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Amarillo Locals Who Made It Big – Lori’s Top 5

flickr/charles henry

Every town has someone who has made a name for themselves in the world, be it in movies, music, sports or science. Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle is no different. Here is my list of the top 5 famous people from Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle.

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Rick Husband




Rick Husband was a graduate of Amarillo High School in 1975. After graduating from high school, he went on to get his degree in mechanical engineering from Texas Tech and then went on to pilot training with the U.S. Airforce. It was in 1995 when he because an astronaut for NASA.


How awesome is it, that Amarillo can call Rick Husband one of their own.   Amarillo's very own Astronaut.  However, tragedy stuck our hero on Feburary 3, 2003 when Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated upon reentry into the Earth's atmosphere.


It was the Challenger disaster all over again, but this time, it took the life of one of Amarillo's own.


Amarillo honored this fallen hero, by renaming the Amarillo International Airport to the Rick Husband International Airport. Each time a person walks through the terminal they see a statue standing awaiting them with the story of Rick Husband.

Getty Images
Getty Images

Aaron Spelling (yes, that Aaron Spelling).

She starred in several television shows and movies.  She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the movie, The Bachelor Party and was nominated for a Golden Globe.

Most people don't know who Carolyn Jones is until you mention the role she is most famous for portraying. In 1962, Carolyn Jones put on a long black wig, a tight dress and some monstrous fingernails and became Morticia Adams, on the short lived but greatly loved, The Addams Family.

Carolyn Jones, had a few roles after the Addams Family but nothing major came along after the show.

In 1971 she wrote a book titled, Twice Upon a Time, it was about an actress.

Carolyn Jones, passed away 28 years ago today at the age of 53 after losing a fight with cancer on August 3, 1983.


Texas Tech University.

 In 1996, he was drafted in the 5th round of the NFL Draft to play as a line backer for the Miami Dolphins. He signed a 3-year $577,000 contract. In 1999 Zach signed on with the Miami Dolphins for another 5 years for $22.5 million dollars. He went on to extend his contract for another 5 years in 2003 for $33.75 million.

In 2008, the Miami Dolphins chose not to resign Zach, and he signed on with the Dallas Cowboys for one year.

In 2010, Zach signed a one-day, $1 contract with the Miami Dolphins so he could retire as a Dolphin.

Zach has opened up a gym here in Amarillo called Zach's Club 54, he also owns one in Lubbock.


Lonestar, he shared vocal responsibilities with Richie McDonald.


In 1998 he was fired from the band. He went on to embark on a solo career and recorded and album, Underneath the Same Moon, which wasn't released until 2006.


By 2002 he was half of the duo Big and Rich with Big Kenny. Big and Rich went on to have huge success. They are best know for their song, Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy).


John Rich has also penned countless hit songs for Gretchen Wilson, Faith Hill, James Otto, Wynonna and Jason Aldean.


After Big and Rich, John went back to a solo career.


John Rich has also served as the host for CMT's Gone Country, he served as a judge on Nashville Star, and most recently was name Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice.


According to the Amarillo Globe News:

He said he cited his Amarillo upbringing to Trump as a reason why he should be picked as the last celebrity standing. “I told him that I grew up in a double-wide trailer in Tornado Alley, so this show doesn't scare me,” Rich said. “I think a lot of what I am comes from growing up in Amarillo.”

Michael Loccisano
Michael Loccisano
Ron White – Tater Salad
Ron White Biography
Joke of the Day


Ron has also made appearances on several TV shows and in movies like Sex and the City 2 and most recently Horrible Bosses.


Ron White is currently touring.

Craig Barritt
Craig Barritt

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