20 of Our Favorites Celebrities from Buffalo

Chad Michael Murray

As the second-largest city in New York state after New York City, you’d expect Buffalo to have produced a few famous names over the years. But just how many celebs can call the city home might just surprise. From actors to wrestlers, models to record producers, The Nickel City has been keeping the entertainment well supplied in talent for decades. Here are just a few of our favorite celebrities from Buffalo.

20. Steven Aaron Jordan (AKA Stevie J)

Steven Aaron Jordan was born in Utica, New York but raised in Buffalo. As a member of Bad Boy Records’ “Hitmen” roster of producers and writers, he became one of the most successful record producers of the mid-1990s, working with an army of big-name artists like Jay Z, Mariah Carey, and Eve. In 1997, he was awarded a Grammy Award for producing Puff Daddy’s debut album, No Way Out. In 2012, he added a new string to his bow when he began appearing on the VH1 reality TV series, Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta, as a primary cast member.

19. Patrick Kane

At 5-foot-10 and 177 pounds, Patrick Kane might not be the biggest player in the NHL, but as nhl.com says, the Buffalo native hasn’t allowed a lack of size to get in the way of becoming a three-time Stanley Cup champion. Over his 15 year career, Kane has represented the US at the Winter Olympics on two occasions, won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the playoffs in 2013, the Hart Memorial Trophy and Art Ross Trophy in the 2015–16 NHL season, and been named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players. He currently serves as right-winger and alternate captain for the Chicago Blackhawks.

18. Don Messick

Voice actor Don Messick was born on September 7, 1926, in Buffalo. He got his big break in the mid-’40s when he was hired to voice the characters of Raggedy Andy and Farmer Seedling on the radio series, The Raggedy Ann Show. He continued to enjoy huge success right up until his retirement in 1996, entertaining millions of kids as Scooby-Doo, Papa Smurf and Azrael in The Smurfs, Bamm-Bamm Rubble and Hoppy in The Flintstones, Dr. Benton Quest in Jonny Quest, and Boo-Boo Bear and Ranger Smith in The Yogi Bear Show. Messick passed away from a stroke on October 24, 1997, in Salinas, California, at age 71.

17. William Fichtner

Described by his IMDB profile as “a small-town guy with a big heart,” actor William Fichtner got his first acting role playing Josh Snyder in As the World Turns in 1987. Since then, he’s racked up a huge number of TV credits, with some of his most notable roles including Alexander Mahone on Prison Break, Sheriff Tom Underlay on Invasion, and most recently, Adam Janikowski on Mom. His film credits are as impressive, with Heat, Contact, Armageddon, The Perfect Storm, Black Hawk Down, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles all listed on his resume.

16. Nick Bakay

After graduating from the Professional Acting Program at SMU in Dallas, Texas with an MFA, Nick Bakay launched himself onto the world of showbiz. As a voice actor, comedian, writer, producer and sports commentator, he’s milked the entertainment game for all it’s worth. Some of his best-known roles include playing the voice of Salem Saberhagen on Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Sabrina: The Animated Series, Norbert Beaver on The Angry Beavers, and Karl on the sitcom ‘Til Death. He currently serves as one of the executive producers of the hit sitcom, Mom (which coincidently, also happens to star his fellow Buffalo native, William Fichtner).

15. Vincent Gallo

Actor, director, model, musician, painter, motorcycle racer… Vincent Gallo’s resume is nothing if not long. Considering some of the less than edifying opinions he’s espoused over the years (not to mention his decision to make The Brown Bunny, a film described by critic Robert Ebert as the worst film in the history of Cannes), it’s also not without its controversies. Suffice to say, he’s done a lot – unfortunately, not all of those things are fit for public consumption.

14. Lex Luger

Lex Luger was born in Buffalo on June 2, 1958. Back then, he was known as Lawrence Wendell Pfohl, but when he decided to ditch the football field for the wrestling ring in the mid- ’80s, he decided to change his name at the same time. Over the course of his career, he won multiple titles, including 2x WCW World Heavyweight Champion, WWA World Heavyweight Champion, 5x NWA/WCW United States Heavyweight Champion and WCW Triple Crown Champion. Since his retirement from the ring, he’s continued his association with WWE by working with them on their Wellness Policy.

13. Wendie Malick

Actress Wendie Malick was born in Buffalo, New York, on December 13, 1950. After starting her career as model, she ditched the runway for the silver screen in 1982 when she was cast in the film, A Little Sex. In the late ’80s, she began working in TV comedies and is today best known for her roles in Kate & Allie, Dream On, Just Shoot Me!, Hot in Cleveland, and Frasier. Since 2020, she’s provided the voice of Eda Clawthorne on Disney’s The Owl House.

12. Brian Mcknight

R&B singer and songwriter Brian Mcknight was born and raised in Buffalo. Best known for his roof-raising falsetto and high belting range, he’s racked up a whopping 16 Grammy Award nominations in his time… unfortunately, he’s never won a single one of those nominations, but it’s still an achievement. In addition to his music career, he’s also dabbled in acting, appearing as Tia and Tamera’s college professor on Sister Sister and as Sweet Meat in the 2009 movie, Black Dynamite. He last popped up on our screens as “Cricket” on The Masked Singer spin-off, The Masked Dancer.

11. Mark Twain

Mark Twain may not have been born and bred in Buffalo, but he spent enough time there to be considered an adopted son. After moving to the city during the early years of his marriage to Olivia Langdon, he bought a stake in the Buffalo Express newspaper and worked on the paper as an editor and writer. If you visit Buffalo, be sure to stop by the Buffalo Central Library to see a section of the original handwritten manuscript of Huckleberry Finn.

