Posted on April 4, 2016 by Kelsey Warner
You don’t necessarily have to be born in Tinseltown to make it as a star. While it certainly helps to be born in the epicenter of the entertainment industry, the path to Hollywood is not always a direct one. Today’s stars have varied roots across the country, such as a cattle ranch in Wyoming or New York City’s theaters.
Each state has produced at least one star it is proud to call its own. Some states, like California or New York, were the birthplace for a whole pack of actors. In order to definitively determine the most famous actor or actress, the data scientists at PrettyFamous queried its celebrity database for the top Hollywood celebrities from each state and the District of Columbia.
To calculate a celebrity’s “Actor Score,” they took a weighted average of the following:
- Number of awards they have been nominated for
- Total number of IMDb reviews for films and television shows they had roles in
- Recent interest, as determined by Wikipedia page views (specifically, from Feb. 20, 2016 through March 20, 2016)
These factors determined a score on a 1-100 scale, with 100 denoting the highest level of acting fame. In this list, some actors with surging interest will outrank more familiar names, due to the methodology’s emphasis on recent buzz. PrettyFamous broke tie scores with the raw number of recent Wikipedia page views.
Alabama: Channing Tatum
Actor Score: 86.3
Birthplace: Cullman, Alabama
Channing Tatum started out as a model and dancer before making it big in Step Up. He played the title role in Magic Mike, as a male stripper.
Alaska: Annie Parisse
Actor Score: 25.3
Birthplace: Anchorage, Alaska
Annie Parisse broke into the industry through her role in the soap opera As the World Turns. Although she is an Alaska native, she was raised in Seattle, Washington.
Arizona: Emma Stone
Actor Score: 90.0
Birthplace: Scottsdale, Arizona
Emma Stone, a versatile actress, is known for her roles in Easy A and Birdman. As a teenager, Stone moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting.
Arkansas: Billy Bob Thornton
Actor Score: 83.6
Birthplace: Hot Springs, Arkansas
Billy Bob Thornton won an Oscar for Sling Blade (1996), which he wrote, directed and starred in.
California: Leonardo DiCaprio
Actor Score: 100.0
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California
Leonardo DiCaprio, a Los Angeles native, has made his mark in Hollywood with decades of highly acclaimed roles. He won his first (and perhaps long overdue) Oscar in 2016 for his role in The Revenant. Leo had some tight competition for the spot as the most famous actor: namely, Tom Hanks and Clint Eastwood.
Colorado: Tim Allen
Actor Score: 85.3
Birthplace: Denver, Colorado
Tim Allen was born in Colorado but moved to Michigan as a teenager. Although known for his role in Home Improvement, Allen started out as a stand-up comic.
Connecticut: Seth MacFarlane
Actor Score: 91.0
Birthplace: Kent, Connecticut
Seth MacFarlane, the mind behind Family Guy, took on acting in A Million Ways to Die in the West and voice-acting in Ted.
Delaware: Elisabeth Shue
Actor Score: 69.0
Birthplace: Wilmington, Delaware
Elisabeth Shue, known for her parts in The Karate Kid and Leaving Las Vegas, started acting in television commercials while a student at Wellesley College.
Florida: William H. Macy
Actor Score: 93.6
Birthplace: Miami, Florida
William H. Macy, born in Miami, is known for his roles in Shameless and Fargo.
Georgia: Julia Roberts
Actor Score: 95.0
Birthplace: Smyrna, Georgia
Julia Roberts, although born in Smyrna, Georgia, later moved to New York after graduating from high school. Roberts won an Oscar in 2001 for her role in Erin Brockovich.
Hawaii: Nicole Kidman
Actor Score: 91.0
Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii
Although considered an Australian actress, Nicole Kidman was actually born in Hawaii to Aussie parents. This accomplished actress starred in four different films in 2015 alone.
Idaho: Aaron Paul
Actor Score: 85.0
Birthplace: Emmett, Idaho
Aaron Paul is known for his part as Jesse in Breaking Bad. He was nominated for five Emmys for this role and won three of them.
Illinois: Robin Williams
Actor Score: 97.6
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois
Robin Williams, born in Chicago and raised in Detroit, has been a household name since his breakthrough television roles in the late 1970s. Williams is remembered for many roles in films, such as in Good Will Hunting and Dead Poets Society.
Indiana: Jenna Fischer
Actor Score: 71.3
Birthplace: Fort Wayne, Indiana
Jenna Fischer worked as an office temp worker and found small acting roles in Los Angeles until she had her big breakthrough role as Pam Beesly in The Office.
Iowa: Cloris Leachman
Actor Score: 81.6
Birthplace: Des Moines, Iowa
Cloris Leachman has spent decades acting in a variety of shows, films and plays. She is known for her part in The Mary Tyler Moore Show and also as Ida, the chain-smoking grandmother in Malcolm in the Middle.
