In many cases, they were born in an unusual place but somehow landed up making it big. We all know they had to start somewhere, whether on the theater stage, pageant circuit, or underground music scene, but what is it about these places that have given us so many famous figures?
John Travolta - New Jersey
Born in New Jersey in 1954, John Joseph Travolta grew up in an Irish-American neighborhood. He comes from quite a big family, and he was the youngest of 6 children! But in real life, Travolta was somewhat different from the onscreen bad boy Danny Zuko that he would play on screen.
John Travolta confessed that he dropped out of high school at only 16-years old to pursue his acting career. Following the decision to drop out of his high school, Travolta made the bold move to relocate to New York City so that he could go after his dream of becoming a famous star.
Taylor Swift - Pennsylvania
We all know that you can take the girl out of Pennsylvania, but you can't take Pennsylvania out of the girl. Many would think that Taylor is a purely Southern girl, but she was actually born in West Reading, Pennsylvania, and grew up on a Christmas-tree farm. Eventually, Swift and her family relocated to Nashville when she was just 14 years old.
Seeing as Nashville has long been a country music mecca, it was probably this move that enabled Taylor to pursue a country music career. Taylor Swift has one of the most popular stories of a successful Country singer transitioning to a mainstream pop star. The singer has a YouTube channel of over 35 million subscribers and her most popular songs.
Gabrielle Union - Nebraska
Gabrielle is a big fan of the Cornhusker football team, which makes perfect sense seeing as she was born and brought up in Omaha, Nebraska. Gabrielle is the daughter of a social worker and a military sergeant. Gabrielle Union had actually planned on attending law school but began acting instead after the modeling agency she interned with as a college student asked to represent her.
As a Midwestern gal, Gabrielle's early childhood years were spent as part of a large family that had been in the Omaha area for many generations. She began her career in the 1990s, starring in T.V. sitcoms, before landing supporting roles in teenage comedic films, like 10 Things I Hate About You and She's All That. Her career took off after her role as the sassy cheerleading captain in the surprise hit movie Bring It On.
Brad Pitt - Oklahoma
Brad Pitt was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma. The son of a trucking company manager, he was raised in Missouri as the oldest of three children. Brad enrolled at the University of Missouri and went on to study journalism and advertising. It was only after he discovered his love of acting that he dropped out of college and moved to Hollywood.
Shawnee may be a little city, but at the turn of the 20th century, it was the center of cotton, peach, and potato crops. Who would have thought the actor is famous for his various film roles hails from such a modest and straightforward city.
Jennifer Garner - Texas
Jennifer Garner may have been born in the big city of Houston, Texas, but when she was still a toddler, her family decided to relocate to Charleston, West Virginia, which is where she grew up. Jennifer oozes charm and which is obviously what she must have picked up while living in the city with small-town charm. Jennifer attended Denison University in Granville, Ohio, where she became interested in drama and went on to graduate with a degree in theater.
It was after her college years that Garner decided to move to New York, and she began relentlessly auditioning for stage roles, getting her first part only a few weeks after arriving back in 1995 as an understudy in the Broadway production of A Month in the Country.
Elijah Wood - Iowa
Most people know Elijah Wood through his iconic role as Frodo in the legendary Lord of the Rings film series that's based on the popular J.R.R Tolkien novels. His acting career first began in elementary school when he appeared in a school play of The Sound of Music and starred as the title character in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. He also participated as the choir boy in a Marion Creative Council production of See How They Run.
Elijah was born on January 28, 1981, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. His parents, Debbie and Warren Wood, operated a delicatessen. He was raised Catholic and had an older brother named Zachariah, as well as a younger sister, Hannah. In 1989, his parents sold their deli, and the family moved to Los Angeles for Elijah to pursue an acting career.
Owen Wilson - Texas
All Texas is, is basically cowboy hats and cows. How fitting that hell-raiser Owen Wilson hails from the Lone Star State, born and raised in Dallas. For years, Dallas had the official slogan "Live Large, Think Big." But in more recent times, though, the city opted to go with the fresher sounding "Dallas: Big Things Happen Here."
Regardless of how the city wants to present itself to outsiders, we know the real truth about Dallas: The populous city has a long — and, dare we say, pretty impressive — history of big ideas, significant events, and even bigger personalities - like Owen Wilson! Whether he's acting or co-writing quirky characters, Owen Wilson's work sheds a cheerful yet sweet comic sensibility.
Sheryl Crow - Missouri
The 57-year-old musician Sheryl Suzanne Crow doesn't look a day over 40, yet she sure has gone through some significant love life drama over the years. We might be inclined to say that every day of Sheryl Crow's rise to fame has been a winding road. Her professional career started as a school music teacher near St. Louis, but her dreams of glory launched her toward a performing career and eventually landed her on the top of the music charts.
Sheryl Suzanne Crow came all the way from the warm and friendly Kennett, Missouri. The boot heel of the state, Kennett, is way down in the southeast corner near Arkansas and Tennessee. Even as a young girl, this Sherly was destined for a career in music, and she soon began performing in bands, and then her big opportunity came when she sang backup vocals for Michael Jackson.
Lucy Liu - New York
From humble beginnings in Queens, Lucy Liu has ascended to the heights of Hollywood. As badass as she is beautiful, Lucy Liu has worked steadily in television and movies since appearing on the scene in 1990 on the long-running drama Beverley Hills 90210. Born in Queens, Lucy grew up speaking Mandarin at home. Lucy has said that she grew up in a diverse neighborhood. She learned to speak Mandarin at home and began studying English when she was 5.
