They came from the Capital Region

Rachael Ray shucking corn

You know, in addition to her.

By Arielle Trimm

Sure, everyone knows that Jimmy Fallon went to St. Rose, and that Rachael Ray grew up near Lake George. But as it happens, this area makes quite a few more cameo appearances in the story of American pop culture.

Here are a few celebs to help you maintain your Capital Region cred the next time your friends from other parts of the country start name dropping.

in no particular order...

Who: David Hyde Pierce
Relevance to popular culture: Actor, best known for his role as psychiatrist "Dr. Niles Crane" on the long running television show Frasier.
Regional ties: Was born and grew up in Saratoga Springs. Pierce and his 3 siblings each took home the prestigious Yaddo medal when the graduated from Saratoga High School.


Who: Ann B. Davis
Relevance to popular culture: Actress, best known for her role as housekeeper "Alice" on The Brady Bunch. She's the middle square in the shows opening credits.
Regional ties: She and her identical twin sister were born in Schenectady.


Who: Martha Quinn
Relevance to popular culture: One of MTV's original video jockeys ("VJs"). Way back when MTV actually played music videos.
Regional ties: Was born in Albany.


Who: Mike Tyson
Relevance to popular culture: Was the undisputed heavyweight boxing champion in 1987, remains the youngest boxer to achieve that title. Controversial private-life, reputation for madness, has been known to take a bite out of ears.
Regional ties: His first professional match was in Albany, in March 1985. His first nationally televised match took place the following year at the Houston Field House in Troy.

Who: Andy Rooney
Relevance to popular culture: Radio and TV writer and humorist, has been featured on the program 60 Minutes for the last 30+ years. Has also authored several books.
Regional ties: Was born in Albany and graduated from Albany Academy For Boys


Who: The Horwitz brothers, aka Moe, Curly & Shemp Howard
Relevance to popular culture: Brothers Moe and Curly along with their friend Larry Fine were the original Three Stooges. When Curly died, he was replaced by brother Shemp.
Regional Ties: The family lived in Chatham during their vaudeville days. Moe even listed Chatham as his home town on his WW1 draft card. It was during this era that Curly shot himself in the foot while cleaning a riffle and was treated at St. Peter's Hospital (he had a slight limp the rest of his life, but developed an exaggerated walk on screen to disguise it).


Who: Nathan Lane
Relevance to popular culture: Tony and Emmy winning actor, perhaps best known for his Broadway role in The Producers and his movie role in The Birdcage.
Regional Ties: Nathan spent the summer of 1976 performing at Chatham's Mac-Haydn theater. Their lobby still displays photographs of their most famous alumni cast member, back when he was still an unknown actor.

Who: William Devane
Relevance to popular culture: Movie and Television actor. Seems to have a trend playing Government officials. He's played Secretary of Defense in 24, Secretary of State in The West Wing and President in Stargate SG-1
Regional Ties: Was born in Albany.

Who: Art Ginsburg aka "Mr. Food"
Relevance to popular culture: TV and radio chef whose 90-second spots are featured on local TV newscasts across the country every day. Has penned more than 50 cook books and is known for his trademark phrase "Ooh, it's so good!"
Regional ties: Born in Troy.

Who: Mickey Rourke
Relevance to popular culture: Actor-turned-boxer-turned-actor. Not surprisingly he's been nominated for (and has won) a bunch of things for his role in The Wrestler.
Regional Ties: Was born in Schenectady.


Who: Washington Irving
Relevance to popular culture: Author, sited as America's first internationally best-selling writer.
Regional ties: Lived in the Village of Kinderhook in 1809. Wrote the legendary short stories Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, both of which take place regionally. Is the reason why the high school in Valatie is named "Ichabod Crane".


