Proximity to New York City has brought a steady parade of celebrities to Long Island — those who perform at area arenas, who meet and greet fans, even those who visit on official business. Think Tina Turner and Elvis, Toni Morrison and Muhammad Ali, and Princess Margaret and Eleanor Roosevelt, to name several Newsday has chronicled. Other celebrities are of the homegrown variety — like Billy Joel, Billy Crystal and Debbie Gibson. And still others, like John Steinbeck and Princess Lee Radziwill, have claimed the Island as their own later in life — drawn by its remove from the hustle and bustle. As the princess — a Bouvier and among Newsday’s 1978 “Who’s Who in the Hamptons” — said of her home in Southampton: “I bought this house because I like to live with simplicity and comfort. It’s a refuge, the only place serene enough to read or concentrate.”

Whether you’re a native Long Islander or a transplant, we hope you enjoy these celebrity sightings drawn from Newsday’s archives. Then join us at the Vintage Newsday Instagram — you’ll know it by the photo of Newsday’s first female photographer, Edna Murray, circa 1945. You’ll find these and other photos from the vault curated by Newsday librarians.

Credit: Newsday/Bill Sullivan

CABOOSE PARTY. Actors Sophia Loren, in hat, and Tab Hunter, fourth from right, wave to a crowd in Long Beach on June 24, 1958, during filming of the movie “That Kind of Woman.” Accompanying them are six New Yorkers chosen as extras in the World War II drama. From left, John Moriarty of Jackson Heights, Queens; Susan Mendelson of Hewlett Harbor; Bob Elson of Manhattan; Judy Edelman of Roslyn; Lorraine Shalhoub of Brooklyn; and Bob Hofman of Merrick.

Credit: Newsday/Jim Peppler

MADE FANS SWOON. Elvis Presley sings a sold-out show at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on June 22, 1973, for a crowd of 16,000. His death in 1977 came six days before he was to return for a third tour at the arena.

Credit: Newsday/Bob Luckey

PART OF THE FLOCK. Princess Margaret, with her then-husband, Antony Armstrong-Jones, Earl of Snowdon, third from left, greets clergy at St. John’s of Lattingtown Episcopal Church in Locust Valley as they arrive for services on Nov. 21, 1965.

Credit: Newsday/J. Michael Dombroski

TELLING HER STORY. Toni Morrison speaks at a Newsday book and author luncheon on Oct. 18, 1977, at the former Huntington Town House. That year, she was awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award for her novel “Song of Solomon.” She later won a Pulitzer in fiction for “Beloved” and the Nobel Prize in literature for her body of work.

Credit: Newsday/Max Heine

THE WRITE STUFF. On Nov. 5, 1962, John Steinbeck admires the view of the Sag Harbor waterfront from his sunporch, a favorite spot of his. Eleven days earlier, the Swedish Academy announced the author of “The Grapes of Wrath” and “Of Mice and Men” would be awarded the Nobel Prize in literature.

Credit: Stephen Castagneto

SINGING HER HEART OUT. Singer-songwriter Debbie Gibson, 16, practices in the basement studio of her Merrick home on June 11, 1987. At the time, she was attending Sanford H. Calhoun High School while working on her music career. A year later, her single “Foolish Beat” became No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100. She was inducted into the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame in 2014.

Credit: Newsday/Dan Goodrich

IN THE LINE OF DUTY. Harry Chapin is seen outside his home in Huntington Bay on Nov. 8, 1980. The singer-composer, dedicated to ending hunger on Long Island and beyond, was on his way to perform a free benefit concert at Eisenhower Park nearly a year later when he was killed in a collision on the Long Island Expressway.

Credit: Newsday/John H. Cornell Jr.

MUSIC IN THE AIR. Long Island bandleader Guy Lombardo, left, and “Over the Rainbow” lyricist Yip Harburg on June 20, 1977, at Jones Beach Theater; Lombardo was hired by Long Island State Park Commissioner Robert Moses in 1954 to oversee productions at the theater; he produced 17 shows during his tenure at Jones Beach until his death in 1977.

