Indiana’s Most Well-Known Celebrities

Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

The state of Indiana certainly can be sports-centric, with NBA legend Larry Bird hailing from the state, but it also has celebrities from other walks of life.

So, IndianaBets.com took a brief break from the interest in Purdue basketball in Indiana sports betting to assess which celebrities draw the most internet searches in the state.

We used AhRefs.com Keywords Explorer and Google Trends to look at the most-searched Indiana celebrities over the past 12 months. Using a list of Indiana born and raised people on Wikipedia, we created a list of the top 10 most well-known celebrities from the Hoosier State.  Indiana celebrity was defined as a person who was born and resided in Indiana for at least 10 total years. Celebrity was broken down to include only actors/actresses, singer/songwriters, TV personalities, comedians, dancers, and athletes. 

Most Popular Indiana Celebrities Ranked in 2024

RankCelebrityHometown CitySearch VolumeOver Past Year
1Axl RoseLafayette544K
2Larry BirdWest Baden Springs398K
3Shelley LongFort Wayne102K
4Eric GordonIndianapolis95K
5Gordon Hayward Indianapolis89K
6David Letterman Indianapolis86K
7John MellencampSeymour84K
8Mike Epps Indianapolis57K
9Cody ZellerWashington51K
10George Hill Indianapolis28K

 

Axl Rose Is Most Famous

According to Google search volume totals, the most famous resident of the Hoosier State is the longtime front man of rock band Guns N’ Roses, Axl Rose, who was born in Lafayette before absconding to Los Angeles to ply his trade.  

Rose beat out Bird, along with actress Shelley Long of “Cheers” fame and fellow basketball players Eric Gordon and Gordon Hayward.  Longtime late night talk show host David Letterman and singer John Mellencamp were next up.

Here is a closer look at the top 10:

1. Axl Rose, Singer, Lafayette. Search volume: 544K. The legendary singer for Guns N’ Roses has been an active member of the L.A. musical scene since the early 1980s but grew up in Lafayette. Rose went on to stardom with the band, selling millions of records and selling out countless concerts across the globe before Rose left the public eye for nearly a decade from the mid-‘90s through 2000. With Guns N’ Roses still hitting stadiums each year, there’s no denying that Rose has managed to stay in the public eye, as the 62-year-old still pilots the L.A.-based band, nearly 40 years after its inception.

2. Larry Bird, Basketball Player, West Baden Springs. Search volume: 398K. One of the greatest professional basketball players of all time is arguably the Hoosier State’s ambassador. Bird played college ball at Terre Haute’s Indiana State before winning three NBA championships and league MVPs. After retiring as a player, Bird served as the head coach of the Indiana Pacers from 1997-2000. Bird was the 1998 NBA Coach of the Year. He went on to be named the league’s Executive of the Year with the franchise in 2012. He worked in the front office from 2003 until 2022 in a variety of roles.

3. Shelley Long, Actress, Fort Wayne. Search volume: 102K. The longtime TV and movie star is best known for her role as Diane Chambers in “Cheers.” Long also was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role in 1984’s “Irreconcilable Differences.” Add Long’s six nominations and one Primetime Emmy award for her role as Chambers in the Cheers spinoff, “Frasier,” and you have a full picture of her esteemed acting career.  

4. Eric Gordon, Basketball Player, Indianapolis. Search volume: 95K. Few NBA players have managed to hang around the league as a role player quite like Gordon, who was the No. 7 pick in the 2008 NBA Draft out of Indiana. The 35-year-old Indianapolis native won the 2017 NBA Sixth Man of the Year award after being a third-team All-American with the Hoosiers. Gordon has averaged 15.7 points per game in his 881-game NBA career with a career total of 40.9 win shares, illustrating his immense value for the franchises he’s suited up for over the years.

5. Gordon Hayward, Basketball Player, Indianapolis. Search volume: 89K. The former Butler Bulldogs star out of Indianapolis has managed to have a very successful pro career, with 63.2 win shares across 831 NBA games, to go with an All-Star Game nod in 2017. The No. 9 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft has averaged 15.2 points per game in the league and has gone from his rookie year in 2010 all the way through this season with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

More Well-Known Indiana Celebrities

6. David Letterman, TV Host, Indianapolis. Search volume 86K. One of the guiding lights of late-night TV is about as Hoosier as it gets, having gone from his roots in Indianapolis to Ball State, on to a role as a TV weatherman at WNTS and WLWI in the state’s capital city. From there, Letterman cut his teeth as a standup comedian in Tinseltown, before getting his own talk show, “The David Letterman Show,” in 1982. He went on to take his talents to CBS after Johnny Carson’s retirement in 1992, where he stayed until his “retirement” from TV in 2015. The restless Letterman returned, however, hosting “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman” on Netflix, continuing his four-decade-long impact on the TV industry at large.

7. John Mellencamp, Singer, Seymour. Search volume: 84K. Speaking of Indiana stalwarts, it’s hard to think of the Hoosier State without having songs like “Small Town” and “R.O.C.K. In the U.S.A.,” which catapulted the Seymour native to global stardom. While John’s “Cougar” middle stage name came and went, there’s no denying that Mellencamp’s impact on the music industry has been steadfast over the years.  

8. Mike Epps, Actor, Indianapolis. Search volume: 57K. The Indianapolis-born comedian who got his start as part of “Def Comedy Jam” in 1994 has starred in comedy movies like “Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins” and in not-so-funny flicks like “Resident Evil: Apocalypse” and “Resident Evil: Extinction.” Epps got his start doing stand-up comedy before branching out to the big screen, where he’s been a steady presence ever since.  

9. Cody Zeller, Basketball Player, Washington. Search volume: 51K. The former Indiana Hoosiers’ big man has carved a neat little niche for himself in the league, playing 11 seasons with the Charlotte Hornets, Portland Trail Blazers, Miami Heat and New Orleans Pelicans. The Washington native was an NBA All-Rookie second team member in 2014 and has averaged 8.0 points per game to go with 33.5 win shares across 549 NBA games.

10. George Hill, Basketball Player, Indianapolis. Search volume: 28K. The last member of this year’s Indiana celebrity list is another longtime NBA role player. George Hill sneaks in at No. 10. Hill has appeared in 915 games after getting drafted by the San Antonio Spurs with the 26th pick of the 2008 NBA Draft. He averaged 10.4 points per game and compiled 71.0 win shares along the way.

In addition to covering Indiana sports betting apps, count on IndianaBets.com to provide readers with stories like this of general interest.

Here is another one to consider: Is the Most Boring City in the U.S. Right Here in Indiana?

Photo by Taya Gray/The Desert Sun / USA TODAY NETWORK

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Author

Christopher Boan is a staff writer for IndianaBets.com. He has covered sports and sports betting for more than seven years and has worked for publications such as ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.