Iconic locals

The Lowcountry has been home to many notable individuals throughout history. Here are a few current and former residents who are known around the world. 

John Mellencamp 

The world-famous musician, singer-songwriter, painter, actor and film director owns a home on Daufuskie Island. He has amassed 22 Top 40 hits, including “Hurts So Good,” “Jack & Diane,” “Crumblin’ Down” and “Pink Houses.” He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2008. In 2014 his Daufuskie home was featured in Architectural Digest. 

Joe Frazier 

Joe Frazier (1944-2011) was a professional boxer and Olympic gold medalist born and raised in Beaufort. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time, known for his aggressive style, powerful left hook and incredible endurance. In 1970 he became the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world by defeating Muhammad Ali in a highly anticipated bout that was billed as the “Fight of the Century.” Frazier would go on to defend his title several times before losing it to George Foreman in 1973.

Pat Conroy 

Pat Conroy (1945-2016) was an author known for his novels set in the American South, including “The Prince of Tides,” “The Great Santini” and “Beach Music.” He grew up a military brat and moved to Beaufort in high school. He said it was the first place he could really call home, and it served as his anchor for decades. His gravesite is at St. Helena Memorial Garden Cemetery, across from Penn Center. 

Billie Jean King

The former Hilton Head resident and close associate of Dennis Van Der Meer on the island played in an invitational tournament in Sea Pines in 1973. The roster also included Chris Evert, Evonne Goolagong, Virginia Wade, Rod Laver, Jimmy Connors, Stan Smith and Ilie Năstase. Her presence has touched every aspect of professional tennis through her long career as a player, coach, executive, owner, captain, overall game ambassador and rights advocate. She won 39 grand slam titles, is a Hall of Famer and beat Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes in the ‘70s.

Michael Jordan

One of only a few NBA players to win an NCAA championship, an NBA championship and an Olympic gold medal, the former Chicago Bull bought a getaway home for $550,000 on Yorkshire Drive in Wexford Plantation in 1988. He sold it in 1999. Often described as the best pro basketball player ever, the Tar Heel won six NBA championships with his teammates, won the scoring title 10 times, was a 14-time all-star and has authored four books.

Isaiah Thomas

The former 12-time All Star and NBA champion Detroit Piston owned a home on Mooring Buoy in Palmetto Dunes and vacationed here for 25 years. The 62-year-old Hall of Famer was named one of the “50 Greatest Players in NBA History” and led Indiana University to an NCAA championship. He also has been an NBA coach, executive and broadcaster.

Mark Messier

The great NHL Oiler, Ranger and Canuck owns a home in Palmetto Dunes where his parents live. The 62-year-old Canadian earned six Stanley Cups in his illustrious Hall of Fame career, playing alongside Wayne Gretzky in Edmonton for five of those trophies. When Remy’s Bar & Grill on the island closed in 2013 after 29 years in the business, it’s been reported that Messier was there and offered a champagne toast to the owners.

Stan Smith

These days the long-time islander and tennis legend might be more well-known for his line of sneakers with partner Adidas than he was on the court years ago. As a professional player, he was a No. 1 player in the world, a 38-time singles champion and two-time Majors victor. The father of four owns the Smith Stearns Tennis Academy at Sea Pines Resort that focuses on junior player development and is actively engaged in several local organizations.

Dan Driessen

The native islander and Hardeeville High School graduate was a member of the world champion “Big Red Machine” in Cincinnati in the 1970s. He played 15 seasons in the big leagues. He owns Driessen Excavating Services on the island and helps coach local baseball players.

Arthur Blank

The entrepreneur and philanthropist is best known for co-founding The Home Depot. After retiring, he became the owner of the Atlanta Falcons and the Atlanta United FC. He lives in a waterfront mansion on Beach Lagoon Drive off the Ocean Course in Sea Pines.

Robert Irvine

This celebrity chef, restaurateur and TV personality lived in Palmetto Hall Plantation for many years and owned restaurants on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton. He is best known for hosting the shows “Restaurant: Impossible” and “Dinner: Impossible” on the Food Network. 

Bobby Cremins

The three-time ACC Coach of the Year, who took his Georgia Tech team to nine NCAA tournament appearances, has lived on Hilton Head since 2000. He is an avid golfer and is often spotted playing Harbour Town Golf Links, Long Cove and Heron Point courses.

Candice Glover

This native of St. Helena Island won the American Idol competition in 2013 and has been performing, arranging music and writing ever since.

Kenny Anderson

The former Cincinnati Bengal quarterback, league MVP in 1981 and four-time pro-bowler bought a home on the island at Palmetto Hall Plantation in 2001. He and his wife live full-time there. He first visited Hilton Head in 1976. The native Midwesterner played 16 seasons, including a Super Bowl loss against the 49ers. He retired from coaching in 2010. 

Stan Kasten

This part-time Palmetto Dunes resident is the former president of the Atlanta Braves, the Washington Nationals and is the current president and part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He also served as general manager of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks and president of the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers.

Domenico De Sole

Fashion industry executive Domenico De Sole and his wife, Eleanore, live on Hilton Head Island. De Sole became the president and CEO of the luxury fashion brand Gucci in 1994 and is widely credited with turning the company’s fortunes around during his tenure. In 2004 De Sole resigned from Gucci and went on to serve as the chairman of Tom Ford International. He also served as the chairman of Sotheby’s.

Ron Howard

The film director, producer and actor owned a home in Sea Pines Resort. Howard is best known for appearing in “The Andy Griffith Show” and “Happy Days.” His son, Reed, attended Heritage Academy and played for the USC-Beaufort golf team. 

Similar Posts