Even though we’re a sleepy little commuter county, Livingston County has had some brushes with fame through the years.
Gen. Douglas MacArthur rode in a parade in Howell in 1952. Henry Ford and William Jennings Bryan spoke at the Howell Opera House more than a century ago. Three Oscar winners (Robert De Niro, Adrien Brody and Hillary Swank) filmed scenes from movies here.
And we’ve also had some really famous people perform here – usually at the beginning or toward the end of their careers.
Here’s a list of 10 people you probably didn’t know performed in Livingston County:
The Fowlerville Fair has had dozens of famous acts take the stage through the years, and the Coal Miner’s Daughter is probably at the top of that list. The legendary country western singer performed at the fair in 1999.
Dion and the Belmonts were the top American vocal group in the 1950s, cranking out hits like “A Teenager in Love.” When Dion went solo, the hits kept coming, including “Runaround Sue” and “The Wanderer.” He performed at the Howell Holiday Inn in 1978, back when they were bringing in lots of supergroups from that era. Among the other hit-makers that appeared at the Howell Holiday Inn in the 1970s were the Association and the Platters.
Playing everything from Tim the Tool Man to Buzz Lightyear, he became one of the biggest TV and film stars of all time, but he got his start as a stand-up comedian in Michigan. He played comedy clubs and bars around the state in the late 1970s and early 1980s – including Cardona’s Pizza in Brighton, which hosted comedy nights in the early ‘80s.
Let’s do the twist! The legendary star from rock ’n roll’s early years performed at the Howell Holiday Inn in 1978.
The most famous impressionist of all time – and a regular on Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show” for decades – performed at the Brighton Center for the Performing Arts in 2012.
Weird Al Yankovic
He’s become world famous for changing the lyrics to well-known songs (i.e., Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” becomes “Eat It”), and he performed at the Fowlerville Fair in 1997.
This was probably the most controversial concert in Livingston County history. Mandy Moore performed at the Fowlerville Fair when she was a budding 16-year-old superstar in 2000, but she left fans furious when the left the stage after just four songs. Her entire “concert” was only 18 minutes long, prompting hundreds of fans to demand their money back.
The country superstar played at the Fowlerville Fair in 1998, and still ranks as one of the biggest stars ever to appear at the fair.
One of the biggest film legends of all time, Mickey Rooney and his wife, Jan, performed at the Brighton Center for the Performing Arts in 2004. Rooney was gracious and appreciative of all the love he experienced here, and spent a lot of time before and after the show meeting with fans in Brighton.
Perhaps the most famous rocker of all time, Johnny B. Goode performed at the Brighton Balloon Festival in 1988, a short-lived event that took place in a field near U.S. 23.