The stars of stage and screen are a diverse group of performers, taken from all walks of life, and every country in the world. The United States of America in particular is blessed with a wealth of talent, drawn from far and wide. There's a famous name from every state. For your inspiration and information, we've put together a list of the most famous celebrity from every state in the USA. Enjoy.
Although we all have our own favorite celebrities, who we're drawn to because of their talent or charisma, a star always feels more 'special' if they've grown up somewhere close to where you live. It reminds you that wherever you live, it's still possible for you to hit it big.
For your inspiration and information, we've put together a list of the most famous celebrity from every state in the USA - with the exception of Alaska. We had to cheat a little bit with that one, as you'll see when you get there. Sorry, Alaska. The other 49 are legit!
He might be a native of Florida these days, but Channing Tatum has never hidden his Alabama roots. In fact, when you see him pictured in the press, he's often wearing University of Alabama sports gear. You can take the boy out of Alabama, but you can never take the Alabama out of the boy. He's come a long way since he broke out in the 2006 movie 'Step Up,' and today he's one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood.
He started off his career in eye-candy roles, but has toughened up his image as the years have passed. The 'G.I. Joe' movies did a lot to help with that, even though critics weren't overly fond of them. To a certain demographic of movie-goers, though, he'll always be most closely associated with 'Magic Mike.' They're the kind of viewers who probably wouldn't recognize him with his clothes on.
We did warn you that we were going to cheat a little with Alaska, and it hasn't taken you long to find out why. In our defense, we've only bent the rules a little bit. Most people believe that singer-songwriter Jewel Kilcher is Alaskan by birth, but that isn't the case. She was born in Utah, and moved to Alaska when she was a small child. Alaska is all she's ever really known, and so that qualifies her as an honorary Alaskan in our eyes.
If you're still not sold, allow us to point out that she's starred in 'Alaska: The Last Frontier on the Discovery Channel, and so has probably done more to promote the Alaskan way of life in the public eye than almost anybody else. Plus, the remaining list of stars from the state we had to choose from wasn't great. Without meaning offense to any of them, could we really have put Bristol Palin, Irene Bedard, or Darby Stanchfield on this list and called them 'stars?'
There was no competition for this one. Scottsdale, Arizona native Emma tone is one of the hottest actors in Hollywood. She's been going from strength to strength in recent years, and picked up the 'Best Actress' Oscar for 2016's 'La La Land.' The following year, she was confirmed as the best-paid female performer in Hollywood. Most people don't achieve half as much of that in their whole career - but Stone is only just getting started.
Success in the field of acting has been Stone's singular objective ever since she was a little girl back in Arizona. She landed a lead role in a stage production of 'The Wind in The Willows' when she was only twelve, and never looked back from there. Following her dreams meant leaving home, though, and so by the time she was sixteen, her family had relocated to Los Angeles to improve her chances of landing major roles. 'Superbad' and 'Zombie Land' made her reputation, and the rest is history.
Anyone who's taken even a passing interest in the career of Billy Bob Thornton knows that he isn't exactly a man who plays by the rules. He's led quite an unconventional life, going all the way back to his childhood. Thornton's formative years weren't the same as yours or ours - he and his entire family grew up in a log cabin in the woods of Arkansas.
The cabin belonged to his grandmother, and the family ended up there because they were suffering from financial difficulties. Prior to Thornton's birth, his mother and father had lived in Texas. Thornton has spoken often of his unusual upbringing, saying that it's clear when he looks back now that money was short, but as a child, he had no idea. He thought everyone grew up with their own cabin! When he's not winning awards for his writing and acting, you can find Thornton performing and releasing music with his band the Boxmasters.
Dwayne Johnson is very proud of his family's Samoan heritage - it's the reason half of his body is covered in tribal tattoos. He's also closely connected to Hawaii, where he grew up. That's not where the story of Hollywood's top-earning leading man began, though - for the first two years of his life, he lived in the Bay Area of California. By his own admission, he's moved around a lot during his life, and has also spent time in Miami, Florida.
The Rock, as most people know, grew up as a member of a family of professional wrestlers. Both his father and grandfather wrestled for the WWE, and so Johnson was following in the family tradition when he joined the company in the mid-1990s. With his electric charisma, he became one of the biggest stars in the sport, and a multi-time world champion. It didn't take long for the movie business to come calling, and now all of Hollywood can indeed smell what the Rock is cooking.
Comedian and comic performer Tim Allen is a Colorado native, and may never have left the state if tragedy hadn't stuck. His father was killed in a car accident when Allen was young. When his mother remarried, she and her new husband moved to Michigan, taking Allen with them. It was in Michigan that the young Allen discovered classical piano, and also found out he had the knack of making people laugh on his Western Michigan University student radio show. He graduated as a Bachelor of Science in communications, but there was only one form of communication Allen was interested in by then; laughter.
