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From Here To Hollywood

Connecticut Connections To The Entertainment Industry

In Hollywood, 'tis the season of what it means to be a celebrity. In the spirit of winners, losers, best-dressed, worst-dressed, thank you speeches and controversial skits, here is a link from our home in Connecticut to those in the West, dressed in lavish gowns and sharp tuxedos for their walk down the red carpet during the Oscars tonight.      

Many entertainment industry standouts have ties to Connecticut. Some are natives and others have chosen it as their sanctuary to get away from the whirlwind that is Hollywood. They have produced well-known works and influenced various productions from behind the camera to starring on the big screen. The following list highlights some of the brightest lights, as well as brushes with famous names and other notable Connecticut connections to the world of entertainment.

Kevin Bacon, the Hollywood Walk of Fame member, grew up in Philadelphia, but he and his wife, Kyra Sedgwick, live part time in Sharon. Notable Works: Footloose, Mystic River, Murder in the First.

Richard Belzer, actor and comedian, was born in Bridgeport, grew up in Fairfield and worked as a reporter forThe Bridgeport Post. Notable Works: Law & Order: SVU, Homicide: Life on the Street.

Ernest Borgnine, whose career spans more than six decades, was born in Hamden and later moved to North Haven. His hometown of Hamden named a park in his honor. Notable Works: Marty, McHale’s Navy, Airwolf.

Glenn Close, nominated for five Oscars, was born in Greenwich. Notable Works: Fatal Attraction, Damages, Dangerous Liaisons, 101 Dalmatians.

Bette Davis, In her later years, legendary actress Bette Davis lived on Crooked Mile Road in Westport. She sought her Connecticut retreat in 1985 to work on her memoirs.  Davis is in an elite group of actors who have been nominated for at least ten Academy Awards (she won two). The elite circle consists of Jack Nicholson, Laurence Olivier, Meryl Streep and Katharine Hepburn. Notable Works: Jezebel, All About Eve, The Little Foxes.

Brian Dennehy, the film, stage and screen actor, was born in Bridgeport and currently resides in Woodstock. He also appears regularly on stage throughout Connecticut. Notable Works: Best Seller, Death of a Salesman, Long Day’s Journey into Night.

Paul Giamatti, rumored to have been a member of the Skull and Bones secret society while at Yale University, was born and raised in New Haven. Notable Works: Cinderella Man, Sideways, American Splendor.

Katherine Heigl, model-turned-actress, was born in Washington D.C., but spent most of her childhood in New Canaan. Notable Works: Grey’s Anatomy, Knocked Up, 27 Dresses. 

Katharine Hepburn, the classic American actress, was born in Hartford and lived for decades in the Fenwick section of Old Saybrook. She and her family narrowly escaped the 1938 Hurricane. Today, the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center and Theatre is in Old Saybrook. Notable Works: Morning Glory, Love Among the Ruins, On Golden Pond.

Ron Howard, the actor, director and producer, was born in Oklahoma, but he lives with his high school sweetheart and their four children on a 35-acre estate in Greenwich. Notable Works: Happy Days, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind.

Christopher Lloyd, was born in Stamford and raised in New Canaan and Westport. His family donated their family's ancestral home, Waveny Park, to the town of New Canaan. Notable Works: Back to the Future Trilogy, Taxi, Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Dylan McDermott, one of People’s Most Beautiful People in 1998, was born and raised in Waterbury. Notable Works: In the Line of Fire, The Practice, Dark Blue. 

Paul Newman, the classic American heartthrob, was born in Ohio, but along with his wife and three daughters, Newman escaped the Hollywood hills to make their home in Westport. In 2008, he died in his home in Westport. Newman's wife, Oscar winner, Joanne Woodward still lives in town. Notable Works: The Color of Money, Cool Hand Luke, The Hustler.

Diana Ross, the Motown diva, may have been born in Detroit, but she lives part time in her multi-million dollar mansion in Greenwich. Notable Works: The Supremes, Lady Sings the Blues.

Meg Ryan, America’s sweetheart, was born and raised in Fairfield. Notable Works: When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail.

Meryl Streep, the multiple award winner and nominee, was born in New Jersey, but she and her husband, Don Gummer, were wed on Masons Island and make Greenwich their primary residence. Notable Works: The Deer Hunter, Julie & Julia, Mamma Mia!

Christopher Walken, whose career includes more than 100 movies and shows, was born in Queens, NY, but he and his wife, Georgianne Walken, reside in Wilton. Notable Works: The Deer Hunter, Pulp Fiction, Catch Me If You Can.

Westport Editor Anthony Karge contributed to this report.

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