She was first discovered on the subway. Young Lucy was approached by an agent who wanted to know whether she'd be interested in doing some commercials. Her initial response? No, because, as a born-and-bred New Yorker, she knew better than to talk to someone on the subway, but she did take his business card, and now she has become a household name and arguably the most famous representative of Asian women on U.S. television and film.
Allison Janney - Massachusetts
Allison is possibly one of the most talented and often underappreciated actresses of the late '90s. Allison Brooks Janney may have been born in Boston, Massachusetts, but was raised in Dayton, Ohio. We've all seen her appear in films and T.V. shows over the years, such as 'Juno,' 'The West Wing', and 'I, Tonya.' Allison expressed, "I am proud to be from Dayton, and I am delighted that I will be forever part of Dayton."
As a product of Dayton, the 58-year-old actress grew up in Oakwood and attended the Miami Valley School, where her father, Jervis Janney said she was active in several theatre productions. It was during her student years at Kenyon College, that she showed interest in acting, and got her first role when she successfully auditioned for a play being directed by Paul Newman.
Lionel Ritchie - Alabama
The smooth and soulful singer Lionel Richie was born and raised in Tuskegee, Alabama. His childhood home was actually on the campus of the Tuskegee Institute as two generations of his family there. It wasn't that long before he met some Tuskegee freshmen who were forming a musical group and approached him because they'd heard he played saxophone. It didn't take long for Lionel to drop out of Tuskegee to pursue his musical dreams as a member of The Commodores.
It was his upbringing that helped him redefine musical genres and ultimately led to his success as a musical performer. "Growing up in Tuskegee, Alabama was like a bubble," Richie said "In this bubble, I learned no limitations. My grandmother's a classical pianist."
Halle Berry - Ohio
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Halle was born to an African-American father and white mother in 1968. After her parents' divorce, Halle was brought up by her mother, a psychiatric nurse. During her teenage years, she first appeared in the spotlight as the winner of the Pagent show Miss Teen America in 1985 and consequently became a model.
Every star has a beginning, and Ohio been this beginning for many as the state has produced several well-known models, pop singers, actresses, actors, novelists, and several other personalities from other spheres.
Madonna - Michigan
Before she popped into the music scene, Madonna was the child of blue-collar Italian immigrants, attending Rochester Adams High School. She was born to parents Madonna Louise and Silvio Anthony "Tony" Ciccone in Bay City, Michigan. Madonna's ties to Michigan has been well documented, especially in her recent book called "Madonnaland."
Yes, good or bad, Bay City's reputation precedes it as being a city with a small-town feel, which makes it more surprising that Madonna grew up here. She attended the University of Michigan as a dance student for a brief period before dropping out to move to New York City in 1977.
Steve Martin - Texas
Steve first appeared in the public eye when he was writing for 'The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour' in the '60s. Martin is loved for his humor, but he has been successful in a few different fields: as an actor, playwright, pianist, banjo player, and author.
Martin was born on August 14, 1945, in Waco, Texas. He eventually ended up in Inglewood, California, with his sister Melinda Martin, and then later in Garden Grove, California. Martin initially considered becoming a professor instead of an actor-comedian, but his time at college changed his life, and he went onto become a very successful performer.
Cameron Diaz - California
Cameron Diaz first became famous following her performance in 1994's 'The Mask,' alongside Jim Carrey, but it was during her years as a teenager that she was already on her way to stardom when she appeared as a fashion model for big brands such as Levi's and Calvin Klein. Even before all of that, the now-famous blonde was a top cheerleader at Long Beach Polytechnic High School.
Cameron Diaz remembered her upbringing in Long Beach, San Diego, as modest, stating: "I had amazing parents, they were awesome. We weren't made of money—we were very much the opposite. My family would collect cans of soda to turn in for extra money because $20 meant something to us. But we were delighted."
Olivia Munn - Oklahoma
Olivia Munn spent a large part of her childhood in Japan, where her stepfather was stationed in the Air Force. However, when her mother and stepfather divorced, Olivia returned to her mother's home in Oklahoma. She went to University and earned a B.A. in Journalism, and eventually, Olivia Munn moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting.
Oklahoma is known for its cowboy culture and capitol complex, surrounded by working oil wells, so it interesting that such a glamorous and elegant woman like Olivia Munn grew up there. Olivia went on to become the host of 'Attack of the Show,' which discusses general news, pop culture, and previews movies and shows. She has since leaped films, playing Psylock in 'X-Men: Apocalypse.'
Kathie Lee Gifford - Maryland
Kathie Lee Gifford was born in Paris but moved with her parents to Bowie, Maryland, at the young age of four. Her future famous name won Maryland's Junior Miss Pageant in 1970, which launched her career to stardom. Nowadays, she is well-known for her television personality while co-hosting Live with Regis and Kathie Lee with Regis Philbin.
After high school, Kathie went to Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to study drama and music. Her big break came in 1985 when Kathie Lee became the co-host of The Morning Show with Regis Philbin. After three years, the program went to broadcast nationwide as Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, and Kathie became famous all across the country.
Meryl Streep - New Jersey
Meryl Streep is one of Hollywood's leading ladies, much-loved the world over thanks to her gentle demeanor, her acting prowess, and cheerfulness. Mary Louise Streep was born in Summit, New Jersey, and in 1963 the family moved and settled in Basking Ridge, New Jersey.
While Meryl was a student at the Yale School of Drama, she always got cast in plays as the lead actress. "It made me feel stressed," she expressed. She attempted a go at a career in law, but first, she had to take the law exams. But it wasn't meant to be, after one performance in a play with Rip Torn, she overslept and missed the SATs.
