Whenever we sit down to watch our favorite movies or television shows, we often find ourselves transported to another world by way of the actors’ various accents, locales, and costumes. Because of this, you can never really tell where all of these Hollywood greats came from. Who knows, some of them could have even been your neighbors.
Celebrities, at their core, are like everyone else. They grew up in small towns and big cities and eventually found their way to stardom. But where did they all come from? Well, we’ve done the research and found at least one popular celebrity from each state to prove just how human they all are…
Alabama – Channing Tatum
Hollywood heartthrob Channing Tatum is best known for his roles in Magic Mike and 21 Jump Street, and their equally-successful sequels, but few know his first role was as a dancer in the Ricky Martin video “She Bangs.” Though he may have spent much of his childhood in Florida, he was actually born in Cullman, Alabama.
Alaska – Darby Stanchfield
Born and raised in Kodiak, Alaska, Darby Stanchfield is best known for starring in a number of prominent television shows including Mad Men, Scandal, and cult-favorite Jericho. Like many folks in the region, Darby’s father was a commercial fisherman and he taught her that hard work and a little luck were the best ways for a person to achieve success.
Arizona – Emma Stone
Emma Stone was born Emily Jean Stone in Scottsdale, Arizona in 1988. Her parents were hard-working, rural Americans who gave their daughter all the skills she needed to make her way in the world. She moved to LA to pursue a career in 2004 and never looked back. She even won an Oscar for Best Actress along the way. Not too shabby.
Arkansas – Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash’s half-a-century in the music industry first began in the small town of Kingsland, Arkansas, but he can trace his ancestry all the way back across the Atlantic to Cash Loch, Scotland. His most popular songs like “I Walk The Line” and “Ring of Fire” helped him to become one of the best selling artists of all time. His familiar sound will continue to echo through the ages even after his death.
California – The Rock
He may not be “The People’s Champion” anymore, but there’s no denying that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is arguably one of the biggest stars in Hollywood right now. The Rock is most known for being one of Hawaii’s biggest stars but he wasn’t actually born in what is now his home state. He was actually born in Hayward, California and moved to Hawaii at age two.
Colorado – Tim Allen
Colorado isn’t known for its reservoir of Hollywood talent, but it can certainly boast one or two legends of tinsel town. The most famous of these is the “Home Improvement” and “Last Man Standing” sitcom star, Tim Allen. Allen was born in Denver and spent the first 13 years of his life in the state before moving to Michigan when he lost his father in a car accident.
Connecticut – Seth MacFarlane
Seth MacFarlane is a funny, funny man. Given the penchant for the comical New England accent, it’s somewhat unsurprising to learn that he was born and raised in Kent, Connecticut. He likely picked up the dialect for Peter Griffin from either, his parents, who were from Massachusetts, or from his the college days he spent in Rhode Island.
Delaware – Aubrey Plaza
33-year-old Aubrey Plaza is most well-known for her charmingly deadpan portrayal of disaffected, but highly capable intern April Ludgate on the television show “Parks and Recreation.” Plaza was born in Wilmington, Delaware and attended private school there until she left to study theater at New York University in 2003.
Florida – William H. Macy
Miami-born William H. Macy first appeared on the scene in the Cohen Brother’s“Fargo” movie back in the ’90s but has become increasingly more popular over the years. Especially once he landed the lead role in the binge-worthy dramedy “Shameless” as perpetually-drunken reprobate, and “father of the year” Frank Gallagher.
Georgia – Julia Roberts
Smyrna, Georgia is, as small American towns go, a pretty small one. However, it has one particularly lovely claim to fame; it’s the birthplace of box office beauty, Julia Roberts. The original “Pretty Woman” and her brother and fellow actor Eric Roberts both grew up in the small town. Both of them learned acting from a young age from their equally theatrical parents.
Hawaii – Nicole Kidman
Everyone who hears Nicole Kidman’s charming Australian accent assumes the actress was born there, but she’s actually got dual-citizenship there and in the United States. Kidman, you see, was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and moved to the Land Down Under when she was very young. Additionally, Jason Momoa was also born in Hawaii but moved to Iowa. Still counts if you ask us.
