What makes a man manly? The answer is far from simple.
Throughout the decades, what we consider as “manly” has morphed into a more superficial idea, much of which that has been influenced by mainstream media. With Hollywood's influence, “tall, dark and handsome” has been deep-rooted in our culture, but the physical appearance is only a minor aspect of what constitutes as a manly man.
We’ve pulled who we think the manliest man from every state is, some of which may surprise you. Whether he influenced the lives of future generations, or developed a life saving method, manly men are a diverse, exceptional group of people who don’t stick to the status quo.
The manly man is intelligent. The manly man is caring. The manly man made his mark.
Channing TatumApril 26, 1980
It's no surprise that Channing Tatum would be recognized as one of the manliest men in the U.S., but his home state may be a surprise to many. This American actor, who's starred in films like Coach Carter, 21 Jump Street and Dear John, spent his early childhood in a small city just north of Birmingham. Turning down a football scholarship to pursue other ambitions might have been the greatest decision of his career.
Curt SchillingNovember 14, 1966
Curt Schilling is known for being an acclaimed major league baseball pitcher who led the Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox to win the world series. Schilling is a member of the 3,000-strikeout club and retired from major league baseball in 2009 after 20 seasons.
Cesar ChavezMarch 31, 1927
American labor leader and civil rights activist, Cesar Chavez, is best known for leading nonviolent marches, boycotts and hunger strikes to fight for improving the treatment, pay and working conditions for farm workers. As co-founder of the National Farm Workers Association, he strongly promoted the American labor movement and became a historical icon for the Latino community in the U.S.
Johnny CashFebruary 26, 1932
Singer and songwriter Johnny Cash is known for being one of the greatest artists of all time by Rolling Stone magazine. Before recording hits that topped the Billboard charts, Cash started from humble beginnings in the fields of Arkansas, eventually serving in the U.S. Air Force.
Dwayne JohnsonMay 2, 1972
Otherwise known as "The Rock," Dwayne Johnson is known for his talent in the ring and on the big screen. The semi-retired professional wrestler turned actor and producer broke a record making $5 million dollars for his first film debut in The Scorpion King. Since then, Johnson has starred in a number of well-known films, landing him on Forbes world's highest-paid celebrities of 2016 despite being broke only years earlier.
David FincherAugust 28, 1962
David Fincher is an American director and producer who is known for creating a number of exceptional films, television series and music videos. His work in Fight Club, Se7en, Gone Girl and The Social Network are only a few of the reasons that he's named among the manliest men in the U.S.
John MayerOctober 16, 1977
You may have never known that John Mayer came from humble beginnings earning just $7 an hour at a Connecticut Mobil gas station, but only a few years later this singer-songwriter topped the Billboard charts. Following dropping out of the Berklee College of Music after only two semesters, Mayer relocated to Atlanta where his career began to take off.
Stephen MarleyApril 20, 1972
Son of renowned Bob Marley and Rita Marley, Stephen's upbringing had an enormous impact on his interest in music. Following the footsteps of his father, Stephen and his siblings formed the band called Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers, who brought home the Grammy Award for Best Reggae recording in 1988 for the album, Conscious Party. Beyond the group, Stephen eventually launched a solo career and won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album in 2007 for the song Mind Control.
Crescent City, Florida
A. Phillip RandolphApril 15, 1889
Labor leader and social activist A. Philip Randolph was a leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement and the American labor movement. He organized the first predominantly African American labor union, the Brotherhood of the Sleeping Car Porters, and was a principal organizer of the 1963 March on Washington. His courage and resilience makes him easily among the manliest men in the U.S.
Martin Luther King, Jr.January 15, 1929
American Baptist minister and social activist, Martin Luther King Jr., was a leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement and a Nobel Peace Prize recipient. He spent his childhood in the then segregated city of Atlanta, thus dedicating his entire life to combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance.
Barack ObamaAugust 4, 1961
Born in Honolulu, President Barack Obama became the first African American and first president born outside of the continental United States to hold office. The 44th president of the United States is currently serving his second term, which will end in January 2017.
