Most Famous Kansas Celebrities & Well-Known People From Kansas

Most Famous Kansas Celebrities & Well-Known People From Kansas
Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

Kansas is known for prairies, barbeque, a rock band of the same name, and some of the best college sports in the country, with Kansas, Kansas State, Wichita State, and more. Even better, now they're known for top tier betting operators like ESPN BET Kansas.

In song, Glen Campbell immortalized the “Wichita Lineman,” Shawn Colvin sang of the “Wichita Skyline” and Judy Garland rode “On the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe.” Garland also portrayed Kansas’s most famous character: Dorothy from the “Wizard of Oz.” 

Classic movies like “In Cold Blood” and “Dances with Wolves” were set in Kansas, while “Paper Moon” was filmed there. 

At BetKansas.com, we wanted to take a hyper-localized approach to see which celebrities raised in the state of Kansas are the most well-known, so we looked into which ones are being discussed online.

Wichita produced four of the top 10, followed by Kansas City and Overland Park. No shocker there, as Wichita is twice the size of the other two. 

The “city” punching well above its weight is Sharon, childhood home of No. 9 Martina McBride, which has a listed population of under 150.

A chart and methodology is below.

Most Well-Known Kansas Celebrities in 2022

NameHometownSearch Volume Over Past Year
1. Paul Rudd, ActorLenexa658K
2. Jason Sudeikis, ActorOverland Park601K
3. Joanna Gaines, TV PersonaltyWichita150K
4. Kirstie Alley, ActressWichita153K
5. Janelle Monae, Singer-SongwriterKansas City, KS100K
6. Barry Sanders, NFL RBWichita74K
7. Eric Stonestreet, ActorKansas City, KS123K
8. Rob Riggle, ActorOverland Park100K
9. Martina McBride, Singer-SongwriterSharon62K
10. Jeff Probst, TV PersonalityWichita66K


Methodology

BetKansas.com utilized a weighted system between AhRefs.com Keywords Explorer and Google Trends to look at the most searched Kansas celebrities over the past 12 months. 

Those statistics were then averaged to determine the Top 10. 

Kansas celebrity was defined as a person who resided in Kansas in their formative childhood and teenage years for over 10 years. 

Celebrity was broken down to include only actors/actresses, singer/songwriters, TV personalities, comedians, dancers, athletes and social media influencers.

Actor Paul Rudd Tops The List

1. Paul Rudd, Lenexa. A star for more than a quarter of a century and People’s “Sexiest Man Alive” in 2021, Rudd became well known in “Clueless,” and is now best known for Judd Apatow comedies “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” and “Knocked Up,” plus “Anchorman” and Marvel’s “Ant-Man.” He’s presently all over television starring in a potato chip commercial with frequent collaborator Seth Rogen.

2. Jason Sudeikis, Overland Park. A memorable decade with “Saturday Night Live” was parlayed into a marriage and two children with actress Olivia Wilde (since ended), and movies such as “Horrible Bosses.” But Sudeikis’ fame jumped another notch with the success of “Ted Lasso.”

3. Joanna Gaines, Wichita. Star of the HGTV series “Fixer Upper,” with her husband Chip, and “Fixer Upper: Welcome Home” on Discovery+. The couple has five children and also created and runs Magnolia Network. Like any popular reality TV star, Joanna has made occasional tabloid headlines.

4. Kirstie Alley, Wichita. Alley was once most famous for replacing Shelley Long on “Cheers” and using that as a springboard for a movie career and her own TV shows, “Veronica’s Closet” and “Fat Actress.” These days she seems to be better known for her ties to Scientology and her comments on politics.

5. Janelle Monae, Kansas City. Renaissance woman known first for her music, then for her acting and science fiction writing. Monae’s third album was 2018’s acclaimed “Dirty Computer” and her acting career is best-known for “Hidden Figures,” “Moonlight” and “Harriet.” She’s also been a Cover Girl spokesperson.

6. Barry Sanders, Wichita. One of the greatest NFL running backs of all time , Sanders starred at Wichita North High School, before winning the Heisman, Maxwell and Camp trophies at Oklahoma State and playing with the Detroit Lions from 1989-1998, where he was a 6X all-pro and league MVP in 1997.

7. Eric Stonestreet, Kansas City. After a stint on “CSI,” he became a star and 2X Emmy winner on “Modern Family,” playing the gay high school football coach who was only slightly less tightly wound than his husband Mitchell, as they tried to raise their adopted daughter and deal with Mitchell’s family. A huge Kansas City Chiefs fan, Stonestreet also became known as one of Ellen DeGeneres’s favorite scare targets. 

8. Rob Riggle, Overland Park. After serving in the Marine Corps, Riggle, who had been voted the funniest guy at Shawnee Mission South High School, turned his comedic talents to “The Daily Show,” “Saturday Night Live” “Modern Family,” films including “Talladega Nights,” and he now serves as co-host on the miniature golf meets Three Stooges ABC comedy, “Holey Moley.”

9. Martina McBride, Sharon. Country music singer who’s sold more than 14 million albums over her 30+year career. Fourteen is a good number for McBride, as she’s recorded 14 albums and also been nominated for 14 Grammy Awards. She was named the year’s top vocalist 4X by the Country Music Association and 3X by the Academy of Country Music.

10. Jeff Probst, Wichita. Best known as the host of “Survivor” for more than two decades, Probst also had his own syndicated TV talk show from 2012-13. Before “Survivor,” Probst hosted VH1’s “Rock & Roll Jeopardy!” and worked as a correspondent on “Access Hollywood.”

Honorable Mentions: Actor Scott Foley, Oklahoma Football Coach Brent Venables, Singer-Songwriter Melissa Etheridge and NFL Wide Receiver Jordy Nelson.

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Author

Howard Gensler is a veteran journalist who’s worked at the Philadelphia Daily News, TV Guide and the Philadelphia Inquirer and is a founding editor of bettorsinsider.com.

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