Kelly Ripa - New Jersey
Kelly Ripa was born and raised in Berlin, New Jersey. Even when she was younger, she has always had an affinity for performance, and when she attended Eastern Regional High School, she became a cheerleader with a winning smile. It was her drama teacher who encouraged her to pursue acting, and that support gave Ripa the reassurance she needed to pursue a career in the entertainment industry.
Initially, she went to Camden County College studying psychology, but dropped out and moved to New York City to pursue an acting career. She landed a significant role in the soap opera 'All My Children' and has gone on to do plenty during her long career, including appearing as the host of 'Live With Kelly and Ryan.'
Lindsay Lohan - New York
Lindsay was born in The Bronx, New York City, and grew up in the commuter town of Merrick on Long Island, New York. The village of Merrick is a classic Long Island town of about 23,000 people nestled halfway between Manhattan and the Hamptons. Her hometown of Merrick is not the kind of place we would imagine Lindsay to come from as it's not a place that attracts a lot of drama, so it's clear why the famous Redhead left.
Lindsay was destined for stardom as her career began before she even started high school, when she was a child model for famous fashion icons like Calvin Klein and Abercrombie, and also appeared in T.V. adverts for Pizza Hut and Wendy's. Lindsay made the jump to the silver screen in 1998 with 'The Parent Trap,' where she played as twin sisters.
Mandy Moore - New Hampshire
Mandy Moore's genuine vocal talents and innocent public image have propelled her from the recording studio to movie sets. Since the beginning, she has done plenty throughout her years in the acting – not only did she star in 2001's 'The Princess Diaries,' but she also put out a single at the young age of fifteen: "Candy." Since then she's starred in 'A Walk to Remember,' and has a starring role in the show 'This is Us'.
Even though Mandy Moore was born in Nashua, New Hampshire, she and her family eventually moved to Florida, Orlando, when she was two months old. It was after attending a musical performance "Oklahoma!", she became determined to pursue a career in singing. While she was young, she would perform the National Anthem at numerous athletic competitions around her hometown, and she became prized as the "National Anthem girl."
Megan Fox - Tennessee
Megan Fox was born in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Her early childhood was spent in nearby Rockwood, Tennessee. But the eye-candy of the 'Transformers' franchise wasn't to be missed, and soon after moving to California, she began acting, eventually starring beside Lindsay Lohan in 'Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen.'
With her dazzling beauty and poise, she has gone from film to television and back again! If we're completely honest, it's a bit surprising that Megan hails from such a quiet place. Yes, Rockwood is a beautiful place, but is it Megan Fox beautiful? We would expect Megan to greet from a much more exciting place, like California or New York.
Paul Rudd - New Jersey
The incredible Ant-man once came all the way from Kansas. With his infectious smile and endearing personality, he has a talent for turning in performances marked by thoughtful insight and an unassuming charisma - it's plain to see how he catapulted into Hollywood. Paul was born in Passaic, New Jersey, but when he was ten years old, Rudd's family moved to Lenexa, Kansas.
Despite coming from a small town in Kansas that most people have never heard of, Paul Rudd is rarely in situations where people don't know who he is. He was raised in Overland Park and went on to attend the University of Kansas since then Paul has enjoyed a kind of low-key fame that has allowed him to branch out many film genres.
Alicia Silverstone - California
Despite being the poster-child for all-American beauty, Alicia was actually born to British parents while they were living in San Francisco, California. Who could probably have guessed that she would become an A-lister and star in movies like 'The Crush,' 'Clueless,' and 'Batman & Robin.'
Silverstone was hailed as the teenage queen of the mid-'90s, with her rapid climb from the hills of Hillsborough, she got her to start when she modeled and eventually, that resulted in her being cast in a television commercial. Alicia did spend a few summers in England, and it was during these visits that she became enthusiastic about theater.
Jennifer Lawrence - Kentucky
Jennifer grew up as a tomboy in Louisville, Kentucky, and played sports, including basketball, on an otherwise all-boy team. Since her rapid rise to fame, she has been a busy gal, spending plenty of time acting in the 'Hunger Games' movies, 'Silver Linings Playbook,' and even the long-running 'X-Men' series.
Her upbringing and childhood may have led to success for this famous young actress, with plenty of her roles requiring athleticism, strength, and stamina that she might not have developed if she hadn't been a tomboy. She still goes back to visit her family every now and then between her acting jobs.
Olivia Wilde - New York
Olivia Wilde's sleek hair, sultry figure, and haunting blue eyes may have typecasted her in specific roles, but she has proved herself to be so much more. Olivia Wilde may have been born in New York, but she lived in Washington D.C. during her formative years, where she attended private school and went on to attend boarding school at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.
Wilde is incredibly famous, well-known around the world as a beautiful and talented actress, but she isn't the most famous person from her school – that honor belongs to former president George W. Bush. Olivia also comes from a prominent family, with her parents coming from the U.K. Wilde holds dual citizenship with Ireland and the United States.
Matthew Perry - Massachusetts
Matthew was born in Boston, Massachusetts, after his parents divorced, he moved with his mother as a young boy Perry to Ottawa, Canada. Growing up, Matthew was an extremely talented tennis player, and it was also during his adolescent years that he became interested in acting. When he turned 15, he relocated to Los Angeles to accompany his father in the hopes of becoming either a tennis pro or an actor.
However, in 1984, Matthew suffered a massive loss during a major tennis event and determined that he would have more luck as an actor. Shortly after the fateful sporting match, he first appeared on an episode of the sitcom 'Charles in Charge.' As Matthew was still a teenager in high school when he started appearing on screen, it soon became apparent that his education would take a backseat to his acting career.
