There are quite a few well-known people that hail from Peekskill, New York, and many others that consider it home. Here are a few celebrities that you may not have known are from Peekskill.

George Pataki

George Pataki, former New York Governor from 1995 -2006, claims Peekskill as his birthplace. Not only did he serve as New York’s Governor, but he also was Mayor of Peekskill from 1981–1984. He was the last Republican Governor to serve in the state.

Richard E. Jackson

Peekskill has the distinction of making black history in 1984 by being the first town in New York to elect an African-American Mayor, Mr. Richard E. Jackson. Mr. Jackson served as Mayor of Peekskill for eight years. When George Pataki became Governor of New York, he appointed Mr. Jackson to a position on the Gubernatorial cabinet, as Commissioner of Motor Vehicles for the State.

Paul Rubens (AKA Pee-Wee Herman)

Rubenswas born in Peekskill in 1952. The family moved to Sarasota, Florida, shortly after that. He is best known for his iconic role as cult-figure Pee-Wee Herman, who had a very successful children’s show in the 1980s – Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. His career suffered considerably after he was arrested for indecent exposure at an adult theater in Sarasota in 1991. However, he has reestablished himself as a comedian, actor, and entertainer in movies and television, most recently with his Netflix special Pee-wee’s Big Holiday.

Stanley Tucci

American actor and Academy Award nominee Stanley Tucci may be internationally known, but he has roots in Peekskill. Born there in 1960, he grew up nearby in Katonah, New York. He’s developed a very successful career in film and television. He has been recognized by the industry with two Golden Globes and three Primetime Emmys, in addition to many other accolades throughout his illustrious career.

Tre’ Johnson

Although Edward Stanton Johnson, III (Tre’ Johnson) was born in Manhattan, he spent his high school years in Peekskill. He’s best known for playing offensive tackle for the Washington Redskins in the NFL from 1994 to 2000. The Redskins drafted him in the second round of the 1994 draft. He was also selected to the 1999 Pro Bowl. He coaches and teaches history at a private school near Washington, D.C.

John Leslie

Although most people are not familiar with his name, John Leslie, who hails from Peekskill, was one of the pioneers of technology. He worked for IBM in the early days, and put forth the idea, in 1957, that computers could be used to prepare tax returns. He actually delivered the first computer-generated return to the tax office in Massachusetts in 1971.He lived to be 94 years old and died in 2009.

Mel Gibson

I know you’re surprised to see this name on the list, but actor Mel Gibson was actually born in Peekskill, New York in 1956, and lived there until his family relocated to Australia in the late 1960s, when he was twelve years old. His paternal grandmother was native to Australia. He was one of eleven children! His film Braveheart won the director and actor two Academy Awards in 1995, andhe was nominated for Best Director again for his film Hacksaw Ridgein 2017.

Just to Name a Few…

These are some of the interesting and notable people that come from Peekskill. Some were born there, and some lived out their lives there, and others stayed for a little while, contributing to the history of Peekskill.

By: Kimberly Pelesz

Family law and criminal defense attorney Kimberly A. Pelesz received a B.S. degree magna cum laude and an M.P.A. degree summa cum laude from Binghamton University. She earned her J.D. from Pace University School of Law in White Plains, where she was selected for Phi Alpha Delta. Her charitable activities include work with My Sisters’ Place in White Plains and the Westchester County District Attorney’s Humane Education Taskforce.

Comments are closed.