List of Portuguese Americans

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

This is a list of notable Portuguese Americans, including both original immigrants who obtained American citizenship and their American descendants.

Art and architecture

  • João de Brito (born 1958), painter, sculptor, artist.
  • Nathan Oliveira (December 19, 1928 – November 13, 2010), American painter, printmaker, and sculptor, born in Oakland, California to Portuguese parents.
  • William Pereira (1909–1985), architect, Cape Canaveral, CBS Television City & Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco.
  • Mel Ramos (July 24, 1935 – October 14, 2018), U.S. figurative painter, whose work incorporates elements of realist and abstract art.



  • Emeril Lagasse is a Portuguese-American celebrity chef, restaurateur, television personality, and cookbook author.
  • David Leite is the Portuguese-American publisher of the two-time James Beard Award-winning website Leite's Culinaria. He has written for The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Bon Appétit, Saveur, Food & Wine, Gourmet, Food Arts, Men's Health, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Chicago Sun Times, The Washington Post, and other publications in the United States and abroad.
  • George Mendes is the Portuguese-American executive chef of Aldea, a Michelin starred restaurant in New York City.

Film and television


  • Millicent Borges Accardi, Portuguese-American poet. She has received literary fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the California Arts Council, Barbara Deming Foundation
  • Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, Portuguese-American poet and writer (Enos family). She is a Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at the University of California Riverside and has received several literary fellowships including the Library of Congress (Witter Bynner).
  • Larry Correia, Portuguese-American fantasy novelist, known for his Monster Hunter and Grimnoir Chronicles series.
  • Nancy Vieira Couto, well established Portuguese-American poet, born in 1942. She lives in Ithaca, New York.
  • Charles Reis Felix (1923–2017), writer.
  • Frank X. Gaspar (born 1946), poet and novelist. Ferrol A. Sams Distinguished Chair, Writer in Residence at Mercer University and teaches in the MFA Writing Program at Pacific University, Oregon.
  • Brian Haberlin, writer and comic book artist. Co-creator of the Witchblade franchise and former editor in chief for Spawn, of Portuguese (Madeira, Portugal) and Native Hawaiian heritage on his mother's side of the family and of Azorean Portuguese on his grandfather's Haberlin side of the family.
  • Sarah Hoyt (maiden name Sarah Marques d'Almeida), science fiction, fantasy, and historical fiction novelist.
  • Emma Lazarus, Portuguese-American Jewish poet born in New York City. She is best known for "The New Colossus", a sonnet written in 1883; its lines appear on a bronze plaque in the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty placed in 1903.
  • David Leite, Portuguese American memoirist, food writer, cookbook author, publisher of the two-time James Beard Award-winning website Leite's Culinaria, and an entrepreneur.
  • George Leite, California author, poet, publisher and bookstore owner of Portuguese descent active in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1940s and 1950s.
  • Judah Monis (1683–1764), North America's first college instructor of Hebrew language.
  • Mordecai Manuel Noah (1785–1851), playwright, diplomat, journalist, and utopian.
  • John Dos Passos (1896–1970), Portuguese-American novelist, journalist, playwright and artist.
  • Sam Pereira (born 1949), American poet.
  • Stephen Rebello, American writer, screenwriter and former clinical therapist. Born to parents of third-generation Portuguese-American and French-Portuguese American extraction in Fall River, Massachusetts, Rebello was raised in Somerset, Massachusetts.
  • Daniel Silva (born 1960), American author who writes thriller/espionage novels.
  • Danielle Steel (born 1947), writer. (Portuguese mother)
  • Katherine Vaz
  • Richard Zimler, best-selling author who earned a 1994 National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in Fiction and the 1998 Herodotus Award. He has been published in many countries and translated into more than 20 languages. Zimler lives in Porto, Portugal, and was a professor of journalism at the University of Porto and College of Journalism for 16 years. He has been a naturalized Portuguese citizen since 2002.


  • Vasco Nunes (1974–2016), born in Lisboa, director of photography, producer and director. Produced two Grand Jury Prizes at Sundance Film Festival, has several films in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, and many cinema, TV and music projects completed.
  • Pete Souza (born 1954), American photojournalist and the chief White House photographer for President Barack Obama. Pete Souza is of Portuguese descent.