Kirstie Alley - Kansas
Noted for her striking beauty, thick, chestnut-colored hair, and whiskey voice, Alley studied drama in her native Kansas, she then moved to Los Angeles and became an interior decorator. Is there a correlation between famous celebrities coming from Kansas? We're not exactly sure what it is about midwestern States, but Kirstie Allie is yet another renowned actress that comes from such an unassuming place.
After dropping out of Kansas State University after her sophomore year, she moved to Hollywood, and almost as soon as she probably surprised herself with her own success! She was consistently funny and undeniably talented, so more quickly enough, her big break came when she starred in the famous sitcom 'Cheers,' and then moved onto film, and sadly since died at the age 71, in 2022.
Kathy Griffin - Illinois
Kathy Griffin has been a comedienne for a long time, but she's come a long way since her upbringing in Oak Park, Illinois. Being raised in the Chicago area, it was from the age of five that Griffin reportedly knew she wanted to become an actress and frequently improvised elaborate stage and comedy acts for her family.
It only seems natural that the fierce Redhead comes from the windy city of Chicago. She lived there until she was 17, where Griffin attended High School, and after graduating, she studied acting at the Lee Strasberg Institute in Southern California.
Cindy Crawford - Illinois
Cindy is considered as one of the world's most beautiful women, and she has appeared just about everywhere that allows advertisements. Cindy was born in the small urban town of DeKalb in Illinois, back in 1966, and stayed there for twenty years. Cindy was first discovered as a teenager when a local news photographer took a picture of her while she was detasselling corn, of all things!
She soon left her country job to become a model for the summer and continued modeling for the next two summers and then decided to go to college. She earned an academic scholarship and chose to study chemical engineering at Northwestern University, but eventually, she cleverly agreed that she'd make more money as a model.
Jessica Alba - California
Albe was born in Pomona, California, in 1981 while her father was in the Air Force. When she was still just a baby, the family moved to Biloxi, Mississippi, but nine years later, they eventually moved back to California. It was in California that she was exposed to acting and began embarking on her career as an actress.
Growing up in Mississippi and then California sure makes for an unusual upbringing. In Mississippi, she probably spent the long summer days outside, doing things like picking berries and climbing trees while in California, Jessica was exposed to a lot more opportunities than Mississippi could offer.
John Cusack - Illinois
Born in 1966 in Evanston, Illinois, to an Irish Catholic family, John Cusack spent a year at New York University before dropping out, stating that he had "too much fire in his belly." He did indeed move onto bigger and better things after making his film debut in 1983's 'Class,' and had a brief but memorable appearance as one of the nerds in 'Sixteen Candles.'
This adorable actor from Illinois became something of a lust object for girls everywhere, but what really put him on the map was his breakout role in 'The Sure Thing' and 'Say Anything.' The rest of the 1980s, he spent carving out a niche for himself as both a solid performer and the lovable protagonist.
Dolly Parton - Tennessee
As one of the most beloved country music artists of the last century, Dolly Parton has risen from relative poverty, only to succeed as an incredibly prolific business and entertainment mogul. There are still some things people don't know about Dolly, but it's her humble beginnings that is the most surprising, as she has reportedly described her family as "dirt poor."
The singer was initially born in a hard-working Southern family in Sevierville, Tennessee. Dolly is one of 12 children, and coming from a low-income family, they all lived in a tiny one-room cabin. When Dolly graduated from Sevier County High School in 1964, she didn't waste a single day and drove off to Nashville, Tennessee, the following night.
Julianne Hough - Utah
The famous dancer, actress, singer, and celebrity judge we've all come to love is Julianne Hough, of course! She was first introduced to the big screen when she starred as the lead role in the 2011 film 'Footloose.' Born in Orem, Utah, Julianne moved around a bit and even lived in London for a few years only to return to the U.S., where she became famous thanks to her stellar performances on 'Dancing with the Stars.'
At 15, Julianne became the youngest dancer, and only American, to win both Junior World Latin Champion and International Latin Youth Champion at the Blackpool Dance Festival. 'America's Got Talent' judge Julianne Hough was born in Orem, Utah, the youngest of five children in a Latter-Day Saint family.
Ashley Graham - Nebraska
Ashley Graham may be very successful now, but she had a difficult time growing up and had to work very hard to reach the success she has today. She was born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska. It was while she was growing up that Ashley was diagnosed with ADD and dyslexia, but this didn't stop Ashley from becoming such a successful and well-known model.
In 2000, when Ashley was just 13 years old, she was discovered by the I & I agency while shopping at Oak View Mall in Omaha, Nebraska. During the Corona quarantine, Ashley returned to her roots, surrounded by the golden grasslands of her childhood home in Nebraska.
Jessica Biel - Minnesota
Jessica was born in Ely, Minnesota, although her family often moved during her childhood. They lived in Texas, Connecticut, and Woodstock, Illinois, before finally settling in Boulder, Colorado. While growing up, Jessica was very active and trained as a level six gymnast. She attended Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.
The first appearance that propelled her to fame was her role as the wholesome preacher's daughter on the W.B. television show 7th Heaven then gained more considerable notoriety when she wanted to get herself kicked off the show, so she posed for a risqué photo spread in the men's magazine Gear.
Gwen Stefani - California
Gwen is known for her fantastic voice, combined that with her and style and platinum blonde locks, it was only a matter of time before Gwen became famous. She was born in Fullerton, California, and raised nearby in Anaheim, California. Since her rise to stardom, Gwen has lived all over; she even spent time in London while she was married to Gavin Rossdale.
