20 of Our Favorite Celebrities from Corpus Christi

Eva Longoria

If you were born and raised in Corpus Christi, TX, (or have moved there since you were born and raised some other place), you’re in good company. The coastal city has been producing a steady stream of talent for years, with the result that dozens of world-renowned artists, musicians, actors, sportspeople, and other notable figures can all claim some kind of connection to the city. Here are 20 of our favorite celebrities from Corpus Christi.

20. Jake Hoot

If you’re a fan of The Voice, you’ll recognize the name Jake Hoot. The country singer put in such a show-stopping performance during the finals of season 17, he ended up walking off as the winner. His coronation-winning song, Better Off Without You, hit number 36 on the US country charts in 2019. The following year, he made his first appearance at the Grand Ole Opry. In 2021, he teamed up with his former mentor Kelly Clarkson on the hit single, I Would’ve Loved You.

19. Ashley Kidd

Professional wake surfer and Corpus Christi native Ashley Kidd started surfing in 2009. Just one year later, she won 2nd place in the World Wake Surf Championship and started competing professionally. Since then, she’s won first place at three World Wake Surf Championships. In 2016, she ranked No 1 in the Competitive Wake Surf Association female division world rankings.

18. Sean Bobbit

Cinematographer Sean Bobbitt was born on November 29, 1958, in Corpus Christi. As a long-time collaborator with British director Steve McQueen, he’s best known for his work on films such as Hunger, Shame, and 12 Years a Slave. He’s also worked on Game of Thrones, The Place Beyond the Pines, Everyday, and Spike Lee’s Oldboy. His accolades include the Carlo Di Palma European Cinematographer of the Year Award at the European Film Awards for his work on Shame and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography for Judas and the Black Messiah.

17. David Carson

David Carson was born on September 8, 1955, in Corpus Christi. After beginning his career in teaching, he developed an interest in graphic design. After a short stint at the Oregon College of Commercial Art and an unpaid internship at Action Now magazine, he enrolled in a three-week workshop in Switzerland, where he met his first mentor, Hans-Rudolf Lutz. Since then, he’s become one of the most highly acclaimed graphic designers in the US, earning plaudits galore for his much copied but never bettered style of grunge typography. He’s won over 230 awards during his career, including the Award for Best Use of Photography in Graphic Design by the International Center of Photography, Master of Typography by Graphis magazine, and Designer of the Year (1998 and 1999) by the International Center of Photography.

16. Lars Eighner

Author Lars Eighner was born in Corpus Christi on November 25, 1948. He’s best known for Travels with Lizbeth, an autobiographical account of his and his dog Lizbeth’s experience with homelessness in the American Southwest during the 1980s. He’s also the creative mind behind such works as Pawn to Queen Four, Lavender Blue: How to Write and Sell Gay Men’s Erotica, and Gay Cosmos. Eighner died on December 23, 2021, at age 73.

15. Leslie Sanchez

Author, entrepreneur, political pundit, and former director of a White House Initiative on Hispanic Education, Leslie Sanchez is clearly someone who likes to keep busy. In 2001, she was named as one of the “100 Most Influential Hispanics” by Hispanic Business. She has previously served as a member of the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status and is currently a member of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council and the U.S.-Spain Council for the Young Hispanic Leaders Program.

14. Bobby and Terry Labonte

Retired professional stock car racing driver Bobby Labonte was born in Corpus Christi on May 8, 1964. Along with his brother Terry, he’s one of only two sets of brothers to have won the trophy at both NASCAR Cup championships. He’s also the first driver to win both the Winston Cup championship and the Busch Series championship. Bobby is now semi-retired and works primarily as an analyst for NASCAR on Fox. Terry has also retired, and now runs a Chevrolet dealership in Greensboro, North Carolina.

13. Bobby Julich

Born on November 18, 1971, in Corpus Christi, former professional road bicycle racer Bobby Julich came to fame in 1998 when he finished 3rd at the Tour de France. He subsequently went on to bring home silver at the 2004 Olympic Individual Time Trial and win numerous stage races on the international circuits. After retiring in 2008, he served as a technical director for Team Saxo Bank before joining Team Sky as a race coach. His time in the job came to an abrupt end when he admitted to historical doping offenses. He’s since worked as a coach for both CCC Pro Team and Team Tinkoff-Saxo

12. Jeremy Michael Jordan

Jeremy Michael Jordan was born and raised in Corpus Christi. After graduating with a degree in Musical Theatre from Ithaca College in 2007, he made his Broadway debut in Rock of Ages. Since then, he’s carved out a successful career on stage, TV, and film, earning acclaim for his performances as Jack Kelly in the Tony Award-winning musical Newsies, Clyde Barrow in the 2011 musical Bonnie & Clyde, and Winslow “Winn” Schott Jr. in the superhero drama series Supergirl. According to IMDb, the actor is also an aspiring singer-songwriter and is currently working on his first album.

11. Brian Leetch

Texas native Brian Leetch was born in Corpus Christi on March 3, 1968. After making his NHL debut in 1988, he forged a hugely successful career as a hockey defenceman. Over his 18 years in the sport, he won numerous titles, becoming the first American-born winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy and a two-time Norris Trophy winner. During his retirement ceremony in 2007, fellow New York Rangers’ player Mark Messier referred to him as the “Greatest Ranger of All Time,” a sentiment the NHL echoed in 2017 when they named him one of the ‘100 Greatest NHL Players’ in history.