For the younger generation of movie-goers, Allen's voice might be more recognizable than his face. That's because he's been the voice of Buzz Lightyear in all of the 'Toy Story' movies. The parents of the children going to the films probably remember growing up watching him play Tim Taylor in 'Home Improvement,' and you can see him now as the star of 'Last Man Standing' on ABC.
We almost didn't know where to go with Connecticut - there are many famous names who call this state home. We've gone with 'Family Guy' creator Seth McFarlane because he's arguably the brightest Connecticut star of the current era, but we know in doing so we'll have annoyed some fans of Glenn Close and Meg Ryan. To those people, we apologize. If we'd been making this list ten years ago, one of them would definitely have been in!
McFarlane is a multi-talented performer, as gifted in front of the camera as he is writing scripts. He personally voices several of the most famous 'Family Guy' characters (including Brian and Stewie), and pursued similar themes with 'American Dad' and 'The Cleveland Show.' In front of the camera, you can see him flexing his acting muscles in the 'Star Trek' inspired space comedy 'The Orville.'
Aubrey Plaza sounds like it should be a square in a city where marches and parades are held, but it's actually the name of Delaware's most famous native. Aubrey Plaza was born in Wilmington, and was the star of the drama league productions in the town when she was growing up. Her unusual first name comes from her father's love of the band 'Bread,' who have a song called 'Aubrey.' She stuck around in Delaware long enough to finish high school, but then moved on to New York to further her studies and career.
We're lucky that Plaza is still with us to share her talents at all - she suffered a stroke when she was only 20, and was left with temporary paralysis. She recovered, only to suffer a second, smaller stroke when she was recording 'Parks and Recreation.' Fortunately, she's gone on to make a full recovery, and has racked up multiple movie credits to go with her television work.
You might already be aware that Pitbull is from Florida. We say that because he takes every opportunity he possibly can to remind us. Florida gets namechecked in every song that Pitbull releases - even if he's only providing guest vocals on someone else's track. If you ever hear a Pitbull song without a Florida reference, it's probably an imposter. Because he's so proud of his roots, it would be wrong of us to give the Florida entry on our list to anybody else. Sorry, Ariana Grande.
Early on in his career, Pitbull's style was much less commercial than it is now. He already had three albums to his name before he finally achieved breakthrough mainstream success in 2009 with 'I Know You Want Me' from his fourth album 'Rebelution.' Life's been sweet for him since then - he recorded the official song for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which cemented him as a star on the global level, and has now sold more than 60 million albums.
Julia Roberts is such a big star that we'd have been forced to name her on this list no matter where she was from. For the majority of the 1990s, she was the highest-paid female performer in Hollywood. The decade didn't start out that way for her - she was paid a comparatively low fee of $300,000 for 'Pretty Woman' in 1990, but by 2000 her standard rate for a film was in excess of $20m. When she was paid $25m for 'Mona Lisa Smile' in 2003, it was a record for a female actress. She performs so effortlessly on the screen that it's almost like she was born to do it. There's a reason for that.
Both of Roberts' parents were actors - although they never achieved the same level of success that she has. They ran acting classes together in Atlanta, Georgia, and so Roberts learned the trade directly from them. Her brother Eric is also an actor. During her long career, she's been nominated for Academy Awards on four occasions, although to date she's only picked up an Oscar once when she won 'Best Actress' for 2000's 'Erin Brockovich.'
There's probably a strong argument for putting Barack Obama here, but if we're being strict when it comes to our definitions, Obama isn't a celebrity or a performer. He's a politician. That means we have to look elsewhere for inspiration in Hawaii, and we find it in Bruno Mars. In terms of singing, dancing, performance, and releasing songs that stay in your head for months, he might just be the best since Michael Jackson.
Growing up in Hawaii, Mars was surrounded by music. His mom was a hula dancer, while his dad played drums and percussion. Mars watched and learned from both. From those humble beginnings, he's racked up more than 200 million record sales, and achieved his first five Billboard #1 singles faster than Elvis Presley. Can you think of a song in the past ten years that was as big as 'Uptown Funk?' No, us neither.
You might not be able to look at a picture of him without hearing him say 'Mr. White,' but there's no doubting that Idaho's Aaron Paul is one of the most recognizable faces on television. He's best-known for playing Jesse Pinkman in the smash-hit TV show 'Breaking Bad,' but there's been far more to Paul's career than that. In years to come, we might even say that he used 'Breaking Bad' as a launchpad to bigger things.
Paul broke into Hollywood the old-school way. He completed high school at home in Emmett, Idaho, and then packed up his Toyota Corolla and drove to Los Angeles with nothing more than his car and $6,000 to his name. While he was waiting for fame to come and find him, he worked as an usher at Hollywood's Universal Studios, and also starred in TV commercials for Coca Cola Vanilla, and Corn Pops.
