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Hooray for Homeys

The St. Louis Walk of Fame honors five more worthy inductees


The time has come to enshrine five more locals, be they natives or folks who became famous when they passed through town, on Joe Edwards' St. Louis Walk of Fame. Let us now praise:

Jimmy Connors. The scrappy left-handed tennis star was born just across the river in Belleville and sharpened his two-handed backhand on the courts at the St. Louis Armory. Connors won 109 pro tournaments, including eight majors. He had a reputation as a rabble-rouser before John McEnroe came along.

Mary Engelbreit. The artist built an empire of greeting cards, gifts, mall shops and a magazine from her saccharine-cute artwork. Her drawings of precious children, often matched with nauseatingly sweet platitudes, appeal mainly to 8-year-old-girls and grandmothers with senile dementia.

David Merrick, David Margulois. The Central High and St. Louis University grad became a legendary Broadway producer, guiding Gypsy, Hello, Dolly! and 42nd Street to lasting success. Merrick has won eight Tony Awards and produced nearly 100 shows over six decades.

Jackie Smith. The NFL Hall of Fame tight end brought a new combination of size, speed and intensity to his position and to the Big Red. For 15 years he gave the St. Louis football Cardinals his best as a pass receiver and quality blocker, playing in five consecutive Pro Bowls.

Ike Turner. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer whose controversial personality and career are pondered elsewhere in this issue (see page 66) released the 1951 single "Rocket 88," which is considered by many the first rock & roll record. His Kings of Rhythm act, which was extremely popular in East St. Louis and St. Louis in the '50s, yielded to the high-energy Ike & Tina Turner Revue in the '60s. Turner's hit songs include "A Fool in Love," "It's Gonna Work Out Fine" and "Proud Mary."

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