  • Uriah P. Levy (1792–1862), Commodore of the U. S. Navy, known for his purchase and restoration of Thomas Jefferson's estate, Monticello.
  • Sgt. Leroy A. Mendonca – of Pauoa, Hawaii was a Portuguese-American soldier in the United States Army; died in the Korean War at age 19, becoming the youngest soldier awarded the Medal of Honor (posthumously) in the United States on July 4, 1951.
  • Major-General Suzanne Vares-Lum (born 1967), served in Iraq War
  • Jerry Vasconcells – World War I flying ace.
  • George Luz (1921–1998), World War II – E Company, 2nd Battalion of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division.
  • George Mendonsa (1923–2019), World War II – George Mendonsa claimed to be the sailor photographed kissing a nurse in Times Square as people celebrated the end of World War II on Aug. 14, 1945.


  • Bobbie Gentry (born 1944), Country singer.
  • Craig Chaquico (born 1954) is an American guitarist of Portuguese descent. He has had over thirty years of success in a variety of genres: in the 1970s with the post-Summer of Love Jefferson Starship, in that band's 1980s incarnation, Starship, and in the 1990s and 2000s as contemporary jazz and New Age solo artist.
  • Curtis Salgado (born 1954), American singer and harmonica player.
  • David Lee Roth (born 1954), American rock vocalist for Van Halen. (Grandmother from Azores, Portugal).
  • Demi Lovato (born 1993), American singer with half Mexican, half Irish roots. Their Mexican heritage can be traced back to Portugal.
  • Dev (singer) (born 1989), singer.
  • Dez Fafara (born 1966), vocalist in the Metal-bands DevilDriver and Coal Chamber.
  • Don Ho (1930–2007), Hawaiian musician, of Chinese, Portuguese, Hawaiian, Dutch and German heritage.
  • Elmar Oliveira, violinist who, in 1978, was the first American to win the gold medal in Moscow's Tchaikovsky competition.
  • Freddie Tavares (1913–1990), helped designed Fender Stratocaster and other Fender products, steel guitarist
  • Glenn Medeiros (born 1970), Hawaiian singer.
  • Hoku (born 1981), Hawaiian pop star and actress, daughter of Don Ho
  • Hugo Ferreira, rock musician and singer-songwriter for the band Tantric.
  • Teena Marie (1956–2010), American singer. Father was Portuguese.
  • Jason C. Medeiros (born September 9, 1977) better known as Mr. J. Medeiros is an American rapper, record producer, and songwriter. As well as releasing music under the name, Mr. J. Medeiros, he is responsible for forming the Hip Hop group The Procussions, is one half of the Hip Hop/Electronic duo AllttA, and the lead singer of Punk-Rap group thebandknives.
  • Joe Perry (born 1950) – Lead guitarist and contributing songwriter for the rock band Aerosmith.
  • Joe Raposo (1937–1989), American composer and lyricist, 5-time Grammy winner.
  • Joe Raposo (born 1970), bassist for the punk rock band Lagwagon
  • John Philip Sousa (1854–1932), American composer known as The March King, inventor of the Sousaphone.
  • Ronnie Radke (born 1983), American singer, songwriter, rapper, musician, and record producer. Former Escape the Fate and current Falling in Reverse vocalist. Radke was born in 1983 in Las Vegas to a mother who is Portuguese.
  • John Reis (born 1969), also known by the pseudonyms Speedo, Slasher, and The Swami, is an American musician, singer, guitarist, record label owner, and disc jockey. Reis was born in 1969 in the Ocean Beach area of San Diego, California to Portuguese American heritage.
  • Katy Perry (born 1984), singer and songwriter, of German, English and Portuguese descent, more specifically "Azorean" with roots in Horta, Faial, disclosed the Huffington Post. According to the source, Katy Perry, who was born Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson, adopted "Perry" from her mother's maiden name of "Pereira". "The Perry branch of her family is of Portuguese origin (more specifically, Azorean). Three of her great-great-grandparents hailed from the Azores and it's Horta that gets the bragging rights for her Perry origins" — writes the Huffington Post. In most instances, the name "Perry" is the anglicization of "Pereira" a very common Portuguese surname which translates to "pear tree."
  • Linda Perry (born 1965), songwriter, 2-time Grammy winner. (Portuguese father/ Brazilian mother)
  • Mary Costa (born 1930), American singer and actress, who is best known for providing the voice of Princess Aurora in the 1959 Disney film, Sleeping Beauty. She is also a professional opera singer.
  • Nuno Bettencourt (born 1966), Guitarist for Extreme.
  • O.C. (born 1972) Brooklyn, New York MC and member of hip hop stable Diggin' In The Crates (Portuguese grandparents)
  • Phil Demmel (born 1967), Guitar player for Metal-band Machine Head.
  • Poppy (born 1995), American singer-songwriter and YouTube personality of Portuguese descent from Nashville, Tennessee.
  • Priscilla Ahn (born 1984), Singer. She also features her knowledge of the Portuguese language on her song "I Am Strong" featuring DJ Tiesto.
  • Ramana Vieira, contemporary Portuguese-American singer of the traditional Portuguese Fado. January–February 2001 edition of Mundo Português Magazine called Vieira, "The New Voice of Portuguese World Music."
  • Ray Toro (born 1977), lead guitarist and backing vocalist of the band My Chemical Romance
  • Sara Bareilles (born 1979), singer-songwriter and actress.
  • Sarah Borges, rock and roll musician from Taunton, Massachusetts, signed to Sugar Hill Records.
  • Sean Paul (born 1973), Grammy winner, reggae/pop. (Portuguese-Jewish, African, English and Chinese heritage)
  • Sky Ferreira (born 1992), singer and songwriter.
  • Steve Perry (born 1949), Former lead singer of the rock band Journey and solo artist.
  • Steve "Zetro" Souza (born 1964), singer
  • Tony Martin (1913–2012), Produced many hit records between 1941 and 1957; he had his own radio show and also appeared in films.
  • Tynisha Keli (born 1985), R&B and pop singer-songwriter.
  • Vincent Lopez (1895–1975), one of the top bandleaders of the Roaring Twenties.
  • Mishlawi (born 1996), American born hip-hop artist who grew up in Portugal.
  • [Robert Benevides,] [Ronald Medeiros], [Tony Taveira] The Late Sixties Psychedelic Rock Band. From Swansea,Ma


