Famous People You Didn’t Know Were Dentists

When you watch Ronald Regan in Knute Rockne, All American, it’s hard to imagine this young actor becoming the president who would famously tell Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. In fact, there are many famous people whose previous careers will surprise you. From Revolutionary War heroes to revolutionary writers, we have quite the list of famous people who were formerly dentists for you today! Here is our list of famous people whose post-nominal letters include DDS!

Edgar Buchanan


American actor Edgar Buchanan was a mainstay for popular television shows in the 1960s such as Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, Leave It to Beaver, and Petticoat Junction. He even appeared in an episode of the original Twilight Zone in 1962. Before William Edgar Buchanan II graced American black-and-white television screens, he practiced dentistry! He earned his DDS from Oregon Health & Science University School of Dentistry, formerly the North Pacific College School of Dentistry, just like his father before him. He met his wife Mildred in school and they moved to Altadena, California to open their own dental practice. Edgar Buchanan joined the Pasadena Playhouse as an actor then landed his first film role in 1939. After this, he never looked back! He handed over his dentistry practice to his wife and never practiced dentistry again.

Zane Grey


Many classic Western films from the 1930s and 1940s were adapted from Zane Grey’s novels. A dentist by trade, Zane Grey became famous for conceptualizing the American frontier in works such as Riders of the Purple Sage and Robbers’ Roost. Over 100 Western films were adapted from the many books written by Grey, who even established his dental practice in New York City to be closer to publishers. Zane Grey practiced as a dentist during the day and wrote Western fiction at night. He married in 1905 and ceased his career in dentistry to pursue writing, using his wife’s inheritance to support them.

(image courtesy of Oregon Historical Society Research Library CN 020999)

Paul Revere


Paul Revere advertised his skills as a restorative dentist, offering to make false teeth for his patients. He turned to dentistry when his previous business declined during a recession following the Seven Years’ War. He was taught how to care for people’s teeth from a practicing surgeon who was living at his friend’s home. Paul Revere’s dental tools are even on display at the Otis Historical Archives National Museum of Health and Medicine! Isn’t it fascinating to read about historical figures who once practiced dentistry? Other famous names you may recognize include Miles Henry Davis (father of Miles Davis), Mark Spitz, “Doc” Holliday and Thomas Welch (founder of Welch’s fruit juice): These famous people were also once dentists!

Enough history for today, how is your oral health doing? If you’re ready for an appointment, call us now, or you can book your appointment online!

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