The Hollywood Nebraskans

Nebraska. 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, 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
  • John Beasley – Actor, 2x Grammy Nominee

  • Moon Bloodgood – 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

  • Leslie Brooks – actress

  • 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

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