Made in Florida: Artists, Celebrities, Activists, Educators, and Other Icons in the Sunshine State

Made in Florida: Artists, Celebrities, Activists, Educators, and Other Icons in the Sunshine State

by Art Levy


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Discover some of Florida’s most fascinating personalities in this entertaining kaleidoscope of interviews. Made in Florida showcases a colorful lineup of notable people who got their start in the state and who have helped make it the unique, diverse place it is today.

Hear from Carl Hiaasen and Dave Barry about their weirdest writing inspirations. Discover why Shaquille O’Neal never complains. Find out what happens when Burt Reynolds goes to Costco. Listen to Theresa Manuel’s experiences as one of the first black women to compete in the Olympics. Learn about the lives of Seminole Tribe elder Louise Gopher, pop art painter Romero Britto, NASA senior executive JoAnn Morgan, circus daredevil Bello Nock, football coach Steve Spurrier, state CFO Alex Sink, and Muhammad Ali’s “fight doctor” Ferdie Pacheco. In addition to the widely celebrated, Art Levy introduces many unsung individuals. Meet innovative industrialists like “Chainsaw Al” and dedicated naturalists like “The Shark Lady.” Mingle with a legendary rancher, a civil rights historian, and a commercial fisherman. Marvel at an anticrime crusader, a space skydiver, and a snake-venom enthusiast.

These and other stars—many of whom rarely give such extensive interviews—talk family and work, joys and worries, failures and triumphs, dislikes and desires. Levy has thoughtfully selected their words from ten years of conversations. Each person tells a different story of Florida from a perspective all their own. Read on and get ready to laugh and lament, to be surprised and inspired.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813056265
Publisher: University Press of Florida
Publication date: 04/23/2019
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 765,380
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Art Levy is an award-winning journalist. He is associate editor of Florida Trend magazine. He has also written for the St. Petersburg Times and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 Advocates 3

Greg Asbed-Farmworker organizer 3

Gay Culverhouse-Concussion whistleblower 7

Louise Gopher-Seminole Tribe elder 10

Nicole Johnson-Diabetes educator and Miss America 13

Barbara Mainster-Preschool provider 16

John Walsh-Anticrime crusader 18

Carlton Ward-Wildlife corridor protector 21

2 Artists 25

Romero Britto-Cubism-Pop Art painter 25

Mary Ann Carroll-Only female Florida Highwaymen painter 28

Mike Peters-Mother Goose Grimm creator 30

James Rosenquist-Pop Art pioneer 34

3 Athletes 41

Joey Cornblit-Jai alai superstar 41

Phil Esposito-Hockey promoter 44

Chris Evert-Tennis icon 47

Arris Gilmore-"Gentle Giant" 50

Shaquille O'Neal-Basketball celebrity 53

Juan "Chi Chi" Rodriguez-Professional golfer 56

Steve Spurrier-Gator great 59

Doug Williams-First African American quarterback to start and win a Super Bowl 62