Like Julia Roberts, Harrison Ford would likely turn out to be the most famous person in any state he'd been born in. Ford is Hollywood royalty, having achieved success in every genre, and with every style of movie. He's still as popular today in his 70s as he was thirty or forty years ago, and is showing no signs of slowing down. There's even talk that he'll soon be back in yet another new 'Indiana Jones' movie!
How you best know Ford will probably depend on what sort of films you prefer watching. Science fiction fans know him as Han Solo from the 'Star Wars' films. We've already mentioned the 'Indiana Jones' action series, but if you like your movies a little edgier and more thoughtful, 'Blade Runner' might have been the first place you saw his face. Ford was born and grew up in Chicago, although he says he had no interest in acting until he went to university in Wisconsin.
Muncie, Indiana is very proud of its most famous native son. David Letterman spent all of his youth there, right up to the point he graduated from Ball State. Anybody who attends Ball State today will know that the communications building in the college is now named after him. It's one of many generous tributes which have been afforded to the popular broadcaster over the years.
Letterman didn't really know what he wanted to be when he was growing up. He lived within twelve miles of Indiana's speedway track, and so saw plenty of races as a child - so much so that he briefly considered attempting a driving career. Instead, he discovered his ability to talk for a living while hosting student radio shows at Ball State, and was then picked up as a weatherman and news anchor for a local television station. He eventually had to move to Los Angeles to land comedy work.
Iowa is in Ashton Kutcher's blood, and no matter where his career has taken him, he's never forgotten his roots. He's particularly interested in supporting the arts in his home state, and opening up the same path he's followed for those who want to come after him. He's often seen as a face in the crowd at college sports games in the state, and has offered acting classes in many schools and colleges. Iowa has also benefited from Kutcher's charitable side: he was the man who launched the Native Fund, which offers financial support for people affected by disasters.
Professionally, Kutcher's media profile was helped immeasurably by his marriage to Demi Moore, which elevated him above the level of fame he'd achieved as the star of the prank television show 'Punk'd.' He then went on to replace the troubled Charlie Sheen in 'Two and A Half Men,' before making his mark in the more 'serious' realm of acting by playing Apple founder Steve Jobs in the 2013 biopic movie 'Jobs.'
Janelle Monae's rise to prominence came in three phases: she was born and educated in Kansas, took a scholarship to New York City's prestigious American Musical and Dramatic Academy, and then moved to Atlanta, Georgia to pursue her career. Strangely, she says that one of her earliest musical influences was the central character of Dorothy in 'The Wizard of Oz,' although we're less than clear on what Dorothy has to offer to a rap and hip-hop performer!
It was in Atlanta that Monae met Big Boi from OutKast, who was impressed by her raw talent and acted as both a mentor and sponsor for her early years in the music industry. Big Boi referred her on to Sean 'Puff Daddy' Coombs, and Coombs then signed her to his notorious Bad Boy record label in 2006. As a fan of the classic movie 'Metropolis,' Monae took on the alter-ego of an android called Cindi Mayweather. Nobody knew there was a gap in the market for science-fiction crossed with R&B, but Monae created it and ran with it. She's since moved into acting.
Depending on how you feel about him, George Clooney is the suave, sophisticated star of the revived 'Ocean's Eleven' movie series, the charming and handsome doctor who was the main reason people tuned into 'E.R,' or the man who was wearing the famous bat suit when the 'Batman' franchise crashed and burned in the late 1990s. It's been a career of highs and lows for the man from Lexington, Kentucky, who once worked cutting tobacco and selling women's shoes door to door.
He's still very active as an actor and filmmaker, but these days he's just as well-known as an activist as a performer. Clooney has been a firm backer of socially progressive causes, including gay rights and gun control. He was a vocal supporter of Barack Obama during both of his presidential campaigns, and also unsuccessfully lent his weight behind Hilary Clinton's campaign in 2016. The United Nations appointed him as an international messenger of peace in 2008.
Most parents who found their child talking to their dental retainer would probably seek the assistance of a psychiatrist. Instead, when a young Anna Faris started doing it at home in Baltimore, Maryland, her parents took it as a sign that she had a creative mind and enrolled her in acting classes. It proved to be the right way of handling the situation. Before they knew it, she was writing, producing, and performing plays with the rest of the children in the neighborhood.
Considering her looks are a part of what got her cast in films like 'Scary Movie' and (obviously) 'The Hot Chick,' Faris considers herself to have been a late bloomer. She says she was a 'drama club dork' back in high school, and nobody was interested in dating her until senior year. She almost left America to accept a position in London, England, at an advertising agency, but the 'Scary Movie' role came through at the last second and changed the course of her life.