Idaho – Aaron Paul
Born in Emmett, Idaho, “Breaking Bad” and “BoJack Horseman” star Aaron Paul lived in the flyover state for most of his young life. Once he graduated high school, however, Paul moved to Los Angeles and gradually entered the acting world. Since his turn as Jesse Pinkman, he’s become one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood.
Illinois – Robin Williams
Chicago is known for many things: art, culture, and industry. It’s also known for birthing one of the funniest human beings ever to grace the face of the Earth: Robin Williams. Williams singular brand of comedy and charm captivated the attention of adults and children the world over until his untimely death by suicide in 2014.
Indiana – Jenna Fischer
If you enjoyed the American version of “The Office” then you’re certainly familiar with redheaded secretary Pam, played by the incomparable Jenna Fischer. Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Fischer started performing at the tender age of six and from there, went on to join a number of theater groups including a Murder Mystery Theater Group and the Commedia dell’arte in Los Angeles.
Iowa – Ashton Kutcher
Born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, model and actor Ashton Kutcher moved around the state a lot. Today, the 39-year-old actor is best known for his starring role on “Two and a Half Men” but his road to worldwide acclaim was paved with a number of odd, though successful roles in television shows and movies before that.
Kansas – Janelle Monáe
Singer, actress, producer, Janelle Monáe may only be 33 but she’s done just about everything. Born in Kansas City, Kansas, Monáe spent a good deal of her early life moving around the country including studying drama in New York and playing music in Atlanta, Georgia.
Kentucky – Johnny Depp
The original Captain Jack Sparrow himself was born pretty far from the Caribbean. Johnny Depp is one of the most recognizable actors in the industry today and he started out as just another awkward country kid in Owensboro, Kentucky. His parents moved around a lot when he was young, but perhaps it was this youthful worldliness that made Depp able to perform such a varied selection of roles.
Louisiana – Ellen DeGeneres
By virtue of her kindness, acting talent, sense of humor, and some pretty unabashed dance moves, Louisiana-born Ellen DeGeneres has become a household name. She has often spoken about the difficulties she faced growing up as a closeted lesbian in Metairie, Louisiana, a place not known for its kindness to those in the LGBTQ community.
Maine – Stephen King
Whether you enjoy his particular brand of horror or not, there’s no denying that Stephen King is one of the most prolific authors of the modern age. He also happens to be one of the most influential horror writers in living memory. He was born and raised in Portland, Maine and that particularly-inspiring piece of the northeastern US has actually appeared in many of his stories.
Maryland – David Hasselhoff
David Hasselhoff is best known for his iconic roles in the television shows “Baywatch” and “Knight Rider,” not to mention a brief, lucrative career as a German pop star. Few people know that the actor/model was actually born in Baltimore, Maryland and not some beachside area in Los Angeles County.
Massachusetts – Matt Damon
If the accent didn’t give it away, the sheer amount of Bostonians he’s played might have given you a clue as to where actor/director Matt Damon was born. As it happens, Damon wasn’t actually born in Boston but in Cambridge, Massachusetts and spent several years in Newton, MA before his parents got divorced.
Michigan – Madonna
Though her fame has waned a little in recent years, there’s no denying that in her heyday, Madonna was arguably one of the most popular icons of the music industry. Born in Bay City, Michigan, Madonna’s decades-long popularity is a testament to her ability to shift her musical styles with the times and to dominate the charts with each passing shift in pop genre.
Minnesota – Bob Dylan
77-year-old Bob Dylan has been a musical icon, author, and visual artist for the better part of the last fifty years. Indeed, few people have had a career as long or as influential as the Duluth-born singer/songwriter. Though he went to college in his native Minneapolis, he dropped out to move to New York and start his music career. Seems he made a good decision.
Mississippi – Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey’s star first rose in the early ’90s and it’s only risen higher over the years. It seems somewhat appropriate that the millionaire entertainer and entrepreneur came from fairly humble beginnings in the small town of Kosciusko, Mississippi. She had a bit of a nomadic childhood after that but it seems to have only made her more of a people person, a talent she put to pretty good use.
