CHICAGO (CBS) — Cook County officials are paying homage to celebrities born in Cook, in a sometimes surprising exhibit beneath Daley Plaza.
WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports glass cases line the Pedway underneath the Daley Center, and passersby can see pictures and some words about actors, athletes writers, artists, inventors and others who were born in Cook County.
County Clerk David Orr said it’s called “Sweet Home Cook County.”
“One of my responsibilities as county clerk is to provide birth records to millions of people, and we have a lot of famous people born in Chicago and Cook County. So we decided to have fun with it,” Orr said.
He said it’s very popular with Pedway users.
“We did this display, and now we keep adding people to it,” he said. “You know how people love to watch people when they sit outside at cafés. Same with this. ‘I love to see who are these people, why are they famous, and, oh, they’re from my hometown.’”
The display includes people from musical artists Jennifer Hudson and Lupe Fiasco, to actors like Jennifer Beals and John C. Reilly, and even Barbara Murray, the Mayor of Cork, Ireland. Yes, she was born in Chicago, and she visited for St. Patrick’s Day.
“She was thrilled at the idea, and so we actually surprised her. We invited her to come down here. We surprised her to see that she’s on this ‘Sweet Home Cook County’ wall,” he said.
The late writer Ernest Hemingway is there, and actor Robin Williams and Mexican-American singer Marisol Terrazas, too.
Many people who walk by the displays are surprised at the names there. So is Orr.
“I’m surprised sometimes, I guess, mostly at the athletes … that maybe are born here, or some famous scientist who you didn’t realize, because they’re a little less known,” he said. “One surprise is the people that you say ‘How come they’re not there?’ And that’s because they may be a lifetime Chicagoan, or live in Cook County, but they weren’t born here.”
The Cook County Clerk’s website has a more extensive list, and genealogy information you could use.