  • Peter Francisco (1760–1831), American Revolution patriot.
  • Emma Lazarus (1849–1887), poet and essayist, best known for a sonnet about the Statue of Liberty, "The New Colossus", which was engraved on the statue's pedestal, welcoming immigrants to the United States: "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
  • John Philip Sousa (1854–1932), composer of many marching band songs. Wrote "Stars and Stripes Forever" aboard a steam freighter while traveling from Terceira to the U.S. (Portuguese father)


  • Duke Aiona (born 1955), American politician who served as Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii (2002–2010). He is of Hawaiian, Chinese, and Portuguese descent.
  • John Arruda (John M. Arruda), Mayor of Fall River, Massachusetts, for six years.
  • Judah Philip Benjamin (1811–1884), American politician and lawyer. He was born a British subject in Saint Croix, during the British occupation of the Danish West Indies (now U.S. Virgin Islands), to Phillip Benjamin, an English Jew, and his wife, Rebecca Mendes, a Portuguese Jew.
  • Mariano S. Bishop (1906–1953), labor organizer and union leader who served in turn as principal Organizer, Director, and Executive Vice President of the Textile Workers Union of America.
  • Francisco L. Borges (born 1951), business executive and former Connecticut State Treasurer; born in Cape Verde of African descent.
  • Matt Borges, Chairman of the Ohio Republican Party from 2013 to 2017
  • Ben Nighthorse Campbell, former U.S. Senator, mother was an immigrant from Portugal
  • Dennis Cardoza (born 1959), former member of the United States House of Representatives (2003–2012), from California, grandparents from the Azores.
  • Benjamin N. Cardozo (1870–1938), former U.S. Supreme Court Justice (1932–1938).
  • Francis Lewis Cardozo (1836–1903), clergyman, politician, and educator. He was the first African American to hold a statewide office in the United States. Francis Cardozo was the son of a free black woman, Lydia Weston, and a Portuguese-Jewish man, Isaac Cardozo, who worked at the customhouse.
  • Tony Coelho (born 1942), former member of the United States House of Representatives (1979–1989), from California, grandparents from two different islands in the Azores.
  • Jasiel Correia (born 1991), mayor of Fall River, Massachusetts.
  • Jim Costa (born 1952), member of the U.S. House of Representatives, from California, grandparents from the Azores.
  • Mary L. Fonseca (1915–2005), Massachusetts state senator
  • Joseph Francis (born 1973), Joseph F. Francis, former member of the Massachusetts State Senate.
  • Al Gore (born 1948), Albert Gore Jr., former Vice President of the United States (1993–2001), Nobel Peace Prize winner, from Washington, D.C., his 6 great-grandmother was Mary Maderas (as spelled in the census) of Virginia, daughter of his 7 great-grandfather Charles (Carlos) Madeiros of Virginia, son of his 8 great-grandfather Domingo Madeiros immigrant from the Azores.
  • Albert Gore Sr. (1907–1998), former member of U.S. House of Representatives (1939–1953, from Tennessee, probably the first Portuguese American to serve in Congress; former U.S. Senator (1953–1971) from Tennessee; his 5 great-grandmother was Mary Maderas (as spelled in the census) of Virginia, daughter of his 6 great-grandfather Charles (Carlos) Madeiros of Virginia, son of his 7 great-grandfather Domingo Madeiros immigrant from the Azores.
  • André Heinz (1969), politician, one of the heirs of H.J. Heinz Company, and son of Teresa Heinz. Portuguese on mother's side)
