Famous Greenvillians

Famous Greenvillians


By Sherry Stephenson

The same great state that gave us bottled Coca-Cola, Barq’s Root Bear, Archie Manning, Jimmy Buffet, Elvis Presley, Kermit the Frog and the Teddy Bear also gave birth to the down-home blues music of the Delta through such musical artists as B. B. King, Ike and Tina Turner, Little Richard, Muddy Waters, Son Thomas, Skeeter Provis, Lil’ Dave Thompson, Honey Boy Edwards and Robert Johnson, just to name a few.

Home of King Cotton, Mississippi is a lyrical land linked to Mark Twain’s picturesque account of the mighty Mississippi River. At every bend on its delta river banks you’ll find so much to explore, including world class dockside gambling, Indian mounds, museums, historic plantations and buildings, antique shops and an abundance of historical sights to view in the Greenville area and along our highways leading into the city.

Other well-known residents from Greenville are the world’s foremost polar bear photographer Dan Guravich; the founder of The Supremes, singer Mary Wilson; country singer Steve Azar; and many, many more.

The Greenville area is a haven for writers, artists, blues singers and blues composers. Its citizens honor talent and exalt the work of all artists. The lifestyle in the area is conducive to nourishing talents of all kinds, and the scenery of our Delta city and its countrysides adds beauty to their work whether it is inspired by the golden fields of wheat, the snow white of a cotton patch, the rolling blue of the mighty river, or the busy city alive with color. No wonder talent abounds in our city!


Interested in visiting Historic Greenville, Mississippi? Get planning ideas, suggested itineraries and more by visiting the Greenville & Washington County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau website. www.visitgreenville.org • 1-800-467-3582  •  info@thedelta.org



By: Sherry Stephenson

Greenville is nationally known for producing more writers than anywhere else in America per capita. Some of those prolific writers from the area are Shelby Foote (writer and narrator of PBS’s widely acclaimed Civil War series), Walker Percy, Ellen Douglas, Bern Keating, Beverly Lowry, Willie Morris, Ben Wasson, David Cohn, Hodding Carter and many others. Why even William Faulkner was a frequent visitor and an occasional resident of Greenville!

For more information on famous Mississippi writers, actors and musicians and artists, go to www.mswritersandmusicians.com

Here is additional information on famous writers and others from the Greenville area as well as the State of Mississippi.
Submitted by D.J. Parish


Famous Writers List

Angela Jackson
Ben Wasson
Bern Keating
Beverly Lowry
Brooks Haxton
Carolyn Stern
Charles Bell
Charlotte Hays
David L. Cohn
Ellen Douglas
Gayden Metcalfe
Hodding Carter II
Hodding Carter III
Jere Nash
Jessie Rosenberg Schell
Julia Reed
Louise Crump
Shelby Foote
Walt Grayson
Walker Percy
William Alexander Percy
William Alexander Attaway




Jim Henson

J.D. Evermore (Johnny Moore)

Hank Nelken



Finn Carter

Monica Louwerens



Abie “Boogaloo” Ames


Ben Peters – (country songwriter for many recording stars) Greenville, MS and Hollandale, MS, 1937


Benjamin Wright


Booba Barnes


Bruce Blackmon

Greenville, Mississippi, song writer and singer/keyboardist in mid-60s. He formed Eternity’s Children, had a top 100 hit with “Mrs. Bluebird” in 1968 and appeared on American Bandstand, left the group and moved to Atlanta in 1969, in 1972 formed “Mississippi,” in 1974 joined a group called “Extravanganza” with Bo Wagner, vocalist Elgin Wells, keyboardist Sloan Hayes, drummer David Snavely and bassist Jimmy Cobb, 1975 Private Stock Records, a NYC company, signed the group to a single deal for “Moonlight Feels Right,” which rose to the top of the national and international charts, selling over 3 million copies, “Everybody Be Dancin,” was also a top chart song, Blackman serves as CEO of his own music publishing and production companies and is producing an album project with his daughter Sarah and several other artists.


Bud Cockrell

(Greenville) 4 gold records –singer and bass guitar player with Pablo Cruise in the 70’s, left the band for joint project with then wife, Patty Santos (vocal on “White Bird” from the “It’s a Beautiful Day” band out of San Francisco in the early 70’s). They formed The Cockrell-Santos Band.