Credit: Peter Helenius

EAST END HEAT. Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Tina Turner onstage in 1993 at Long Island University’s Southampton campus. She was inducted into the hall of fame in 2021.

Credit: Newsday/Cliff De Bear

FELLOW HORSEMEN. Harness racing trainer Buddy Regan with 3-year-old pacer Edgewater Mann and then-California Gov. Ronald Reagan at Roosevelt Raceway in Westbury on Oct. 26, 1968.

Credit: Newsday/J. Michael Dombroski

AT HOME HERE. Princess Lee Radziwill in her Southampton beach house. The socialite’s portrait was included in @newsday’s 1978 annual “Who’s Who in the Hamptons.” The list of 200 Hamptons notables included celebrities, writers, politicians and artists.

Credit: Newsday/Bob Luckey

LONG ISLAND JOE. Joe Namath looks for an opening as he gets set to pass during a Jets workout at Hofstra University on July 21, 1969. Earlier that year, the star quarterback led the team to victory over the Colts in Super Bowl lll. 

Credit: Newsday /Ken Spencer

JAM SESSION. Singer-musician Bruce Springsteen, center, performs with new band members Shane Fontayne, left, and Crystal Taliefero at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Nov. 9, 1992, the year The Boss released the albums “Human Touch” and “Lucky Town.”

Credit: Newsday File

GRATITUDE FOR SERVICE. First lady Eleanor Roosevelt visits Mitchel Field Hospital in Uniondale on Oct. 2, 1944, during World War II. “No one can go to Mitchel Field and not come away with a deep sense of pride in the men themselves, and also of gratitude to the doctors and nurses who do such a magnificent job,” she wrote later in “My Day,” her nationally syndicated newspaper column.

Credit: Newsday/Dick Yarwood

EGGING EACH OTHER ON. Comedian Billy Crystal and his daughter Jennifer make faces for the camera at their Long Beach home on Shore Road on Jan. 15, 1976. That year, he appeared in an episode of TV’s “All in the Family.”

Credit: Newsday/Naomi Lasdon

A PRO TIP. Muhammad Ali speaks with a fan and signs an autograph before a speech on March 27, 1971, at Hofstra University as part of the school’s second annual Black Arts Festival. He told the audience, many of them pre-college age: “I wanted to be heavyweight champion of the world so much so that I didn’t even study like I should have.” His advice: “Unless a person finds his purpose in life, he can never be happy or satisfied.”

Credit: Newsday/Mitch Turner

SEE HIS ’STACHE. Olympic gold medalist Mark Spitz signs autographs while promoting his line of swimming accessories on June 21, 1977, at Morsan Sporting Goods in Farmingdale. The nine-time Olympic champion was known for his mustache, which he considered lucky, and kept it even for competitive swimming.

Credit: Newsday/Dick Kraus

WHO’S THE ENTERTAINER HERE? Billy Joel and his first wife and manager Elizabeth Weber play with their dog on their property in Cove Neck on Dec. 20, 1978. Nearly a year earlier, he released the single “Just the Way You Are,” which he had written for Weber.

WANT TO SEE MORE? Join us at the Vintage Newsday Instagram.

 Accused Gilgo killer wants guns sold … Suffolk cyberattack order … Feed Me: Oysters Credit: Newsday/NewsdayTV

Latest on Farmingdale HS bus crash ... Giants blown out ... Islanders camp ... Turf or grass?

 Accused Gilgo killer wants guns sold … Suffolk cyberattack order … Feed Me: Oysters Credit: Newsday/NewsdayTV

Latest on Farmingdale HS bus crash ... Giants blown out ... Islanders camp ... Turf or grass?

Latest Videos

Newsday Logo

ONE-DAYSALE5¢ a week for 5 6 months

Get Unlimited Access

Cancel anytime