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From Here to Hollywood

Connecticut connections to the entertainment industry

In Hollywood, 'tis the season of what it means to be a celebrity. In the spirit of winners, losers, best-dressed, worst-dressed, thank you speeches and controversial skits, here is a link from our home in Connecticut to those in the West, dressed in lavish gowns and sharp tuxedos for their walk down the red carpet during the Oscars tonight.      

Many entertainment industry standouts have ties to Connecticut. Some are natives and others have chosen it as their sanctuary to get away from the whirlwind that is Hollywood. They have produced well-known works and influenced various productions from behind the camera to starring on the big screen. The following list highlights some of the brightest lights, as well as brushes with famous names and other notable Connecticut connections to the world of entertainment.

Kevin Bacon, the Hollywood Walk of Fame member, grew up in Philadelphia, but he and his wife, Kyra Sedgwick, live part time in Sharon. Notable Works: FootlooseMystic RiverMurder in the First.

Richard Belzer, actor and comedian, was born in Bridgeport, grew up in Fairfield and worked as a reporter forThe Bridgeport PostNotable Works: Law & Order: SVUHomicide: Life on the Street.

Ernest Borgnine, whose career spans more than six decades, was born in Hamden and later moved to North Haven. His hometown of Hamden named a park in his honor. Notable Works: MartyMcHale’s NavyAirwolf.

Glenn Close, nominated for five Oscars, was born in Greenwich. Notable Works: Fatal AttractionDamagesDangerous Liaisons101 Dalmatians.

Brian Dennehy, the film, stage and screen actor, was born in Bridgeport and currently resides in Woodstock. He also appears regularly on stage throughout Connecticut. Notable Works: Best SellerDeath of a SalesmanLong Day’s Journey into Night.

Paul Giamatti, rumored to have been a member of the Skull and Bones secret society while at Yale University, was born and raised in New Haven. Notable Works: Cinderella ManSidewaysAmerican Splendor.

Katherine Heigl, model-turned-actress, was born in Washington D.C., but spent most of her childhood in New Canaan. Notable Works: Grey’s AnatomyKnocked Up27 Dresses. 

Katharine Hepburn, the classic American actress, was born in Hartford and lived for decades in the Fenwick section of Old Saybrook. She and her family narrowly escaped the 1938 Hurricane. Today, the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center and Theatre is in Old Saybrook. Notable Works: Morning GloryLove Among the RuinsOn Golden Pond. 

Ron Howard, the actor, director and producer, was born in Oklahoma, but he lives with his high school sweetheart and their four children on a 35-acre estate in Greenwich. Notable Works: Happy DaysApollo 13, A Beautiful Mind.

Christopher Lloyd, was born in Stamford and raised in New Canaan and Westport. His family donated their family's ancestral home, Waveny Park, to the town of New Canaan. Notable Works: Back to the Future Trilogy, Taxi, Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Dylan McDermott, one of People’s Most Beautiful People in 1998, was born and raised in Waterbury. Notable Works: In the Line of Fire, The Practice, Dark Blue. 

Paul Newman, the classic American heartthrob, was born in Ohio, but along with his wife and three daughters, Newman escaped the Hollywood hills to make their home in Westport. In 2008, he died in his home in Westport. Notable Works: The Color of Money, Cool Hand Luke, The Hustler.

Diana Ross, the Motown diva, may have been born in Detroit, but she lives part time in her multimillion dollar mansion in Greenwich. Notable Works: The Supremes, Lady Sings the Blues.

Meg Ryan, America’s sweetheart, was born and raised in Fairfield. Notable Works: When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail.

Meryl Streep, the multiple award winner and nominee, was born in New Jersey, but she and her husband, Don Gummer, were wed on Masons Island in Mystic and make Greenwich their primary residence. Notable Works: The Deer Hunter, Julie & Julia, Mamma Mia!

Christopher Walken, whose career includes more than 100 movies and shows, was born in Queens, N.Y., but he and his wife, Georgianne Walken, reside in Wilton. Notable Works: The Deer Hunter, Pulp Fiction, Catch Me If You Can.

rrrichardson February 27, 2011 at 03:04 PM
Newman's wife, Joanne Woodward:1958 Oscar winner; Mia Farrow lives in CT; Gary Burghoff of MASH fame born and raised in Bristol;Susan St. James lives in CT;Patti Lupone too; Amy Brenneman b. in New London raised in Glastonbury; Linda Evans b. in Hartford; little Caitlin Hale of Ansonia (Marta AKA "Blondie" in School of Rock); Bob Crane (Hogan's Heroes) lived in Bristol too.
Cassandra Day February 27, 2011 at 04:11 PM
James Naughton, who played William van der Bilt in "Gossip Girl," was born in Middletown in 1945.
Barbi Batchelder February 27, 2011 at 04:52 PM
...Gary Burghoff of MASH, AKA "Radar O'Reilly" also used to own a home on the East Haddam-Colchester Turnpike, across from the Town Beach. My Mom ran into him at the old Cumberland Farms Store, once!

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