Top Five Most Famous People From Utica And Rome
There have been a number of people from Utica and Rome that have gone on to fame in one area of endeavor or another. We have come up with a list of 5 prominent individuals who were either born or brought up in these two outstanding Central New York communities.
Annette Funicello--more commonly known simply as Annette--was born in Utica in 1942. She moved to California when she was four years old and gained lasting fame at age 12 as one of the original "Mouseketeers" on the Mickey Mouse Club. A successful recording and movie career followed highlighted by a series of popular "beach movies" co-starring Frankie Avalon throughout the 60's. In 1992 Annette revealed that she had suffered from multiple sclerosis for several years.
James Schoolcraft Sherman was born in Utica in 1855. After serving several terms in the United States House of Representatives he was nominated for Vice-President with Presidential candidate William Howard Taft. Taft was elected and Sherman became the Vice-President of the United States. He was re-nominated for that office in 1912 but died prior to the election and was buried in Utica's Forest Hill Cemetery.
Although he was born in New York City Will Smith moved to Utica with his family at a young age and graduated from Proctor High School. A standout football player in high school he was named to the USA Today All-American team. Will attended Ohio State University and was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the 2004 NFL draft. He has kept a presence in the community through a series of youth football camps.
Francis Bellamy, author of the Pledge of Allegiance, was born in Mount Morris but later moved to Rome where he attended Rome Free Academy. He wrote the Pledge of Allegiance in 1892 for publication in a magazine called "Youth's Companion", a popular journal for children. Bellamy died in 1931 and is buried in Rome.
Steve Wynn was born in New Haven, Connecticut but moved with his family to Utica where he was raised and educated. He later attended the Manlius School near Syracuse. After starting in his family's casino business he has purchased an interest in a number of Las Vegas casino's over the years culminating in the Wynn/Las Vegas and Encore hotels and resorts. According to Forbes magazine Wynn is now the 512th richest person in the world.