  • Michael Machado, former member of the California State Assembly and State Senate.
  • Jack M. Martins (born 1967), member of the New York State Senate, representing Nassau County, New York. Martins is a former Mayor of Mineola, New York. Martins is a first-generation American, born to parents who emigrated from northern Portugal in the 1960s.
  • Dina Matos McGreevey (born 1966), former New Jersey First Lady.
  • Devin Nunes, member of U.S. House of Representatives from California.
  • Marc R. Pacheco (born 1952) Member of Massachusetts House of Representatives (1989–1993) Member of the Massachusetts Senate (1993–Present), He is Dean of the Massachusetts Senate, the longest continuously serving member of the Senate currently serving. All four grandparents were Portuguese, three from the Azores and one from the Mainland. He has received the Highest civilian award from Portugal "The Order of Prince Henry the Navigator". He has received the Grand Decoration of Honor in Gold with Star from the Republic of Austria and for his work in support of the nation of East Timor's fight for independence he was awarded the Medal of the Order of East Timor.
  • Richard Pombo (born 1961), former Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from California (1993–2007).
  • Jack Reed, U.S. Senator from Rhode Island, mother was Portuguese.
  • Michael A. Rice (born 1955), biologist & Rhode Island state legislator since 2009.
  • Francis Salvador (1747–1776),
  • Ronald A. Sarasin, former Member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1973–1979) from Connecticut.
  • Patrick Joseph "Pat" Toomey Sr. (born November 17, 1961), U.S. senator from Pennsylvania. (Native of Providence, Rhode Island. Portuguese-American mother). He is a member of the Republican Party, and succeeded Arlen Specter. He served as the U.S. representative for Pennsylvania's 15th congressional district from 1999 to 2005. Descent from the Azores.
  • Lori Trahan (born 1973), U.S. Representative from Massachusetts
  • David Valadao (born 1977), U.S. Representative from California
  • John Vasconcellos (1932–2014), former member of the California State Assembly and State Senate. (Portuguese father/ German mother).
  • Nick Freitas (born 1979), member of the Virginia House of Delegates


Science and medicine

  • Goncalo R. Abecasis (born 1976) – geneticist at the University of Michigan. One of the world's most cited scientists in 2009.
  • Robert L. Carneiro (1927–2020) – prominent anthropologist and curator of the American Museum of Natural History
  • António Damásio (born 1944) – Portuguese-American neuroscientist/neurobiologist. He is a University Professor and David Dornsife Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Southern California (where he also heads the Brain and Creativity Institute), an adjunct professor at the Salk Institute and the author of several books describing his scientific thinking.
  • Gregg Gonsalves (born 1964) – Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at Yale University and a recipient of a 2018 MacArthur Fellowship
  • Craig C. Mello (born 1960) – winner of 2006 Nobel Prize for Medicine.
  • George Perry (born 1953) – Alzheimer's disease researcher noted for his discovery of the role of oxidative stress in Alzheimer's disease.
  • Manuela Maria Veloso (born 1957) – Head of the Machine Learning Department at Carnegie Mellon University & Herbert A. Simon University Professor in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University.



