Ten Celebrities Who Surprisingly Are Miami Natives
Some Miami-born celebrities never let anyone forget where they're from. Take Pitbull, for example, who just shouts out "305" at least once every 15 seconds.
Other celebs born under the sign of the 305 aren't as conspicuous. For many, that's because they were born here but moved as young kids, and for others, it's because they never looked back once they hit the big time. Yet there are several secret Miamians in the entertainment industry, including multiple Oscar nominees and two veritable punk rock legends.
Some people are bound to know a few of the entrants on the list are originally from here, but you'd have to have an encyclopedic knowledge of Miami natives to know all of them. (In which case, well, good for you! Go check out our list of famous University of Miami dropouts then.)
William H. Macy, actor
Macy has described himself as a "sort of a Middle American, WASPy, Lutheran kind of guy ... (an) everyman," and yet, at heart, he's a Miami native. He was born here in 1950, though he was raised in Georgia and Maryland. He's probably best known for his Academy Award nominated role in Fargo, Macy has also won two Emmys and three SAG awards.
Thurston Moore, founder of Sonic Youth
Perhaps if Moore would have stayed in Miami instead of becoming an alt-rock god he would have become a freestyle legend. (And let's be honest, Sonic Youth is still a pretty appropriate name for a freestyle group.) Yes, Moore was actually born in Coral Gables, Florida, but was raised for the majority of his childhood in Bethel, Connecticut. He moved to New York and after spending time in the post-punk/no-wave scene he went on to form one of indie rock geeks' favorite bands.
Catherine Keener, actress
It's still kind of hard for us to believe that the woman who picked up Oscar nominations for her work in Becoming John Malcovich and her turn as To Kill a Mocking Bird author Harper Lee in Capote was born in Hialeah, of all places, and yet it's true. Perhaps best known in the mainstream for her role as Steve Carrel's love interest in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Keener spent her first 18 years in Miami's favorite wacky suburb, and graduated from Monsignor Edward Pace High School in current-day Miami Gardens. Her younger sister Elizabeth Keener, best known for her role on The L Word, is also a Hialeah native.
Rita Rudner, stand up comedian
Local fans of comedy may be relieved to know that SNL star turned Tea Party wackadoo Victoria Jackson was not the only lady native to Miami who made national waves on the comedy seen in the '80s. Rita Rudner, famous for her glib lines and glamorous stage presence, was born in Miami in '53, but left town at the age of 15 to pursue a career as a dancer. After appearing in a few Broadway shows she turned to comedy, and appeared in her own HBO specials and on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. Today she headlines her own show in Vegas.
Debbie Harry, singer Blondie
The first lady of New York's '70s punk scene and '80s chart-busting New Wave scene was born in Miami in 1945. According to Hello!, Harry's birth mother was a respected concert pianist, but wasn't ready to raise a child so she put the future punk icon up for adoption. Harry ended up being raised in New Jersey by her adoptive parents. Harry still credits her birth mother's genes for her musical talent.
Bob Vila, the original tool man
America's favorite tool man may be known for his restoration of Victorian-style houses on his former PBS show This Old House, but he was born in the land of Art Deco architecture. Yes, the man whose name is on half the power tools in your dad's garage is a Cuban-American native of Miami. And before he hit the tool aisle at Sears, he graduated from the University of Florida.
Sidney Poitier, actor
The first African-American winner of the Academy Award for Best Actor as born in Miami way back in 1927. His parents, Bahamian residents, came to Coconut Grove to sell tomatoes grown on their island farm two months before his expected due date, but Poitier decided to come into the world a little earlier. They stayed in Miami an additional three months to nurse the premature baby back to health before returning to the Bahamas. He once again lived in Miami for a short while as a teenager before heading off to New York at 17.
Wilmer Valderrama, actor
The man who played the foreign exchange student of ambiguous ethnicity on That 70's Show was born in Miami to Venezuelan-Colombian parents. He moved with his family to Venezuela when he was three, before relocating once again to Los Angeles in his early teens where he eventually got into acting. To think, if they had just stayed in Miami the world may never have known who Wilmer Valderrama is. What a real shame that would have been.
Cheryl Hines, actress
Perhaps Larry David is always so annoyed on Curb Your Enthusiasm because he's surrounded by a lot of Floridians? Jeff Garlin grew up in Fort Lauderdale and appeared on our University of Miami dropouts list, and David's TV ex-wife Cheryl Hines was born in Miami Beach. Though, she actually grew up mostly in Tallahassee. She's now, appropriately enough, on ABC's Suburgatory.
Eva Mendes, actress
Mendes is currently dating Ryan Gosling, everyone's pretend Internet boyfriend, but before all that, she was born to Cuban parents here. Her parents divorced when she was young, and she moved with her mother to the Los Angeles area.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Miami New Times' biggest stories.
- Poll: Florida's Senate Race Is Still a Wide-Open Mess
Sat., Aug. 1, 5:35pm
Sun., Aug. 2, 1:05pm
Tue., Aug. 4, 6:35pm
Wed., Aug. 5, 6:35pm
- 80-Yeard-Old Miami Man Stabs Wife to Death, Drives to Publix to Report It
- Heat Trades Napier and Shops Birdman and Chalmers, While Mike Miller Wants to Return