There was never any doubt that Anna Kendrick was going to be a star: She won a Tony Award for theater performance when she was only twelve years old! Kendrick was born in Portland to an accountant and a history teacher, and stuck around in the city for long enough to complete her education - choosing not to drop out of high school even though her career prospects would probably have allowed for it.
By the time she was ready to leave school, Kendrick already had an agent and a lot of work offers. She'd won her Tony Award performing on Broadway, and so her name was on the lips of several prominent casting directors. Musical theater looked like the most likely route to the top for her, and so it was no surprise when her first movie credit came in the film 'Camp' which won her a nomination for 'Best Debut Performance' as the Independent Spirit Awards. Being cast in the 'Twilight' movie series turned her into a mainstream star, but her love for musicals was obvious in her performances in the 'Pitch Perfect' films.
In the 21st century, coming out as gay isn't as big a deal as it was in the 20th. Many of the young women who feel comfortable to talk openly about their sexuality routinely cite Ellen DeGeneres as a huge inspiration to them. For DeGeneres, coming out wasn't just difficult because of the era she did it in - it was made even harder because she grew up in the notoriously conservative south. During her struggle to find herself in Louisiana (and New Orleans in particular) she worked as a waitress, a painter and decorator, an air hostess, and a bartender.
Stand-up comedy proved to be DeGeneres' escape route. She started out in coffee houses and small clubs in New Orleans before being appointed the emcee of Clyde's Comedy Club, New Orleans. She was spotted there, and soon found herself booked all over the country. Although her career took her away from the stand-up stage for years so she could star in her own talk show, the format has remained her first love.
As most people know, the early years of Mark Wahlberg's life in a poor neighborhood in Boston, Massachusetts, weren't easy. Wahlberg was one of nine children born to parents who divorced when he was young, and he was in trouble with the law frequently during his teenage years. He was charged with race-related assault on numerous times, and by his own admission was addicted to cocaine by the age of 13. He never finished high school.
Music and acting became Wahlberg's salvation, alongside developing a stronger interest In Roman Catholicism. He first broke into music with his band Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, and then made moves into acting, proving to be the perfect choice for gritty gangster films like 'The Departed.' With the benefit of hindsight and maturity, Wahlberg has atoned for his earlier sins, having met with his victims to apologize to them where possible. He eventually completed his high school diploma in 2013.
Being abruptly pulled out of your school and sent to a different one is a common cause of displeasure and trauma among children. For Kristen Bell, it was her way into a career she'd never previously considered. Born in Huntington Woods, Michigan, Bell was something of a tomboy as a child. She hated her first name, and she'd rather be out on the streets playing sports than doing anything that involved the arts. She once broke both of her wrists while playing street hockey!
Just before she was due to begin freshmen year, her parents pulled her out of her school, and sent her to a Catholic school instead. Her new school offered a drama and music club, and Bell signed up. By the time she graduated, she'd starred in five different school productions and fallen in love with the stage. She was offered a place at the Tisch School of The Arts at New York University, and she took it, but she never graduated. Broadway came calling before she got the chance.
His voice might not be to everyone's taste, but nobody can argue that Bob Dylan is one of the most influential singer-songwriters of all time. When he made the switch from the acoustic guitar to the electric guitar in the mid 1966s, folk music fans nearly started a riot at a concert. Dylan has been seen as a poet, a protest song writer, and almost a prophet by the people who idolize him. That's quite a list of achievements for a guy who was born in Duluth, Minnesota, and isn't even called Bob Dylan.
Dylan was actually born as Robert Allen Zimmerman in 1941, but took on the stage name of 'Dylan' after being inspired and moved by the works of the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. He grew up listening to blues and country radio stations, and progressed into writing folk music because he felt it sounded 'more authentic' than the rock and roll bands who were emerging at the time. As a performer, he's been on tour constantly since 1988 with very few breaks, and has spoken of wanting to continue for the rest of his life.
Her current life as a super-rich woman and one of the most loved and successful television personalities of all time is a very far cry from how Oprah Winfrey started her life in Kosciusko, Mississippi. Winfrey was born to a single teenage mother, raised by her grandmother, and once so poor that she was sent to school in a potato sack because she didn't have any clothes. Her rise from those humble beginnings is the very embodiment of the American dream.
Oprah has spoken often of how much she valued the care of her grandmother in Mississippi, but it was when she moved to Nashville with her biological father than she began to believe in herself. She entered - and won - the Miss Black Tennessee pageant when she was 17, and won a job on a radio station thanks to her local fame. A few years later, she was on TV, and now she sits at the head of her own network.
Jon Hamm's second name may be German, but Hamm himself was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Life was tough for him as a child - his parents divorced when he was two, and his mother then passed away due to cancer when he was only ten. His father took him back in, and the two stayed in Missouri but moved to Clayton. With his father's support, Hamm took acting classes and performed in school plays, but didn't take it as a serious profession.