Kansas: Dennis Hopper
Actor Score: 79.3
Birthplace: Dodge City, Kansas
Dennis Hopper found mainstream success in Rebel Without a Cause, acting alongside James Dean. He died in 2010.
Kentucky: Johnny Depp
Actor Score: 98.6
Birthplace: Owensboro, Kentucky
Johnny Depp, a fourth-generation Kentuckian, moved to Florida when he was seven. His first role was in The Nightmare on Elm Street in 1984. Depp tied for the spot of Kentucky’s most famous actor with George Clooney. The tie was broken by Depp’s Wikipedia popularity.
Louisiana: Ellen DeGeneres
Actor Score: 93.3
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana
Ellen DeGeneres, originally a stand-up comic, has won multiple Emmys for her long-running talk show The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Although not traditionally known for her acting, she qualifies for this list through her work as the voice behind the fish Dory in Finding Nemo.
Maine: Anna Kendrick
Actor Score: 88.6
Birthplace: Portland, Maine
Anna Kendrick, born in Portland, Maine, would travel to New York for theater auditions as a young girl. She is now known for her starring role as Beca in the Pitch Perfect films.
Maryland: Julie Bowen
Actor Score: 80.0
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland
Julie Bowen has made a name for herself in the shows Boston Legal, Weeds and Modern Family.
Massachusetts: Matt Damon
Actor Score: 99.3
Birthplace: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Matt Damon had his Hollywood breakthrough in 1997 as Will Hunting in Good Will Hunting. He recently starred in The Martian.
Michigan: J.K. Simmons
Actor Score: 92.6
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan
J.K. Simmons started his career as a music composer and working in musicals. He now has decades worth of acting credits. He won an Oscar and Golden Globe for his performance in Whiplash (2014).
Minnesota: Jessica Lange
Actor Score: 89.0
Birthplace: Cloquet, Minnesota
Jessica Lange grew up in a small town in Minnesota but has proven herself as a formidable talent on the stage and screen. Although she has snagged multiple Oscars and Golden Globe awards, many know her for her roles in American Horror Story.
Mississippi: Oprah Winfrey
Actor Score: 90.0
Birthplace: Kosciusko, Mississippi
Oprah Winfrey, born in Kosciusko, Mississippi, is the queen of daytime talk shows with The Oprah Winfrey Show. Although she is mainly known for her talk show work, she played the part of Sofia in the 1985 film The Color Purple. Winfrey said that this film changed her life and inspired her own show.
Missouri: John Goodman
Actor Score: 96.6
Birthplace: Affton, Missouri
John Goodman was a central part of ’90s television as the husband on Roseanne. He recently gave a critically-acclaimed performance as Howard in 10 Cloverfield Lane.
Montana: David Lynch
Actor Score: 80.6
Birthplace: Missoula, Montana
David Lynch is the creator of Twin Peaks, which he also acted in.
Nebraska: Marlon Brando
Actor Score: 92.3
Birthplace: Omaha, Nebraska
Marlon Brando became an acting legend with memorable roles in , The Godfather, and Apocalypse Now. Although he was born in Nebraska, Brando was also raised in Illinois and attended a military academy in Minnesota.
Nevada: Jena Malone
Actor Score: 70.0
Birthplace: Sparks, Nevada
Jena Malone was born in Nevada but moved to Los Angeles with her mother to pursue acting. She is known for her roles in Donnie Darko, Into the Wild, and Saved!
New Hampshire: Sarah Silverman
Actor Score: 79.0
Birthplace: Bedford, New Hampshire
Sarah Silverman, at the age of 22, started writing for and performing on Saturday Night Live. She wrote and starred in her own Comedy Central series The Sarah Silverman Show.
New Jersey: Kevin Spacey
Actor Score: 99.3
Birthplace: South Orange, New Jersey
Kevin Spacey, born in New Jersey but raised in the Los Angeles area, has been acting since the 1980s. He plays Frank Underwood in the Netflix series House of Cards.
New Mexico: Neil Patrick Harris
Actor Score: 91.0
Birthplace: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Neil Patrick Harris, the son of lawyers, had his start as a child actor in the 1988 film Clara’s Heart. He has since established himself as an adult actor on the stage and in the popular series How I Met Your Mother.
New York: Robert De Niro
Actor Score: 99.0
Birthplace: New York City, New York
Robert De Niro has had an extensive acting career, having starred in over 100 films and receiving two Oscars. New York had tough competition for the spot of the most famous actor, with Tom Cruise trailing closely behind De Niro.
North Carolina: Julianne Moore
Actor Score: 94.3
Birthplace: Fayetteville, North Carolina
Julianne Moore, born in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, was on the soap opera As the World Turns. She has since had memorable roles in Still Alice, Boogie Nights, and The Big Lebowski.
