Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Who are Hollywood's biggest stars from this locality?

Posted By on Wed, Oct 1, 2008 at 8:04 PM

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Before this year’s Best of Atlanta fades from our memories, I wanted to share the results of a discussion that came up regarding “Best Local Actor with a National Platform.” In the past, this category has often appeared on our ballot as “Best Local Actor Who Is Not Julia Roberts,” because whenever we’d ask our readers to vote for the "best local actress," they’d pick the toothy Smyrna native – as they did this year. So frequently we make the distinction between local stage actors like Chris Kayser and Courtney Patterson vs. Hollywood television and movie stars with local backgrounds like Julia Roberts or "The Office's" Ed Helms.

This year the obvious critic pick for "Best Local Actor with a National Platform" seemed to be Jack McBrayer, originally from Macon, who steals virtually his every scene on NBC's Emmy-winning sitcom "30 Rock." Plus, McBrayer plays a Georgian -- albeit a hilariously stereotypical one -- so he won extra points. A couple of months ago, when I was trying to narrow it down, I solicited suggestions of local actors on the national stage from the Atlanta Theatre Mailing List group, and received a great many suggestions. The term "local" is pretty loose, encompassing virtually all of Georgia and including actors who spent most, but not all, of their childhood here. A list follows the jump: if you can think of more who belong on the list, or would like to suggest that some be stuck, please offer suggestions:

Tyler Perry

Holly Hunter

Dakota Fanning

David Cross

Ryan Seacrest

Josh Holloway

Steven Soderbergh

Keenan Thompson (SNL, Fat Albert)

Chris Tucker

Alyson Hannigan

Kim Basinger

Briam Baumgartner ("The Office")

Jan Hooks

Ray McKinnon

Walton Goggins

Wayne Knight ("Seinfeld")

DeForest Kelly

Bert Parks

Ty Pennington

Nipsey Russell

Keith Robinson

Andre Benjamin

Justice Leak

Lance Krall

Jeff Daniels (Athens)

Spike Lee

Alan Ball

Jeff Foxworthy

The above list includes some filmmakers and deceased people, and does not include many Broadway actors with Atlanta roots, like Young Frankenstein's Shuler Hensley. Some great actors with Atlanta connections never lived here long enough to qualify as "local." Jennifer Garner, for instance, interned at Georgia Shakespeare in 1994, but that probably doesn't "count."

(Photo courtesy of NBC/Universal)

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