Ohio has given the world a ton of awesome things, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, seven presidents, two dozen astronauts, Buckeyes, and of course, a whole lot of corn. It’s also given us more than its share of celebrities. From Steven Spielberg to Clark Gable, Doris Day to Kid Cudi, hundreds of famous faces can trace their roots to The Buckeye State. Here are 20 of our favorite celebrities from Ohio.
20. Guy Fieri
If you’re a fan of cooking shows, you’ll know the name Guy Fieri. Since launching his food career selling pretzels from his “Awesome Pretzel” cart at high school, the Columbus native has become a permanent fixture on the Food Network, with The New York Times even going so far as to call him “the face of the network.” In addition to hosting programs like Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Fieri also owns three restaurants in California and licenses his name to multiple restaurants across New York City and Las Vegas.
19. Lili Reinhart
According to her IMDb profile, Lili Reinhart, who was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, developed a passion for the performing arts at a young age, starring in numerous local musicals and signing her first agent at the age of just 11. At 18, she moved to LA permanently, with roles in the likes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Not Waving But Drowning, and The Good Neighbor following soon after. In 2016, she landed her breakthrough role as Betty Cooper in the teen drama series Riverdale. Since then, she’s combined her duties as Betty with roles in the 2020 movie Chemical Hearts, Elizabeth Banks’ Charlie’s Angels, and Hustlers.
18. Tracey Chapman
Since making waves with her 8 x platinum-selling debut album, Cleveland native Tracey Chapman has continued to win widespread acclaim for her songwriting and performances. Some of her best-known hits include Crossroads, Talking’ Bout a Revolution, Baby Can I Hold You, and Fast Car. In addition to her music, Chapman is known for her philanthropy – in 2004, she was recognized for her social activism with an honorary doctorate from Tufts University.
17. Sarah Jessica Parker
After spending most of the 1990s appearing in supporting roles in films like Mars Attacks! and The First Wives Club, Sarah Jessica Parker became an international household name in 1998 when she landed the role of Carrie Bradshaw in the TV adaption of Candace Bushnell’s novel, Sex and the City. The show made stars of its cast, particularly Parker, who subsequently used the show as a launchpad to further big-screen success. In December 2021, Parker returned to the role of Carrie in the Sex and the City reboot, And Just Like That.
16. Luke Perry
Luke Perry came to fame as heartthrob Dylan McKay on the Fox TV series Beverly Hills 90210. He played the character between 1990 and 1995 before reprising the role between 1998 and 2000. He also enjoyed success in films such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 8 Seconds, The Fifth Element, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Perry, who was born on October 11, 1966, in Mansfield, Ohio, died on February 27, 2019, at the age of 52 following a stroke.
15. Debra Winger
Debra Winger was born May 16, 1955, in Cleveland, Ohio, Since making her first film appearance in the 1976 movie Slumber Party ’57, she’s earned recognition as one of the preeminent actresses of her generation, winning widespread acclaim for her performances in such films as Terms of Endearment, An Officer and a Gentleman, Shadowlands, and Urban Cowboy. Most recently, she starred in the Netflix TV series, The Ranch.
14. Martin Sheen
Ramón Antonio Gerardo Estévez was born in Dayton, Ohio, on August 3, 1940. After developing an interest in acting in his teens, he borrowed enough money from a Catholic priest to leave home, moved to New York, changed his name to Martin Sheen, and set about turning himself into a major Hollywood player. Today, he’s best known for his roles in movies such as The Subject Was Roses, Badlands, and Apocalypse Now and in the TV shows, The West Wing and Grace and Frankie.
13. Halle Berry
Since making the shift from beauty pageants to movies in the early 1990s, Cleveland, Ohio native Halle Berry’s career has gone from strength to strength. Worldwide fame came with the role of Storm in the 2000 superhero movie X-Men, which she subsequently reprised in X2, X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men: Days of Future Past. In 2001, she became the first African American woman to win the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Monster’s Ball. In 2020, she made her directorial debut in the sports movie, Bruised.
12. Drew Carey
Entertainer Drew Carey can trace his roots to the Old Brooklyn neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio. After serving 6 years in the military, he worked briefly as a bank teller before moving into stand-up comedy in 1985. Within a year, he’d been made Master of Ceremonies at the Cleveland Comedy Club. In 1991, an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson brought him to national attention, with appearances on HBO’s 14th Annual Young Comedians Special and Late Night with David Letterman following soon after. Since then, his starring role in The Drew Carey Show, along with his long-running hosting slots on Whose Line Is It Anyway and The Price is Right, have turned him into a bona fide national treasure.
11. Ed O’Neill
Ed O’Neill was born in Youngstown, Ohio on April 12, 1946. He got his start in showbusiness in 1979 after director William Friedkin saw him in the Broadway play Knockout and cast him alongside Al Pacino in the movie Cruising. Since then, his roles in the likes of Married… with Children and Modern Family have turned him into one of the highest-paid stars on TV – according to wealthypersons.com, he’s now worth a stonking $70 million. Coincidently, his fellow Modern Family star Fred Willard was also born and bred in Ohio.
