We’re counting down the 20 most influential Rhode Islanders. These are the people that helped form Rhode Island’s identity for better or for worse. We’ve seen the likes of Viola Davis and Spalding Gray so far, now on to numbers 15-11!
15. Doug White
That enduring helmet of hair became a beacon of integrity behind the news desk of WJAR in Providence for over 20 years. Seemingly anyone who came in contact with Doug White had some anecdote about his kindness and generosity of spirit as he became one of the most consistent and enduring figures in Rhode Island news history.
14. James Woods
James Woods’s portrayal of Lester Diamond in Martin Scorsese’s “Casino” is one of the best depictions of a pimp ever committed to celluloid. Woods was able to capture the parastic nature of the relationship of pimp to prostitute impeccably with his snake-like moves and smarmy charm. One need look no further for proof of James Woods’s acting chops but if you need more evidence, there’s plenty. Mr. Woods was nominated twice for an Academy Award and won one Golden Globe from the Hollywood Foreign Press.
13. Moses Brown
Some of our panelists may not know who Moses Brown is but if you’re a history buff or live on the East Side of Providence, you can’t help but know at least a little bit about this landmark abolitionist and co-founder of Brown University.
12. DJ Pauly D
Tabloid fodder, reality show star, and professional DJ, Pauly D has risen from the ranks of the small clubs in Providence and Johnston to performing with the likes of Britney Spears and a residency in Las Vegas. Love him or hate him, Pauly D has made quite the name for himself.
11. Salty Brine
“No School Foster-Glocester!” If you don’t know what those words mean you are probably under 30 and don’t live in Rhode Island. But if you’re not, then you know that those are the words heralded out by beloved broadcaster Salty Brine.
Salty spent decades on TV and radio in Rhode Island becoming a fixture in the community with his cheerful personality and golden vocal cords. Upon his retirement, a beach was named in his honor (a beach that had a mysterious and unsolved event happen over the summer of 2015).