Aaron PaulAugust 27, 1979
Idaho native, Aaron Paul, is an Emmy Award winning television actor. After graduating high school at 17 years old, Paul relocated to Los Angeles where he landed small roles and commercial gigs before landing his breakout role as Jesse Pinkman on TV drama Breaking Bad.
Robin WilliamsJuly 21, 1951
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Robin Williams is known for his improvisational skills and numerous memorable comedic and dramatic acting roles. The award winning actor is best known for his roles in Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society, Jumanji, Aladdin, and Mrs. Doubtfire.
West Baden Springs, Indiana
Larry BirdDecember 7, 1956
Regarded as one of the best professional basketball players of all time, Larry Bird, is known for winning three NBA championships during his 13-year career with the Boston Celtics. With three MVP awards under his belt and his name among ESPN SportCentury's Top 50 athletes of the 20th century, there's no wonder why Bird is ranked among the top manliest men in the U.S.
John WayneMay 26, 1907
Born in Winterset, Iowa, John Wayne was an actor, director and producer who was among the most popular film actors of the 20th century. The American icon appeared in a number of well-known Western films and won an Academy Award in 1969 for the film, True Grit, easily making him the epitome of a manly man.
Dodge City, Kansas
Dennis HopperMay 17, 1936
Born in Dodge City, Kansas, Dennis Hopper continued on to make a name for himself as an actor, filmmaker, photographer and artist in Hollywood. Hopper appeared in acclaimed films such as Johnny Guitar, Rebel Without a Cause, Giant and Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in the 1950's
George ClooneyMay 6, 1961
Otherwise known as a 'Silver Fox,' Oscar-winning George Clooney has appeared in numerous highly recognized films and television shows including ER, Ocean's Eleven and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. In addition to his distinguished acting career, Clooney has produced award winning films, such as Argo and The American, and was included in Time's annual Time 100 as one of the "Most Influential People in the World".
New Orleans, Louisiana
Peyton ManningMarch 24, 1976
Former NFL quarterback, Peyton Manning, was destined to be an all-star from the beginning. Son of former NFL QB Archie Manning, and older brother of New York Giants quarterback, Eli Manning, Manning's apt for football runs in his family. In March 2016, Manning retired after 18 seasons in the NFL, and is considered to be one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.
Patrick DempseyJanuary 13, 1966
Best known for his role as neurosurgeon Dr. Derek Shepherd on television series Grey's Anatomy, Patrick Dempsey spent his childhood growing up in Maine. After dropping out of high school to tour as a juggler and magician, Dempsey eventually found his passion for acting and has been nominated for Golden Globes and Primetime Emmy Awards.
Michael PhelpsJune 30, 1985
Known as the most decorated athlete in Olympic history, it's no wonder why Michael Phelps is named amongst the manliest man in the U.S. With 28 total medals under his belt, the Maryland native confirmed that he would retire from swimming at the 2016 Rio Olympics, but fans hope that Rio wasn't the last time they'll see him on the world stage.
John F. KennedyMay 29, 1917
The 35th President of the United States and the youngest man elected to office, John F. Kennedy is known for confronting a number of foreign crises and providing support for the civil rights movement before his assassination in 1963. Notorious for being one of the most beloved presidents, it's clear that this Massachusetts native would easily take the title as one of the manliest men in the U.S.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Floyd MayweatherFebruary 24, 1977
This American boxer has won championships across five different weight divisions in boxing. Named as one of the world highest-paid athletes by Forbes, Floyd Mayweather spent his childhood training with his father and uncles in his home state of Michigan before embarking on his title holding boxing career.
Bob DylanMay 24, 1941
Folk rock singer-songwriter, Bob Dylan, is known for his songs that chronicled social issues from the 1960s including "The Times They Are a-Changin" and "Blowin' in the Wind," which were based on the American civil rights and anti-war movement. At age 75, there is no sign that he's slowing down after releasing his 37th studio album, Fallen Angels, in May 2016.
Elvis PresleyJanuary 8, 1935
Musician and actor Elvis Presley is one of the biggest names in rock 'n' roll and to this day, continues to be among the most popular music icons of all time. Coming from humble beginnings growing up in Mississippi, Presley began to develop a fanbase by the mid-1950s and scored his first No. 1 single with "Heartbreak Hotel".
