Famous People From Illinois
When people think of famous folks from Illinois, many immediately look to the Windy City. While it may be true that a lot of today's celebrities hailing from the Land of Lincoln can call Chicago their hometown, there are still many others with much different backgrounds.
McCarthy, co-star of NBC's Mike & Molly, was born into a predominantly Irish-American family in Plainfield. She grew up on the family farm and loved to play tennis. Entering into adulthood, McCarthy moved to New York to pursue her acting career, becoming a member of The Groundlings acting troupe for nearly ten years before nailing her first major role.
Cusak, one of the more memorable members of the Brat Pack, was born in Evanston in 1966. Being born into a family of thespians and filmmakers, it was written in the stars that "Johnny" would join the family business. Cusack has been acting in films and stage productions since elementary school and is most known as the stereo blasting romantic Lloyd Dobler from Say Anything...
Ludacris (aka "Luda" aka "The Ludameister") was born Christopher Brian Bridges in Champaign in 1977. In his early years, around the age of 9, Luda was first introduced to rap music and started rapping himself. Bridges attended Emerson Middle School. After middles school, he attended Oak Park and River Forest High School for his freshman year. It was here that he met Justin Ryan Fyfe, his biggest musical influence. Soon after this, Bridges and his family moved to Atlanta, Georgia. Here, Ludacris would finish high school and begin to ply his trade as a lyricist and musical artist.
Born in Oak Park in January of 1922, Betty White has had one of the longest and most successful careers in all of television. She started her acting career in 1930 playing an adopted orphan for the radio drama Empire Builders. White has made so many appearances outside of her iconic roles on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Golden Girls that they deserve their own separate article just to be properly listed! When she was 88, she became the oldest person to ever host Saturday Night Live. Today, at 93 years old, Betty Whites career still seems to be in full swing, and she shows few signs of slowing down.
Odenkirk, most known for his role as the shyster lawyer Saul Goodman on the shows Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, was born the second of seven children in the town of Berwyn in October of 1962. However, he grew up in the city of Naperville. During his time at Southern Illinois University of Carbondale, Odenkirk worked as a DJ for the campus radio station WIDB. He left college three credits shy of graduating to move to Chicago and pursue acting. He acted in local improv workshops and did small-time standup routines before being hired as a writer for The Ben Stiller Show. The rest is history.
Hollywood's favorite man's man originally made his home in Joliet as part of "this great farm family". Offerman attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 1988 to 1993. He is most famous for his iconic role as Ron Swanson, the dry, deadpan, and uber-American director of the parks department on Parks and Recreation. An accomplished humorist, Offerman has written the book "Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Principles for Delicious Living". He also spends much of his time off-screen working in his family wood shop in Los Angeles.
Duncan was born in Chicago in 1957. Being raised by his single mother on the south side, he grew up resisting the drugs and alcohol prevalent there and, instead, focused on school. Dissuaded by his mother from playing football in high school, Duncan turned to acting and dreamed of becoming famous one day. After finishing community college, Duncan worked as a ditch-digger for People's Gas Company, but he would quit this job and move to Hollywood. He started out getting small roles and working as a bodyguard. Performance after performance eventually led to his iconic role as the prison convict John Coffey in The Green Mile. Duncan had many supporting roles in other films, often playing villains or characters of tough demeanor because of his size. Michael Clarke Duncan died September 3rd, 2012 due to complications from a heart attack earlier that year.