Burl Ives – American Folk Singer / Academy Award Winning Actor
One of Western Illinois University’s greatest friends was singer and Academy Award winning actor of the screen, stage, radio and television, Burl Ives. Ives is remembered for being million selling American folk singer, his roles in motion pictures such as Cat On A Hot Tin Roof and The Big Country as well the voice of Sam The Snowman who narrates the Rankin-Bass animated holiday calls Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.
Though Ives was from eastern Illinois, he had a brother who lived in Colchester and later Macomb and owned land north of Macomb, so Burl visited often. During the 1970’s and ‘80s, Burl held numerous fund-raisers on behalf of WIU when he was in McDonough County. Burl Ives also donated a vast collection of his personal memorabilia including recordings, props, private papers and effects to WIU’s Archives and Special Collections Library.
(Source Western Illinois University by Jeffery W. Hancks & Adam J. Carey)