He still wasn't sure about acting when he started studying at the University of Missouri, but was persuaded to take a part in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' when a local theater company found themselves short of performers. Finally, the bug caught hold. He stayed with the theater company, appearing in several more productions, and resolved that he would pursue acting until the age of 30 and give up if he didn't have a big money role by then. He got his breakthrough TV role in 'Providence' when he was 29.
Actor Michelle Williams still has fond memories of the countryside of Montana, where she was born in Kalispell in 1980. She was part of a large family, and was encouraged to read and enjoy the outdoors at an early age by her father. She didn't get too many years to enjoy that view of the great outdoors though - when she was nine, the family upped sticks and moved to California. It was there that she saw a theater performance of 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,' and immediately knew what she wanted to do for a living.
Her dedicated family drove her between San Diego and Los Angeles repeatedly so she could attend auditions, and the process soon paid off. At thirteen, she had a small part in 'Baywatch.' In 1994, she starred in the 90s movie remake of 'Lassie,' and finally got her wish of being pulled out of school so she could focus on her burgeoning career. 'Dawson's Creek' came not long after that, and set the stage for her to take on a breakout role in 'Brokeback Mountain.'
Would you like to know a little more about Gabrielle Union? Well, as the title of one of her most famous movies says, 'Bring it on!' Union was born on Omaha in Nebraska to Catholic parents, one of whom was a sergeant in the United States military. While that might sound like a conservative background, she says her mother always reminded her to take on a 'world perspective,' and when she was eight, she was taken to a gay pride parade to learn tolerance and respect for others. By that point, they'd left Nebraska behind and moved to California.
When she graduated her degree was in sociology, but she'd already decided she was going to pursue acting before trying to get a 'regular' 9 to 5. 'Bring It On' made her name in the year 2000, but she'd already appeared in several films by then including 'She's All That,' and '10 Things I Hate About You.' In her book 'We're Going to Need More Wine,' released in 2017, she talks about her experience as a sexual assault survivor. That ties into her activism for causes which seek to prevent violence against women.
In contrast to his famous role as Spencer Reid in 'Criminal Minds,' Nevada native Matthew Gray Gubler seems like quite a laid-back guy. He was born and raised in Las Vegas, and majored in acting from the Las Vegas Academy of International Studies, Visual and Performing Arts - but only took the course because they wouldn't offer him a qualification in film-making. As much as he obviously enjoys being in front of a camera - he is a model, after all - we always get the impression that he'd be happier in the director's chair.
Gubler has been allowed to indulge his enthusiasm for making entertainment rather than starring in it on occasion. He's directed eleven episodes of 'Criminal Minds,' along with other credits away from the show. When he's not doing something related to television or films you can find him painting - he's a gifted artist. Taking everything into account, it would seem he's one of those irritating people who are just good at everything they turn their hand to!
Earlier on in this list, we cheated a little by including Jewel for Alaska. We also feel like we're cheating a little by including Mandy Moore for New Hampshire. She was born within the state - but she only lived here for two months. It says 'Nashua' on her birth certificate though, and so as far as we're concerned, that makes her eligible for New Hampshire. She's also more famous than Sarah Silverman, and so she gets the thumbs up from us.
Moore has evolved a lot over the years. We first met her as a starry-eyed singing teenager in the Britney Spears mold when she released 'Candy' in 1999 at the age of only 15. Savvy enough to know that pop careers don't last forever, Moore moved into acting at the earliest possible opportunity. Now she's firmly established in the field of acting, she's admitted her first two albums were terrible, and that everyone who bought one should seek a refund.
We ribbed Pitbull earlier on for mentioning Florida as often as he possibly can in his music, and so we have to do the same to Bruce Springsteen. If aliens monitored the Earth from space by listening to our radio stations, they would know that Bruce Springsteen was from New Jersey. 'The Boss' was born in Long Branch and still lives in the state today - albeit in the more glamorous location of Colt's Neck. He went to Catholic school as a child, although he didn't care much for the strict environment imposed on him by the nuns.
Springsteen's introduction to music was seeing Elvis Presley on television when he was seven. His mother rented him a guitar for six dollars a week, and the youngster began to teach himself how to play it. Subsequent school reports noted that he didn't want to engage with anyone or anything apart from the guitar. He's sold over sixty million records, with his biggest moment in the spotlight coming when President Ronald Reagan hilariously misinterpreted the lyrics of 'Born in the USA' in 1984.
Natural born entertainer Neil Patrick Harris was born in Albuquerque in 1973 to parents who ran a restaurant. He just about managed to make it through high school with high honors, but only because he was receiving private tuition for the last half of his final school year. By that time, he was already having to split his time between the classroom and television sets.
