If you’ve spent any time in Concordia University Chicago’s surrounding neighborhood, chances are you’ve heard the names Frank Lloyd Wright and Ernest Hemingway come up often. While these are two of our area’s most famous figures, there are many more interesting people of note from Oak Park and River Forest, including these seven:

1. Dan Castellaneta: You may not know his face, but you surely recognize his voice. Castellaneta, who’s from Oak Park, is the voice actor for Homer Simpson and countless other major and minor characters on “The Simpsons,” including Krusty the Clown, Mayor Quimby and Hans Moleman.

2. Betty White: The late actress was born in Oak Park in 1922. Although she moved away with her family at age 1, we think she’s qualified to be on this list! Known for “The Golden Girls,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and continuing to act well into her nineties, White was beloved by generations of TV watchers.

3. Cecily Strong: Strong, who spent 11 seasons as a cast member on Saturday Night Live, is a native of Oak Park. Her mom even worked at CUC for a time! Strong played recurring characters “The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation with at a Party” and “Cathy Anne,” and is known for her many celebrity impressions.

4. Ludacris: Born Christopher Brian Bridges in Champaign, IL, he lived for a time in Oak Park, attending Oak Park-River Forest High School. Ludacris may be most well-known as a rapper, but he has acted in many films, too, including seven of the “Fast and Furious” movies as the character Tej Parker.

5. Ray Kroc: Although he didn’t start the first McDonald’s (that was Richard and Maurice McDonald), Kroc, an Oak Parker, franchised the concept and vastly expanded the brand. Basically, he’s the main reason you can pick up a double cheeseburger and fries in Paris, TX or Paris, France—and it will taste the same.

6. Johnny Galecki: He’s best recognized for portraying Leonard Hofstadter on “The Big Bang Theory.” Galecki was actually born in Belgium, but grew up in Oak Park. At 14 years old he played Rusty in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” dealing with the various eccentricities of his father Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase).

7. James Dewar: How many Twinkies have you eaten while pulling an all-night study session? Dewar lived in River Forest for many years while working at the Continental Baking Company. In 1931, he wanted to find a way for the company to make strawberry shortcakes outside of strawberry season, so he filled the cakes with cream instead. The Twinkie was born.

A quick internet search will reveal even more famous folks associated with Oak Park and River Forest. Will you be next? To find out what makes our neighborhood so special, explore the surrounding community on your next trip to Concordia-Chicago.