We love to watch them on TV, in movies, listen to them, and read about them. Some of these celebrities and actors have influenced our lives in many ways. Sometimes they inspire us. Sometimes we find them relatable. Sometimes we find them remarkable, or talented. We love to wonder about their lives, and what we have in common with them. Sometimes we wonder how they got their start, and if they were once like us. What about local ties?
These celebrities all have one thing in common—their ties to Fresno! Here are 10 celebrities and athletes with ties to Fresno.
1. Matt Garza
This former baseball MVP and pitcher was born just south of Fresno in 1983, then went on to play baseball for Fresno State during his college career. In 2005, the Minnesota twins drafted him to their team. He’s most well-known for his famous no-hitter in 2010 while playing for the Tampa Bay Rays against the Detroit Tigers
2. Steven Anthony Lawrence
You might know him for his role playing Bernard “Beans” Aranguren in the Disney Channel show, Even Steven, but he also went on to play numerous other roles, including that of Kieth from the comedy-drama Weeds, Dylan Shenk in the comedy film Cheaper By The Dozen, and Dumb Schweitzer in Dr. Seuss’ Cat in The Hat.
Steven Anthony Lawrence was born in Fresno and continued to live here while working as a child actor, where he attended private school in Fresno and stayed many nights in a motel in LA with his supportive father. While he mostly stays out of the spotlight these days, it’s clear that Fresno was an important part of his life, even after he was introduced to stardom at only 9 years old.
3. Kevin Federline
Kevin Federline—sometimes known as K-Fed—is a rapper, DJ, and actor perhaps best known for his marriage with pop-icon, Brittney Spears. He also has strong ties with Fresno. He was born in Fresno, briefly moved away, and moved back at eleven years old. He grew up here before starting his career as a backup dancer.
4. Audra McDonald
Audra McDonald is another big name with solid ties to Fresno. McDonald is probably best known as an acclaimed Broadway actress and singer, but she’s also well known for her roles in television and film, like that of Dr. Naomi Bennet on the drama Private Practice.
McDonald wasn’t born in Fresno, but West Berlin during the Cold War, while her father was stationed there with the U.S. Army. They eventually moved to Fresno, where McDonald grew up and graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School.
5. Gary Jules
Gary Jules is a singer-songwriter, perhaps best known for his iconic version of Mad World, which was featured in the cult-classic psychological thriller, Donnie Darko. While many of us know him for his somber rendition that did stellar in the UK, Gary Jules is actually also from Fresno, where he was born.
6. Brandon Molale
Brandon Molale has worn a few hats. You might know him from his role as Kevin Ward in Mr. Deeds, or perhaps as his role as the intimidating Blazer in Dodgeball, or maybe from one of his other numerous roles in film and television. He also has strong ties to Fresno, as a former football player with Fresno State! He played offensive guard for the Bulldogs, and still attends games.
Cher might be one of the most influential cultural voices of the late 20th century and into the 21st century. She’s known for her success in numerous areas, notably in rock, pop, and television, and has dominated popular culture for as long as many of us can remember.
While born in El Centro, Cher is known for dropping out of Fresno High School at the age of just 16 to begin her career, which would go on to span many decades.
8. Sid Haig
Sid Haig was another talented actor with Fresno ties. Having played numerous roles in film since the 1960’s and across numerous genres as well, Sid Haig is perhaps best known now as an icon of horror cinema, notable from his role as Captain Spaudling in Rob Zombie’s 2003 thriller, House of 1,000 corpses.
He also starred in subsequent sequels wherein he played the same role. Haig was born and raised in Fresno, where he also first learned dancing and music, before he went on to be a wildly successful actor.
9. Stephen Abas
Another well known athlete with fresno ties is Stephen Abas. With a successful career as a wrestler, mixed martial artist, and even Olympian, Stephen Abas’ life has been nothing short of exciting.
While he was born in Santa Ana and graduated from Jame Logan High School in Moreno valley, Stephen Abas has strong ties to Fresno, where he wrestled for California State University, Fresno, and won numerous awards before going on to compete in the 2004 Olympic Games.
10. Devante Adams
Another notable athlete with Fresno ties also attended California State University, Fresno. Devante Adams has had a wildly successful football career, and currently plays wide receiver for the Greenbay Packers. Before then, Adams also played on the Fresno State Bulldogs football team.
With so much going on in Fresno, it’s not surprising that so many people with roots and ties here have gone on to lead such luminous careers in their respective fields, but it’s interesting to see where they’ve all gone on to! From Broadway to NFL stadiums and even the Olympic games, some of America’s finest entertainers, athletes, and artists, not surprisingly, have ties to Fresno.