Iowa-Hollywood Connection

filmThe Iowa-Hollywood Connection

A number of well-known actors and actresses were born or raised in Iowa, some very famous, some lesser-known. How many of the following have you heard of?

Cloris Leachman, born in Des Moines in 1930, is well-known for her role as downstairs neighbor Phyllis Lindstrom on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.  Recently, has taken a role in the comedy tv series Raising Hope.

Donna Reed, born in Denison in 1921, was first recognized for her role in the movie It’s a Wonderful Life. She later starred in The Donna Reed Show from 1958-1966.

John Wayne, born in Winterset in 1907 as Marion Morrison, made
many Westerns and won an Oscar in 1970 for True Grit.

Fred Grandy, born in Sioux City in 1948, is famous for his role as Gopher on The Love Boat. He was later a congressman from Iowa for four terms, 1987-1995.

Jerry Mathers, born in Sioux City in 1948, will always be identified with his role as Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver on the Leave It to Beaver show.

Jean Seberg was born in Marshalltown in 1938. She made her acting debut as Joan of Arc in Otto Preminger’s 1957 movie, Saint Joan.

William Frawley, born in Burlington in 1887, starred as neighbor
Fred Mertz, wife of Ethel, on I Love Lucy, and later played Bub on
My Three Sons.

George Reeves, born in Woolstock in 1914, played Superman on television in The Adventures of Superman from 1951-1958.

Sada Thompson, born in Des Moines in 1929, was a renowned Broadway actress and later played the mother on the TV show Family.

Richard Beymer, born in Avoca in 1939 (some sources say 1938), was best known for his role as Tony in the movie version of West Side Story.

Sue Lyon, born in Davenport in 1946, won fame playing Lolita in the
film of the same name when she was sixteen.

Marcia Wallace, born in Creston in 1942, played Bob’s secretary on
The Bob Newhart Show and is currently the voice of Edna Krabappel on The Simpsons.

Some of the more recent Iowa natives now working in Hollywood are

Tom Arnold, born in Ottumwa in 1959, is a television and movie actor.

Michael Emerson, born in 1954 in Cedar Rapids, played the evil character Ben on the TV series Lost.

Terry Farrell, born in Cedar Rapids in 1963, and had recurring roles on the TV series Becker and Star: Trek Deep Space Nine.

Annabeth Gish was born in Albuquerque, NM in 1971, but grew up in Cedar Falls. She made her debut in the movie Mystic Pizza in 1988, and had recurring roles on The West Wing, The X Files, and Brotherhood and now Pretty Little Liars.

David Anthony Higgins was born in Des Moines in 1961 and graduated from Roosevelt High School. He has appeared on both Ellen and Malcolm in the Middle.

Ashton Kutcher, born in Cedar Rapids in 1978, is well-known for
That ‘70’s Show, Punk’d, and most recently Two and a Half Men.  He has also starred in several films.

Ron Livingston, born in Cedar Rapids in 1967, has acted in movies and on TV, including on The Practice and Sex and the City, as well as the cult classic Office Space.

Michelle Monaghan, born in 1976 in Winthrop,was in Gone Baby Gone and has several films currently in production.

Brandon Routh, born in Des Moines in 1979, followed in George Reeves’ footsteps and played Superman/Clark Kent in the 2006 movie Superman Returns.  He has also apprised roles on the tv series’ Chuck and Partners.

Gregory Alan Williams, born in Des Moines in 1956, has been in movies and tv.  Recently played Coach Parnell on Necessary Roughness and is now working on a few films.

Elijah Wood, born in Cedar Rapids in 1981, has acted in movies and on TV, probably best known for his role as Frodo Baggins in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit directed by Peter Jackson.

Iowa Film Office. Stars from Our Backyard. 1996.
Internet Movie Database.

2 Responses

  1. Marci,I think the saddest story ever in Hollywood is that of Bobby Driscoll who was born in Cedar Rapids & lived in Des Moines. He was Johnny in ‘Song of the South’ & Peter Pan & many other roles and was considered a great actor. He was treated badly by Walt Disney, even though he was probably the main reason for the success of Disney and is buried in a paupers field in New York City. There is a lot about him on the internet. wiki page – Pat Meiners

  2. A friend of mine, Paul Rust, is from LeMars. He was the lead in I Love You, Beth Cooper.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: