Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

September 15, 2013

Kokomo has had its share of famous personalities

Tod SloanIf Kokomo has ever had a truly international celebrity, the kind of guy who would be hanging out with Snoop Dogg and Jay Z these days, it was the legendary jockey Tod Sloan, the original Yankee Doodle Dandy.Immortalized by songwriter George M. Cohan and played by Jimmy Cagney in the 1942 classic movie about Cohan’s life, "Yankee Doodle Dandy", Sloan was a high-living, flamboyant and, most importantly, winning jockey from back in the days when the only three sports that mattered were horse racing, boxing and baseball.Traveling from coast to coast in his own passenger train car, sailing to England and winning races there, hanging out with famous gambler Diamond Jim Brady, with a personal valet and gorgeous women at his beck and call, Sloan, a Bunker Hill native, was living like a king from about 1895 until 1900, when accusations of betting on his own races ended his career. He died on Dec. 21, 1933, and was part of the first class inducted into the American Horse Racing Hall of Fame, in 1955. This year he was inducted into the Howard County Athletic Hall of Fame.Misch KohnArtist Misch Kohn was born in 1916, in Kokomo, to Russian immigrant parents.Kohn became a master printmaker whose murals, painted on the walls of WPA-built post offices, captured the public's imagination in the 1930s. He shared studio space with Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall while studying at the Guggenheim in France and was the first artist to take wood engraving from standard, book-size illustrations to a large scale. His work is in more than 100 museums internationally and the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library is home to several Kohn prints. Kohn spent 22 years teaching printmaking at the Institute of Design in Chicago. He died in 2002. In 2010, his youngest daughter traveled to the U.S. from Australia to help honor her father."If he were here, he would probably talk about his days in Kokomo, including how he used to jump the fence at the Country Club to pick mushrooms," she said.Steve KroftJournalist Steve Kroft, a fixture at CBS News’ 60 Minutes program, received a Lifetime Achievement Emmy in 2003, one of 10 Emmys to his name. He's also won the George Foster Peabody award three times.As a correspondent, he was the first to document the involvement of the Russian mafia in the smuggling of nuclear materials out of the former Soviet Union and Cuba's practice of quarantining people infected with the AIDS virus, among other reports.His father worked at Stellite/Cabot in Kokomo in the 1950s, during Kroft’s formative years. While on a summer break, Kroft worked for the local gas company, and, in 2009, he came back to Kokomo to accept his induction into the Howard County Hall of Legends.

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