Winky Wright-Boxing titlist 65

Don Zimmer-Baseball lifer 68

4 Educators 72

Ray Arsenault-Civil rights historian 72

Judith A. Bense-Anthropologist, archaeologist, and president of UWF 76

Wilson Bradshaw-Psychobiologist and president of FGCU 79

Stephen Leatherman-"Dr. Beach" 82

Theresa Manuel-Olympic runner and teacher 85

M. J. Soileau-Engineering professor 87

Nan-Yao Su-Termite foe 90

5 Explorers 94

Joe Kittinger-Space skydiver 94

Edgar Mitchell-Sixth to walk on the moon 98

Jo Ann Morgan-Kennedy Space Center and NASA senior executive 101

Winston Scott-Space Shuttle astronaut 104

6 Entertainers 107

Zev Buffman-Producer and actor 107

Brian Johnson-AC/DC lead vocalist 110

Sherrill Milnes-"Bari-Hunk" singer 113

Bello Nock-Comic daredevil 116

Burt Reynolds-Mega-celebrity actor 119

Mel Tillis-Country music star 124

7 Entrepreneurs 127

George Billiris-Sponge diver and seller 127

Ed Droste-Hooters cofounder 130

Richard Gonzmart-Leader of Florida's oldest restaurant 133

Ward Hall-Carnival barker 136

H. Irwin Levy-Century Village developer 139

Tony Little-Pitchman and fitness activist 142

Joe Redner-Adult-business mogul 145

Arthur Rutenberg-Residential builder 148

Michael Saunders-High-end home seller 150

8 Industrialists 154

Robert M. "Bob" Beall II-Bealls executive 154

Albert J. Dunlap-"Chainsaw Al" 157

Tom James-Raymond James Financial leader 162

Steve Raymund-Tech Data builder 166

9 Journalists 170

David Lawrence Jr.-Miami Herald publisher and children's advocate 170

Lucy Morgan-Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter 173

Eugene Patterson-Newspaper executive and civil rights leader 177

10 Naturalists 182

Alto "Bud" Adams Jr.-Legendary rancher 182

"Alligator" Ron Bergeron-Gator-wrestling developer 185

Eugenie Clark-"The Shark Lady" 188

Don Goodman-Gardener 191

Bill Haast-Snake venom enthusiast 194

Jeff Klinkenberg-Florida folklonst 197

Margaret D. Lowman-Forest canopy explorer 200

11 Philanthropists 204

Derrick Brooks-Charter school founder 204

Warrick Dunn-Homeownership advocate 207

William R. Hough-Arts and education hinder 210

Kiran Patel-Cardiologist and prolific giver 213

Howard C. Tibbals-Circus expert 216

12 Politicos 219

Susan Benton-First woman elected sheriff in Florida 219

Betty Castor-Education commissioner and USF president 222

Sam Gibbons-Congressman and D-Day vet 224

Charles Gray-Political insider 227

Bob Martinez-Florida governor and Tampa mayor 230

H. Lee Moffitt-Legislator and cancer center founder 234

Ed Price-Lawmaker and citrus promoter 237

Alex Sink-Top finance officer 240

13 Practitioners 243

W. George Allen-Trailblazing attorney 243

Craig Fugate-Disaster responder 247

Thomas "Blue" Fulford-Commercial fisherman 250

"Big Daddy" Don Garlits-Drag racer 253

Marcella Hazan-Cook and author 257

Gene Leedy-Sarasota School architect 260

Roland Martin-Professional fisherman 264

Tater Porter-Cowboy and rodeo star 267

Norman Van Aken-Father of New World Cuisine 270

Dick Vitale-ESPN broadcaster 274

14 Writers 278

Dave Barry-Humorist 278

Carl Hiaasen-Columnist and author 281

Peter Meinke-Florida's poet laureate 285

Patrick Smith-Writer of A Land Remembered 288

15 All of the Above 291

Ferdie Pacheco-Muhammad Ali's "Fight Doctor," artist, writer, and broadcaster 291

16 A Brief History 295

Acknowledgments 297

Photo Credits 299

Interview Index 303

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Inspiring and compelling. These stories resonate with life lessons that we all should read and ponder: the importance of hard work, the value of rejection, and a genuine affection for the Sunshine State.”—Gary R. Mormino, author of Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams: A Social History of Modern Florida

“Levy has a penchant for asking provocative questions that reveal the fullness of his subjects—their personal struggles, their personalities, and their relationships to Florida. An enjoyable compilation of profiles that weaves a colorful human tapestry and illuminates the contemporary history of one of America’s most diverse and wondrous states. Made in Florida is a must-read.”—Lynn Waddell, author of Fringe Florida: Travels among Mud Boggers, Furries, Ufologists, Nudists, and Other Lovers of Unconventional Lifestyles

“Reading these interviews is the armchair version of flitting from table to table at a dinner party filled with Florida’s most spectacular Floridians.”—Cathy Salustri, author of Backroads of Paradise: A Journey to Rediscover Old Florida

“Everyone in Florida who cares about the state’s modern history and culture needs to read this book. Art Levy is a masterful interviewer, and the people whose lives and thoughts he has chosen to highlight really come to life.”—Craig Pittman, author of Oh, Florida!: How America’s Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country

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