Clarksville Connections is an ongoing project to share the stories of historically significant people who have a Clarksville connection. We invite your input. Please email your information and ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Performing and Visual Arts
Grammy award-winning musician Charlie Cushman was born in Clarksville in 1959 and lived here through high school. He became interested in county music at age four, started banjo lessons around and age seven and by age 10 was playing on a weekly radio show. Throughout his 40-plus years in the music business, Charlie has performed and recorded with numerous country and bluegrass artists. His artistry graces more than 20 Grammy-nominated projects and about 15 winning projects.
Actress Dorothy Jordan was born in Clarksville in1906. She studied at Southwestern University and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, learning about acting in theater and film as well as ballet. She first graced the stage as a chorus girl in the Broadway musical Funny Face, then in 1923, made her screen debut in the film The Taming of the Shrew.
Robert Loftin Newman began painting portraits as a young man in Clarksville. After studying with master Asher B. Durand in Paris, he opened a studio in his Clarksville home where he worked until serving in the Civil War.
Frank Sims Sutton and Thelma Sutton met working for The Leaf Chronicle in Clarksville. On October 23, 1923, on S. Second Street in Clarksville, Frank Spencer Sutton was born. He was the typical little boy who enjoyed playing outside and coming home dirty. One day, he used grease to paint his face and put on a theatrical performance for his family; he told them that he was going to be an actor. In 1964, Frank was offered a role in a spinoff of The Andy Griffith Show. Starring alongside Jim Nabors, who played Gomer Pyle; Frank played Sergeant Vince Carter in the television series.
A child of Army parents, Actress Mageina Tovah was bound to pass through Clarksville, home to Fort Campbell, at some point. Born in Honolulu, Mageina lived with her parents on a farm in Clarksville before moving to Nashville where she attended high school. Her acting career began in 2001 with a television appearance on The Guardian. Other film credits include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Six Feet Under, Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3, and Joan of Arcadia.
Clarksvillian Charles Bollin Watts acted in more than 100 television, movie and theatre roles from the 1920s-60s, including sheriff in three episodes of "The Lone Ranger."
Concert Violinist and Composer
Concert Violinist and Composer Clarence Cameron White lived the first 10 years of his life in Clarksville. His grandfather gave him his first violin when he was six years old. A few years later, the family moved to Washington DC where he began taking lessons. His work throughout his life undoubtedly contributed to shaping a new black cultural identity and has impacted the classical repertoire to this day.
Actor and Singer
A 1974 graduate of Austin Peay State University, Jerry Winsett began his career right here in Clarksville. He performed on stages and theatres in Nashville, then eventually moved to New York City. To date, he's appeared in more than 450 theatrical productions and may be best recognized for his role in the original Dunkin' Donuts "Time to Make the Donuts" commercial."
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