North Dakota: Josh Duhamel
Actor Score: 72.0
Birthplace: Minot, North Dakota
Josh Duhamel moved to San Francisco after college and found work as a model. He achieved acting success in the television series Las Vegas and soap opera All My Children.
Ohio: Halle Berry
Actor Score: 92.6
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio
Halle Berry, once a pageant queen and model, is now known for roles in Jungle Fever, X-Men, and Catwoman. Berry tied with Martin Sheen for this coveted Ohio spot but won in the tiebreaker.
Oklahoma: Brad Pitt
Actor Score: 99.3
Birthplace: Shawnee, Oklahoma
Brad Pitt has made his mark as a Hollywood heartthrob through roles in films like Fight Club, Snatch, 12 Monkeys, Inglourious Basterds, and the Ocean’s Eleven franchise. He was born in Oklahoma, spent time in Missouri and moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career.
Oregon: Ty Burrell
Actor Score: 77.3
Birthplace: Grants Pass, Oregon
Although born in Oregon, Ty Burrell moved to New York City in order to pursue an acting career. He is known for roles in Black Hawk Down, Dawn of the Dead, and the sitcom Modern Family.
Pennsylvania: Will Smith
Actor Score: 97.3
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Will Smith started off with a rap career that led to his becoming The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He has since become one of Hollywood’s leading men with parts in Independence Day, Men in Black, I Am Legend, and The Pursuit of Happyness.
Rhode Island: Mena Suvari
Actor Score: 60.0
Birthplace: Newport, Rhode Island
Mena Suvari, who started her career as a model, acted in films such as American Pie and American Beauty.
South Carolina: Chris Rock
Actor Score: 95.6
Birthplace: Andrews, South Carolina
Although Chris Rock often reflects on his Brooklyn upbringing, he was actually born in Andrews, South Carolina. He achieved mainstream success in 1990 when he became part of the Saturday Night Live cast.
South Dakota: January Jones
Actor Score: 74.3
Birthplace: Sioux Falls, South Dakota
January Jones, at the age of 18, moved to New York City in order to pursue a modeling career. She landed a variety of acting gigs with perhaps her most significant as Betty Draper in AMC’s Mad Men.
Tennessee: Morgan Freeman
Actor Score: 98.0
Birthplace: Memphis, Tennessee
Morgan Freeman has played memorable roles in Invictus, The Shawshank Redemption, and Million Dollar Baby, which earned him an Oscar.
Texas: Robin Wright
Actor Score: 95.0
Birthplace: Dallas, Texas
Robin Wright, born in Texas and raised in San Diego, is most recently known for her role as Claire Underwood in House of Cards.
Utah: James Woods
Actor Score: 85.3
Birthplace: Vernal, Utah
James Woods was born in Utah but attended high school in Rhode Island. He dropped out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to pursue a career in acting. He is known for his acting roles in Casino and HBO’s Too Big to Fail.
Vermont: Orson Bean
Actor Score: 32.6
Birthplace: Burlington, Vermont
Orson Bean started off doing stand-up comedy in the 1960s. He has made a variety of television appearances and is known for his 1999 acting role in the film Being John Malkovich.
Virginia: Sandra Bullock
Actor Score: 94.6
Birthplace: Arlington, Virginia
Sandra Bullock’s 1994 role as Annie in “Speed” put her on the radar in Hollywood. She has since gone on to star in many films including Miss Congeniality, Crash, Gravity, and The Proposal.
Washington: Rainn Wilson
Actor Score: 77.0
Birthplace: Seattle, Washington
Although raised in Seattle, Rainn Wilson spent his teens in Illinois. After graduate school, Wilson acted in stage productions and eventually landed roles in television series and films. He made his mark playing Dwight Schrute on the television series The Office.
Washington, D.C: Taraji P. Henson.
Actor Score: 85.6
Birthplace: Washington, District of Columbia
Taraji P. Henson, known for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Hustle & Flow and Empire, didn’t receive her big break until the age of 26 in the television series Smart Guy.
West Virginia: John Corbett
Actor Score: 73.6
Birthplace: Wheeling, West Virginia
John Corbett discovered his passion for acting after moving to California. He is known for his roles in My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Sex and the City.
Wisconsin: Mark Ruffalo
Actor Score: 94.0
Birthplace: Kenosha, Wisconsin
The film A Streetcar Named Desire inspired Mark Ruffalo to pursue an acting career. After attending high school in Virginia, Ruffalo studied acting in Los Angeles. He is known for his roles in The Kids Are Alright, The Avengers and Spotlight.
Wyoming: Jim Beaver
Actor Score: 27.7
Birthplace: Laramie, Wyoming