Houston Celebrity Watch
Everything is bigger in Texas! From movie stars to famous singers, many celebrities have ties toour great city of Houston. Whether they are native born or representatives of Houston, they surely shine bright in the hearts of Houstonians.
Inspirational leaders, Radio Hosts, and Houston Humanitarians are just a few of the people who have Houston in common. Some stars are still making a name for themselves in the entertainment industry; others are international sensations who need no introduction at all.
H Texas presents our Houston celebrity breakdown.
This Houston native broke into the entertainment world at the age of seventeen in the dynamic girl group Destiny’s Child. In 2001, Beyonce broke free from Destiny’s Child and entered into her solo career with her first album “Dangerously in Love.” Since going solo, she has won five Grammy Awards, and starred in several movies which include, the Oscar nominated movie “DreamGirls.” She has recently added the title of wife to her resume after marrying Hip-Hop mogul Jay-Z in April 2008.
A Katy native, Academy Award winning actress Renee Zellweger started her acting career in Houston with her first lead role opposite Matthew McConaughey in “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” She has gone on to plump up for roles in movies such as “Bridget Jones’ Diary” and display her dance moves in the movie “Chicago.”
Born in Houston, the “Alias” actress turned movie star started her career off in New York City auditioning for television shows and small films. Garner’s love for the stage sprouted from studying ballet for nine years. Garner is best known for her roles in “13 Going on 30,” “Elektra,” and most recently, “Juno.”
Veteran Anchorman Dan Rather was born in Wharton, TX, and graduated with a degree in Journalism from Sam Houston State University. Rather first caught the eyes of Americans after leading the nation during the coverage of the Kennedy assassination in 1963.
After bursting onto the celebrity scene as Disney’s “Lizzy McGuire,” the Houstonian’s star power rose with platinum-selling albums and lead roles in “A Cinderella Story” and other feature films.
Famous for playing tough-as-nails surgeon Dr. Miranda Bailey on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” the Houston native sharpened her acting skills at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston.
Born in Houston, TX, Washington is best known for his former role as Dr. Preston Burke on “Grey’s Anatomy.”
Residing in the Houston-area, the former Heavyweight Champion gives back through The George Foreman Youth & Community Center. Known for his famous George Foreman grills, few kitchens throughout the country are without his grills. Foreman also spreads the word of the gospel at The Church of Lord Jesus Christ in Houston.
Lynn Nolan Ryan is a retired Major League Pitcher of the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers. The all-time leader in no-hitters in baseball history, Ryan is the current president of the Texas Rangers. Texans showed their pride for the athlete by naming Nolan Ryan Junior High School after him in 2008.
Texas born Phylicia Ayers-Allen is best known for her role as Claire Huxtable on the 80’s hit show “The Cosby Show.” Phylicia won a Tony for her role in “A Raisin in the Sun.”
Acclaimed for his portrayals of Jerry Lee Lewis in “Great Balls of Fire” and Doc Holiday in “Wyatt Earp,” this Houstonian first gained the attention from his role in “Breaking Away” in 1979, and earned strong reviews from his role in “The Right Stuff” in 1983.
Starring as the lovable but dimwitted cousin Eddie in the National Lampoon “Vacation” movies, he fine-tuned his acting skills alongside famous younger brother Dennis at the University of Houston’s School of Theatre.
After attending the University of Houston as a track star, Lewis went on to attend the Olympics where he won ten medals and set a World Record for the indoor long jump. His impressive finish earned him the honor of being named the “Olympian of the Century.”
Standing at seven feet six inches, Yao Ming is the tallest NBA player. Drafted from overseas, Ming has brought the Houston Rockets to new heights.
After leading the Rocket’s to their second NBA title in 1995, the River Oaks-Memorial resident retired in 1998 to coach basketball for his alma mater, the University of Houston. He recently showed off his dance moves as a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars” in 2007.
Well-known for his brief marriage to actress Julia Roberts, the Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter grew up in Klein, Texas. Lovett studied German and journalism at Texas A&M.
Olajuwon joined the Houston Rockets in 1984, and was affectionately known as “Hakeem The Dream” for his grace on and off the court. After 20 consecutive basketball seasons, first with the Cougars and then to the Houston Rockets, the retired, two-time NBA champ still calls Houston home.
Alongside lifelong friend Beyonce Knowles, she achieved chart-topping success as a member of Destiny’s Child.
Living in Sugar Land wasn’t exactly ideal for a girl who loved to figure skate, but she made it work. The Olympic gold-medallist now resides in Los Angeles where she’s established a successful acting career.
Melora Hardin started her career in TV hit “Back to the Future” in 1985.Generating laughs from NBC’s hit comedy “The Office,” Hardin is also known for her role on TV Show “Monk” and for her vocal skills on her album “All the way to Mars.”
The singer, actress, and younger sibling of Beyonce, is following in the footsteps of her sister. Her album, Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams, has reached the top of Billboard’s Hot Dance Singles Charts.