Who: Charlayne Woodard
Relevance to popular culture: Movie, television and stage actress, one of those people you recognize but might not know her name. Some of the places you might have seen her include Taxi, Twister, A Different World, Roseanne, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Chicago Hope, The Crucible, Eye for an eye, Unbreakable, Law & Order SVU, Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles, Medium
Regional ties: Was born in Albany and graduated from Albany High School

Who: Kirk Douglas
Relevance to popular culture: Oscar nominated actor. American Film Institute ranks him #17 on their list of the greatest male American screen legends of all time. He's also the father of actor Michael Douglas.
Regional ties: Was born and raised in Amsterdam, and attended St. Lawrence University in Canton N.Y.


Who: Jimmy Carter
Relevance to popular culture: 39th President of the United States, 2002 Nobel Peace Prize winner
Regional ties: Began graduate studies in nuclear physics at Schenectady's Union College for a few months in 1953. He had to leave after the death of his father in order to help run the family farm.

Who: Gregory Maguire
Relevance to popular culture: Author, most famous for his novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. This was turned into the Broadway musical Wicked.
Regional ties: Born in Albany and received his B.A. from the University at Albany.

Who: Kurt Vonnegut
Relevance to popular culture: Writer, authored several critically acclaimed and controversial novels including Slaughterhouse-Five and Cat's Cradle
Regional ties: Once lived in Schenectady while doing public relations for G.E. Also, his older brother Bernard was an atmospheric scientist at the University at Albany and died at St. Peter's Hospital.

Who: Scott Valentine
Relevance to popular culture: Actor, best known for his character "Nick Moore" on 80s sitcom Family Ties
Regional ties: Born in Saratoga Springs and went to Saratoga High School.

Who: Maureen Stapleton
Relevance to popular culture: Oscar and other award-winning actress. Film career includes roles in Reds, Cocoon, Interiors and Bye Bye Birdie.
Regional ties: Born in Troy. Hudson Valley Community College in Troy named a theater after her in 1981.

Who: Samuel Wilson
Relevance to popular culture: Believed to be the inspiration for the character "Uncle Sam" which is a personification of the U.S. Government.
Regional ties: Was a meat-packer in Troy who supplied meat to the U.S. Army. Wilson is also buried in Troy.

Who: Herman Melville
Relevance to popular culture: Author, wrote the legendary novel Moby Dick among many others. Techno artist "Moby" claims to be his distant relative.
Regional ties: Lived in Albany and Lansingburgh during his teen years, where he first began writing.

Who: Babe Ruth & Lou Gehrig
Relevance to popular culture: Baseball players, two of the most popular sports athletes in American History
Regional ties: Back in the 20s and 30s, The Yankees (including these two members) would often play in Menands against the The Albany Senators.

Comments

Awesome post!

Just thought of another one... Hall of Fame Basketball coach Pat Riley grew up in Schenectady.

Don't forget Pat Riley and John Sayles.

If you're gonna count a couple baseball players who came in to play a local team, you can tack on Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Bernie Williams for the A/C Yankees... Also Ben Zobrist and Koby Clemens for the Tri-City Valley Cats.

A few more you forgot, and an edit:

Mike Tyson - grew up in Catskill, NY at the boys home.

Steve Guettenburg - of Police Academy Fame (and many other bad movies like Cacoon and Short Circuit) went to SUNY Albany

Jamie Gold - 2007 WSOP Main Event Champ - Went to SUNY Albany

Andy Rooney still lives locally - he spends much of his time in good old Rensselaerville, N.Y.

And Hacksaw Jim Dugan is from Glens Falls!

What a fun post!

While we like to pretend our dog was named for something more intellectual (like Adrien Brody's wife in The Darjeeling Limited), she's actually named after Alice from The Brady Bunch. Our pooch is representing the 518 and we didn't even know it!

Joseph Finder, bestselling author, graduated from Shaker high school.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Finder

Deion Sanders also played for the A/C Yanks.

A litany of future/former NHL stars have gone through the Rats and the old Adirondack Red Wings, not the least of which would be Barry Melrose who can be seen regularly on ESPN as an NHL commentator and coached the LA Kings and Wayne Gretzky to a Stanley Cup Finals appearance.

Harvey Milk was a graduate of SUNY Albany in 1951.

Nice! I'm always interested in articles like this. I was surprised by many of them...

