Although Arizona entered the Union relatively late (1912), many of it citizens have achieved national prominence, especially since World War II (1939–45). William H. Rehnquist (b.Wisconsin, 1924) was appointed associate justice of the US Supreme Court in 1971 and chief justice in 1986; in 1981 Sandra Day O'Connor (b.Texas, 1930) became the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court. Arizona natives who became federal officeholders include Lewis Douglas (1894–1974), a representative who served as director of the budget in 1933–34 and ambassador to the Court of St. James's from 1947 to 1950; Stewart L. Udall (b.1920), secretary of the interior, 1961–69; and Richard B. Kleindienst (1923–2000), attorney general, 1972–73, who resigned during the Watergate scandal. Another native son was Carl T. Hayden (1877–1972), who served in the US House of Representatives from statehood in 1912 until 1927 and in the US Senate from 1927 to 1969, thereby setting a record for congressional tenure. Barry Goldwater (1909–98), son of a pioneer family, was elected to the US Senate in 1952, won the Republican presidential nomination in 1964, and returned to the Senate in 1968. His Republican colleague, John J. Rhodes (b.Kansas, 1916–2003), served in the US House of Representatives for 30 years and was House minority leader from 1973 to 1980. Raul H. Castro (b.Mexico, 1916), a native of Sonora, came to the US in 1926, was naturalized, served as Arizona governor from 1975 to 1977, and has held several ambassadorships to Latin America. Morris K. Udall (1922–98), first elected to the US House of Representatives in 1960, contended for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1976.
Prominent state officeholders include General John C. Frémont (b.Georgia, 1813–90), who was territorial governor of Arizona from 1878 to 1883, and George W. P. Hunt (1859–1934), who presided over the state constitutional convention in 1910 and was elected governor seven times during the early decades of statehood. Eusebio Kino (b.Italy, 1645?–1711) was a pioneer Jesuit who introduced missions and European civilization to Arizona. Also important to the state's history and development were Charles D. Poston (1825–1902), who in the late 1850s promoted settlement and separate territorial status for Arizona; Chiricahua Apache leaders Cochise (1812?–74) and Geronimo (1829–1909), who, resisting the forced resettlement of their people by the US government, launched a series of raids that occupied the Army in the Southwest for over two decades; Wyatt Earp (b.Illinois, 1848–1929), legendary lawman of Tombstone during the early 1880s; John C. Greenway (1872–1926), copper magnate and town builder who was a nominee on the Democratic ticket in 1924 for US vice president; and Frank Luke, Jr. (1897–1918), a World War I flying ace who was the first American airman to receive the Medal of Honor.
Distinguished professional people associated with Arizona have included James Douglas (b.Canada, 1837–1918), metallurgist and developer of the Bisbee copper district; Percival Lowell (b.Massachusetts, 1855–1916), who built the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff; and Andrew Ellicott Douglass (b.Vermont, 1867–1962), astronomer, university president, and inventor of dendrochronology, the science of dating events and environmental variations through the study of tree rings and aged wood. Cesar Chavez (1927–93) was president of the United Farm Workers of America.
Writers whose names have been associated with Arizona include novelist Harold Bell Wright (b.New York, 1872–1944), who lived for an extended period in Tucson; Zane Grey (b.Ohio, 1875–1939), who wrote many of his Western adventure stories in his summer home near Payson; and Joseph Wood Krutch (b.Tennessee, 1893–1970), an essayist and naturalist who spent his last two decades in Arizona. Well-known performing artists from Arizona include singers Marty Robbins (1925–1970), and Linda Ronstadt (b.1946). Joan Ganz Cooney (b.1929), president of the Children's Television Workshop, was one of the creators of the award-winning children's program, Sesame Street.