Believe it or not, the field of dentistry has seen its share of famous, as well as infamous, practitioners over the years. Apparently, professional dentistry is a much more exciting career choice than we’d previously realized if it’s managed to attract such an interesting (and…um…diverse?) bunch!
• John Henry “Doc” Holliday: Famous for his gunfight with Wyatt Earp at the O.K. Corral, Holliday was actually a dentist who was trained in Pennsylvania and developed quite a successful practice in Atlanta. He contracted tuberculosis and was forced to leave his practice and move out West, where he became the “Doc” Holliday we think of today.
• Zane Grey: One of the first millionaire authors, Zane Grey became famous penning Western novels, writing more than 80 books in his lifetime. But before finding his true love in writing, his first job was as a practicing dentist in New York.
• Edgar Buchanan: You likely best know Edgar Buchanan from his work in 1960s television shows like “The Beverly Hillbillies” and “Green Acres.” But this popular character actor started out as a successful dentist before moving to California in 1939.
• Thomas Welch: Yes, as in Welch’s Grape Juice. The founder of Welch’s was a dentist before he retired and invented a pasteurization process that kept grape juice from fermenting and becoming alcoholic. Welch’s goal was to create a non-alcoholic wine that could be used during church services.
• Miles Henry Davis: Surprisingly, Miles Henry Davis was not a musician, like his son. He was, instead, a dentist. Miles Sr. bought his son his first trumpet when he was a small boy, and Miles Jr. went on to become one of the most influential musical artists in history.
• Mark Spitz: Well, he wasn’t really a full-fledged dentist, but he could have been! Known best for his record-breaking 7 gold medals won during the 1972 Olympic Games (and medal-winning “competition” that sprung up decades later with Michael Phelps), Mark Spitz was actually accepted into dental school before deciding to dedicate himself to Olympic training.
• Paul Revere: Besides being a talented silversmith, famous American patriot Paul Revere was also a dentist. This revolutionary war hero was known for making a midnight ride just before the battles of Concord and Lexington to warn people of the British soldiers’ imminent arrival, but within the confines of his day-to-day life he was better known as a great resource for quality false teeth.
–Dr. Shannon Norman-Kotre, Ann Arbor Dentist