Missouri – John Goodman
Even if you didn’t love Roseanne, there’s few who would deny liking now-veteran actor John Goodman. Goodman has played everyone from Fred Flintstone, to Sully, to Vietnam vet and bowling enthusiast, Walter Sobchak. Goodman’s life and subsequent career actually started in Affton, Missouri, where he played football and dabbled in theater at his local high school.
Montana – Michelle Williams
Michelle Williams, of “Greatest Showman” fame, was originally born in Kalispell, Montana before her family moved to San Diego when she was nine. No sooner had the family gotten to California when Williams began searching for work as a child actress. She made a number of appearances in TV and movies before landing her breakthrough role on the CW’s “Dawson’s Creek.”
Nebraska – Marlon Brando
Hollywood legend Marlon Brando had a difficult childhood. Both of his parents had struggled with alcoholism. As such, even though he was born in Omaha, Nebraska, he didn’t stay there long. Eventually, his parents split up. As soon as he was legally old enough, he moved to California, and never looked back.
Nevada – Charisma Carpenter
Las Vegas, Nevada isn’t just the place where musical artists head to re-invigorate their waning careers, it also happens to be the place that some Hollywood greats are born. Take for instance “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” star Charisma Carpenter. She was born and raised in Vegas and worked as an aerobics instructor, property manager, and video store employee before she moved to LA to get her big break.
New Hampshire – Sarah Silverman
It seems pretty likely that someone with a personality as hilariously outlandish as Sarah Silverman’s would certainly make her stand out in a town of only 20,000 people. The comedian and writer were born in the tiny town of Bedford, New Hampshire. She eventually made her way to New York though, where the world could learn to appreciate her unique brand of comedy.
New Jersey – Bruce Springsteen
Chances are good that if you’ve heard a Bruce Springsteen song, then you know where he was born. It comes as no surprise to any Springsteen fan that “The Boss” was born and raised in Jersey – Long Branch to be specific. A Jersey boy to the end, he continues to live there today in the nearby township of Colts Neck.
New Mexico – Neil Patrick Harris
Broadway and TV funnyman Neil Patrick Harris was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but he didn’t end up staying there long. His acting career as the uncommonly capable “Doogie Howser M.D.” propelled him into stardom but his return as ironic womanizer Barney Stinson on “How I Met Your Mother” reinvigorated his career even further.
New York – Robert Downey Jr.
It’s not just coincidence that Tony Stark’s Avengers Towers is located smack-dab in the middle of NYC. Robert Downey Jr., who plays Iron Man, is a native New Yorker who himself was born right in Manhattan. He may have spent many of his younger days in the UK and California, but the Big Apple is where he calls home.
North Carolina – Julianne Moore
Academy Award-winner Julianne Moore has been working in the industry for the past 30 years and racking up more and more wins with each additional work. Born on a military base in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Moore moved around a lot with her Army father. She’s been as far west as New York and as far north as Alaska.
North Dakota – Josh Duhamel
Josh Duhamel gained a fair bit of exposure a few years back as a heartthrob in the popular Transformers series of movies. The actor and former model was born in Minot, North Dakota, a pretty unknown part of the country, and spent nearly his entire life in the state. He moved to California after college and got his break in modeling and the rest, as they say, is history.
Ohio – LeBron James
LeBron James has been associated with a number of sports teams over the years. He’s played for Cleveland and he’s played for Miami, but his true hometown is actually Akron, Ohio. He started playing basketball in Akron when he was in fifth grade, so perhaps we have Ohio to thank for both his meteoric rise to prominence and his unassailable talent.
Oklahoma – Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt has been one of the world’s most lucrative, in-demand actors in years past and though he’s mostly moved to producing these days, his fame cannot be denied. Pitt came from humble beginnings, hailing from Shawnee, Oklahoma, though he grew up in Springfield, Missouri. These days, the jet-setting leading man has been all over.
Oregon – Ty Burrell
Most people recognize actor Ty Burrell as Phil Dunphy, the bumbling but well-meaning father from the hit sitcom “Modern Family.” The hilarious and fairly unassuming actor began his life in the small town of Grants Pass, Oregon and he also attended high school and university in the state. His first credited film role was as Colonel Fleming in 2001’s “Evolution.”