Don't forget about John Wilkes Booth! From Wikipedia...

"When the Civil War began on April 12, 1861, Booth was starring [in a production] in Albany, New York. His outspoken admiration for the South's secession, publicly calling it "heroic", so enraged local citizens that they demanded his banning from the stage for making "treasonable statements". Albany's drama critics were kinder, however, giving him rave reviews. One called him a genius, praising his acting for "never fail[ing] to delight with his masterly impressions"."

Also, Edward Burns (actor, writer) went to SUNY Albany.

Harvey Milk- graduate of the University at Albany (then the New York State Teacher's College) in 1951

Also, I approve of the picture of Rachel Ray staring longingly at a phallic corncob.

How about Stefon Harris?

Wrestler Hacksaw Jim Duggan: grew up in Glens Falls.

Photographer Seneca Ray Stoddard: born in Wilton 1844.

Actor Chris Riggi from Gossip Girl among others: from Saratoga Springs.

Actor Derek Richardson from Hostel, Dumb and Dumberer: grew up in Queensbury.

Artist Georgia O'Keefe: lived in Lake George in the summers and autumns.

Don McLean: wrote lyrics to American Pie in Saratoga Springs at the Tin & Lint and used to sing at Caffe Lena.

The Horowitz Brothers - Curly replaced Shemp, who went solo - Shemp then replaced Curly after Curly had a stroke - 6 years before he died.

Charlayne Woodard's family still lives in Albany. On a flight back from Kansas, she boarded in Chicago (or was it Baltimore). She rode in coach, surprisingly. I knew I recognized her as the nun on SVU. She was really nice.

:)

Vonnegut rules the school, and if you're gonna mention him, dont forget that Kilgore Trout was from Cohoes.

If one can consider NHL players famous, Adam Oates, Joé Juneau, Graeme Townshend, and Brian Pothier all played for RPI at various times in the 1980s and 1990s.

Retired NHL goaltender Guy Hebert grew up in Troy and attended the La Salle Institute.

What great comments! I totally forgot about Pat Riley. And all of the other names you guys are dropping are wonderful! This region is rich with superstars! Even fake famous people are local. That's right- the fictional character "Grace" from Will & Grace was originally from Schenectady. How bizarre & cool is that?

Phil Jackson - ten-time NBA championship-winning head coach, won his first professional championship as head coach of the Albany Patroons.

Other Patroons who have become head coaches in the NBA - Bill Musselman, George Karl, Sidney Lowe and Michael Curry.

Other Patroons who played in the NBA - Vincent Askew, Mario Elie, Jamario Moon.

In music: Tim Hauser, who formed the jazz vocal group Manhattan Transfer, was born in North Greenbush.

In the mid-80s Mike Tyson owned a home in East Greenbush and had an apartment on Lancaster Street -- I remember his white limo pulling up when Mike was in town. Also used to see him out running around Washington Park during this time.

Almost forgot -

Ralph Kiner, the Hall of Fame baseball player and legendary broadcaster for the New York Mets, played for two seasons for the Albany Senators in the 1940's.

Charlie Leigh, who played for the Miami Dolphins during their 17-0 undefeated season, was born and raised in Albany.

I really loved reading this.. makes the small world idea very real. Keep writing Arielle!

Actor Harold Gould was born in Schenectady and went to Albany Teacher's College.

Sam Perkins (NBA) attended Shaker High School

Don't forget William Kennedy & his book Ironweed, which would eventually bring Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep to Albany to film the movie version!

And let us not forget a long list of NHL hockey players who went to RPI. Oats, Carter, Darren Puppa all immediately come to mind.

Jane Fonda went to Emma Willard.

Kristen Talbot, Olympic speed skater and bone marrow donor.

And for those to whom geeks are Pop Culture:

George M. Low, RPI '42, Apollo Program Director, NASA. The man who got us to the moon after the Apollo 1 disaster

Carl Steinmetz - Great contributor to the AC electric system used today.

Much as it pains me, William Kennedy probably ought to be on the list too.