Harris can sing, dance, act, and tell jokes. Although he doesn't find much opportunity to do so on television or stage, he can even pull off a few magic tricks! He's arguably best known for playing Barney in 'How I Met Your Mother,' although he's also played a version of himself for comedic effect in the 'Harold and Kumar' film series. In 2015, he became the first openly gay man ever to host the Oscars, with prompted Time Magazine to name him one of the 100 most influential people for that year.
Mount Vernon's Denzel Washington ins a bonafide legend of Hollywood. Acting was the furthest thing from his mind during his early life, though - his father was a Pentecostal minister, and when he was 14, he was sent to a military school to work on his discipline. He would later say that his mother's decision to send him there probably saved his life - he'd got in with 'the wrong' crowd during his early teens, and many of his peers are now either dead or in jail.
With his new-found discipline, Washington dedicated himself to the arts and has been handsomely rewarded. In the trophy cabinet which we presume he has at home, he has a Tony Award, two Golden Globes, and two Oscars, one of which is the 'Best Actor' award for 2001's 'Training Day.' He's shown a particular flair for playing real-life figures in biopic movies, including Malcolm X, Frank Lucas, Steve Biko, and Rubin Carter.
To say that celebrated actor Julianne Moore moved home a few times during her childhood would be something of an understatement. Because of her father's active military career, the family would move 23 times before Moore left home. She was even born at Fort Bragg, in North Carolina! Because she never had roots anywhere and couldn't form long-lasting relationships with any of her childhood friends, Moore describes herself as something of a loner as a child.
Perhaps because of her difficult upbringing, Moore has displayed a superb ability to play troubled women during her professional career. She's capable of playing comedic roles, but seems to find more fulfillment in more serious acting parts in movies like 'Children of Men,' 'The Kids Are All Right,' and 'Maps to the Stars.' Her crowning moment arrived in 2015, when she won the 'Best Actress' Oscar for 'Still Alice,' in which she played a woman suffering from early-onset Alzheimer's disease.
As a college football star at Minot State University in North Dakota, Josh Duhamel seemed to have all the tools to make it as a professional sportsman. Fate had other ideas for him. He'd still become a star - just not on the football field. Falling in love as a teenager proved to have a transformative effect on him. He followed his then-girlfriend to California when she wanted to pursue a career, and took on modeling work to help pay the bills. The relationship didn't last - but Duhamel's career in front of the camera did.
Through his modeling work, Duhamel was picked up to play Leo du Pres on 'All My Children,' which was his launching pad into further television and film work. Superstardom reached him when he was cast in the 'Transformers' film series, in which he's had a starring role in four out of the five movies to date. Video game enthusiasts are also familiar with his voice and likeness from his performance in the 2017 World War II inspired version of 'Call of Duty.'
We've stayed with musicians and actors on our list so far, but when you come across a sporting legend as significant as LeBron James, it's impossible not to include him. Drew Carey, Steven Spielberg, Dave Grohl, and Sarah Jessica Parker are all native Ohioans as well, but even they would have to admit that they can't compete with James in the stardom stakes.
The shortlist of James' achievements on the basketball court read like this: three-time NBA champion, four-time NBA MVP, three-time MVP in the NBA finals, and two gold medals with the USA team at the Olympics. Only a fool would say that he wasn't one of the greatest ever to take to a basketball court, and in the eyes of some, he's second only to Michael Jordan on the all-time list. That's why he's representing Ohio on our list, just as he represented his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio so many times on the court.
Brad Pitt has played many different roles in his career, but some of the parts he's excelled in the most have been the ones which called upon him to play a southern gentleman. Perhaps that's because he still carries a little bit of Shawnee, Oklahoma in his soul, even though he wasn't there for long. Most of his childhood was spent in Missouri.
Anybody who needs telling the Brad Pitt story must not have been to the cinema at any point in the past three decades. He redefined what it meant to be cool in 'Fight Club,' became the envy of half the men in the world when he married Angelina Jolie, acted Tom Cruise off the screen in 'Interview with The Vampire,' and more recently has become a favorite of legendary director Quentin Tarantino. A measure of his success is that his career wasn't damaged by the lamentably awful zombie movie 'World War Z.'
Some actors and performers grow to resent being mostly (or only) known for one part. When that part is as good as the one that Ty Burell plays in 'Modern Family,' we imagine they probably don't mind so much. The average person probably couldn't tell you much about Burrell other than he's been making them laugh for years in the sitcom, but the stellar success of the show has made him instantly recognizable.
Burrell was born in Grant's Pass, and graduated through Southern Oregon University. After that, he was living in a camper van for a while as he tried to save up money so he could chase his dream of being a performer. His first significant role was anything but funny - he was in a Broadway production of Shakespeare's cursed play 'Macbeth.' He escaped the show without being cursed, and has gone on to be nominated for Emmy Awards for eight consecutive years.