After their divorce, she met Blake Shelton, and their connection was undeniable. They began dating in 2015, and since then, Blake and Gwen have spent their time at the country singer's ranch in Oklahoma. Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton reportedly bought their first home together in Los Angeles.
Dennis Quaid - Texas
The handsome, well-built, and eloquent charm that is Dennis Quaid came all the way from Houston, Texas, before he reached Hollywood. He stayed and studied at the University of Houston, but nothing was going to stop this Lone State star from making it big, so he decided to drop out at the age of 20 and follow his brother to Hollywood.
Dennis got his first break in 1977 when he was cast in a minor role in the movie 'I Never Promised You a Rose Garden,' but it was not until 1979, when he starred in the coming-of-age drama Breaking Away, that Quaid gained attention. He consequently went on to star in a number of films of widely varying genres.
Dwayne Johnson - California
This interesting fact about Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's life may not be that surprising. He moved around a lot but was born in Hayward, California. He briefly lived in New Zealand before returning to the U.S. to live in Hawaii and Tennessee before eventually settling down in Pennsylvania.
With his trademark right eyebrow raised, the self-proclaimed "Most Electrifying Man in Sports-Entertainment" crashed, smashed, and plowed his way into becoming the youngest Intercontinental Champion in WWF history at the young age of 24. After flexing his acting muscles on television, he made his premier debut with his role as the Scorpion King in 'The Mummy Returns.'
Carrie Underwood - Oklahoma
Carrie Marie Underwood was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and was raised on her parents' farm in the nearby rural town of Checotah. Underwood had a typical rural upbringing; her father worked in a paper mill while her mother worked as a teacher. Despite her provincial childhood, Underwood performed and sang at her church and local talent shows.
Carrie attended Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, and graduated magna cum laude in 2006 with a bachelor's degree in mass communication with an emphasis in journalism. It was during her academic studies that she pursued a musical career, eventually becoming the first country American Idol!
Rob Lowe - Virginia
It would seem that some people just know how to age well, and Rob Lowe is one of them. From the early age of four, Rob was already acting; and seven years later, he was a regular on the T.V. series 'A New Kind of Family.' That show was shot down quickly, but Lowe's film career picked up when newspaper and magazine articles began noticing the handsome and sensitive young actor.
Rob was born in Charlottesville, Virginia, and grew up in Dayton, Ohio, in a 'traditional American setting.' He attended Oakwood Junior High School before moving to the Point Dume area of Malibu, California, with his mother and brother. While in California, he attended Santa Monica High School.
Steve Carell - Massachusetts
Known to many for his genius portrayal of Michael Scott on 'The Office,' Steve Carell has shown us that he has so much to offer, although he is mostly known for his comedic roles, he can also be appreciated for his performances in more serious roles. Steve is the youngest of four brothers and was born and raised in nearby Acton, Massachusetts.
As a native of Massachusetts, and alumni of Chicago's famed Second City comedy troupe, Carell gained experience with jobs at the Windy City's Goodman and Wisdom Bridge Theaters. Following his debut in the 1991 comedy Curly Sue, Carell made a name for himself in television as a writer/performer on The Dana Carvey Show.
Leonardo DiCaprio - California
Leonardo DiCaprio was 14 when he began his career, but it was only after his role in 'Titanic' that his fame reached international heights and against expectations, the movie went on to become the highest-grossing film at that point, eventually making more than $2.1 billion in box-office receipts worldwide, and transformed DiCaprio into a superstar.
DiCaprio was born in Los Angeles, California. Leonardo has said his career choice as a child was to become a marine biologist or an actor, but he eventually chose the latter, as he was fond of impersonating characters and imitating people and it looks like his decision turned out well for him!
Emma Stone - Arizona
Emily Jean Stone was born in 1988 in Scottsdale, Arizona, and lived on the grounds of the Camelback Inn resort for a few years. Stone attended an all-girl Catholic high school , but it was as a freshman that she dropped out after one short semester to become an actress.
Emma was involved in community theater, but when she turned 14, she prepared a presentation for her parents titled "Project Hollywood" to convince them to let her move to California to pursue an acting career. In January 2004, she moved with her mother to an apartment in Los Angeles.
Seth MacFarlane - Connecticut
The Animation pioneer Seth MacFarlane spent his childhood in New England, born and raised in Kent, Connecticut. Seth created one of the top-tiered animated series on national television. As early as two years old, Seth developed an interest in illustration and began drawing cartoon characters, and by the age of five, he knew he wanted to pursue a career in animation.
He spent his entire childhood in the same town and even went to the boarding school his mom taught in. Seth received his high school diploma in 1991 from the Kent School. He went on to study film, video, and animation at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
Aubrey Plaza - Delaware
Aubrey Plaza was born and raised in Delaware's largest city, Wilmington. She acted in the town's drama league productions as a youngster. Plaza literally began at the bottom and had many internships as an NBC page. She also performed stand-up and has appeared at the Laugh Factory and The Improv.
Aubrey Plaza graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts back in 2006 and soon began making her transition to the screen, she appeared as Daisy in the 2009 Judd Apatow comedy 'Funny People,' and as Robin on the series Mayne Street. Plaza joined the cast of the comedy series Parks and Recreation, and her performance as bored teenage intern April was a hit with audiences.
Julia Roberts - Georgia
Julia Roberts grew up in Smyrna, Georgia. It comes as no surprise that as a child, Julia was raised in a theater environment as her parents often ran workshops for actors and writers in Atlanta. Both Julia and her brother showed an interest in the performing arts at an early age.
After graduating from High School, Julia attended Georgia State University but did not graduate. She later headed to New York City to pursue a career in acting. Once there, she signed with the Click Modeling Agency and enrolled in acting classes.
