Famed political commentator Rush Limbaugh was born Rush Hudson Limbaugh III on January 12, 1951, in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, into a highly regarded local family—including his paternal grandfather, Rush Hudson Limbaugh, who served as a U.S. ambassador to India under President Dwight D. Eisenhower; an uncle who served as a federal judge during Ronald Reagan's presidency; and a conservative father, Rush Hudson Limbaugh II, who worked as an attorney.
By the time he was 8 years old, Limbaugh had set his sights on a career in radio. His father, however, had a more stable career in mind for his son. "I said, 'Pop, I love this. I know I'm great at it. I'm gonna get even better,'" Limbaugh remembered. But Rush Limbaugh II remained opposed to his son's goal, and because of it, Rush soon was viewed as a rebel to the rest of the Limbaugh clan. "Perhaps if there was a black sheep in our family, it was me, because I never—I've never been a conformist," Limbaugh later said, adding, "I was hugely rebellious. I hated school because it's what everybody else had to do. I hated being locked up from the second grade on in a room. ...The guy on the radio's having fun ... he's not going to some room having to learn to paste."
Though Limbaugh's family frowned upon his aspirations for a career in radio, they didn't completely ignore his passion for broadcasting. At the age of 9, Limbaugh received a Remco Caravelle, a toy radio that could transmit on AM frequencies up to 500 feet away. "I would take this up to my bedroom and play records and play DJ ... to the house, and my mother and dad would sit down and listen to me. ...The quality was horrible, but I was on the radio," Limbaugh recalled. He went on to explain why he believed his family had a change of heart about his pursuits. "I had quit the Boy Scouts and the Cub Scouts. I was a quitter. ...This was the one thing I didn't quit, so they ... indulged it, because, 'At least he's showing he'll stick-to-it-tiveness.'"