Pop sensation Taylor Swift is so wildly popular and so successful that sometimes it feels like we're watching a Disney princess who's come to life. If we told you that she'd been born on a Christmas tree farm in Reading, Pennsylvania you'd probably believe us. That's just as well, because it's a fact! From that unusual moment on, Swift was singularly determined to become one of the biggest stars in the world. Her parents acquiesced to her burning ambitions, and agreed to move to Nashville so she could find a way into the country music business from there.
Breaking into country proved to be far too easy for Swift, but country only sells so many records, and so she branched out into pop (much to the chagrin of many of her early fans). Everybody knows a Taylor Swift song, whether it's 'Shake It Off' or 'Look What You Made Me Do,' and every time she has something new to release it feels like an event. She doesn't have many fans in the Kardashian-West household, but we doubt she cares all too much about that.
Rhode Island is a very small state indeed. That means there's a much smaller field to choose from when we're looking for native stars, but a small field doesn't mean no star quality. After all, they do have an Oscar-winning movie director to celebrate! Damien Chazelle was the man in the chair for 'La La Land,' which almost swept the board at the 2017 Oscars, and was involved in a memorable controversy when the name of the film was read out as the 'Best Picture' winner instead of 'Moonlight,' who were the intended winners. Chazelle would have been satisfied with his 'Best Director' award when all was said and done, though.
Both of Chazelle's parents are considered notable enough to have their own Wikipedia entry, and his father in particular is a highly-regarded professor at Princeton University. Their son likely hasn't had a single thing to worry about from the moment he was born in Providence in 1985. He initially wanted to be a musician, but was put off by an intense and antagonistic teacher - an experience that inspired the movie 'Whiplash.'
Aziz Ansari was both to Muslim parents - both of whom are doctors - in Columbia, South Carolina. He graduated with a degree in marketing. What did he then choose to do with his life? Why, become an atheist stand-up comedian of course! Ansari's best-known early work was probably his part in 'Parks and Recreation,' although it could be argued that 'Master of None' shone a brighter spotlight on him as an individual as opposed to being part of a cast.
Since 2014, he's largely stopped taking on acting roles and appeared as himself, with an increasing focus on stand-up material. Most of his work can now be found on Netflix. Away from the stage, he and two friends often dress up as sailors, go to high-end restaurants, and award them with a plaque indicating that their menu has been 'approved by the Food Club' if they enjoy their meal. According to Ansari, the restaurants frequently have no idea who he is, and put the plaque on the wall as if he were an important food critic.
At one point during January Jones' early life in South Dakota, she lived in Hecla - a town with a population of only four hundred. The tiny settlement would be Jones' home until she was seventeen, when the family moved to Sioux Falls in time for her to graduate from high school. We suppose that makes her the ultimate example of a small-town girl who's done well.
While at high school in the larger city, Jones' looks were noticed by a modeling agent, who arranged for her to work with Versace and Abercombie & Fitch. Modeling led on to acting, and acting led on to her landing a role in 'Mad Men,' in which she stayed for eight years. Jones is an advocate for the environment, and for marine biology in particular; she's the celebrity spokesperson for an organization called Oceana, who seek to protect sharks.
As everybody knows, Miley Cyrus' father Billy Ray is a country music singer. It wouldn't make sense for his daughter to be born anywhere outside of the states that enjoy county, but in the case of Cyrus, the family went the whole hog and had her born and raised on a farm in Franklin. The energetic younger Cyrus shared her dad's enthusiasm for performance, and was destined to take it to a whole new level.
Cyrus, following in the footsteps of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, became a 'Disney kid.' She captured the hearts of children everywhere as Hannah Montana, and then turned her back on her 'innocent' look in dramatic fashion when she started her career as a solo musician. Cyrus is the girl who taught the world how to twerk, and for several years she was rarely photographed with her clothes on. Since getting married she seems to have calmed down a little, but wherever Cyrus goes there's always a media frenzy - and a party!
Perhaps the ultimate measure of fame is being known by a single name, and so Beyoncé has to be considered one of the most famous women in the world. Her marriage to Jay-Z made her half of one of the biggest power couples in entertainment - some conspiracy theorists even believe they might be part of the secretive Illuminati society. Even if that isn't true, she's still the most celebrated daughter of Houston, Texas.
We suppose that given the stratospheric rise she's enjoyed, you might say that Knowles was 'destiny's child' from the day she was born. Her girl band sold millions of records, and then she sold millions more on her way to becoming a style icon, pop legend, and general icon of pop culture. She's the only performer in history to score Billboard number one chart positions with her first six albums.
Chrissy Teigen is more of a citizen of the world than she is a native of any particular country or state. She was born in Delta, Utah to a Thai mother and a Norwegian father, and didn't settle in Utah for long. Her father's work as an electrician took him all around the United States of America for work, but it was as a teenager in California that Teigen was first spotted by a photographer. At the time she was a high school cheerleader, but was working part-time in a surf shop.