At the age of 10, Ballas became a dancing champion, and began to explore the professional dancing world. Famous for his sexy moves on
“Dancing with The Stars,” the
Houston native is also lead singer of group Ballas Hough Band. Ballas’ band released their debut album BHB in 2009.
Raised in Katy, he started his country music career playing in his brother’s band while touring the Houston club circuit. Black has won more than six CMA awards, and has had multiple songs reach the top of the country music singles charts. He is also known for marrying Lisa Hartman Black of
“Knot’s Landing” fame.
A Houston native and “Sharp Dressed Man” is one of the beloved guitarists and lead vocalist of ZZ Top. Gibbons was considered by Jimmy Hendrix to be one of the top guitarists around. In 2002, The Cancer League honored Billy Gibbons for his fundraising efforts for sufferers here in Houston. He currently resides in both Houston and Hollywood, California.
Originally from Houston, the “Charlie’s Angels” star started her career as a Breck shampoo model back in 1973. Smith is also known as the “Queen of Television Movies and Mini-Series.” She has appeared on mini-series such as: Windmills of the Gods, The Bourne Identity and Christine Cromwell.
Noted for her on-screen sex appeal in “American Pie” and “Scary Movie,” the actress and poker queen was born in Houston and attended high school in Waco. She has recently been making a name for herself in the World Series of Poker where she has defeated many celebrities and poker professionals.
Recognized for wearing an imitation of Gwyneth Paltrow’s pink gown to the 72nd Academy awards, Stone is an animation genius. The Emmy Award-winning animator and co-creator of “South Park” was born in Houston. He’s the voice behind several of his characters.
Lisa Hartman Black
Remembered as rocker singer Ciji Dunne in “Knot’s Landing,” this native Houstonian struck country gold when she married Clint Black. Her single “When I said I Do” recorded with husband Clint Black, received notable success on the country-hit charts. It hit number one on Billboard Country Singles & Tracks in 1999.
An actress and producer born in Houston, she was discovered by production scouts while working at a Foley’s cosmetics counter in Houston. She started her career off portraying a free spirited love interest in the movie “Brewster McCloud” in 1970. She is also well known for her role in “The Shining” and as Olive Oyl in “Popeye.”
Sean Patrick Flanery
The “Young Indiana Jones Chronicles” star was raised in Houston and attended University of St. Thomas. Flanery became interested in acting after college, and moved to Los Angeles to fulfill his dreams. He has also appeared in the movies, “The Boondocks Saints” and “Simply Irresistible.”
Chris Cooper spent his younger years raised on a cattle ranch in Houston. The Academy Award winning-actor shone on the big screen in “American Beauty” and “The Bourne Supremacy.”
A native Houstonian known for his award-winning country hits continues to make albums that rank atop Billboard charts. Rogers’ second solo album “Kenny Rogers,” charted the pop and country charts with the single “Lucille.” To date Rogers has recorded 65 albums and sold over 120 million records.
Robert Earl Keen
A famous Texas singer-songwriter, he went to Texas A&M with fellow musician Lyle Lovett. Keen is known for his national released album A Bigger Piece of the Sky in 1993. He currently resides in Kerrville and has a ranch in Medina.
Born and raised in Houston, Osteen is an Inspirational leader in most American households. Lead Pastor of Lakewood Church, Osteen spearheads one of the biggest mega churches in the U.S. Osteen emphasizes the power of love and positive attitudes through the goodness of God’s power.
A choreographer, dancer, director, and actress, Debbie Allen has entertained audiences for years. She attended Jack Yates High school with sister Phylicia Rashad. Allen is known for her fabulous choreography and famous role in the television series “Fame.”
Look out Ladies! A bartender turned winner of “American Idol” and teen heartthrob may have grown up in Blue Springs, Mo., but he was born in Houston. This “Idol” singer had eleven songs debut on the Hot 100 in 2006, which gave him the title of having the most songs held by an artist.
Known for being a former member of Destiny’s Child, Letoya Luckett has made a way for herself with her R&B solo career. Born and raised in Houston, Luckett has topped the Billboard charts with her #1 albums, Letoya Luckett and Lady Love.
Homer Edwin Young, also known as Ed Young, is the pastor of the Second Baptist Church here in Houston. Second Baptist Church has over 5 locations in the Houston area, and more than 48,000 members. Young’s preaching encourages the well being of nourishing the heart spiritually and physically.
Gone but Never Forgotten
An iconic symbol of beauty and 1970’s pop culture figure, Fawcett is one of the most recognizable “Charlie’s Angels.” Born in Corpus Christi, Fawcett spent part of her childhood in Houston. A multiple Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominee, Fawcett earned praise for her roles in movies “The Burning Bed” and “Extremities.” In 2006, Fawcett was diagnosed with cancer, and survived it for 3 years. Fawcett later died on June 25, 2009.
Idolized for his sultry moves in “Dirty Dancing,” and breathtaking performance in “Ghost,” Swayze grew up in the Oak Forest neighborhood. Swayze contributed to many Houston charities. Swayze died on September 14, 2009, at age 57.
photo by Peter Lindbergh