Sometimes, the enormously overtalented aren’t born in a location that’s ripe for fostering their stage presence. Let’s face it, unless your dream job is to play showrooms packed with senior citizens in Branson, Missouri, anyone who wants a career in entertainment needs to hit the major coastal cities.
Here are 16 trendsetting stars who fled the Midwest for Hollywood…
From: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Although Prince became a big star before turning 20, he spent almost 17 years growing up in Minnesota. One of the wholesome high school activities Prince enjoyed was playing for the basketball team, even though he was so short he was probably constantly getting a faceful of jockstrap.
From: Bay City, Michigan
Madonna grew up in an immigrant family in rural Michigan. She was known for finding excuses to flash her underwear at Catholic school, which she somehow turned into a 30-year career.
3. Brad Pitt
From: Springfield, Missouri
The square-jawed actor was born in Oklahoma and soonafter moved with his family to Springfield. Always an overachiever, he was in the Key Club and made his way onto rosters of the swimming, golf, tennis and debate teams. And on top of all that, he’s soooooo pretty.
4. January Jones
From: Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Before she became popular on the hit series Mad Men, Jones grew up in the dusty plains of South Dakota. Which leads us to believe that everyone in South Dakota is named after the time they were born, to minimize accounting.
5. Elijah Wood
From: Cedar Rapids, IA
Wood starred in elementary school musicals until his parents moved to Los Angeles when he was seven. We always thought the pipe-smoking, barefoot citizens of Middle Earth reminded us of Iowa.
6. Michael Jackson
From: Gary, Indiana
To say Michael Jackson escaped the Midwest is a bit misleading, a better statement would be “his father dragged him out of there by his vocal chords.”
7. Paul Rudd
From: Overland Park, Kansas
After moving there at a young age, Rudd grew up among the infinite fields of the Sunflower State. Which makes that whole weird family relationship in Clueless add up.
8. Michael Emerson
From: Cedar Rapids, IA
Another star born in Cedar Rapids, Emerson is best known for playing the sinister Ben Linus on LOST. Being in an isolated society with ancient technology obviously prepared him for the role.
9. Scott Bakula
From: Kirkwood, Missouri
This treads dangerously close to the plot of our screenplay, “Farmer Hicks Piloting Spaceships”
10. Kirstie Alley
From: Wichita, Kansas
Kirstie Alley spent her life trying to look like she doesn’t belong in a Kansas trailer park until she finally overcame the odds and beat her affliction with the help of Scientology. That’s not true, but it’s probably what she and Xenu would prefer we say.
11. Cedric the Entertainer
From: Jefferson City, Missouri
His original target audience in Missouri explains why he came up with that “black guy dancing silly equals funny” logic.
12. Hilary Swank
From: Lincoln, Nebraska
And she’s got the stoic jawline of a hardened Dust Bowl survivor to prove it.
13. David Letterman
From: Indianapolis, Indiana
Letterman’s television career spans decades, but you can always tell where he came from by looking at that tooth gap.
14. Vivica A. Fox
From: South Bend, Indiana
It’s easy to be the hottest half Native American, half black woman in the state, when you’re the only half Native American, half black woman in the state.
15. Mattthew Fox
From: Crowheart, Wyoming
Fox was forced to leave Wyoming under laws discriminating against all sensitive-looking men.
From: Saint Joseph, Missouri
Although he spent his teenage years in Detroit (and won’t stop rapping about it, now), Eminem grew up being displaced from various homes with his mother in Missouri (and won’t stop rapping about it, now).
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