Aaron Paul - Idaho
Aaron Paul was born in Emmett, Idaho. Many know Aaron Paul for his role as Jesse Pinkman on the popular series 'Breaking Bad.' The Idaho native began his career in the early 2000s, with a long list of appearances on shows like Suddenly Susan, The X-Files, CSI: Miami, Judging Amy, Criminal Minds, and Veronica Mars.
Growing up, Aaron moved around a bit and ended in Boise, Idaho. Aaron graduated in 1997 from Centennial High School in Boise, Idaho, after which he made the bold move to drive to Los Angeles in his 1982 Toyota Corolla with his mother and $6,000 in savings.
David Letterman - Indiana
Not much else is known about David Letterman's personal life, but we do know he grew up in the state capital of Indianapolis in Indiana. He graduated from Ball State in Muncie, and the college communications building is named after him. His late-night show has featured many exciting guests and earned him numerous awards and laughs.
Letterman began his broadcasting career as an announcer and newscaster at the college's student-run radio station, which now is part of Indiana Public Radio. But David couldn't help himself, and he was fired for treating classical music with irreverence. He then became involved with the founding of another campus station.
Ellen Degeneres - Louisiana
Ellen DeGeneres was born and raised in Metairie, Louisiana, before moving to Texas at 16 in the wake of her parents' divorce. It wasn't long, however, before she returned to her home state to start college at the University of New Orleans. She only attended for one semester, dropping out to pursue a career in stand-up.
But Ellen DeGeneres hasn't forgotten her roots and has long shown her support for New Orleans, particularly after it was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. "If this was Washington or San Francisco … anywhere else, this wouldn't be happening," Ellen said at the time, she had been outspoken about her frustration with the slow pace of recovery.
Anna Kendrick - Maine
Although Portland, Maine is known for its rocky coastline, we now know that it's also the hometown of Anna Kendrick. Little Anna began her career as a child actress in theater productions and earned her first Tony nomination when she was 12 but went back to her seaside hometown to attend high school. She later made her feature film debut in the musical comedy 'Camp.'
She is best known for her supporting role in the 'Twilight' movies and her starring role as Beca Mitchell in the 'Pitch Perfect' series. Anna is known for her sense of humor as well as her musical talent. In 2016, Anna Kendrick released a memoir titled 'Scrappy Little Nobody.'
Anna Faris - Maryland
Anna Faris made her acting debut at the tender age of nine at Washington's Seattle Repertory Theater. She refined her skills in improvisational theater; Anna Faris would later find roles in commercials and small local productions, though her future as an actress came into question as she pursued education further.
She spent her younger years in Baltimore when her dad was teaching at Towson University. The family moved to Seattle when she was six. Faris studied English Literature at the University of Washington after high school, later moving to London to begin working and writing and eventually moving to Los Angeles in order to pursue an acting career full time.
Edward Norton - Maryland
Edward Norton is not only considered one of the best actors of the 21st century, but he is also incredibly smart. The three-time Academy Award-nominated actor graduated with a Bachelor's degree in history from Yale University. After an injury, he started to get interested in theater, and the rest, as they say, is history.
This actor of unusual talent has graced our screens in masterpieces like Primal Fear, American History X, Birdman. Norton was born in Boston and was raised in the planned community of Columbia, Maryland, and from an early age was known as an extremely bright and somewhat serious person.
Kristen Bell - Michigan
For some actors, success just seems to come naturally. In the case of talented stage and screen beauty Kristen Bell, it wasn't so much a matter of if she was going to be a star after realizing her dream during an early performance as a banana in Raggedy Ann and Andy at the tender age of 12.
Kristen Bell grew up in the Detroit suburb of Huntington Woods. Her husband, Dax Shepard, also grew up in Michigan. Her early-stage experiences eventually led her to study at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, and Bell saw early success when she was chosen to portray Becky Thatcher in a Broadway production of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
Oprah Winfrey - Mississippi
Oprah Winfrey was born in Kosciusko to her teenage mother. The media mogul had humble beginnings on a small farm in Kosciusko, Mississippi. Since her mother was a teen when she had her, young Oprah Winfrey was raised mainly by her grandmother. Now she has become the most powerful and influential woman on television.
Though Oprah is primarily recognized as a talk show hostess, she also produces and occasionally acts in television movies and feature films. When she was 19, Oprah first became a part-time radio reporter in Nashville, and also began studying speech and performing arts at Tennessee State University.
Matt Damon - Massachusetts
Damon was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and went on to attend Harvard University but forsook his studies before receiving his degree to take a lead role in the film Geronimo: An American Legend. While at Harvard, he wrote an early draft of the screenplay for 'Good Will Hunting' for an English class.
Matt went on to receive an Academy Award for the screenplay of 'Good Will Hunting.' Since then, he's been in blockbuster movies, and who knows where his talent will take him next? Whether he continues to perform onscreen or changes careers and becomes something else, we can only be sure of one thing: he'll probably be successful.
Ashton Kutcher - Iowa
Yes, it's Christopher Ashton Kutcher, and no, you're not being Punk'd! Christopher Kutcher made his middle name, Ashton, his first name after signing up with a New York modeling agency, where there was already a model called "Chris," and his career only grew from there.
Kutcher was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Ashton attended High School in Cedar Rapids for his freshman year before his family moved to Homestead, Iowa. While at the University of Iowa, he entered the "Fresh Faces of Iowa" modeling competition. Placing first, he won a trip to New York City before relocating to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting.
