Many people have heard of Ann Arbor, Michigan, but has it been home to any celebrities? We have listed 9 celebrities that either currently live or have lived in this beautiful city.
1. Virgil Exner
Virgil Exner was an automobile designer for General Motors, Studebaker, and Chrysler. He is most well known for his work on Chrysler’s Forward Look campaign, as well as for his fondness for tailfins on cars.
An orphan from Ann Arbor, Virgil was adopted by George and Iva Exner. The couple fostered their son’s love for automobiles and even tried to help him attend college, but he had to drop out after 2 years because they couldn’t afford it. He started off working in advertising but got his first design job while working for General Motors, specifically working on Pontiacs.
He started working for another design firm called Loewy and Associates that did work for Studebaker, and while working there, he caught the attention of Studebaker’s Engineering Vice President. Virgil Exner’s name is the only inventor name listed on the patent for the Studebaker Starlight coupe, but the credit was publicly assigned to Loewy for advertising purposes since Loewy was more established and a legend.
In 1949, Exner started working with Chrysler. When Exner first joined, Chrysler’s cars were being designed by engineers instead of designers, so they weren’t appealing to people the way the company wanted them to be. The designs of the cars were too utilitarian and awkward. The cars were functional, but Chrysler wanted them to be beautiful as well.
Exner was inspired by Italian designer friends of his who were experimenting with small putting small fins on the backs of their cars and he fell in love with the concept. He enlarged the fins and made them a more prominent feature.
This was the beginning of Chrysler’s “Forward Look” campaign. This campaign began after the war ended. The idea behind it was to encourage people to “Look Forward” to the future now that the war had ended. The cars were meant to look more futuristic and luxurious. This was meant to directly contrast with the cars used by the military during the war efforts.
In 1957, Exner and his team were awarded a Gold Medal Award by the Industrial Designers Institute.
2. Danielle and Steve Hartsell
Danielle and Steve Hartsell were a brother-sister figure skating duo from Ann Arbor, Michigan. The two of them won the World Junior Championship in 1997, and the US National Championship in 1999. Danielle retired in 2001 when she got married, but her brother continued to skate.
He made it to the US Championships again with partner Marcy Hinzmann in 2003, but they only placed 9th. He made it to the US Championships again in 2004 with Kristen Roth, but they only placed 12th.
3. Henry F. Vaughan
Henry F. Vaughan was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1880. His father was a doctor, and Henry was the only one of the 5 sons not to follow in his father’s footsteps. He became an Epidemiologist instead of a doctor.
Vaughan attended the University of Michigan. Here he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering and a Master’s of Engineering. After graduating, he joined the Michigan Department of Health as a Sanitary Engineer. He became an Epidemiologist in 1915, then returned to the University of Michigan and obtained a Doctorate of Public Health in 1916.
Vaughan went on to become the youngest Health Commissioner ever appointed at the age of 29. He was also the first Health Commissioner ever appointed who didn’t have a medical degree. Henry Vaughan led the charge in implementing preventative medical practices instead of only working to cure illnesses that individuals had already caught.
4. We Are The Union
We Are the Union is a Ska band formed in 2005 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. They released their first album, Who We Are, in 2007. They released 2 more albums, one in 2010 and one in 2012, before announcing in 2013 that they were going on an indefinite hiatus. However, they came back in 2015 after Ska YouTuber Jer Hunter joined the band.
In 2021, they announced a new album. At the time of announcing the album, the band’s lead vocalist Reade Wolcott also announced their status as a trans woman. A lot of the album explored topics surrounding their transition.
5. T. Casey Brennan
T. Casey Brennan is a comic book artist from Ann Arbor, Michigan. He wrote for the horror comic anthologies Creepy and Erie and Vampirella. Brennan also used to write for DC’s House of Mystery as well as Archie’s Comics. In the 1980s, Brennan headed a campaign for depictions of smoking to be banned from comics. Because of his efforts, in 1990, Arkansas’s Governor Bill Clinton declared January “T. Casey Brennan Month“.
T. Casey Brennan is homeless and has chosen to stay this way. He considers it his responsibility to stand as a representative for the homeless minority. He is strongly opposed to alcohol, but despite his campaign against the depiction of smoking in comics, Brennan himself is an avid smoker. In a 2006 interview, Brennan admitted that he was not actually opposed to smoking and headed the campaign as part of a publicity stunt.
6. Jason Zucker
Jason Zucker is an American Ice Hockey player. He was a member of the Minnesota Wilds from 2011-2019 but was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2019. Zucker is a Left Wing.
He played on the World Juniors Championship team in 2009, 2010, and 2011. In 2010, the team won a gold medal, and in 2011, they won a bronze medal. In the 2010-2011 season, he played for the University of Denver and was named the Western Collegiate Hockey Association’s Rookie of the Year. He is one of the only players to ever score in the first 10 seconds of 2 different games.
Jason Zucker was raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, and is the first NHL player to come from Nevada.
7. Bruce R. McConkie
Bruck R. McConkie was an author and publisher. He was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and would spend his childhood moving between there and Salt Lake City, Utah. He graduated with a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Utah in 1939 and went on to become an assistant city attorney in Salt Lake.
He had enrolled in the ROTC while attending U of U and was called to active duty service in 1942. He served in Military Intelligence and when he was discharged in 1946, he held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, one of the youngest at the time to hold that rank within Military Intelligence.
He and his wife had been married in the Salt Lake Temple in 1937. Both were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and met at the University of Utah, where she graduated with a degree in bacteriology and pathology. They had 9 children together.
Bruce published his first book, Mormon Doctrine: A Compendium of the Gospel, in 1958. He stated in the book that it was his personal interpretation, not the official statement of the church. The church leaders were surprised by the book’s harsh tone and the many mistakes and asked that he not reprint it. However, several years later he was asked to revise it with the help of Spencer W. Kimball.
McConkie also wrote several works of poetry and even contributed to the hymn “Come Listen to a Prophet’s Voice”.
8. Tally Hall
Tally Hall is an American Indie Rock Band formed in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The band refers to their musical style as “fabloo”. They started using this term to escape being pinned down by any sort of labels that people tried to assign to their music after one member used “wonky rock” to describe it.
The band is known for its upbeat melodies and dark yet seemingly whimsical lyrics. They are also known for their band uniform of colored ties. Each member is assigned a specific color which they wear at all band appearances and performances. Every member takes turns providing vocals except for their producer, who is an honorary member and also has an assigned tie color.
Tally Hall is also known for providing the music for a children’s television show called Happy Monster Band. The show ran from 2007-2008 and had two seasons.
9. Bob Seger
Born in Detroit and raised in Ann Arbor, this Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Famer is an American legend! Bob Seger is considered a Heartland Rocker. This means he sings songs that tend to reflect back on rock’s origins in blues, country, and folk music. These songs are often written with a focus on blue-collar workers and rock and roll as a movement instead of a form of entertainment.
Seger performed with several bands throughout his career but eventually settled into working with his band The Silver Bullets. It was with this band that he would release his most successful album, Live Bullet.
In 2001, his recording of the song Old Time Rock and Roll was named one of the Songs of the Century. He was inducted into the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012.