If you're talking about fictional characters from the Capital District...

Oliver Wendell Douglas (Green Acres) and Danny Sorenson (NYPD Blue) are both referenced as having been born and raised in Saratoga Springs.

Don't forget Johnny Evers of Tinker to Evers to Chance...

I love local stuff like this!

Arielle, I was thinking the same thing about Grace!

Still, all these comments and nothing on Kaitlin Cassidy?! Shocking! ha

Burgess Meredith went to Hoosac School, located in Rensselaer County.
http://www.hoosac.com/

He played Mickey Goldmill in Rocky (Rocky's coach), The Penguin in the 1960s tv show Batman, and several famous characters in The Twilight Zone.

I know everybody and their cross-eyed Uncle (Hacksaw himself) has pointed it out, but seriously, how could you omit the All-American with the 2x4? I think you need a piece on "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan just to make up for it. HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Also, Kurt Vonnegut local FUN FACT~! - the town of "Illium" in Cat's Cradle is based on Troy.

Also, you guys forgot I was born in Troy. Apparently being a local sex symbol, community theater actor, and former Lt. Governor doesn't get you a cup of coffee or a mention on a local blog in this town anymore. Hrmph.

Mr. Food and Rachel Ray.

Yeah. Have you ever seen a Mr. Food cook book? It's scary.
Scarier than Rachel Ray?

It's too close to call.

@Arielle: if you're talking fictional characters, David Spade's character from Just Shoot Me was from Schenectady, and Homer Simpson's dad was from Albany.
Also, Eugene Levy's character in a Mighty Wind lived in Albany, and resided at the "Cherry Hill Psychiatric Center"... haha
I'm sure there are many, many more, but that's what springs to mind at the moment.

While we're talking about fictional characters, don't forget a few of the cartoon persuasion from the Simpsons: Grandpa Simpson ("I was the handsomest boy in Albany, New York!") and Superintendent Chalmers, who claims to have grown up in Utica.

Maureen O'Sullivan (me Tarzan, you Jane) and mother to Mia Farrow spent much of her life in Niskayuna and is buried here.

Roy Face was born in Stephentown and attended Averill Park High School. He was at one time the MLB leader in saves. To this day he still holds many MLB pitching records, including season win percentage and career wins in relief.

@Kevin Marshall,

I'm going to be a major dork here and correct you on fictional locations. :)

Vonnegut's "Ilium" is not based on Troy, NY, but rather on Schenectady, NY, where he worked as a spokesperson for GE for several years.

It's a little confusing because "Ilium" is another name for the ancient city of Troy, after which Troy, NY is named.

But Vonnegut's Ilium is a definite stand in for Schenectady. His first novel, Player Piano, is a spoof of General Electric, set in "Ilium" on the banks of the fictional "Iroquois River" (instead of the real Mohawk River).

Vonnegut makes this even more confusing in Slaughterhouse Five by mentioning the real Schenectady.

By the way, Michael Sacks, the actor who stars in the film version of Slaughterhouse Five, is an Albany Academy graduate. You can watch that movie for free on Hulu.

And speaking of Schenectady, the author of the Frog and Toad childrens books grew up in Schenectady.

Don't forget TWO Presidents: Martin Van Buren was from Kinderhook (and his Presidential site is there) and Chester Arthur attended Union College and is buried in Menands.

And then there's William Seward and Robert Toombs: Secretaries of State for the Union and Confederacy (respectively) during the Civil War. Both attended Union.

The author of the "Frog and Toad" series is Arnold Lobel: Joseph Persico - biographer of Roosevelt, Rockefeller, Murrow, and Colin Powell, lived on Kelton Court in the 60's and now part time in Guilderland; Jim Hutton went to Vincentian, Mary Lupo - was the Kennedy rape trial judge in Florida (national press) and a famous gangster was killed on Green Street in the 30's (who was it!).

I know a few US presidents spent some time here as NY governors, but I loved the story in Kennedy's "O Albany" about Teddy Roosevelt granting interviews only to the journalists who beat him a race up the capitol steps. Legends has it that he never lost.

