Famous People From Queens, New York

Ramones t-shirt
••• Iconic rockers the Ramones hailed from Queens. illrockmerch.com

Some of the most famous and successful Americans hail from Queens. Indeed, Queens natives have been involved in art, science, entertainment, sports and politics. Below are just a few of the most well-known Queens natives. 

Scientists

Richard P. Feynman, a physicist and Nobel laureate, was born in Queens on May 11, 1918. Feynman helped to develop the atom bomb during World War II and served on the commission that investigated the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, shortly before he died in 1988. Feynman attended Far Rockaway High School in Queens where he was a math prodigy, even winning a New York University math competition during his last year at the school.

Marie M. Daly, a chemist born in Queens on April 16, 1921, was best known as the first African-American woman to receive a Ph.D. in chemistry in the United States. Daly received her bachelor's and started a master's degree program in chemistry at Queens College in Flushing before transferring to New York University to complete her master's degree. She eventually received her Ph.D. from Columbia University. To pay for graduate school, Daly even worked as a lab assistant at Queens College. 

Politicians

Donald Trump, a businessman, author, politician and presidential candidate, was born in Jamaica Estates, Queens on June 14, 1946. Before graduating from college in 1964, Trump began his real estate career at his father's company -- then called Elizabeth Trump and Son -- which focused on middle-class rental housing in Queens, Staten Island and Brooklyn. Trump even played himself in a 1997 episode of "The Drew Carey Show" titled "New York and Queens."

Andrew Cuomo, New York governor, former attorney general of New York and secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under President Bill Clinton, was born in Queens on Dec. 6, 1957. Cuomo once owned a home in Douglas Manor, a private waterfront community on the border of Queens and Nassau County. 

Athletes

"Born Ronald William Artest on Nov. 13, 1979, in Queens, New York, Metta World Peace was drafted 16th overall in the 1999 NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls," according to Bio. Peace was the oldest of six children growing up in the Queensbridge Houses and later attended St. John's University in Queens, where he helped the Red Storm go 22-10 and advance to the NCAA Tournament.

Born on Nov. 6, 1979, in South Jamaica, NBA star Lamar Odom "used basketball to help him through a traumatic childhood," according to Bio. Odom attended Christ the King High School in Queens until his junior year, before transferring to another school outside of Queens.

Bob Beamon, a track and field star who set the world record in the long jump at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, was born in South Jamaica on Aug. 29, 1946. His record stood until 1991.

Entertainers, Directors and Television Personalities

Christopher Walken, an actor who starred in such films as "The Deer Hunter," "The Dead Zone" and "Annie Hall," was born in Astoria, a middle-class neighborhood in the northwest corner of Queens. His childhood in Queens helped start him in the entertainment business. "It was very typical for people -- and I mean working-class people -- to send their kids to dancing school," he told "Interview" magazine. "You'd learn ballet, tap, acrobatics, usually you'd even learn to sing a song,"

50 Cent, a rapper and businessman whose birth name is Curtis James Jackson III, was born in South Jamaica, Queens, a fact he notes in his biography, "From Pieces to Weight: Once Upon a Time in Southside Queens" and in his film "Get Rich or Die Tryin'."

Bob Costas, who is well-known for his TV coverage of the Olympics and other sporting events, was born in Queens on March 22, 1952. 

Martin Scorsese, a film director and screenwriter famous for directing such iconic films as "Taxi Driver," "Raging Bull" and "Goodfellas," was born on Nov. 17, 1942 in the Queen's neighborhood of Flushing. 

Other Famous Queens Natives:

  • Joey and Johnny Ramone, musicians and members of the punk rock band, "The Ramones," were born in Queens. The band was formed in Forest Hills and even recorded a song about a Queens neighborhood called "Rockaway Beach." 
  • Hank Azaria, one of the principal voice actors for "The Simpsons," was also born in  Forest Hills on April 25, 1964. 
  • Ray Romano, an actor, comedian and writer, was born in Forest Hills on Dec. 21, 1957, and briefly attended Queens College  in Flushing.  
  • Julie Chen, host of the reality show "Big Brother" and former co-anchor of "The Early Show" on CBS, was born on Jan. 6, 1970 in Queens.
  • Fran Drescher, an actress who starred in the TV show, "The Nanny," was born on Sept. 30, 1957 in the Kew Gardens section of Queens and attended Hillcrest High School in Jamaica.
  • Bernard "Bernie" Madoff, a former stockbroker and financier, who pleaded guilty to committing one of the largest Ponzi schemes in history, was born on April 29, 1938 in Queens.