The biggest celebrities don’t come from Hollywood – many are from right here in Nevada!

When I was a kid I thought if you were born in Los Angeles – Hollywood, to be exact – you were just born a celebrity. I thought all actors and actresses were, and had to be, from L.A. Growing up, and maturing (sort of) over time – and my Mom telling me otherwise – they are not.

Living in Nevada we’re all familiar with, and run into quite a few famous people, but you may not realize how many are actually from the Silver State. Many people from a variety of fields: Actors, athletes, musicians are from our own state.

We know the standard Las Vegas, and Nevada performers, who almost seem like they are from here – Wayne Newton, Sinatra, Liberace, etc. But there are a lot of celebrities that were born here in Nevada, or were here from childhood, and actually got their start here -at Las Vegas Academy, Bishop Gorman, or Reno High School!

Some you might know of course, but others may be a surprise. Or at least a “no way!” You watched them in your favorite shows, you watched them compete, you watched them try to help make the country a better place, and you went to their concerts.

Take a look at this list of celebs who got their start right in our backyard!

Carla Rea

  • Dawn Wells

    Dawn Wells will be forever remembered as Mary Ann on the iconic sitcom, “Gilligan’s Island.” A three hour cruise… She was born and raised in Reno. In 1959, she was crowned Miss Nevada and competed in the Miss America pageant the following year. She graduated from Reno High School.

    Dawn Wells

  • Thomas Ian Nicholas

    Thomas Ian Nicholas gained fame at a pretty young age when he starred in “A Kid In King Arthur’s Court.” He went on to play in major films like “Rookie of the Year” and the “American Pie” series. He has also released several albums. He was born in Las Vegas.

    Thomas Ian Nicholas

  • Patricia Nixon

    Pat Nixon is probably best-known for who she married: President Richard Nixon. While First Lady, she heavily promoted volunteerism. She also worked to acquire many historical pieces of art and furnishings for the White House. Pat Nixon was born in Ely.

    Pat Nixon

  • Matthew Gray Gubler

    Matthew Gray Gubler is best known for his role as Dr. Spencer Reid on the hit show “Criminal Minds.” He’s from Las Vegas, and studied acting at the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts only because his first choice, filmmaking, wasn’t offered. He’s directed several projects and has also had success as a children’s book author, model, and painter. Criminal Minds is BACK, and you can stream it on Paramount+.

    Matthew Gray Gubler

  • Charisma Carpenter

    90’s TV lovers will recognize Charisma Carpenter from her role as Cordelia Chase on the shows “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and its spin-off “Angel.” She also acted in the popular shows “Veronica Mars” and “Charmed.” She was raised in Las Vegas and attended Bishop Gorman High School.

    Charisma Carpenter

  • Jena Malone

    Jena Malone has starred in a lot of popular films. Her acting credits include “Stepmom,” “Donnie Darko,” and “The Hunger Games” film series. She’s also a musician, songwriter, and accomplished photographer as well! She has even performed on Broadway in the hit show “Doubt.” She was born in Sparks, Nevada,  and spent much of her early life in the Las Vegas area.

    Jena Malone

  • Amy Purdy

    When Amy Purdy was just 19 years old, she fell ill with bacterial meningitis that resulted in both of her legs being amputated below the knee. She had just a 2% chance of survival. She survived and went on to win a medal at the Paralympics as a successful snowboarder. She has also competed on “Dancing With The Stars” and is a model and motivational speaker.

    Amy Purdy

  • Panic! at the Disco

    Panic! at the Disco was the solo project of Musician Brendon Urie (who moved to Las Vegas from Utah when he was two years old). It was originally a pop rock band formed in Las Vegas in 2004 by childhood friends Urie, Ryan RossSpencer Smith, and Brent Wilson. They recorded their first demos while they were in high school (Palo Verde High, and Bishop Gorman). Shortly after, the band released their debut studio album, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out (2005). Popularized by the second single, “I Write Sins Not Tragedies,” the album was certified triple platinum in the US. In 2006.

    Panic! At The Disco

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