You couldn't find a worse picture to illustrate this article? Oy!

Oscar-winning actress Eva Marie Saint grew up in Delmar and went to Bethlehem Central High School.

martha quinn's mom was my landlord in troy for a while - i of course did not find that out until i moved. ah well.

Martin Van Buren!!!! K-Hook FTW!!!
Aside from Lindenwald, Marty also had a house on State Street back in the day. It was adjacent to what is now the sweetest Kinkos ever and across from Starbucks. They're a plaque, pretty sure of it.

Wow, took the ones I was going to mention (Persico and Kennedy). My contribution will be Chris (Kapostasy) Jansing now of NBC/MSNBC, but previously of several local news gigs, not least of which WNYT co-anchor with that Dague guy.

Also, didn't Mike Tyson also spend some time at Camp Cass in Rensselaerville?

Also, my Dad was on Jeopardy in the '60s. Does that count? He didn't win very much.

C.

A lot of good comments here. Perhaps AOA can re-do this post in a few weeks with many the additions that have been mentioned.

On Herman Melville, it should also be noted that Mt. Greylock, just over the boarder in MA was supposedly the inspiration for Moby Dick. The shape of the mountain reminded him of a whale.

Ed Henry, CNN's Senior White House Correspondant went to Siena!

Seems odd no one mentioned John McTiernan (Director of Die Hard, Predator, Hunt for Red October) - born in Albany in 1951 (went to Albany High!)

One of the guys from "The Yes Men" film series is from Troy (RPI)

Finally, according to IMDB.com Roger Ploof.... a legendary Albany, uh, landlord, was in an episode of Brooke (Hogan) Knows Best.

I'd also add that President William McKinley graduated from Albany Law School, as well as United States Supreme Court Justices David Brewer, and Robert H. Jackson. ALS also boasts Kate Stoneman, the first woman admitted to the New York State bar.

Isn't there a guy on the show 24 that went to CBA and lives (ed) in East Greenbush? I can't remember his name at the moment.

@Bill: I don't know if it's the same guy you're thinking of, but DB Woodside, better known as Wayne "Not as good a president as my brother" Palmer from 24 is a UAlbany grad.

@Alice Person
DB Woodside is a UA grad? Seriously? And here I was thinking I knew everything about my beloved "24".

The famous American Author Bret Harte was born in Albany

The James family, Parents and Grandparents of Henry James were from Albany, he spent time in Albany

St. Issac Jogues, priest and Martyr spent time in Albany, killed at Auriesville, ny

St. Jon Neumann, saint and archbishop of Philadelphia spent time in Albany preaching.

President Chester Arthur is buried in Albany Rural Cemetery, his second wife was from Albany

William Patterson signer of the Constitution, 3rd Governor of New Jersey, and associate justice of the Supreme Court is buried in Albany Rural Cemetery

Alexander Hamilton was married in Schuyler mansion to Gen. Schuyler's daughter

GREAT info! Most I already knew. But, some I had no idea. Just started reading AOA. Now it is daily on my Google Reader.

Jude Cicolella was the character on "24". He was a graduate of CBA '65 - at that time his name was Richard Cicollella - Jude is his middle name. He has been in a number of movies/shows (you can "IMDB" him). He actually came to a party I had in HS and I have a photo of him drinking a bottle of CocaCola - only one of the 24 bottles he polished off that evening. High school was tame in the early 60's!

Don't forget Fox News commentator, Megyn Kelly. Graduated from Bethlehem Central High School in the late 80's, and Albany Law in the 90's.

http://www.foxnews.com/bios/talent/megyn-kelly/

Can we have a "Caption this photo" contest with that Rachel Ray pic?

Robert Fuller actor, Wagon Train, Laramie, Emergency born in Troy. Burt Lancasters mother died in nursing home in Troy

Who cares about all the REST of the famous people,[lol], just which house did the three stooges live in? Does anyone know where their farm in Chatham was?

Now, most importantly, JWOWW went to Columbia High School.

