Long considered the cultural capital of the South, Atlanta is no stranger to high-profile celebrities. A list of famous Atlantans throughout history would include civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and literary icon Margaret Mitchell, both born within walking distance of AMLI’s Old 4th Ward apartments. In this list, we focus on contemporary actors, authors, musicians, and media personalities. Here’s a look at 11 household names who were born, raised, or discovered in the ATL.
1. Alan Ball
Brilliant screenwriter, director and producer Alan Ball was born in Atlanta and grew up in Marietta, Georgia. Ball’s most celebrated work includes Six Feet Under, True Blood and American Beauty. His latest project, a drama series titled Here and Now will premiere February 11 on HBO. The Academy Award winner resides in Los Angeles.
2. Pat Conroy
Critically acclaimed novelist Pat Conroy lived in Beaufort from age 15 until his death at age 70 in 2016. But the genius behind The Prince of Tides and The Great Santini was born and partially raised in Atlanta.
3. Jeff Foxworthy
Comedian Jeff Foxworthy was born in Atlanta and educated at Georgia Tech. The Blue Collar Comedy Tour and Jeff Foxworthy star calls the Big Peach home to this day.
4. Tyler Perry
New Orleans-born actor, director, producer, author, and songwriter Tyler Perry rocketed to fame following production of his first film, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, in 2005. By 2011, he was the highest paid man in entertainment. Perry made a name for himself while living in Atlanta, where he resided from 1990 until 2016.
5. Julia Roberts
Academy Award-winning actress Julia Roberts was born a mile from AMLI’s Intown Atlanta apartments at Emory Midtown University Hospital. Roberts spent her childhood Decatur and Smyrna, during which time her thespian parents founded the Atlanta Actors and Writers Workshop. But Roberts’ passion for acting didn’t spark until adulthood, when she flocked to New York to pursue it. Roberts now lives in Southern California.
Actress and TV show host Raven-Symoné was born in Atlanta, where she lived for three years before her family moved to New York. As a child actress, Raven-Symoné appeared on The Cosby Show, Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper, and That’s So Raven. After a two-year stint co-hosting The View, she began work on That’s So Raven spin-off Raven’s Home.
7. Ryan Seacrest
American Idol host and radio personality Ryan Seacrest was born and raised in Atlanta. After graduating from Dunwoody High School, Seacrest started a journalism degree at the University of Georgia before deciding to move to Hollywood at 19 to pursue a career in broadcasting. The Emmy Award winner began co-hosting Live with Kelly and Ryan in May 2017. He’s also agreed to host the resurrection season of American Idol, which will air on ABC March 11.
Rapper, actor, and businessman T.I. was born Clifford Joseph Harris, Jr. in Atlanta. The entertainer and nightclub owner, credited with popularizing trap music, is a lifelong Atlanta resident with homes in Buckhead and Jonesboro.
9. Chris Tucker
Actor, comedian, and humanitarian Chris Tucker was born in Atlanta and raised in the suburb of Decatur. After graduating from Columbia High School, Tucker moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in entertainment. Today, Tucker divides his time between Atlanta, Las Vegas, and L.A.
Usher Raymond IV was born in Dallas and spent his early childhood in Chattanooga. But Usher’s “discovery” came during his adolescence in Atlanta, where he caught A.J. Alexander’s eye at a talent show. While a student at North Springs High School, Usher recorded his first several tracks and performed in numerous theater productions as an actor. The talented performer went on to build one of the most successful R&B music careers of all time. Usher, who’s 11 #1 R&B hits make him a Guinness World Record holder, still calls Atlanta home.
11. Kanye West
The outspoken, talented, and highly decorated Kanye West lives in Los Angeles County and considers Chicago his hometown. But the accomplished wrapper, songwriter, producer, and fashion designer spent his earliest years in Atlanta, where his father worked as a photojournalist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and his mother a professor of English at Clark Atlanta University. Kanye has received 92 of the 380 music awards for which he’s been nominated, including 21 Grammys.
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