Five Celebrities You Didn’t Know Lived in Iowa
Sure to surprise some people is the fact that Iowa has been home to some Hollywood royalty over the years. Several A-list celebrities and household names call the Hawkeye State home. I thought it'd be fun to look at five celebrities who hailed from Iowa, many of whom leaving a lasting impression on the state itself.
In the same vein, you can also find a list of five movies shot in Iowa here too! With that, here are five celebrities who are from the state of Iowa!
5. Johnny Carson (Corning):
The king of late-night TV, Johnny Carson, was actually born in Corning, IA in 1925. One of three children, his family bopped around the country before settling in Norfolk, NE when he was eight-years-old. Carson went on to become the host of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson from 1962 to 1992.
4. Elijah Wood (Cedar Rapids):
Before Elijah Wood became internationally known for his role as Frodo in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, he was just a simple Iowa boy, who grew up in Cedar Rapids. Wood and his parents uprooted to Los Angeles when he was eight-years-old in order for him to pursue an acting career.
It's hard to argue that was the right call, given that Wood is now synonymous with probably the most iconic and influential fantasy series of all-time.
3. Ashton Kutcher (Cedar Rapids):
Kutcher attended Washington High School in Cedar Rapids for his freshman year prior to his family moving to Homestead, Iowa. He then attended the University of Iowa where he sought to study biochemical engineering. Apparently, Kutcher was a hard-partier during his Iowa days. Those are stories we only wish we knew.
2. Tom Arnold (Ottumwa):
I'd opine that Tom Arnold is one of the most famous actors to hail from Iowa. However, his origins story is a sad one. Arnold grew up in Ottumwa, IA, and had to overcome a litany of obstacles to get where he is today:
The three were still very young when their mother, who Tom Arnold said was an alcoholic, moved out. That left them in the care of a father in his early 20s whose role as breadwinner left him little time for parenting, Arnold said. - per The Des Moines Register
If that wasn't hard enough, at the age of 14, Arnold's sister, Lori, married a man who was 23 years old. Lori went on to run one of the largest meth operations in the Midwest until she was arrested in 1989. Thankfully, that was a business in which Tom didn't find himself. He went on to attend Ottumwa High School, Indian Hills Community College, and later the University of Iowa from 1981 to 1983, where he studied business administration and writing.
1. John Wayne (Winterset):
The Duke himself is actually an Iowa native, having been born at 224 South Second Street in Winterset, IA (a location that's quite popular). The Winterset Madisonian, the local paper at the time, reported that Wayne (whose birth name was Marion Robert Morrison) weighed 13 lbs at birth!