Bud moved to Monterey Ca in 1993 and joined the band Nickel and a Nail. The band included bassist Greg Frederick, Snail Guitarist Bob O’Neill, Drummer Al Santana, Hammond B3 player Danny Abrams who was formally with The Walter Trout Band. The Band were Featured Artists at the 1993 Monterey Blues Festival. Nickel and a Nail were one of Monterey’s most popular bands through 1997 when the band folded.


Eden Brent


Kenneth Haxton


Roy Huddleston/Jeff Huddleston


Steve Azar


Tyrone Davis


Walter Turnbull




Dan Guravich – Photographer of Polar Bears
Henry Clay Anderson – African American Greenville photographer, Separate but Equal: Images from the Segregated South
Jerry Glasper, Artist – Ducks Unlimited
Leon Koury
Martin J. Dain – Photographer
Robert Tompkins, Artist – Ducks Unlimited
Bob Tompkins Studio
Jane Rule Burdine – Photographer
Bern & Franke Keating – Article Below


Franke Keating - By Logan Mosby - loganmosby@ddtonline.com


Franke Keating (center), along with her friend Mary Virginia Watson (left) enjoy Cathy Hegman's (right) art exhibit at the Greenville Arts Council's Art Gallery.

She is known world-wide as one of the most celebrated photographers for National Geographic, having traveled across the globe to some of the world’s most exotic locales, including 17 trips to Kenya. She is known locally as an extraordinarily talented portrait photographer, having shot some of the area’s most well-known families and authors.

But to many around these parts, she is simply known as “Ms. Franke.” And the Port City will get the opportunity to view a collection of a lifetime when the Greenville Arts Council hosts a joint exhibit of the work of Franke Keating and her son, John, titled “Franke and John Keating: Mother and Son – An exhibit of their photography and etchings.”

A member of the Greenville community for more than 60 years, Franke Keating originally grew up across the river, in southeast Arkansas. In 1939, Keating married the love of her life, Bern, and moved to West Palm Beach, Fla. The couple relocated to Utica, N.Y., before Bern joined the U.S. Navy, and subsequently fought in World War II.

The Keatings returned to the South after the war, eventually settling in Greenville, where the couple opened a studio, which thrived on freelance and magazine contract work.
Initially, Bern was at the photographic helm of the business, but Franke longed to become more involved with the art. Eventually, the couple would switch roles, leaving Keating more in the photographer’s seat, and her husband took over the writing aspect of their work.
The couple traveled the world over the next 50 years, flying off into the wild blue yonder, traveling to far away lands, going on safari and meeting new and exciting adventures head on.

Dr. John Keating inherited Franke’s love of visual arts. “Ever since he was a little boy, he was always drawing on something,” Franke said. Keating pursued an education in art at Bowdoin College, a nationally acclaimed liberal arts school in Maine. While showing his work in Atlanta, Franke said her son made the life-altering decision to pursue medicine as a career.

Keating attended Tulane University, where he earned his medical degree and is currently an orthopedic surgeon with the Keating Group, a clinic he opened in 1986 that specializes in sports medicine, orthopedic trauma, and neck and back injuries.

Franke said she was surprised and honored when she and John were approached by the Greenville Arts Council about a joint exhibition. “I don’t know of any other situation where a mother and son have shown their work together,” Keating said. “As far as I’m concerned, though, John is No. 1 – the one with the real talent. “But, I feel very humbled,” she continued. “I am so touched and I am so pleased. “But I don’t have a thing to wear!”





Charles Phillips
Gregory Williams
Gloster Van Richardson
Raymond Brown – (GHS 54) Baltimore Colts
Jimmy Patton – (GHS 54) NY Giants
Jimmy Giles – (GHS 72) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Richardson Brothers (3) all played in NFL, Green Bay, Kansas City, Baltimore
Tavares Washington
Cleotha Montgomery
Glenn Montgomery
Wilbert Montgomery


Eddie Tucker
George Scott

More Greenvillians



William Gatewood Ham – www.billhamlights.com
Submitted By: Jennifer Jones