St. Louis, Missouri
Chuck BerryOctober 18, 1926
Rock 'n' Roll legend, Chuck Berry, began producing hits in the 1950s and had his first hit in 1972 with "My Ding-a-Ling." In 1985, Berry received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and a year later became the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's first inductee.
Steve ReevesJanuary 21, 1926
This acclaimed body builder turned Hollywood actor didn't always live life in the limelight. Steve Reeves was originally from Montana before moving to Oakland, California in 1936 where he became interested in bodybuilding, eventually claiming titles including Mr. America, Mr. World and Mr. Universe.
Warren BuffettAugust 30, 1930
Born in Nebraska, Warren Buffett is an investor known for being one of the richest and most respected businessmen in the world. At age 13, Buffett ran his own business as a paperboy selling his own horse racing tip sheet, and claiming his bike as a $35 tax deduction. Fast forward to 2016, and his total net worth is estimated to be $67.6 Billion.
Tony MendezNovember 15, 1940
Notorious for extricating six American diplomats from Tehran during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis in 1979, Tony Mendez was a technical operations officer with the CIA for 25 years. Since retiring, Mendez has become the inspiration behind the movie Argo, directed by and starring Ben Affleck, and has written three memoirs about his time in the CIA.
Bedford, New Hampshire
Seth MeyersDecember 28, 1973
Born in Bedford, New Hampshire, Seth Meyers toured as an international performer before catching the attention of Saturday Night Live producers. After Meyers joined the SNL cast in 2001, his stardom soured and he has since won three Writers Guild of America awards and has been nominated for eight Emmy Awards.
Englewood, New Jersey
John TravoltaFebruary 18, 1954
This Golden Globe-winning actor, best known for starring in box office hits like Saturday Night Fever and Grease, has landed roles in a number of highly regarded films over the past 40 years. John Travolta began his journey to stardom by dropping out of high school at the age of 16 to pursue his acting dreams in New York, undoubtedly one of the best career decisions to this day.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Jeff BezosJanuary 12, 1964
The founder of Amazon and owner of The Washington Post has a number of impressive accolades on his track record. Jeff Bezos first began his passion for how things work by turning his parent's garage into his workspace as a child. Years later, he became the valedictorian of his high school and graduated from Princeton University with summa cum laude before developing the largest internet retailer.
New York City, New York
Anderson CooperJune 3, 1967
Born in New York City, Anderson Cooper is known for his career in journalism where he has earned countless Emmy Award nominations and eight wins. Throughout his role as primary anchor of the CNN News show, Anderson Cooper 360°, Cooper has covered major news events such as Hurricane Katrina, the death of Pope John Paul II and the Boston Marathon Bombings.
Wilkesboro, North Carolina
Zach GalifianakisOctober 1, 1969
North Carolina native, Zach Galifianakis, struck stardom after appearing on the 2009 hit comedy The Hangover. Before his breakout role, Galifianakis dropped out of North Carolina State University just one credit short of graduating to pursue his comedic career in New York City.
Minot, North Dakota
Josh DuhamelNovember 14, 1972
Model turned actor Josh Duhamel spent his childhood in North Dakota before moving to California with his then girlfriend. Since then, Duhamel has starred in the television series All My Children and Las Vegas and has also appeared in the Transformers movie franchise.
LeBron JamesDecember 30, 1984
Born in Ohio, LeBron James was a basketball all-star from the very beginning. Since garnering national attention for basketball at the high school level, LeBron took command of the court and became one of the top players in the NBA for the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Miami Heat, also helping to bring home two Olympic gold medals for the United States.
Brad PittDecember 18, 1963
Born in Oklahoma, Brad Pitt originally aspired to be an advertising art director but in a major turn of events, dropped out of college and moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. Since then, he's become a household name starring in numerous films such as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Moneyball and The Big Short.
Ashton EatonJanuary 21, 1988
Portland native, Ashton Easton, excelled at track and field at a young age, eventually competing in the heptathlon and decathlon where he captured a number of accolades. Among his achievements, Eaton has won consecutive gold medals for the United States at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games.
