I've talked about a few historically significant people to Amarillo and the Panhandle area. I've even talked about a couple of celebrities from the area. For this week's My Town Monday I'm going to go that route again and talk about a trio of well known Amarilloans. On the surface these three have little in common and lumping them together will see odd, but I'll present my convoluted common thread at the end.
John Rich was born in Amarillo on January 7, 1974. The same year as my wife. He also attended the same high school she did though he moved to Nashville before graduation. Rich is a very talented and prolific songwriter and singer. His greatest success as a vocal artist has been with Big Kenny in the duo Big & Rich. Currently you can see John as one of the judges on the NBC reality show Nashville Star. He also hosted the show Gone Country on CMT last year. He has also written songs for singers such as Jason Aldean (Amarillo Sky), Faith Hill, Gretchen Wilson, Aaron Tippin, Wynonna, and his former group Lonestar.
John also appears to be a shrewed businessman who has helped launch the career of others. Some do not care for his musical style and he has been labeled as not playing true country music. I for appreciate his rebellious and outlaw ways and Big & Rich do put on a heck of a live show. Yes, he's a bit flamboyant and over the top for the genre. Maybe those tendencies are what got him in trouble and led his bandmates in Lonestar to fire him, but I gotta ask, when was the last time they had a hit?
Carolyn Sue Jones was born in Amarillo on April 28, 1930. The actress of Comanche ancestry had a successful career and starred in movies such as Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Seven Year Itch, and King Creole opposite Elvis Presley. Though her hair was naturally blond she is best known and most recognizable from her television days where she wore a long black wig and portrayed Morticia Addams in the old television series The Addams family.
Sadly. Carolyn Jones died of colon cancer on August 3, 1983. She might have been the world's first gothic female personality and is reported to have been a direct descendant of Indian Chief Geronimo. Also for a time in the fifties, she was married to mega producer Aaron Spelling though in those days he was a struggling filmmaker himself.
Rounding out the trio of Amarillo celebs in Sandy Cheeks. Sadly I could not find an exact date for her birth but research did provide a year 1985. Okay unless you have kids you might not realize Sandy Cheeks is a fictional character on the cartoon series, Sponge Bob Square Pants. Sandy is a squirrel and in one episode said she was from Amarillo, Texas.
One of Sandy's regular sayings is "Don't you dare take the name of Texas in vain."
I couldn't agree more Sandy.
So other than a hometown what ties these three together. Isn't it obvious?
All you gotta do is listen to the lyrics of Big & Rich's hit Save a Horse, Ride A Cowboy to know John Rich is a bit nutty. Carolyn Jones played the matriarch of the word's nuttiest family, this side of the one spawned by Joe Jackson, and Sandy cheek is a squirrel. They love nuts.
Seems like natural association to me.
For more My Town Monday Blog check below. I'll link as I become aware of other posts.
Patti Abbott - Stratford, Ontario
Karen Alaniz - Walla Walla, Washington
J.L. Krueger - Kabul, Afghanistan
Lyzzydee - Welwyn Garden City, England
Terrie Farley Moran (Women of Mystery) New York, New York
Barbara Martin - Toronto, Canada
PretZel - West Bend, Iowa
Barrie Summy - Ontario, California
Mary Nix - Olmsted Falls, Ohio
Britta Coleman - Is alive and well and back in Fort Worth, Texas
Debra - Peninsula, Ohio
SUV Mama - Portland, Oregon
Clair Dickson - Livingston County, Michigan