The Hollywood Nebraskans

NebrStarsNebraska. Hollywood. The two places couldn’t be more different. But there’s no doubt that Hollywood just wouldn’t be the Hollywood we know today without the accomplishments of Nebraskans who made their mark here. Actors like Henry Fonda, Marlon Brando, Fred Astaire, Harold Lloyd, Sandy Dennis, Nick Nolte, Marg Helgenberger, Montgomery Clift, Robert Taylor, Hillary Swank. From the earliest days of show business, with the likes of showman Buffalo Bill Cody and novelist Willa Cather and founder of movie capitol Culver City Harry Culver, Nebraskans have been some of the biggest movers and shakers in popular culture. Comedy legends like Johnny Carson, Dick Cavett and Larry the Cable Guy. Writers, Producers, Directors and Executives like Darryl F. Zanuck, Warren Littlefield, Joan Micklin Silver, Lew Hunter and Alexander Payne. Musicians Chip Davis, Paul Williams, Matthew Sweet.

Each of these people – Nebraskans all — have made a huge impact in movies, television and the performing arts. And the list is growing with every new arrival to the coast. What is it about our state right in the heart of the country that churns out such talented performers, writers and visionaries? Is it our down-to-earth, from-the-heart communication style? Is it our pioneering spirit and can-do (or can’t not do) attitude? Maybe its just in the water back there, but there’s definitely something about the people who come from Nebraska that makes us a great fit in the entertainment industry.

What will be your contribution? How will you make your mark in entertainment? Welcome home, future Hollywood Nebraskan.

 

Here’s a partial list of Hollywood Nebraskans and others making an impact on the arts, culture, news, entertainment, politics, and more…

(Watch this space for future updates as we create bios and photo galleries for each person).