Her highest-profile television work has been as the co-host of 'Lip Sync Battle,' although she'll shortly be giving Judge Judy a run for her money with her new show 'Chrissy's Court.' When she's not modeling or presenting television shows she's busy in the kitchen: Teigen is an accomplished chef, and has published a New York Times best-selling cookbook called 'Cravings.'
Many of the stars on our list were born in one state and then moved around a lot, so perhaps there's something to be said for a varied upbringing when it comes to your chances of finding fame? Singer Jojo Levesque is another example; she was born in Brattleboro, Vermont, but grew up between New Hampshire and Massachusetts. She cites her mother as her musical inspiration: She was raised in a single-parent low-income household after her parents separated, and so her mom would take her along when she sang with the local Catholic church choir.
As someone who was singing almost from the moment she could speak, Levesque had no fear of performing. She was happy to impersonate Cher on the TV show 'Kids Say the Darndest Things,' and then Aretha Franklin on 'Destination Stardom.' Oprah Winfrey happened to be watching the latter performance, and got in touch with Levesque to invite her to come and sing on her show. After Oprah came Maury, and by that point a career as a singer was inevitable.
While Sandra Bullock's birth certificate may say that she was born in Arlington, Virginia, her background is more German than it is American. Her father was in the US military, and met her mom while stationed in Germany. The couple returned to the USA for Bullock's birth, but after that, the family moved permanently to Germany, where Bullock spent the first twelve years of her life.
Somehow, Bullock is frequently confused with Julia Roberts, even though the actors bear little resemblance to each other. Bullock's movie work has tended to be more action-driven and gritty than Roberts' - a fact that's probably down to her making her name by starring in 'Speed' with Keanu Reeves. In more recent years she delivered a performance that was quite literally out of this world in 'Gravity' with George Clooney. She now owns her own movie production company.
Some people are destined for stardom whatever happens, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan is one of them. He's another actor who ended up on sets and stages because a career in sports didn't quite work out for him. Born in Seattle, Morgan was the captain of Lake Washington High School's basketball team, and progressed into the Skagit Valley College basketball team before an injury halted his momentum, and put an end to his sporting prospects.
Morgan is primarily thought of as a television actor, which is a little dismissive of his film work - he has over 25 credits to his name. There's nothing wrong with being a well-known TV star though; it can sometimes make you better known to a wider audience. In Morgan's case he's closely associated with his time in 'Supernatural,' 'Grey's Anatomy,' 'The Good Wife,' and 'The Walking Dead.' Anybody would be proud of that resume.
Finally, someone who was born in one place and stayed there! Brad Paisley was born in Glen Dale, West Virginia, and still lives in West Virginia. Despite all of his success, his parents still live in the same house he grew up in. We suppose that if you're going to make a career out of country music, there's probably no point in leaving West Virginia - it's not like you'll find a wider audience for it anywhere else!
Paisley was taught to play the guitar by his grandfather when he was eight years old. He started out singing in church, but the close-knit community were wowed by his talents and were soon booking him for every birthday party, anniversary, and other celebration that happened anywhere in Glen Dale. He says he never had to ask anyone for a gig - the bookings all came to him. They're still coming now - just on a much larger scale.
The Incredible Hulk was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin. That may not strictly be true - Wisconsin is the birthplace of Mark Ruffalo rather than the character he played in the 'Avengers' series of movies - but who can look at Ruffalo now and not see the face of the powerful green giant? In truth, his superhero reputation might be unkind to Ruffalo's supreme talent. He's one of America's finest character actors, as evidenced by his powerful performance in 'Spotlight.'
Ruffalo stayed in Wisconsin until he reached high school age, at which point his parents took him to Virginia when they relocated for work. He was a skilled wrestler during his high school years, but ultimately chose the stage over the ring. That's denied us all the sight of the Hulk appearing at WrestleMania. Maybe he could have gone one on one with the Rock, who showed up earlier on our list?
Jim Beaver was supposed to be born in Texas, where his family is from, but was born in Wyoming by accident instead. His father was busy with graduate work at the University of Wyoming, and had taken his pregnant mother along with him. Beaver arrived a little earlier than expected, and so he came into the world in Laramie! They stayed there until his dad's job came to an end, and headed back to Texas. That doesn't stop Jim Beaver being Wyoming's biggest native star.
Beaver's slightly grizzled appearance has made him the perfect choice to play 'tough guy' roles on screen. He's recognized all over the world as Bobby from 'Supernatural,' but may have been happier as Whitney Ellsworth in 'Deadwood.' If Western movies were being made as frequently now as they were fifty years ago, you suspect that Beaver would be this generation's John Wayne. As well as being an actor, Beaver is a student of the game; he's a film historian, having written several books and magazine pieces about the history of great actors and their work.