Austin is much smaller than Dallas or Houston, but the Texas capital punches above its weight in international renown and celebrity production. Here’s a list of 10 major celebrities who were born, grew up, or have put down roots in Austin.
Retired PGA golfer “Gentle Ben” Crenshaw was born in Austin in 1952. Crenshaw played golf for Austin High School and the University of Texas. To this day, he calls Austin home.
Fashion designer, screenwriter, film director, and producer Tom Ford spent the first 11 years of his life in Austin. He now divides his time between London, Los Angeles, and Santa Fe, where he maintains residence with husband Richard Buckley and their young son.
Oscar-winning actor and celebrity heartthrob Matthew McConaughey grew up in Uvalde, Texas. In 1989, McConaughey moved to Austin to pursue a degree in radio and television and film at the University of Texas. While he has spent ample time on location elsewhere, McConaughey has called ATX home ever since.
Best known for his debut album Country Grammar, rapper Nelly was born Cornell Iral Haynes, Jr. in Austin in 1972. Nelly now resides in St. Louis, but he spent most of his childhood in the Texas capital.
Musician, songwriter, singer, and activist Willie Nelson grew up 120 miles north of Austin in Abbott. Nelson moved to Austin after retiring in 1972, where he quickly returned to the music scene and has lived ever since.
Unlike many Texas-educated celebrities on this list, Dan Rather did not study at UT. The illustrious journalist and news anchor grew up in Wharton, and attended Sam Houston State University. But he and wife Jean Goebel have long divided their time between New York City and the Texas capital.
Former professional tennis star Andy Roddick spent much of his childhood in Austin, and moved back a few years ago. He lives in a West Austin farmhouse with wife Brooklyn Decker and their son, Hank. Much of Roddick and Decker’s time and energy is devoted to providing enrichment programs for low-income youth through their nonprofit Andy Roddick Foundation.
Dallas-born actor Owen Wilson studied English at the University of Texas. He lives primarily at his homes in Maui and Southern California these days, but returns to Austin frequently.
Elijah Wood has a reputation for being as elusive as a hobbit in ATX. But the Lord of the Rings star and music producer has called the Texas capital a part-time home since 2012. When not at his Victorian mansion in Boudin Creek, Wood can be spotted at restaurants and music events.
Another Texas native who studied English at UT, Renee Zellweger filmed her first movie while still at school in Austin. Zellweger now resides in New England.
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