Wesley Addy – actor, Omaha
Barbara Feldman Adler – television writer and producer, Emmy Award, Omaha
Bess Streeter Aldrich * – author, Elmwood
Dana Altman * – director, Omaha
Adele Astaire –
vaudeville and musical theater dancer, actress, Omaha
Fred Astaire
– actor, singer, dancer, three Emmy and three Golden Globe Awards and an honorary Academy Award, Omaha
William Baird
– puppeteer, television performer, Grand Island
George D. Baker
– film director, writer, producer, stage actor, magazine illustrator and amateur photographer, Beatrice
Roy Barcroft
– actor, near Crab Orchard, Johnson County
Leslie Brooks – actress
Jon Bokenkamp – Writer, Director, Producer, Kearney
Ward Bond – actor, Benkelman
Marlon Brando – actor, two-time Oscar winner, 1 Emmy Award, 4 Golden Globe Awards, Omaha
John Carroll * – Survivor TV contestant, Omaha
Crystal Carson – actress, Spaulding
Johnny Carson * – TV variety show host, Norfolk
Richard C. Carson - Director of television game, talk, and variety programs, 5 Emmy Awards, Norfolk and Lincoln
Willa Cather – author on pioneer life
Dick Cavett – Writer, Actor, TV host, Gibbon, Lincoln
Montgomery Clift – actor, Omaha
James Coburn – actor, Laurel
William F. Cody *– entertainer, North Platte
Harry H. Culver – Milford, Crete, Lincoln, found of Culver City, CA
Nick D’Agosto – Actor, Omaha
Kenneth Darby – composer, music director
Chip Davis * – composer, Omaha (born in Ohio)
Sandy Dennis – actress, Oscar winner, 2-time Tony winner, Hastings, Lincoln
Donna D. Dewey * – Writer, producer, director, Academy Award winner, Lincoln
Anthony Dexter – Actor, Superior
Wheeler W. Dixon * – filmmaker, editor, author, Lincoln
Melvyn Douglas * – actor, 2 Academy Awards, 1 Tony Award, 1 Emmy Award, and 1 Golden Globe Award, Lincoln
David Doyle – actor, Lincoln
Mary Doyle – actress, Lincoln
William Dozier – Producer, Talent Agent, Actor, Omaha
Christopher Duncan – actor
Leslie Easterbrook – actress
Joseph Roy Ellison – Management executive, Friend, lived in Crete
George F. Erwin – musician, composer, bandleader
Ruth Etting – actress, singer, David City
Mignon Good Eberhart – mystery writer
Harold Edgerton – Nebraska pioneer in the field of high-speed flash photography and Oscar winner for MGM short, “Quicker n’ a Wink”
John P. Falter – artist, cover illustrator for Saturday Evening Post
Joe Feeney – singer
Mauro Fiore * – director of photography, Omaha
Henry Fonda – actor, 2-time Oscar winner, 2-time Tony winner, 2-time Golden Globe winner, and Grammy winner, Grand Island, Omaha
Jane Fonda * – actress
Peter Fonda * – producer, writer, actor, 2-time Oscar nominee recipient, and winner of a Golden Globe, lived in Omaha
Harry Friedman – Writer and television producer, 6-time Emmy winner, plus 15 additional nominations, Omaha
William Fries * – songwriter, singer, ad executive, aka “C.W. McCall”, Omaha
Edmund “Hoot” Gibson – actor, Tekamah
Chuck Glaser – musician, songwriter (The Glaser Brothers)
Jim Glaser – musician, songwriter (The Glaser Brothers)
Tompall Glaser – musician, songwriter (The Glaser Brothers)
Rodney Grant * – actor
Coleen Gray – actress, born near Staplehurst
Howard H. Hanson – composer, conductor
Leland Hayward – theatrical and film producer, talent agent, 3-time Tony Award winner, Nebraska City
Neil Hefti – composer
Marg Helgenberger – actress, 4-time Emmy winner, Fremont
Joseph E. Henabery – film director, Omaha
Mike Hill – editor, Oscar winner, Omaha
Glenn A. Hughes – educator, playwright, poet, Cozad
Lew Hunter – television producer, film director, screenwriter, worked as program executive/producer, born in Guide Rock, lives in Superior -  official site
David Janssen – actor, Golden Globe winner, Naponee
John Dennis Johnston – actor
Richard Kelton – actor
Don Kirschner – music producer
Terry Kiser – actor, Omaha/Council Bluffs, Iowa
Chris Klein * – actor, Omaha
Harley Jane Kozak * – actress
Swoosie KurtzActress, 2-time Tony winner, 2-time Emmy nominee recipient, Omaha
Harry P. Langdon * – vaudeville and film comedian, actor, writer/director, Omaha
Warren Littlefield – network executive, Lincoln
Harold Lloyd * – actor, Oscar winner, Burchard
Preston Love, Sr. – jazz musician
Charles F. Lowe * – television writer and producer, business executive, born at Steele City, Jefferson County, lived there and briefly at Crete
Pierce Lyden – Actor, free-lance writer, born at Hildreth, Franklin County, lived at Naponee
Margaret F. Lynch – radio and television writer, actress, Lincoln
Albert Gordon MacRae *- singer, actor, lived in Lincoln
Jo Ann Marlowe – child actress, “Mildred Pierce”
Holt McCallany * – actor, raised in Nebraska (son of actress Julie Wilson)
Nellie Elizabeth “Irish” McCalla – actress, model, and painter, born in Pawnee City, lived there and in Omaha
Dorothy McGuire – actress on stage, screen and television, Oscar nominee recipient, 3-time Emmy nominee recipient, Omaha
Randy Meisner – musician (The Eagles)
Buddy Miles – musician
Wright Morris – writer
Richard A Moores – Cartoonist, producer, writer
Fred Niblo – actor, director, York
Nick Nolte – actor, Golden Globe winner, Oscar nominee recipient, Emmy nominee recipient, Omaha
Lucille Norman – actress, singer
Diane Ogden * – Survivor TV contestant, Lincoln
Harry R. Owens – Composer, author, conductor
Alexander Payne – writer/director, Oscar nominee recipient, 2-time Golden Globe winner, Omaha
Lori Petty– actress
Louise Pound – writer, literary scholar, champion athlete
Ryan Quincy – film and television animator, co-recipient of several Emmy Awards, born at Grand Island, lived in Holdrege
Anne Ramsey – actress
Thurl Ravenscroft – voice actor, singer, voice of Tony the Tiger, Norfolk
Ann Ronell – composer, lyricist
Paul Revere * – musician, Harvard
Maurice N. Richlin – screenwriter, short story author, Oscar winner, Omaha
Sharon Kay Ritchie – entertainer, elected Miss America, actress, born in McCook, lived in Grand Island
Lillian St. Cyr – actress, born at Winnebago, Thurston County
Mari Sandoz – novelist, historian, Indian friend
Joan Micklin Silver – director, writer, producer, Omaha
Paul Girard Smith – writer, actor, director
Julie Sommars – actress, Golden Globe winner, Fremont
Lynn A. Stalmaster – casting director, actor, nominated for Emmy Award, Omaha
Charles (Skip) Stephenson – comedian, TV show host, Omaha
Don Stewart – actor, Omaha
Orville Wayne Stoeber – actor, composer, Fremont
Hilary Swank – actor, 2-time Golden Globe winner, Oscar winner, Lincoln
Matthew Sweet – singer, songwriter, Lincoln
Inga Swenson – actress, singer, 2-time Tony Award nominee recipient, 3-time Emmy Award nominee recipient, Omaha
Lyle Talbot *- actor, lived at Brainard, Butler County, and in Omaha
Steve D. Tamerius *- writer, lived at Fairbury, Jefferson County, and in Lincoln
Robert Taylor – actor, co-recipient of Golden Globe award, Filley
Megan Duffy Terry – playwright, 20 awards and honors including Obie Award, Omaha
Janine Turner – actress, 2-time Golden Globe nominee recipient, Emmy Award nominee, Lincoln
Gabrielle Union actress, Omaha
Lucky Vanous – actor, Lincoln
Sandy Veneziano – production designer
Roger Welsch – poet/CBS television moderator
Mari Weiss – actor, voice over, Lincoln
Charles E. Weidman Jr. – dancer, choreographer, teacher, Lincoln
Mary K. Wells – actress, writer, member of writing team that won 2 Emmy Awards, Omaha
Daniel L. Whitney (Larry the Cable Guy) – comedian, actor, Pawnee City
Paul Williams – songwriter, author, Bennington
Roger Williams – pianist, Omaha
Donald H. Wilson – actor, announcer, show host, Lincoln
Julie Wilson – actress, cabaret singer, Omaha
Irene Worth – actress, 3-time Tony winner, 2-time Obie winner, Fairbury
John Lloyd Young *- actor, Tony award winner, lived in Bellevue
Paula Zahn – TV newscaster, Omaha
Darryl Zanuck – motion picture producer, co-founder of 20th Century-Fox in 1933, the only 3-time recipient of the Irving S. Thalberg Award for “most consistent high quality of production achievement”, earned 3 Oscars, Golden Globe Award winner, Wahoo
Mary Zimmerman *- playwright, director, educator, Tony Award winner, lived in Lincoln

* = “Honorary Nebraskans” – These people were born elsewhere but lived in Nebraska or currently live in Nebraska.

Large thanks to E. A. Kral for providing the information on these pages.