Chicago is the largest Polish city outside of Poland, with approximately 963,875 residents of Polish ancestry. Chicago’s Polish community is concentrated along the city’s Northwest and Southwest Sides, along Milwaukee and Archer Avenues.
The list of famous Polish Americans from Chicago include:
- Former NFL player and coach, television commentator, Mike Ditka;
- Chicago Bear’s player, Bronko Nagurski;
- Baseball legends, Stan Musial and Carl Yaztremski;
- Major League first baseman, Theodore “Big Klu” Kluszewski;
- The great music conductor, Leopold Stokowski;
- Polish American painter, Edward Francis Paschke;
- Medical intuitive practitioner and book author, Caroline Myss;
- American writer and Poet, Stuart Dybek;
- Hollywood composer, Bronislaw Kaper;
- Silent Era film actress, Gloria Swanson;
- Stage and film actress and singer, Stefanie Powers;
- Stage and TV actress, Loretta Swit;
- Polish-born TV and Film actor, Ross Martin;
- Film and television actor, Ted Knight;
- Film actress and author, Carroll Baker;
- Television personality, former weatherman, actor and talk show host, Pat Sajak;
- Talk show host, former U.S. Marine and officer with the Chicago police, Steve Wilkos
Many of these famous people can be found on your local Chicago Public Library shelves. The Chicago Public Library continues to celebrate Polish American Heritage Month for the rest of this month with lively concerts, they include:
An Evening of Polish Classical Songs with Tenor Mark Piekarz and accompanist, Una Stroda on Thusday, October 20, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. at the Harold Washington Library Center, Cindy Pritzker Auditorium, 400 S. State Street. An evening of Polish classical songs with tenor Mark Piekarz and accompanist Una Stroda. Mr. Piekarz’s selections performed from his repertoire reflect the music of Poland’s past and sacrifices made by its citizens, truly inspiring songs of music with purpose.
Megitza Quartet on Thusday, October 27, 2011, at 6:00 p.m. at the West Belmont Branch, 3104 N. Narragansett Avenue. Megitza Quartet, high energy stage presence, original compositions and arrangements continue to captivate audiences with their songs of inspiration and joy.
And the celebration of Polish American Heritage Month ends with the Polkaholics on Saturday, October 29, 2011, at 2:00 p.m. at the Austin-Irving Branch, 6100 W. Irving Park Road, Chicago. A fun afternoon featuring a high-speed collision of polka and rock ‘n roll as the Polkaholics puts the oomph back in oom-pah and a punk edge on polka.