  • Joseph Lawrence "Joe" Abreu (1913–1993), Major League Baseball infielder. He played nine seasons in professional baseball, one at the major league level. He served in the United States Navy during World War II.
  • Kevin John Correia, (born 1980), baseball pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates. On December 17, 2010, the Pirates signed Correia to a 2-year, $8 million deal. On March 24, 2011, the Pirates named Correia their Opening Day starter.
  • Rod Correia (born 1967), played three seasons for the California Angels (1993–1995)
  • Sid Fernandez (born 1962), National League baseball player (Native Hawaiian, Portuguese and Spanish).
  • Lew Fonseca (1899–1989), born in Oakland, California; infielder, American League batting champion with Cleveland, coach for Chicago Cubs, manager of the Chicago White Sox; pioneered the use of film to analyze player performance, director of MLB films.
  • Jonny Gomes (born 1980), former MLB and NPB outfielder and designated hitter.
  • Davey Lopes (born 1945), former Major League Baseball second baseman. (Cape Verdean / Black African, Portuguese and Irish)
  • Billy Martin (1928–1989), New York Yankees and Oakland Athletics manager. (Martin's father was from the Azores and later immigrated to Hawaii)
  • Dustin Pedroia (born 1983), former second baseman for the Boston Red Sox, American League MVP in 2008.
  • Mark Teixeira (born 1980), former first baseman for the Texas Rangers, Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Angels, and New York Yankees.
  • Shane Victorino (born 1980), former MLB outfielder, two-time World Series champion with the Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Red Sox (Portuguese, Hawaiian and Japanese).



  • Billy Andrade (born 1964), pro golf player.
  • Tony Lema (1934–1966), winner of numerous professional golf tournaments; at the time of his death he ranked tenth in all-time earnings in the PGA.

Mixed martial arts


  • Kimberly Maria Brandão (born 1984), professional women's soccer player who is currently a captain of the full Portugal Women's National Team and also the team captain of professional franchise, Buffalo Flash, a western New York state team which is the most recent winner of the United Soccer Leagues' W-League.
  • Altino "Tino" Domingues (born 1951), retired soccer defender. He played professionally in the United States and earned four caps with the U.S. national team in 1976.
  • Adelino William ("Billy") Gonsalves (sometimes spelled in the Portuguese form, Gonçalves) (1908–1977), soccer player, sometimes described as the "Babe Ruth of American Soccer". He spent over 25 years playing in various American professional leagues and was a member of the U.S. squad at the FIFA World Cup in 1930 and 1934. He is a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
  • Manuel "Manny" Matos, retired soccer midfielder from New Bedford, Massachusetts who played professionally in the North American Soccer League and American Soccer League.
  • Manuel "Manny" Matos (born 1953), retired soccer player from Mineola, New York who played professionally in the North American Soccer League and Major Indoor Soccer League.
  • Carlos Mendes (born 1980), soccer manager and former player currently serving as head coach of New York Cosmos B.
  • Fred "Fredy" Pereira (born 1954), former soccer forward who spent three seasons in the North American Soccer League and earned six caps with the U.S. national team in 1977.
  • Telmo Pires (born 1953), retired Portuguese-American soccer player professionally in the North American Soccer League, American Soccer League and Major Indoor Soccer League. He earned one cap with the United States men's national soccer team in 1975.
  • Claudio Reyna (born 1973), former captain of the U.S. national soccer team.
  • Giovanni Reyna (born 2002), son of Claudio Reyna, is a footballer, who plays attacking midfield for Borussia Dortmund. Although born in England, He has represented the United States at the Under 15, Under 16, and Under 17 level and is expected to play for the United States Men's National Team.
  • Andrew Sousa (born 1989), Portuguese American football player from Fall River, Massachusetts; Sousa was drafted in 2011 by the New England Revolution.
  • Ed Souza (1921–1979), soccer player
  • John Souza (1920–2012), soccer player


Other sports

  • Dennis Alexio (born 1959), former world champion kickboxer in the light heavyweight, cruiserweight and heavyweight divisions.
  • Nate Costa (born 1988), football quarterback for the University of Oregon Ducks. He is of Portuguese descent (his father was born on the Azores island of Terceira).
  • Juliana "Juli" Furtado (born 1967), mountain biker, who began her sports career in skiing. From 1980 to 1987, she was the youngest member of the U.S. National ski team. Although American by birth, Furtado is of partial Portuguese ancestry.
  • Kurt Gouveia (born 1964), football player who played 13 season in the NFL with the Washington Redskins Philadelphia Eagles and San Diego Chargers and was a member of both their 1987 and 1991 Super Bowl Championship teams (Redskins). Gouveia was born in Hawaii.
  • Vic Seixas, Jr., (born 1923), E. Victor Seixas, Jr. Hall of Fame tennis star who won Wimbledon in 1953 and the U.S. Open Championship in 1954.
  • Jamie Silva (James J. Silva) (born 1984), football (safety of Portuguese descent (his family comes from Azores)) player for the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League. He was signed by the Colts as an undrafted free agent in 2008. He played college football at Boston College.



See also

External links