobby Shaw – My Wife and Kids
  • Himself – Wild ‘N Out
  • Himself – Comedy Central Roast of Flavor Flav
  • Himself – 12 Stand Up Comedy Specials

8. Stevie Brock

If you’re a younger millennial or Disney kid like me, you probably know who Stevie Brock is.

He is a pop singer and toured with Aaron Carter, Jesse McCartney, and Radio Disney.

Stevie Brock was born in Dayton, Ohio and graduated from Centerville High School.

I remember hearing back in the day that one of the teachers at my elementary school was his aunt, but I can’t confirm that.

In my opinion, he is most known for his cover of the song All For Love.

9. Amy Schneider

Amy Schneider became famous for her incredible run on Jeopardy over the past couple of years.

She has the second longest winning streak on Jeopardy, behind Ken Jennings, with 40 wins.

In 8th grade her class actually voted her as “most likely to appear on Jeopardy”.

Amy was born in Dayton, Ohio and is another famous alum of Chaminade Julienne High School.

She also attended the University of Dayton.

Famous Athletes From Dayton, Ohio

For the sport enthusiasts, here just a few famous athletes that have called Dayton, Ohio home.

10. Roger Clemens

Roger Clemens was born in Dayton, Ohio and lived in Vandalia until about the age of 15 when he moved to Houston, Texas.

He is known as one of the greatest pitchers of all time in Major League Baseball.

He played 24 seasons, won 2 World Series, and won 7 Cy Young awards (more than any other pitcher in history).

11. Rob Dyrdek

Rob Dyrdek is a professional skateboarder turned tv star and entrepreneur.

He was born in Kettering and attended Fairmont High School.

When he began his skateboarding career at 11 years old he received many sponsorships from local skate shops over the years.

If you’ve ever been to the skate park at Indian Riffle Park, it was designed and developed by Rob Dyrdek in collaboration with DC Shoes back in 2005.

Today, he’s most known for MTV shows like Rob & Big, Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory, and Ridiculousness.

12. Kirk Herbstreit

Kirk Herbstreit is a former college football player and a current sports broadcaster for ESPN and ABC.

He was born and raised in Centerville and attended Centerville High School.

Then he went on to be a quarterback for the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Since then, he has been a lead analyst for College GameDay on ESPN, an analyst for ABC’s Saturday college football primetime games, an analyst for ESPN’s Thursday night college football games and Prime Video’s Thursday night college football games, among other things.


Fun Things To Do In Dayton, Ohio

Below are some of our favorite things to do in Dayton throughout each season.

✅ Best Things To Do in Dayton In Winter

While the Winter weather can severely limit your options, there is still plenty to do in Dayton during the Winter.

There are many indoor activities and there are some seasonal events you don’t want to miss, especially holiday lights.

National Museum of the United States Air Force in Fairborn, Ohio - jet plane

✅ Best Things To Do in Dayton In Spring

Springtime is a fun time to explore a variety of parks around Dayton.

Flowers are blooming, everything is green again, and there are plenty of Easter activities.

Russ Nature Preserve in Beavercreek, Ohio

✅ Best Things To Do in Dayton In Summer

Summer is a great time to explore Dayton because pretty much everything that’s seasonal is open.

The weather is great, all the outdoor activities are open, and there are a ton of festivals.

Cedar Cliff Falls at Indian Mound Reserve Park in Ohio

✅ Best Things To Do in Dayton in Fall

Fall is festival season in Dayton, Ohio.

From Oktoberfest celebrations to harvest festivals and my personal favorite, the Italian Festival, there is a festival for just about anything in the Fall in Dayton.

popcorn festival in Beavercreek, Ohio

✅ Best Day Trips From Dayton, Ohio

There are so many things to do within an hour or two drive from Dayton.

Caverns, ancient Indian mounds, wine tasting, a theme park, and more await on your day trip from Dayton.

Ohio Caverns

Where To Eat In Dayton, Ohio

Dayton, Ohio is home to some hugely popular local chains and mom and pop shops with national notoriety.

We also have all the major national chains here too, so there is a seemingly endless number of restaurants here.

Here are some of our favorites.

✔️ Romantic Restaurants in Dayton, Ohio

Dayton has a handful of steakhouses that have been around for decades that are perfect for date nights, anniversaries, birthdays, and more.

✔️ Best Italian Restaurants in Dayton, Ohio

Dayton has had a recent resurgence in modern Italian restaurants that specialize in a variety of regions throughout Italy.

You won’t find Olive Garden on this list!

✔️ Best Mexican Restaurants in Dayton, Ohio

Dayton has a couple local chains that are a must try.

JP was born and raised in Southern California and even he enjoys these restaurants, so you know they’re legit.

El Toro in Beavercreek

✔️ Best Restaurants in Dayton, Ohio

These are the best overall restaurants in Dayton that fit any budget and palette.

If you’ve never been to the area, I recommend Skyline Chili.

5 Way from Skyline Chili

Conclusion: Famous People From Dayton, Ohio

These are just a handful of famous people from Dayton, Ohio.

I tried to pick the names that most people would recognize or have some sort of connection to.

Hopefully there will be more names to add in the future!