A lot of big personalities have come out of Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Here are just a few notable celebrities from the Northeast who have gone on to make it big in Hollywood and beyond. You may know a few, but others may come as a surprise.
Read through our list, then let’s get the conversation going. Tell us which celebrities are from your hometowns in the comments.
Taylor Schilling, best known for her role in Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black” was born in West Roxbury and is said to frequent her hometown.
Born in Cambridge, actress, writer, producer and director Mindy Kaling first gained recognition starring in NBC’s hit series “The Office” and keeps us laughing on the big screen.
Massachusetts sure does turn out some funny people! Amy Poehler was born in Newton. She became a star on “Saturday Night Live,” and the rest is history.
Filmmaker and Academy Award-winning actor Ben Affleck is one of the most well-known celebrities from the Northeast. While he was born on the West Coast, he grew up in Cambridge.
Born in Cambridge, Matt Damon attended Harvard, but quickly decided to pursue his acting career and left university. He starred in mega-hits like “Saving Private Ryan” and “Good Will Hunting,” in which he and Affleck put on some good Boston accents (and won the Oscar for best screenplay together).
The Ocean State may be the smallest in the country, but it has some big stars. Famous broadcaster Meredtih Vieira was born in Providence.
The first African American to win the triple crown of acting – Tony, Emmy and Academy awards – Viola Davis was born in South Carolina and moved to Central Falls at just 2 months old. She starred in the ABC series “How to Get Away with Murder” for six seasons.
Award-winning actor James Woods grew up in Warwick. He has appeared in countless movies for decades and more recently does voice acting on the popular television show “Family Guy.”
Born in Newport, Mena Suvari is an award-winning model and actress. Her first major movie roles were “American Beauty” and “American Pie,” and she went on to star in many other hits.
Actress Debra Messing moved to Rhode Island with her family as a toddler and grew up in East Greenwich. She’s starred in many movies but is best known for her role on the sitcom “Will & Grace.”
Though born in the Bronx, Billy Joel was raised in Hicksville, a town on Long Island. Both locales influenced the singer’s music, including the title of this first album, “Cold Spring Harbor,” named for the hamlet near him hometown, and of course “New York State of Mind.” He still resides on Long Island in the town of Oyster Bay.
Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem, but her family settled in the Long Island town of Syosset. The actress has been gracing the big screen since she was just 11 years old. Some of her most famous roles include Jackie Kennedy, Anne Boleyn, Queen Amidala (“Star Wars”) and ballerina Nina Sayers in “Black Swan,” for which she won an Academy Award.
J.Lo is famously from the Bronx. The actress, singer and dancer inextricably tied herself to her hometown with the single “Jenny From the Block,” the lead single from her third album “This Is Me … Then,” which pays tribute to her childhood growing up in the borough.
Long Island native Mariah Carey was born in Huntington. She headed to the Big Apple to pursue her dreams of being a singer. She is now one of the bestselling female artists of all time. And love it or hate it, would it really be the holiday season without Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You”?
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Jay-Z began his career as a rapper in the late 1980s and references New York City in many of his songs and anthems, most famously “Empire State of Mind.”
Jon Bon Jovi
Born in Perth Amboy, Jon Bon Jovi is a singer, songwriter, guitarist and actor best known as the frontman of his band, Bon Jovi. You can’t go to a bar in Jersey without hearing “You Give Love a Bad Name” or “Livin’ on a Prayer.”
Singer-songwriter, Bruce Springsteen was born in Asbury Park. He reveals major love for his home state with lyrics mentioning Jersey in nine songs!
The Garden State is also home to late singer and actress Whitney Houston. Born in Newark, she moved to East Orange when she was just 4 years old. Whitney’s powerful voice earned her many accolades and kept her singles at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for years.
Meryl Streep was born in Summit and raised in Bernardsville. She won three Oscars in her acting career and has been nominated 21 times, making Jersey proud to claim her as their own.
Beloved actor, singer and dancer John Travolta was born in Englewood. He gained his claim to fame starring in “Saturday Night Fever,” “Grease” and “Pulp Fiction” and has picked up many nominations and awards along the way.
Born in Hartford, Katharine Hepburn stole the hearts of many on stage and was a leading lady in Hollywood for decades. The late, great actress starred in classic films like “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” and “On Golden Pond.”
Rom-com queen Meg Ryan was born in Fairfield and quickly became America’s sweetheart. She became famous for her role in movies like “When Harry Met Sally” and “Sleepless in Seattle.”
Justin Long also hails from Fairfield. The actor, comedian, director and screenwriter is known for his roles in movies like “Jeepers Creepers” and “Dodgeball.”
The famed singer-songwriter was born in Bridgeport and grew up in Fairfield. His first time on stage was at the Westport Central School talent show. Now he’s gone on to win seven Grammy Awards.
Connecticut is the home of Betsey Johnson, famed fashion designer known for her bold and colorful signature style. Betsey was born in Wethersfield and grew up a short distance away in Terryville.
What are some of the big names that have come out of your hometown or state? Share them in the comments below!