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Oklahoma Musicians, Actors, and Entertainers

Hear and learn from the oral histories of Oklahoma's most influential musicians, actors, dancers, and other professionals in the entertainment industry.

Learn From These Influential Oklahomans

Billy Parker

Billy Parker

Country Western Music

While Billy Parker was a mainstay on country radio, his claim to fame was as an influential disc jockey, not as a performer. Ironically, for all of the Top 40 …

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Coke Meyer

Coke Meyer

Great Niece of Will Rogers

Oklahoma’s favorite son used to say “My ancestors didn’t come over on the Mayflower, but they met the boat.” Will Rogers who had a rich Cherokee heritage, was born in …

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Curly Lewis

Curly Lewis

Curly Lewis — Fiddle Player

Julian “Curly” Lewis was an influential fiddle player and accomplished vocalist who, during a career that spanned nearly eighty years, played with some of the greatest western swing bands and …

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Dick Carson

Dick Carson

Carson Attractions

Carson Attractions in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was the foremost ticket facility for events at the Maxwell Convention Center (now Cox Business Center) for over forty years. The story begins with the …

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Guy Logsdon

Guy Logsdon

Musician, Author, and Historian

Dr. Guy Logsdon grew up in Ada, Oklahoma and attended the local high school. After graduating from East Central State University, he earned his master’s degree and EDD in education …

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Jana Jae

Jana Jae

Fiddle Player

Musical talent runs through the family of Jana Jae. Her parents studied at the famed Juilliard School of Music in New York, and Jana was introduced to the classical study …

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Jim Halsey

Jim Halsey

Event Promoter & Artist Manager

The original star maker, legendary music impresario Dr. Jim Halsey has set the standard in the music industry for over 60 years. In his honored career, he has guided; and …

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Joy Harjo

Joy Harjo

Native American Poet and Musician

U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and is an enrolled member of the Muscogee Creek Nation. She is the daughter of a Creek father and a …

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Mary Jo Guthrie

Mary Jo Guthrie

Woody Guthrie’s Sister, Artist & Writer

Mary Jo Guthrie loved her father—her “Pappa”—and her brothers, one being Woody Guthrie. Woody was ten years older than his sister, yet Mary Jo remembers how he would get down on …

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Peggy Helmerich

Peggy Helmerich

Hollywood Starlet

When Peggy Josephine Varnadow was signed by Universal Pictures in 1949, the public relations staff whittled down her name to the barest essentials, and thus Peggy Dow was born. Born …

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Ramona Reed

Ramona Reed

Country Music Singer & Yodeler

In episode 3 of the Ken Burns documentary “Country Music,” a picture was used featuring the stage of the Grand Ole Opry from 1949 which included Ramona Reed. Ramona was …

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Roy Clark

Roy Clark

Entertainer & Musician

The son of two amateur musicians, Roy Clark began playing banjo, guitar, and mandolin at an early age. By the time he was 14, he was playing guitar behind his …

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Steve Ripley

Steve Ripley

Musician, Songwriter, Inventor

Steve Ripley grew up in Oklahoma graduating from Glencoe High School and Oklahoma State University. He went on to become a recording artist, record producer, songwriter, studio engineer, guitarist, and …

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Tommy Allsup

Tommy Allsup

Musician & Producer

Western Swing guitarist and music producer Tommy Allsup was born on his Cherokee mother’s land allotment near Owasso, Oklahoma. The twelfth of thirteen children, the musical family moved to Claremore. …

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Wanda Clark

Wanda Clark

Lucille Ball’s Personal Assistant

Born on August 6, 1911, in Jamestown, New York, Lucille Ball got her start as a singer, model, and film star before becoming one of America’s top comedic actresses with …

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Wanda Jackson

Wanda Jackson

Rockabilly Singer

Wanda Jackson was only halfway through high school when, in 1954, country singer Hank Thompson heard her on an Oklahoma City radio show and asked her to record with his …

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Washington Rucker

Washington Rucker

Jazz Drummer

Washington Irving Rucker was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on March 5, 1937 and attended local schools through graduation from Booker T. Washington High School, developing a talent for the drums …

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Will Rogers

Will Rogers

Entertainer

Oklahoma’s favorite son used to say “My ancestors didn’t come over on the Mayflower, but they met the boat.” Will Rogers who had a rich Cherokee heritage, was born in …

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Woody Guthrie

Woody Guthrie

Musician, Artist, Writer

This land is your land This land is my land From California to the New York island

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