Have to add a shout-out for Carolee Carmello who is from Albany and a graduate of Albany High School. We had the same drama teacher (years apart, though) there...the wonderful John Velie. Carolee has gone on to a terrific Broadway career, including "Parade," "Falsettos," "Mamma Mia," and, currently, "The Addams Family."

I first saw her as Maple on the terrific TV series "Remember WENN" and was thrilled to meet her when she did "Lestat" on Broadway with my friend. She's a sweet lady and, while "Lestat" was a troubled production, she was nominated for a Tony Award for her role in it.

http://www.caroleecarmello.com/index.html

Baseball Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda was a pitcher for the Schenectady Blue Jays in 1948. On June 1, 1948 in a 15-inning game he struck out 25 Amsterdam Rugmakers, setting a since-broken pro record. He even drove in the winning run with a single.

MARIA BRINK LEAD SINGER OF THE BAND "IN THIS MOMENT" IS FROM THE ALBANY AREA!!!!!!!

PAT REILLY AND PHIL JACKSON!!!!!!! 2 OF THE GREATEST COACHES EVER !!!!!

How about Jeff Blatnick of Niskayuna, who won the gold medal in the 1984 Olympics in wrestling? He recovered from cancer to become one of the first Americans to ever win a gold medal in greco-roman wrestling? He still lives in the area with his family.


The author Kilgore Trout was a resident of Cohoes until the time of his death in 2004: http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/1351

Less well-known Albanians, but still pretty cool...

Louis Slobodkin
Dorothy & Gertrude Lathrop
Clelia Duel Mosher
Charles Fort

You can look 'em up!

Everyone is forgetting about Al Roker!!! weatherman extrordinair! from Chatham .. still comes back for book signings etc. ... How about Tom Selleck .. had a home on route 203 in Chatham .. ran into him at Charrons store.

James MacCaffery in Sex & The City & he stared in Viper.

Charles Evans Hughes: Cheif Justice of the United States supreme court under Hoover and FDR 1916 republican presidential nominee former secretary of state and the 36th govenour of new york was born in Glens Falls and also Ulysses S Grant spent his last days in Wilton ny

No one stated one of most famous physicists, Joseph Henry? There is even a historical marker in Academy Park commemorating him. I have left the Capital District eighteen years ago and come back to state this fact. Please see the following Wiki website: "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Henry".

Also, there have been famous figures in Albany as the city is very rich in American history. *In 1754, representatives of seven British North American colonies met in the Stadt Huys, Albany's city hall, for the Albany Congress; Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania presented the Albany Plan of Union there, which was the first formal proposal to unite the colonies.[26]. Please see the following: "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Albany,_New_York".

Chris Wyse, bass player of "The Cult" is from Clifton Park, NY...and of course Jimmer Fredette, (if not already mentioned) of Sacramento Kings is from Glens Falls.

Baseball Hall of Famer George Stacey Davis and actor Mike Mazurki were from Cohoes.

Now we can add Jennifer Farley aka JWOWW from Jersey Shore, to the list. I read that she lived in East Greenbush NY and attended Columbia High School.

uncle sam and I heard harriet tubman , maybe

Mike Campese, born in Albany and who graduated from Shaker High School, is a guitar player with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Also has 8 solo albums.

Mike Tyson used to hang out at the Backstage, now known as DiCarlo's ("Gentlemen's" Club), on Central Avenue in Albany NY, in the mid to late 80's.

John Sayles (film maker) and Pat Reilly (NBA coach) were raised in Schenectady and have wings of the high school named after them.

Greg MaGuire, author of "Wicked", grew up on Lancaster St. in Albany in the 60s and 70s.

John Cerutti, pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays in the late 80s, grew up on Main St. in Albany

One half of the ROH Tag Team Champions, Bobby Fishm is from the Mean Streets of Colonie.
He even has a bit for TV here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXMOUdQAaIU

Joe Mahoney- pro baseball player for the Rays? I think. Went to CCHS in Troy, grew up in the troy area. I believe he still owns a house up here.

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