Will SmithSeptember 25, 1968
Named "the most powerful actor in Hollywood" by Newsweek, Will Smith had early success as a rapper under the name The Fresh Prince and his role starring in the television series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. After the series ended, Smith starred in a number of highly regarded films such as I Am Legend, The Pursuit of Happiness, and Independence Day.
Pawtucket, Rhode Island
David HartmanMay 19, 1935
Born in Rhode Island, David Hartman, was the first host of the morning show Good Morning America, which became the highest rated morning news program while he was hosting. Since spending 11 years on the show, Hartman has won several Emmy and journalism awards.
Mauldin, South Carolina
Kevin GarnettMay 19, 1976
Kevin Garnett is a professional basketball player who became the first NBA player to be drafted directly out of high school in 20 years in 1995. In 2016, Sports Illustrated named Garnett among the top 20 NBA players of the last 20 years, making him an easy choice on our list of manly men.
Webster, South Dakota
Tom BrokawFebruary 6, 1940
Best known as the anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News from 1982 to 2004, Tom Brokaw has won every major award given in broadcast journalism, including the Peabody Award and several Emmys. During his time on the world stage, Brokaw has reported on the live opening of the Berlin Wall and the terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001.
Morgan FreemanJune 1, 1937
One of Hollywood's most respected actors, Morgan Freeman, spent years acting in small parts before landing breakout roles in Street Smart, Driving Miss Daisy, The Shawshank Redemption and Seven. Known for his distinctive voice, Freeman has won several awards including two Golden Globes and an Academy Award.
Matthew McConaugheyNovember 4, 1969
Since being named "Most Handsome Student" in high school, Matthew McConaughey has made a name for himself as an acclaimed actor. The Academy Award and Golden Globe actor is best known for his roles in The Wolf of Wall Street, Dallas Buyers Club, Interstellar, Mud and many more box office hits.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Derek HoughMay 17, 1985
Professional dancer, choreographer, actor, singer-songwriter, and musician, Derek Hough, is a man of many talents. Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, Hough moved to London when he was 12 years old to study dance. His plans to only stay one year quickly turned into 10, until he moved back to the U.S. to star on the ABC dance-competition series, Dancing with the Stars. The two-time Primetime Emmy Award winner is continuing to soar through his career, making him easily one of the manliest men in the U.S.
Orson BeanJuly 22, 1928
Born in Burlington, Vermont, Orson Bean is an American actor, television personality and author. Orson often appeared on television game shows from the 1960s to the 1980s, and was a regular panelist on To Tell the Truth.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Pharrell WilliamsApril 5, 1973
Best known for the No. 1 hit "Happy" that brought smiles to America's faces, Pharrell Williams is famous for his Grammy-award winning work as a pop and R&B artist. Williams began his successful career by teaming up with friend Chad Hugo and creating a production duo called The Neptunes, which topped Billboard's list of top producers of the decade in 2009.
Nathan AdrianDecember 7, 1988
Washington state native, Nathan Adrian, is a world renowned swimmer and five-time Olympic gold medalist. Years after taking up swimming because his older siblings were involved, he became one of the top sprinters in the world.
Glen Dale, West Virginia
Brad PaisleyOctober 28, 1972
Grammy-winning country singer-songwriter, Brad Paisley, is known for commanding the crowd at his sold out shows. Since releasing his first album, Who Needs Pictures in 1999, Paisley had grown an enormous fanbase and has earned country music's highest achievement, becoming a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
Mark RuffaloNovember 22, 1967
Born in Wisconsin, Mark Ruffalo is an actor and environmental activist best known for his roles in The Avengers, The Kids Are All Right and Foxcatcher. Ruffalo spent years working as a bartender before his acting career picked up and since has won an Emmy award with the producers of The Normal Heart.
Rock Springs, Wyoming
Spencer WestJanuary 7, 1981
Spencer West is a motivational speaker, author and leadership facilitator who is redefining the impossible. Since losing both legs from the pelvis down when he was five, West has climbed and summited Mount Kilimanjaro, become an accomplished speaker, and has inspired thousands of people around the world on how to overcome life's obstacles. His strength and charisma easily lands him among the manliest men in the U.S.