In Chicago or Of Chicago?

After Roger Ebert died, one of his obitiarists defined him as an international celebrity who was “of Chicago,” as opposed to celebrities who are “in Chicago,” and simply use the city as a platform to achieve fame. The distinction came up again this week after DePaul University professor Rachel Shteir reviewed three Chicago-related books in The New York Times, but really reviewed the city -- and not very flatteringly. Shteir, who lived in New York before moving here and would like to move back, is definitely in Chicago. Rod Blagojevich, the subject of one of the books she reviewed, moved to Colorado last year, but would definitely like to move back here, is of Chicago.

Here’s a short list of celebrities “in Chicago” and “of Chicago.” You don’t have to be from Chicago to be “of Chicago” -- Muddy Waters and Mike Ditka are transplants who became cultural icons here. Nor do you still have to remain in Chicago -- David Mamet wrote the script for The Untouchables after moving to Vermont. Here are our lists. Add your suggestions.


  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Michael Jordan
  • Al Capone
  • Joseph Cardinal Bernardin
  • Jeff Tweedy
  • Jerry Springer
  • Phil Donahue
  • Rahm Emanuel
  • Brian Urlacher
  • Walter Payton
  • Liz Phair
  • Steve Harvey
  • Allan Bloom
  • Mike Singletary
  • Barack Obama 


  • Roger Ebert
  • Gene Siskel
  • Ann Landers
  • Francis Cardinal George
  • Jenny McCarthy
  • John Cusack
  • Mike Ditka
  • Jim Belushi
  • R. Kelly
  • David Mamet
  • Muddy Waters
  • Mike Royko
  • Saul Bellow
  • Studs Terkel
  • Ron Santo
  • Richard J. Daley
  • Richard M. Daley
  • Nelson Algren 
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