Tommy Lee Jones - Texas
Tommy Lee Jones is a famous filmmaker and actor who is known as one of the last great actors that can effectively play the "strong, silent type." He has received four Academy Award nominations, and one win on Best Supporting Actor, for the movie, "The Fugitive," as U.S Marshal Samuel Gerard.
As an eighth-generation Texan, Jones grew up in the Southwestern state of Texas, where he attended Robert E. Lee High School in Midland. Tommy Lee Jones eventually moved to New York. He still loves his home state as he owns a 3,000-acre cattle ranch in San Saba County, Texas, and a ranch near Van Horn, Texas.
Sylvester Stallone - New York
If you don't know him from the legendary Rocky series, you will surely remember him from any of the five Rambo films. Both Rocky and Rambo are echos of Stallone's personal life and the experiences he had during his transition from a poor kid in Hell's Kitchen, New York to one of the world's most popular stars.
According to Stallone, he did not have a happy childhood. Michael Sylvester Gardenzio Stallone was born in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan, New York, on July 6, 1946. When he was five, his parents moved their family to Silver Spring, Maryland. At age 15, his parents got divorced, and Stallone moved to Philadelphia to be with his mother and her new husband.
Jennifer Connelly - New York
Jennifer Connelly started out as a model, doing several T.V. ads, magazine covers, and newspaper pieces. She landed her first significant role in Sergio Leone's 1980 masterpiece film, 'Once Upon a Time in America.' That was the jump start of what would become an incredibly successful career, acting in films like 'Labyrinth,' 'Requiem for a Dream,' 'A Beautiful Mind,' 'Blood Diamond,' and countless others.
Jennifer was born in Cairo, New York, in the Catskill Mountains. Connelly was raised primarily in Brooklyn Heights, near the Brooklyn Bridge, where she attended Saint Ann's, a private school specializing in the arts. After graduating from high school, Jennifer went to Yale University in 1988 to study English literature. After two years at Yale, Connelly transferred to Stanford University in 1990 to study drama.
Robin Williams - Illinois
The late Robin McLaurin Williams was a legendary actor and celebrated comedian known for his iconic roles like Genie in Disney's Aladdin and Mrs. Doubtfire. It's incredible to know that all that fame started as a stand-up comedian in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Robin Williams was born at St. Luke's Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, in 1951. When he turned 16, his father took early retirement, and the family moved to Tiburon, California. After they moved, Robin attended High School in nearby Larkspur. How fitting that he was voted "Most Likely Not to Succeed" and "Funniest" by his classmates.
Dik Van Dyke - Missouri
"Bye Bye Birdie" and "Marry Poppins" are only some of the classic movies that are synonymous with Dick Van Dyke. Richard Wayne Van Dyke was born in West Plains, Missouri. In 1944, Van Dyke left school with intent on joining the United States Army Air Forces for pilot training during World War II.
He was denied enlistment several times but was eventually accepted as a radio announcer, which would then go on to help him jumpstart his career. Though he found success, he never gave up on graduating high school, and at age 78, Van Dyke received his high school diploma in 2004.
Dr. Phil - Oklahoma
Growing up, Dr. Phil McGraw moved around quite a lot. He was born in Vinita, Oklahoma, in 1950 and, as a child, moved with his family to the oilfields of North Texas, where his father was an equipment supplier. As a teen, McGraw moved to Kansas with his father as his father pursued his lifelong dream of becoming a psychologist.
It seems like the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, does it? Many may not know this, but Oprah Winfrey helped jump-start Dr. Phil's career as he appeared on her show weekly as a relationship expert in 1998.
Channing Tatum - Alabama
Channing Tatum was born in 1980 in Cullman, Alabama. Although his family moved to Mississippi when Tatum was six, he has always considered Alabama his home. He is frequently seen as the most significant Alabama native in Hollywood.
However, he has some competition with stars like Lionel Richie, Octavia Spencer, and Courteney Cox, who are also from the state. The "Magic Mike" actor often visits Alabama for special events and occasions and has been seen numerous times wearing Alabama "Roll tide" gear.
Jewel - Alaska
Yes, this may come as somewhat of a surprise, but singer Jewel Kilcher is from the state of Alaska! The four-time Grammy nominee has sold over 30 million albums worldwide, but growing up wasn't as glamorous as her life is now.
Jewel's family has been featured on Discovery Channel's "Alaska: The Last Frontier," and they described living miles away from the nearest town. With no running water or heat, they had a coal stove, an outhouse, and caught fish for food.
Billy Bob Thornton - Arkansas
Academy Award-winning actor. Billy Bob Thornton’s career has taken him everywhere. The Hollywood star was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and his family moved around to many locations within the state when he was a child.
Though they moved around, he was raised mostly in his grandmother's house that had no plumbing or electricity. Interestingly enough, many stars hailed from Arkansas, the big names being Ne-Yo, Bill Clinton, and Johnny Cash.
Meghan Markle - California
Before she was the Duchess of Sussex and part of the British royal family, Rachel Meghan Markle was a California princess. The Los Angeles native grew up with ambitions of becoming an actress and landed her role as Rachel Zane in "Suits." This was all before she met and married Prince Harry, of course.
The list of stars that were born and raised in Californa is never-ending and includes Tom Hanks, Jennifer Aniston, Cher, Clint Eastwood, and many, many more.
Ryan Phillippe - Delaware
Though Ryan Phillippe may be most acknowledged for his roles in the late ’90s and early 2000s, he is still one of the best-looking actors in the business. Phillipe, born in New Castle, is one of the only actors who was born and raised in the state of Delaware.
The actor's father was a chemist, and his mother ran a local daycare. It wasn't Delaware that kick-started Ryan's career, but another state! Phillippe's acting career began when he was signed to Cathy Parker Management in New Jersey.