Pennsylvania – Will Smith
Many parallels can be drawn between Will Smith’s famous Fresh Prince of Bel-Air character and his real life. Will Smith was, as the song says, born and raised in West Philadelphia. He lived there for most of his childhood and once he met friend and fellow collaborator DJ Jazzy Jeff, the two rapped about the neighborhood until by chance, fame snatched them both up.
Rhode Island – Mena Suvari
Rhode Island may be the smallest state in the country, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have some pretty huge stars waiting in the wings. Model and actress Mena Suvari, famous for her role in the teen comedy “American Pie,” was born and raised in Newport, Rhode Island. Today, she uses her time to help support causes like the Starlight Children’s Foundation and the African Medical and Research Foundation.
South Carolina – Viola Davis
Viola Davis is one of the few talented actors to have conquered, screen, stage, and smaller screen. The talented South Carolina-born actress has won an Oscar, a Tony, and an Emmy; a remarkable list of accomplishments for any actor, let alone someone from a small southern town. Still, unsurprising for a graduate of the Juilliard School.
South Dakota – January Jones
January Jones played bored, underappreciated housewife Betty Draper for seven long seasons on the popular AMC show “Mad Men.” She also happens to be one of the few high-profile celebrities to emerge from the sleepy town of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, a state known mostly for Mount Rushmore…and now, January Jones.
Tennessee – Morgan Freeman
Tennessee-born actor Morgan Freeman has one of the most recognizable voices in Hollywood. He’s also had some pretty iconic roles in his incredibly prolific career – playing the likes of an ex-con, the President, and even God himself. We bet you are even reading this in his voice now.
Texas – Beyoncé
You don’t get much bigger than Beyoncé. Born in Houston, Texas, the singer/actress is known throughout the world for her unique, catchy blend of contemporary Pop and R&B, not to mention her style and dance moves. Beyoncé grew up in the Houston area and even formed her first band, Destiny’s Child, there in her younger days.
Utah – Julianne Hough
Dancer and actor Julianne Hough, and incidentally her brother Derek, were both born in the strict Mormon environment of Orem, Utah. A talented dancer right from the start, Julianne was sent to London at the age of 10 in order to continue her studies. She and her brother eventually became pro dancers on the hit show “Dancing with the Stars” and she eventually became a judge on the same program.
Vermont – Damon Wayans Jr.
Damon Wayans Jr. has followed in his family footsteps and rather than lean on the legacy, has made a name for himself with roles in shows like “New Girl” and movies like Disney’s “Big Hero 6.” He and the rest of his family hail from Huntington, Vermont.
Virginia – Sandra Bullock
As the daughter of a US Army officer, Sandra Bullock may have spent much of her childhood living in places like Austria and Germany, but the Hollywood star was actually born in the city of Arlington, Virginia. Bullock is most well-known for her starring roles in movies like “Bird Box”, “Miss Congeniality,” and “The Blind Side.”
Washington – Rainn Wilson
Rainn Wilson, like Jenna Fischer back in Indiana, got his real big break on the American version of the Office. He played Dwight Schrute, the beet-farming assistant to the regional manager and became a fan favorite almost from the start. Wilson himself hails from Seattle, Washington and is the son of a novelist and yoga instructor.
West Virginia – John Corbett
Many may remember John Corbett as the attractive non-Greek that Nia Vardalos ends up married to in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” or for his role in HBO’s “Sex and the City.” What most people don’t know is that the Wheeling, West Virginia native is also a country musician and the voiceover actor you hear in all those Walgreens commercials.
Wisconsin – Mark Ruffalo
As it turns out, the Hulk himself was actually born in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Well, not THE Hulk, but the actor who plays him, Mark Ruffalo. Ruffalo spent his early years in Kenosha, Wisconsin and later moved to Virginia Beach after his father’s work took the family there. Once out of college, he joined a theater troupe and even began writing for the screen.
Wyoming – Jim Beaver
Jim Beaver is perhaps the most minor celebrity on this lengthy list, but that doesn’t make him any less important to his hometown of Laramie, Wyoming. Best known for his roles in Supernatural and Deadwood, Beaver’s family moved to Irving, Texas when he was very young. When he was of age, Jim joined the military and when he returned home, discovered a new passion for acting.