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Bill Kurtis
Bill Kurtis was born in Pensacola, Florida to Wilma Mary (Horton; 1911–2002) and William A. Kuretich, of Croatian origin (1914–2001), a Marine Corps general and decorated veteran of World War II. He was raised in Independence, Kansas. At 16, Kurtis began working as an announcer for KIND-AM, a commercial station in Independence, Kansas, of which he is currently a part owner. He graduated from The University of Kansas with a B.S. in journalism in 1962 and went on to earn his J.D. from the Washburn University School of Law.


Jim Halsey
Jim Halsey was born in Independence, Kansas to Harry E. Halsey, Jr. and Carrie Lee (Messick) Halsey. He attended Washington School, Jr. and Sr. High School and Independence Junior College. In October 1949, following a vision from a book report assignment on the life of Sol Hurok, junior college student Jim Halsey was inspired to present shows and dances at Memorial Hall and the Independence area. His first show/dance, Leon McAuliffe was the beginning of promotions that would include big band concerts, Broadway shows, classical music presentations, wrestling, ice shows and circuses.


Vivian Vance
Born in Cherryvale, Kansas, Vance was the second of six children born to Robert and Euphemia Jones. When she was six years old, her family moved to Independence, Kansas, where she eventually began her dramatic studies at Independence High School under the tutelage of Anna Ingleman, the drama instructor.


William Inge
William Inge’s Kansas boyhood is reflected in many of his works. Born in Independence on May 3, 1913, he was the second son of Luther Clay Inge and Maude Sarah Gibson-Inge and the youngest of five children. His boyhood home at 514 N. 4th Street in Independence still stands. His siblings were Lucy, Luther Jr., Irene (died at 3 years of age), and Helene. His father was a traveling salesman and Inge had a close relationship with his mother.


Independence, Kansas