Ariana Grande - Florida
By now, Ariana Grande has made a name for herself as one of the biggest pop stars in the world, though most don't know that she was born and raised in Florida! The singer was born in Boca Raton, Florida, and grew up performing at her local theater.
Starting her career very early on, she left her home state at age 13 to try and pursue fame in Los Angeles. Though it was a risky move, we're all well aware it was one that paid off.
Jason Momoa - Hawaii
When you think of Hawaii, it's hard to believe that people were born and raised there. Especially when it comes to big Hollywood stars, right? Well, it is the home state for many celebrities, including Aquaman himself, Jason Momoa. The actor was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, but after his parents split, he moved to Norwalk, Iowa, where he was raised.
This didn't stop him from returning to Hawaii after college to reconnect with his father. After being spotted by a modeling agency in 1999, he was named Hawaii's Model of the Year, and the rest is history!
Patrick Dempsey - Maine
For many, Patrick Dempsey with always be Dr. Derek "McDreamy" Shepherd, but the actor has been around since the '80s...it all started in Maine. Born in Lewiston, Maine, he grew up in the nearby towns of Buckfield and Turner.
After high school, he moved to Houston, Texas, and in 1981 placed second at the International Jugglers Association Championship. Despite leaving Maine to pursue his acting career, he has always kept a home base in the state and visits frequently.
Mark Wahlberg - Massachusettes
It doesn't come as much of a surprise that many Hollywood stars were born and raised in Massachusettes. One of the biggest names to hail from the state is Mark Wahlberg. The youngest of nine children, the Boston native, had a difficult childhood filled with legal trouble and drugs.
Wahlberg went from "Marky Mark," to one of the top names in Hollywood. He is a die-hard New England Patriots fan and manages always to find a way to honor his Boston roots.
Chris Pratt - Minnesota
Since he is such a Seattle Seahawks Fan, many assume Chris Pratt's birthplace is Washington. It turns out; he is actually from Minnesota. "The Parks and Recreation" actor was born in Virginia, Minnesota, where his father remodeled homes, and his mother worked at the Safeway supermarket.
When he was seven years old, the actor and his family moved to Lake Stevens, Washington -- which may explain his Washington pride.
Matthew Gray Gubler - Nevada
Most well-known was Dr. Spencer Reid on "Criminal Minds," Matthew Gray Gubler has managed to make a name for himself in Hollywood. Gubler was born in Los Vegas, Nevada. Though he wanted to be a filmmaker, he graduated from the Las Vegas Academy of International Studies, Visual and Performing Arts, with a major in acting because the school didn’t offer a filmmaking program.
Gubler ended up following his passion for film making, as he graduated with a major in film directing from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.
Demi Lovato - New Mexico
Demi Lovato was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but her parents split shortly after she was born. Her mom moved her and her children to Dallas, Texas, where Demi was raised. Lovato started her career young, appearing on the children's television series, "Barney & Friends," in 2002.
She rose to stardom for her role as Mitchie Torres in the Disney Channel television film, "Camp Rock." Other noteworthy stars that were born in New Mexico are Neil Patrick Harris and Demi Moore!
Julianne Moore - North Carolina
Though we have grown to know her as Julianne Moore, the actress was born Julie Ann Smith. She was born at the Fort Bragg army camp in North Carolina. Due to her father's military career, Moore didn't stay in North Carolina for long.
She moved more than 23 times in her youth and attended nine different schools. At age 16, she was introduced to acting and has made a name for herself in the industry for decades.
Blake Shelton - Oklahoma
It's no secret that the country music star is an Oklahoma native! Blake Shelton was born and raised in Ada, Oklahoma. At age 17, he moved to Nashville to pursue a singing career, and as soon as his career took off, he made sure to return to his home state.
Despite his fame, he is an active member of the Tishomingo community in which he owns a ranch. He is very vocal about his Oklahoma pride, “I like California, but I’m dyed-in-the-wool Oklahoma," he once said.
Ty Burrell - Oregon
Ty Burrell has taken TV by a storm as he portrays Phil Dunphy on "Modern Family." Before he was television's favorite dad, he was just your average kid from Grants Pass, Oregon.
He grew up in a southern Oregon town called Applegate, where he played high school football. He stayed in the state for college as he attended Southern Oregon University in Ashland, but his career took him to California.
Josh Duhamel - North Dakota
Josh Duhamel was born in Minot, North Dakota, and is very faithful to his home state. The actor played football for the Minot State University football team and eventually attended dental school before dropping out, only one and a half credits shy of his degree.
Though he's found success in modeling and acting, Duhamel has become the face of the North Dakota Tourism's advertising campaign. He's always been vocal about the pride he has for the state, which is something to be admired!
Michelle Williams - Montana
"Manchester by the Sea" actress, Michelle Ingrid Williams started her journey in Kalispell, Montana. Her mom stayed at home, and her dad worked as an author and commodities trader. When she was nine, her family moved to San Diego, California, though that didn't change her love for Montana.
The actress mentions her home state often, explaining how she loved growing up in the vast open landscape of the state. “I grew up in Montana, and I most closely associate with being from Montana,” Williams said when explaining her transition to San Diego as a child.
John Legend - Ohio
One of the greatest voices of our time, John Legend, was born and raised in Springfield, Ohio. His mother homeschooled him, and, at four years old, Legend was already performing in his church choir.
Thanks to his homeschooling, Legend began high school at only 12 years of age. After graduating high school, he left Ohio to attend the University of Pennsylvania, but to this day remains Ohio's most exceptional pride.