10. Beverly Johnson

Beverly Johnson was born in Buffalo on October 13, 1952. She’d originally planned on becoming a lawyer, but during a summer break at college, she decided to give modeling a try. She was offered an assignment with Glamor straight of the bat, with more offers soon pouring in. In 1974, she became the first African-American cover model to appear on US Vogue, something that caused a seismic shift in US fashion. Over the course of her career, she’s appeared on over 500 magazine covers. She’s also written several books, appeared in movies, and served as a judge on the reality TV show, She’s Got the Look.

9. Marc Mero

According to marcmero.com, Marc Mero was dreaming big from his very earliest days growing up in a single-parent home in Buffalo. After initially training as a professional boxer, his career was sidelined for 10 years after an accident. At the age of 31, he decided to enter the wrestling ring, subsequently finding success as Johnny B. Badd,” “Wildman” Marc Mero, and “Marvelous” Marc Mero. Since retiring from wrestling, he’s forged a second career as a motivational speaker and regularly tours schools giving speeches on the dangers of drug abuse in sport.

8. Chad Michael Murray

Chad Michael Murray was born in Buffalo on August 24, 1981. After moving to LA in 1999, he landed his first big break as Tristin DuGray on Gilmore Girls. Four years later, he was cast as Lucas Scott in One Tree Hill, a role that sent his profile soaring, landed him a series of awards, and won him several lucrative endorsement deals with the likes of MasterCard and K-Mart. Since the series ended, Murray has continued to enjoy success as Agent Jack Thompson in the Marvel TV series Agent Carter and as Edgar Evernever on The CW drama, Riverdale.

7. Rick James

Health problems, drug addiction, and jail time might have bought Rick James’ career to a premature end in the ’90s, but back in the ’80s, the Buffalo native was riding high in the charts with hit singles like Give It to Me Baby, Ebony Eyes, and the Grammy award-winning Super Freak. Along with his success as a solo performer, James also enjoyed huge success as a songwriter and producer for stars like Teena Marie, the Temptations, and Smokey Robinson. He died in 2006 from heart failure at age 56.

6. Jessica White

Jessica White was scouted in her hometown of Buffalo at the age of just 12 years old. Her first ever job was an editorial for Vogue, with other high-profile modeling jobs with the likes of Sports Illustrated, Teen Vogue, and Harper’s Bazaar following soon after. In addition to her editorial work, she’s also walked the runway for Victoria’s Secret, Oscar de la Renta, Sonia Rykiel, Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, and more. Her profile has led to numerous opportunities outside of modeling, including a guest judge spot on America’s Next Top Model, acting roles in Big Momma’s House 2 and The Young and the Restless, and appearances in music videos for Big & Rich, Robin Thicke, Jay- Z, and Trey Songz. In 2016, she launched her singing career with the release of her debut single, Bipolar Love, which she both wrote and produced.

5. Kyle Chandler

Emmy-winning actor Kyle Chandler was born in Buffalo on September 17, 1965. Since making his debut in the TV film, Quiet Victory: The Charlie Wedemeyer Story, in 1988, he’s become best known for his roles in Friday Night Lights, The Wolf of Wall Street, Manchester By the Sea, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and the Netflix thriller, Bloodline. He was most recently seen in the crime series, Mayor of Kingstown.

4. David Boreanaz

He may have been raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but actor David Boreanaz was born in Buffalo. After coming to fame as the tortured vampire Angel in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off, Angel, Boreanaz continued to enjoy success as homicide investigator FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth on the long-running comedy-drama series, Bones. Since the show ended in 2017, he’s played Master Chief Special Warfare Operator Jason Hayes in the CBS military drama series, SEAL Team. Since 2013, he, his wife Jamie Bergman, and their friends Melissa and Aaron Ravo have operated a nail polish line called Chrome Girl.

3. Sorrell Booke

Sorrell Booke was born in Buffalo on January 4, 1930. By the time he was nine, he was already a minor star on local radio, even winning a radio contest for his impersonation of Adolf Hitler. After graduating from the Yale School of Drama, he served for two years in the US Army before launching his acting career. A star of stage, film, and TV, his versatility won him huge acclaim, including an Emmy nomination for his appearance in Dr. Kildare. Other notable roles included Mr. Sanders in All in the Family, General Barker in M*A*S*H, mob boss Lefkowitz on Soap, and, most famously of all, Boss Hogg on The Dukes of Hazzard. Booke passed away of cancer at his home in Sherman Oaks, California, on February 11, 1994.

2. F. Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald might not have been born in Buffalo, but considering he moved there when he was still in diapers, we’re going to go ahead and count him as a Buffalo native anyway. Although he failed to achieve any significant acclaim during his lifetime, Fitzgerald’s fictionalized accounts of the glitz and the glamour of the jazz age have been re-assessed, re-evaluated, and re-appraised since his death in 1940, and he’s now widely (and rightly) regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century… even if he did nick most of his work from his wife.

1. Christine Baranski

15-time Primetime Emmy Award nominee Christine Baranski was born in Buffalo on May 2, 1952. After graduating from Juilliard, Baranski began her career on Broadway, winning numerous awards for her show-stealing turns in the likes of Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing and The House of Blue Leaves. In addition to her success on stage, Baranski has also forged a hugely successful career in TV and film, drawing critical acclaim for her appearances in The Birdcage, Mamma Mia!, and The Good Wife. She can currently be seen in the CBS spinoff of The Good Wife, The Good Fight.

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