Top 23 Famous People from Vermont

Vermont might be one of the least populated states in the U.S., but it’s been home to several famous people.

Politicians, authors, actors, musicians, Olympic athletes, and many others are included on the list of famous people from Vermont. In fact, hundreds of people could make the list, but we’ve narrowed it down to the top 23 most famous.

Here, you’ll find some of the most recognized famous people from Vermont. How many do you know?

Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders speaking on a stage with the American flag in the background. He is a famous person from Vermont.

Politician Bernie Sanders is most well-known for his run in the 2020 and 2016 presidential elections. But he’s also served Vermont in Congress since 1990 and was mayor of Burlington from 1981 to 1989. Sanders is known for his progressive politics, including fighting for workers’ rights and reversing climate change.

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield

Few other brands say “Vermont” like Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. And this delectable line of frozen treats was created by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield in 1978 in Burlington. While the pair sold the business to Unilever in 2000, they are still connected to the company through Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, a non-profit that supports various social and environmental causes and is funded through a portion of the company’s profits.

Calvin Coolidge

Calvin Coolidge was the 30th president of the United States and was born in Plymouth Notch, VT, in 1872. In addition to being president, Coolidge was also the vice president of the U.S., the 48th governor of Massachusetts, and served in numerous other political offices in Massachusetts.

Ethan Allen

Ethan Allen and Captain de la Place. May 1775. The capture of Fort Ticonderoga, New York. Copy of engraving after Alonzo Chappel. Ethan Allen is among the famous people from Vermont.
Ethan Allen and Captain de la Place, the capture of Fort Ticonderoga in New York, May 1775. Copy of engraving by Alonzo Chappel. Credit: Commons: Licensing.

Among the most famous people from Vermont is Ethan Allen, an American Revolutionary War hero and a political leader. He is best known for his leadership of the Green Mountain Boys, a group of militia fighters who helped secure Vermont’s independence from Britain. He is also known for being one of the founders of Vermont, establishing it as an independent state separate from New York and New Hampshire.

Billy Kidd

Billy Kidd is a former alpine ski racer who was born in Burlington. Kidd was a member of the U.S. Ski Team in the 1960s and 1970s, and he was the first American skier to win an Olympic medal in alpine skiing. After retiring from competitive skiing, Kidd became a T.V. commentator & coach and has continued to be involved in the skiing community.

John Dewey

John Dewey was a philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer born in Burlington in 1859. Dewey believed that education should be grounded in real-world experiences and focused on the needs and interests of the learner. He also advocated for a holistic approach to teaching that emphasized creativity and critical thinking.

Orson Bean

Alley Mills with actor Orson Bean. Bean is considered a famous person from Vermont.
Orson Bean with Alley Mills

Orson Bean was an actor, comedian, and writer born in Burlington, Vermont, in 1928. He had a long and varied career in film, television, and theater and was a familiar face to audiences for decades. Bean appeared in numerous T.V. shows and movies, and he was also a prolific stage actor who appeared in many plays on and off-Broadway.

Grace Potter

Grace Potter is a singer, songwriter, and musician from Waitsfield, Vermont. She formed the group Grace Potter and the Nocturnals in 2002. Potter is known for her powerful vocals and blend of rock, pop, and blues influences. Potter has released several albums and collaborated with other artists, including Kenny Chesney.

Robert Frost

Poet Robert Frost is considered among the famous people from Vermont, even though he was born in San Francisco, California in 1874. Frost lived in rural Vermont for many years, and his time in the state inspired some of his most well-known work. He is known for his simple yet profound poetry, which explores themes of nature, the human condition, and rural life. Frost won four Pulitzer Prizes for his poetry and is considered one of the greatest American poets of the 20th century.

Norman Rockwell

Norman Rockwell painting and Mike Connors looking on in 1966
Norman Rockwell painting and Mike Connors looking on in 1966

Norman Rockwell was a painter and illustrator born in New York City in 1894. He is known for his detailed and realistic depictions of American life and culture, which often appeared on the covers of popular magazines such as the Saturday Evening Post. Rockwell moved to Arlington, Vermont, in 1938, and it was here that his works began to depict small-town life.

Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling was a British author and poet born in Bombay, India, in 1865. He owned a home in Dummerston in the late 19th century, where he wrote some of his most famous works, including “The Jungle Book” and “Captains Courageous.” In 1907, Kipling won the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Patty Sheehan

Patty Sheehan is a professional golfer who was born in Middlebury. She joined the LPGA Tour in 1980 and won six major championships and thirty-five LPGA Tour events. She is also a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Chester Alan Arthur

Among the famous people from Vermont is Chester Alan Arthur, the 21st president of the United States, serving from 1881 to 1885. Arthur was born in Fairfield, VT, grew up in upstate New York, and practiced law in New York City.

Joseph Smith

Joseph Smith was a religious leader and founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church. He was born in Sharon, VT, in 1805. Smith is known for his claims of receiving divine revelations and for translating and publishing the Book of Mormon, which he regarded as an additional testament of Jesus Christ.

Brigham Young

It might surprise you that among the famous people from Vermont is Brigham Young, another prominent figure of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, known as the Mormon church. Young was born in Whitingham, Vermont in 1801. He is best known for his role in the early history of the Mormon church, which he led after the death of its founder, Joseph Smith.

Phish

Phish members Page McConnell, Trey Anastasio and Mike Gordon. They are all considered famous people from Vermont since their band formed in Burlington.
Phish members Page McConnell, Trey Anastasio, and Mike Gordon Photo credit: Dan Shinneman

The rock band Phish formed in Burlington in 1983. All three members of the band, Jon Fishman, drummer; Mike Gordon, bassist; Page McConnell, keyboardist; and Trey Anastasio, guitarist, were students at the University of Vermont when they met and came together.

Howard Dean

Howard Dean is a politician and physician who served as the 79th governor of Vermont from 1991 to 2003. Dean is perhaps best known for his 2004 presidential campaign, during which he became a prominent advocate for progressive policies and popularized the “50-state strategy” for the Democratic Party.

John Deere

John Deere was a blacksmith and manufacturer who founded the John Deere Company, one of the world’s largest agricultural and construction equipment manufacturers. Born in Rutland, Vermont, Deere moved to Illinois and invented the first commercially successful steel plow in 1837.

Matt Salinger

Among the famous people from Vermont is Matt Salinger, an actor and producer born in Windsor, Vermont, in 1960. He’s the son of the famous author J.D. Salinger, who wrote The Catcher in the Rye and other works of fiction. Matt Salinger has appeared in several films and T.V. shows, including Revenge of the Nerds and What Dreams May Come, and has been involved in producing and directing projects for the screen.

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See related:

What is Vermont Known for? (Top 20 Things It’s Famous for)

What Food is Vermont Known for? (11 Foods It’s Famous for)

A photo of Kerry Flatley leaning against a wall

About Kerry Flatley

Kerry Flatley has lived in New England for the past 26 years. She has roots in Maine & Massachusetts, family in New Hampshire, and grew up close to the Connecticut border. She loves all that this region has to offer – the ocean, mountains, islands, history, villages, and cities. When she’s not writing about New England, she’s relaxing at home in the Boston suburbs with her two teenage daughters and husband.

One Comment

  1. Bill Wilson Of East Dorset Vermont and Dr. Bob Smith of St. Johnsbury Vermont were instrumental in creating and bringing AA to the world. AA is the backbone today of many 12 step programs, ie; NA, ALANON, ACOA, OA, etc.

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