Category Archives: Born, Raised in Nebraska

Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte, 1865-1915

BORN IN JUNE, BORN IN NEBRASKA

Doctor.susan.la.flesche.picotteDr. Susan La Flesche Picotte, 1865-1915

The first American Indian woman to become a physician in the United States was born on the Omaha Reservation in Thurston County in northeast Nebraska.

Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte was born June 17, 1865 to Waoo-Winchatcha (Mary Gale), who was half French and half Omaha, and Joseph LaFlesche (Chief Iron Eye), who was half white and half Omaha.

Dr. Picotte was educated at Hampton Institute in Virginia and the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, graduating at the top of her class in 1889. It was unusual for women to attend medical schools; many social conservatives believed that women weren’t able to “manage the mental strain of higher education.”

As a child, Picotte had witnessed the death of a member of her tribe because the agency doctor never came. In her private practice, she treated both tribal and white patients, advocating for better health care for all. In 1912 she founded a reservation hospital, which was later named in her honor.

Picotte crusaded against tuberculosis, which killed hundreds of Omaha, including her husband Henry in 1905. With no cure available, she advocated cleanliness, fresh air, and the eradication of houseflies, believed to be major carriers of TB. She also campaigned against alcohol, lecturing about the virtues of temperance and embracing prohibition laws.

Dr. Picotte died at the age of 50, on September 18, 1915 in Walthill, Nebraska – probably of bone cancer. She is buried in Bancroft Cemetery in Bancroft, Nebraska.

 

Fred Astaire

BORN IN MAY, BORN IN NEBRASKA

Fred AstaireFred Astaire was born May 10, 1899 in Omaha to Johanna and Fritz Austerlitz, European immigrants. He died on June 22, 1987 in Los Angeles.

In show business from age 5, he performed with his sister Adele in vaudeville and on Broadway until her marriage in 1932. Fred headed for Hollywood, where a studio executive wrote after a screen test: “Can’t sing. Can’t act. Slightly balding. Can dance a little.”

Astaire made his first of ten movies with Ginger Rogers in 1933. He was known for wearing a top hat and tails, his smooth, effortless dancing style, and calmly strolling offstage after a dance sequence.

More Fred Astaire Trivia:

  • His legs were insured for a million dollars.
  • He appeared on the cover of The Beatles’ “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album.
  • He was one of the first Kennedy Center Honorees in 1978.

Fred Astaire quote: “I’m just a hoofer with a spare set of tails.”

 

Marlon Brando

BORN IN APRIL, BORN IN NEBRASKA

Marlon BrandoMarlon Brando was born April 3, 1924 in Omaha, Nebraska, and died in Westwood, California on July 1, 2004.

When he lived in Omaha, his mother gave stage lessons to Henry Fonda.

He is often cited as one of the greatest and most influential actors of all time, probably best known now for his role in The Godfather as Vito, the patriarch of the Corleone family. Early roles included A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and On the Waterfront (1954). He was also in the musical Guys and Dolls in 1955.

Brando received 7 Best Actor Oscar nominations.