15 Interesting Facts About Philly Celebrities

From Pat Croce's original mission to Richard Gere's gymnastics moves.

Now that you’ve memorized my list of 10 things you didn’t know about the Phillies, here are 15 things you probably didn’t know about Philly celebs, past and present.

1. Edmund Bacon not only designed LOVE Park, he also skateboarded there. At age 92, he skateboarded at the Park to protest the city’s ban on skating there.

2. Thomas Eakins got fired as an art teacher from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art for, among other things, taking a loin cloth off of a male student in a class that was attended by females.

3. Bil Keane, who created the Family Circus, had his very first comic strip appear in the Philadelphia Daily News in 1936. He later worked for the Bulletin, and created a comic strip called Silly Philly, about a goofy, juvenile William Penn.

4. Pat Croce was originally hired by the 76ers to try to put weight and muscle on Shawn Bradley. Needless to say, it didn’t really work out.

5. When Justus Strawbridge and Isaac Clothier opened their first store in 1862, they located it in the building that had served as Thomas Jefferson’s office in the early 1790s when he was Secretary of State.

6. You can still see the house where John Wanamaker lived most of his adult life. It’s located at 2032 Walnut Street, and has the same front façade as it did when he was alive.

7. KYW anchor Ukee Washington is the godfather of Eagles safety Nate Allen.

8. Among the people on the album cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band are Philadelphia native W.C. Fields and former Philadelphia resident Edgar Allan Poe.

9. Speaking of Poe, his short story the Black Cat quite clearly takes place in the basement of his house, still standing, at 7th and Spring Garden.

10. Questlove’s dad, Lee Andrews, was a member of Lee Andrews and the Hearts, a doo-wop group that had hits with the songs “Teardrops” and “Long Lonely Nights.”

11. Philly native Richard Gere attended UMass on a gymnastics scholarship and majored in philosophy (He quit after two years to start his acting career.)

12. Kat Dennings was homeschooled, and graduated high school at age 14.

13. Patti LaBelle was once engaged to Otis Williams of the Temptations, but they broke up before marrying.

14. Once they were married, Grace Kelly’s films were banned in Monaco on the orders of Prince Rainier.

15. Will Smith turned down the role of Neo in the Matrix to play James West in the film Wild Wild West.