Western Pennsylvania is known for its great collection of athletes, but there are also quite a few actors who have made it from our end of the state. With the area gaining a reputation as a hot spot for filmmaking, why not take a look at some of those who have made a successful career in Hollywood. So, here’s a look at some of the best. And, if we forgot anybody, please let us know.
10. Charles Grodin — Before taking off for the University of Miami and movie fame in Hollywood, Grodin was born and raised in Pittsburgh. Mostly known as a comedic actor, Grodin is best remembered for lead roles in “Midnight Run” and “Beethoven.” He has a Golden Globe nomination and an Emmy win to his credit. Grodin has somewhat stepped away from the silver screen, moving into political commentating and wrtiting.
9. Bill Nunn — The son of William G. Nunn Jr., the legendary editor of the Pittsburgh Courier and NFL scout, Nunn is a solid character actor who’s played a ton of roles on TV and in the movies. Perhaps, his best roles were Radio Raheem in Spike Lee’s groundbreaking “Do the Right Thing” and Joseph “Robbie” Robertson in the “Spider-Man” trilogy. Other movies you’ve seen him in include “He Got Game,” “Regarding Henry,” “Sister Act,” “New Jack City” and “Runaway Jury.”
8. Sharon Stone — The Meadville native will always be linked to her role as a beautiful serial killer in “Basic Instinct,” but really, she’s got much more going than that. Her best role came in Martin Scorsese’s “Casino,” a performance that landed her an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe victory. As she’s gotten older, Stone has transformed herself into quite a character actor, boosting films like “Alpha Dog,” “Bobby,” “Lovelace” and “Broken Flowers.”
7. Jeff Goldblum — Born and raised in West Homestead, Goldblum moved to NYC at the age of 17 to become an actor. It was a good move, as Goldblum has been a major player in some of the biggest movies ever made. He’s played key roles in “The Fly,” “Jurassic Park,” “Independence Day” and “Silverado.” Goldblum has also done extensive work on Broadway and on the small screen, landing roles on “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “The Simpsons” and “Will & Grace.”
6. Michael Keaton — Born in Coraopolis and raised in Robinson Township, Keaton started out as a stand-up comedian before working at WQED. That’s where he found an interest in acting. After moving to L.A., Keaton found success in movies like “Gung Ho,” “Night Shift” and “Mr. Mom.” A few years later, he would become a household name when director Tim Burton tabbed Keaton to play Batman. Keaton has also played big roles in moves like “Beetlejuice,” “The Paper,” “Jackie Brown” and a critically acclaimed turn in “Clean and Sober.”
5. Scott Glenn — “Silverado,” “The Right Stuff,” “The Hunt for Red October,” “Urban Cowboy,” “Training Day” and “The Silence of the Lambs.” Those are just some of the pictures that Scott Glenn, a Pittsburgh native, has starred in. Glenn developed a rep as being a tough guy in the movies, but moved toward more challenging roles as his career moved forward. He continues to work, and his filmography reads like an actor who’s had an accomplished career.
4. Charles Bronson — Talk about tough! Bronson, who grew up around Johnstown and once worked as a miner, was a legendary performer on the big screen. Movies like “The Great Escape,” “Once Upon a Time in the West,” “The Magnificent Seven,” “The Battle of the Bulge,” “The Dirty Dozen” and, of course, the “Death Wish” series made him a favorite to an entire generation of movie fans. Besides his move career, Bronson also appeared in a number of popular TV shows, including “The Twilight Zone” and “Gunsmoke.”
3. Frances McDormand — One of the best character actors of all time, McDormand wasn’t born in Western Pennsylvania, but she grew up in Monessen. Her career took off with her role in “Blood Simple,” the first film of the Coen brothers. From there, she’s graced the screen in titles like “Mississippi Burning,” “Almost Famous,” “Wonder Boys,” “Raising Arizona” and “Fargo,” for which she won an Oscar. She’s been nominated for four Academy Awards. McDormand also has a Tony for her work on Broadway and four Golden Globe nominations.
2. Gene Kelly — Born in Highland Park, Kelly is always going to be recognized as a Pittsburgher. One might say he’s Pittsburgh’s favorite son. The actor, who specialized in dancing and singing, made his mark in popular films such as “An American in Paris,” “Anchors Aweigh” and “Singin’ in the Rain.” Not only was Kelly a great performer, but he also had a big hand in revolutionizing the musical, and he’s credited for many changes that were made in the genre. In 1952, Kelly received an honorary Oscar for his versatility as a performer.
1. Jimmy Stewart — Born and raised in Indiana, Stewart will always be a key part of the conversation as the best actor that ever lived. Consider some of the movies he’s starred in — “Rear Window,” “Vertigo,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” “The Philadelphia Story,” “Anatomy of a Murder,” etc. — and it’s a safe bet that he’s one of the best. As far as honors go, Stewart was nominated for five Academy Awards, and he took home one. He also has a Lifetime Achievement award from the Academy.
Honorable Mention — Zachary Quinto (“Star Trek” franchise, “Margin Call”), Joe Manganiello (“Magic Mike,” “True Blood”), Julie Benz (“Dexter,” “Rambo”) and Adolphe Menjou (“Paths of Glory,” “The Front Page”).
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