No matter where you look across the United States, there have been people from every part of the country that have achieved fame. Eastern New Mexico is no exception, as there have been several notable people in the world of music, movies, and sports. Here’s a look at five of the most famous people who were either born or raised in the region.
5. Paul Brinegar
During the golden era of western films in Hollywood, there were many actors that got a ton of work. Among them was Paul Brinegar, who became a staple of long-running shows that included “Lancer”, “Rawhide” and “The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp”. Brinegar was born in Tucumcari on December 19, 1917 where his father was a farmer.
Throughout his childhood, Brinegar would move all around New Mexico before eventually ended up in Santa Fe where he attended high school. Brinegar would start acting at this time and made his way to Pasadena where he would begin his professional career. Throughout his career, Brinegar appeared in more than 100 productions with his television work being the most prominent.
4. Colt McCoy
Turning to the world of sports, there are few names that were as big in 2000s college football as Colt McCoy. McCoy was the oldest of three children born in his family, and he was born on September 5, 1986 in Hobbs, New Mexico. By the time that he reached high school, the McCoys would move to Tuscola, Texas where McCoy became a standout quarterback.
He chose to attend the University of Texas where he became the starting quarterback and won the Walter Camp Award in back-to-back years. After nearly winning a national championship with the Longhorns, McCoy was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 2010. He remained there for three seasons, and spent much of his career as a backup for Washington.
3. Brian Urlacher
Colt McCoy isn’t the only famous football player from Eastern New Mexico. The best player in football history to come from the region is Brian Urlacher, who was actually born in Pasco, Washington on May 25, 1978. At a young age, Urlacher’s parents separated and he made his way down to Loving, New Mexico with his siblings.
Urlacher became a star football player in Lovington and helped the team win a state championship while playing several different positions. Urlacher stayed in-state for college and attended the University of New Mexico where he became an All-American. Urlacher was then selected ninth overall by the Chicago Bears in the 2000 NFL Draft. He played his entire NFL career with Chicago and became a five-time All-Pro and was selected for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018.
2. John Denver
John Denver may be synonymous with West Virginia and Colorado thanks to songs like “Take Me Home, Country Roads” and “Rocky Mountain High” (as well as his name), he Denver actually hails from New Mexico. Due to his father being in the U.S. Army Air Forces, the Deutschendorf (his real last name) family settled in Roswell during Denver’s childhood.
Denver wouldn’t remain in New Mexico for very long, however. His father’s military career took him to several bases around the United States prior to starting his music career. He would end up graduating high school in Texas then made his way to California to begin singing. Sadly, Denver would die in a plane crash while on his way to Santa Fe in 1989.
1. Demi Moore
John Denver may have been massively popular, but there’s someone even more famous from Roswell. Demi Moore was born as Demi Guynes in the city on November 11, 1962, and like Denver, had a father that was a member of the Air Force. Also like Denver, Moore had to move several times throughout her childhood. After leaving New Mexico, Moore would settle in Pennsylvania prior to her acting career.
Moore began her modeling career as a teenager and started to land acting roles in the early 1980s that included “General Hospital” and “St. Elmo’s Fire”. The early 1990s proved to be kind to Moore thanks to her starring roles in films including “Ghost” and “A Few Good Men”, becoming one of the biggest stars in Hollywood.