5 Famous Faces From Fort Worth
Known for its deep roots in cattle ranching, Fort Worth is a bustling city that many people are proud to call home. Several celebrities were born and raised in this city and moved on to star in, direct, and write popular television shows, films, books, and songs. Though some of them currently live in larger cities like Los Angeles and New York, they will never forget their hometown. Learn which famous faces are from Fort Worth, Texas, and how they developed in their career.
A proud Texas native, Kelly Clarkson was born in Fort Worth and grew up right outside of it in a smaller town called Burleson, where she attended and graduated high school in 2000. Her dedication to the school’s choir program made her realize how much she loved singing, which led her to move to Los Angeles after graduating from high school. After working several odd jobs to support her dreams, Kelly had little luck claiming fame, so she decided to move back to Texas.
When she heard from a friend about a singing talent show called “American Idol” in 2002, she auditioned for the first season with 10,000 other contestants and won. She received a recording contract and wrote and performed many songs that are still popular today, including “A Moment Like This,” “Breakaway,” and “Since U Been Gone.” She won Grammy awards for Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Female Pop Vocal Performer in 2006, and she won another award for Best Pop Vocal Album in 2013.
Best known for her role playing Blair Waldorf in the CW network’s drama “Gossip Girl,” Leighton Meester was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and spent a small portion of her childhood there before moving with her grandparents to Marco Island, Florida. At a young age, Leighton loved theater and showed this by acting at the local playhouse and attending the Professional Children’s School in New York City when she and her family moved there at age 11.
She got her start as a model in her early teens for Ralph Lauren campaigns and booked several national commercials. After these successes, she moved to Los Angeles at 14 and attended high schools in Beverly Hills and Hollywood. Leighton held smaller roles in popular television shows like “Law and Order,” “Entourage,” and “Veronica Mars” before receiving the role of Blair Waldorf in Gossip Girl in 2007. She won the award for Choice TV Actress in a Drama for the Teen Choice Awards in 2009 and 2010.
As a proud Fort Worth native, Bill Paxton was born on May 17, 1955, and attended Arlington Heights High School where he graduated in 1973 with a love for movies. He appeared in minor roles in larger, well-known movies like “The Terminator” and “Streets of Fire.” With a passion for film, he continued working in movies as a director for small short films and music videos. He even performed music in 1982 when he and his friend formed a new wave musical band called Martini Ranch that released a single album.
Paxton starred in a supporting role in “Aliens” as Private William Hudson, where he earned a Saturn Award as Best Supporting Actor. His success rose when he started earning larger roles like Brock Lovett in “Titanic,” which turned out to be the highest-grossing film of all time when it was released in 1997. He also starred in and directed movies and TV shows like “Frailty,” “Big Love,” and “Hatfields & McCoys” later on in his career.
Unfortunately, Paxton passed away in 2017 after a stroke, and Peter Spears, the producer of the film “Call Me By Your Name” that released in 2017, dedicated the film to Paxton’s memory.
Born and raised in Fort Worth, Kirk Franklin is a gospel musician, singer, songwriter, and choir director. Raised by his aunt, Franklin had a powerful passion for music, which he showed at the age of 4 when he collected aluminum cans to raise money for piano lessons. As a child prodigy, he could read and write music, along with easily playing it by ear. He impressively received his first recording contract at the very young age of 7.
Unfortunately, his aunt made him decline the offer and instead encouraged Kirk to join his church choir, which he began directing by age 11. He eventually co-founded a gospel group, The Humble Hearts, and later lead the DFW Mass Choir at the age of 20. He directed this choir as they sang a song he composed, “Every Day with Jesus.”
He now leads several urban contemporary choirs like Nu Nation, God’s Property, and Kirk Franklin and the Family. Franklin has proudly earned the title of Reigning King of Urban Gospel and proved it by winning 15 Grammy Awards and over 20 Dove Awards.
Patricia Highsmith was born on September 13, 1921, in Fort Worth and was known for the iconic psychological thriller novels and short stories she wrote. She grew up in Fort Worth until her family moved her out to New York City in 1927. Her grandmother taught her to read when she was very young, which gave her a deep love for stories that led her to start writing them herself. She lived in Greenwich Village within the city, which is where 22 of her novels take place.
Highsmith attended a private women’s liberal arts school in New York called Barnard College, where she studied playwriting, short story prose, and English composition. After graduating, she worked for publications like Vogue, Good Housekeeping, The New Yorker, and Time magazine. She wrote her first novel, “Strangers on a Train,” which famous director, Alfred Hitchcock, adapted into an award-winning film in 1951. She then went on to write several other award-winning books that became film adaptations, such as “The Cry of the Owl,” “The Glass Cell,” and the “Price of Salt.”
These are some of Hiley Hyundai of Fort Worth’s favorite famous faces to hail from Fort Worth, Texas. Is there anyone you think we missed? Shoot us a message and let us know if we left out one of your favorites. We’ll add them to the list right away!
Image via Flickr by Hardy Boii Photo