10. Kid Cudi
Since gaining widespread recognition with the release of his first full-length mixtape, 2008’s A Kid Named Cudi, Cleveland native Kid Cudi has become one of the biggest names in hip hop, selling over 22 million records in the US alone and winning two Grammy Awards. Over the past decade, he’s also ventured into acting, appearing in projects such Don’t Look Up, Bill and Ted Face the Music, and HBO mini-series We Are Who We Are.
9. Doris Day
Doris Day was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on April 3, 1922. She’d originally planned on becoming a dancer, but in 1973, a car accident shattered her right leg and left her dreams in tatters. Yet the accident also proved her making: while recovering, she discovered her talent for singing, and within just a couple of years, she was in hot demand with bandleaders like Bob Crosby and Les Brown. In 1948, she landed her first film role in Romance on the High Seas; by the end of the 1950s, she was one of the most popular actresses of her generation.
8. Clark Gable
Clark Gable was born in Cadiz, Ohio on February 1, 1901. After watching the play The Bird of Paradise at the age of 17, he decided to pursue acting professionally, spending the next few years touring the country with traveling tent shows. In the 1920s, he began picking up work in silent movies, and by the ’30s, he was in hot demand as a leading man. His career-defining role as Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind cemented his status as the King Of Hollywood. He died in 1960 at the age of just 59 after a series of heart attacks.
7. John Legend
John Legend (or John Roger Stephens, as his childhood friends from Springfield, Ohio know him) burst onto the scene in 2004 with the release of his debut album, Get Lifted. Since then, he’s released multiple mega-selling albums and dozens of top 10 singles (including the 13x platinum All of Me), become the first black man and the second youngest person in history to have won the EGOT (an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony), and given a helping hand to the next generation of artists through his role as a mentor on The Voice.
6. Dave Grohl
Dave Grohl initially rose to fame with Nirvana, but after the death of Kurt Cobain, the Warren, Ohio drummer launched his own band Foo Fighters. 28 years and ten albums later, and rock’s Mr. Nice is widely considered one of the most influential musicians of the last 30 years… not to mention the second richest drummer of all time by Celebrity Net Worth’s reckoning.
5. Neil Armstrong
Neil Armstrong was many things… a test pilot, a naval aviator, a university professor, and an aeronautical engineer, But to his childhood friends back home, he was the man who put Wapakoneta, Ohio, on the map when he took one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind in 1969. Over 530 million viewers watched the live broadcast as he became the first person to walk on the moon, and many millions more have watched it since. On his return from space, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom – ten years later, he was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame.
4. Bob Hope
Bob Hope may have been born in London in the UK, but by the time he was five years old, he and the rest of his family had settled into their new home in Cleveland, Ohio. After trying life as a butcher’s assistant and a lineman in his teens, he eventually decided that his future lay in showbiz. It was the right call. Over the next 80 years, Hope established himself as one of the most legendary names in entertainment, featuring in over 70 films, hosting the Acadamy Awards a record-breaking 19 times, authoring 14 books, making 57 tours for the United Service Organizations, and pioneering modern stand up in the US. He died in July 2003 at the age of 100 at his home in Toluca Lake, CA.
3. Paul Newman
After developing a taste for the stage as a child, it was only a matter of time before Paul Newman left his childhood home in Shaker Heights, Ohio, for the bright lights of Hollywood. After his performance in the 1956 film Somebody Up There Likes Me propelled him into the spotlight, he went on to star in a string of high profile films, including Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting, and The Color of Money. Outside of his day job, he was a keen race car driver who won several national championships, not to mention the founder of food company, Newman’s Own.
2. LeBron James
When it comes to basketball, LeBron James is one of the very few players that can be legitimately spoken of in the same breath as Michael Jordan. Widely considered one of the greatest players in the history of the NBA, his list of accomplishments (two Olympic gold medals, four NBA MVP awards, four NBA Finals MVP awards… the list goes on) is enough to make most players go green with envy. And it’s clearly paid off – according to Celebrity Net Worth, the Akron, Ohio native is worth the jaw-dropping net worth of $500 million.
1. Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. By the time he was 12, he’d already made his first movie of a train wreck using his toy trains. At 13, he won first prize in a state competition for a 40-minute war film called Escape to Nowhere. Clearly, he was born to be a filmmaker, so it probably didn’t come as much surprise to anyone when he dropped out of his college degree to take up a seven-year directing contract with Universal. Fast forward to today, and he’s one of the most revered filmmakers of all time, with a slew of hits including E.T., the Indiana Jones franchise, Schindler’s List, and Jurassic Park to his name. According to Wikipedia, his films are among the highest-grossing and acclaimed of all-time – seven of them have even been inducted into the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.