10. Roger Creager

Award-winning singer Roger Creager was born on July 25, 1971, in Corpus Christi. By the time he was 6 years old, he already knew he wanted to be a singer; by the time he’d graduated high school, he’d already mastered the guitar and piano. His dream carried him through a business degree at Sam Houston State University and an agriculture degree at Texas A&M University. After the Texas Music Revolution helped him take his first steps in the industry, he released his debut album, Having Fun All Wrong, in 1998. His latest release, 2014’s Road Show, went to number 20 on the US country charts.

9. Ernestine Jackson

Ernestine Jackson was born on September 18, 1942 in Corpus Christi. Since making her Broadway debut as Irene Molloy in Hello, Dolly! in 1967, the actress has become best known for her roles in Freedomland, The Bonfire of the Vanities, and Aaron Loves Angela. She’s been nominated for a Tony Award twice, once in 1974 as Best Supporting or Featured Actress (Musical) for Raisin and again in 1977 as Best Actress (Musical) for Guys and Dolls. In 2007, was awarded the Joseph Jefferson Award for Actress in a Principal Role for a Musical for Raisin at the Court Theatre in Chicago, Illinois.

8. Chris “Whipper” Layton

Chris “Whipper” Layton was born in Corpus Christi in November 16, 1955. In 1978, he and Stevie Ray Vaughan formed Double Trouble. After the band came to the attention of Jackson Browne, they landed a record deal, releasing their debut album (which was recorded in Browne’s studio and produced by John H. Hammond) in 1983. Vaughan ultimately became the breakout star, but Layton and the rest of the band continued to perform alongside him until his untimely death in 1990. Since then, Latton has performed with the supergroups Arc Angels, Storyville, and Grady, and currently serves as the drummer for the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band.

7. Larry Norman

Larry Norman was born in Corpus Christi on April 8, 1947. In high school, he started a band; a few years after that, he landed a job as the principal songwriter for People! His career seemed decided, but then he had what he later described as a “powerful spiritual encounter with the holy spirit” that threw his plans for the future into chaos. He moved to LA and started preaching on the streets. At the same time as he was doing that, he was also pioneering the rock-gossip genre with the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood’s Salt Company coffee house outreach ministry. Although his relationship with the Christian music industry was always contentious, his role in its development is hard to overstate, with Christian rock historian John J. Thompson of CCM saying he was “to Christian music what John Lennon is to rock & roll or Bob Dylan is to folk music.” Norman died on February 24, 2008, at the age of 60.

6. Abraham Quintanilla Jr

Singer, songwriter, and producer Abraham Quintanilla Jr was born in Corpus Christi, Texas on February 20, 1939. He got his start in the music industry with the vocal group Los Dinos, who achieved moderate regional success with hit singles like Give Me One Chance, Ride Your Pony, and Lover’s Holiday. After a gradual decline in fortunes, the band called it quits in 1974. By then, Quintanilla’s daughter, Selena, had already started to show a talent for singing. He formed a new band with his family called Selena y Los Dinos (Selena and the Guys), and over the next few years, released several hit records. Selena ultimately became the breakout star, and by the mid-’80s had earned the title “Queen of Tejano music.” Selena was shot and killed in 1995 by her former manager, Yolanda Saldívar. Since her death, Quintanilla has continued to be involved in documentaries and TV series based on his daughter’s life, as well as producing new acts for his record company, Q-Productions.

5. Kevin Abstract

Rapper, songwriter, and director Kevin Abstract rose to fame in 2014 with the release of his critically acclaimed debut album, MTV1987. Since then, he’s continued to win praise for his two subsequent studio albums, together with his collaborations with Brockhampton, which he formed in 2014 along with a collection of singers and rappers he met on the Kanye West fan forum KanyeToThe. Outside of music, Abstract has ventured into business with the launch of the clothing brand Video Store Apparel (VSA).

4. Lori Singer

Lori Singer was born in Corpus Christi as the only daughter of Polish-born conductor Jacques Singer and concert pianist Leslie Wright. After becoming the youngest ever graduate of Juilliard, Singer spent a few years combining modeling with music, eventually drifting into acting in the early ’80s. Her first major role was as high school student Julie Miller on the TV series Fame, which was swiftly followed up with the starring role of Ariel Moore in Footloose. Other notable credits have included performances in The Falcon and the Snowman, Sunset Grill, Short Cuts, and the science fiction TV series VR.5.

3. Farrah Fawcett

Farrah Fawcett came to fame in the 1970s in TV shows like Harry O and The Six Million Dollar Man. In 1976, she landed her breakthrough role as private investigator Jill Munroe in Charlie’s Angels. Fawcett quit the show after just one season, but later returned as a guest star in the third and fourth seasons. Over the course of her career, Fawcett won four Primetime Emmy Award nominations and six Golden Globe Award nominations. She died in 2009 at the age of 62 from cancer.

2. Eva Longoria

Eva Longoria was born in Corpus Christi in March 15, 1975. After picking up minor TV roles in the 1990s, she landed her big break in 2001 when she was cast as Isabella Braña on The Young and the Restless. After leaving the show, she rocketed to international stardom on the ABC drama, Desperate Housewives. Since then, she’s maintained her place in the spotlight as an executive producer on Lifetime’s Devious Maids and as the face of L’Oréal and New York & Co.

1. Selena

Selena was born in Lake Jackson, Texas, but relocated with her family to Corpus Christi at a young age. After first tasting success as a member of her family’s band, Selena y Los Dinos, Selena went solo in the ’80s, forging a hugely successful career that earned her the title “Queen of Tejano music.” Described by People as one of the “most intriguing people of the 21st century” she sold over 18 million records worldwide, becoming one of the most commercially successful women in Latin music. Selena was shot and killed in Corpus Christi in 1995 by her friend and manager, Yolanda Saldívar.

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