Famous folks from Asheville, NC

Hollywood may be a solid 2,300+ miles away, but our city still manages to stay on the radar of many a celeb. Today we’re sharing 15 folks with Asheville connections.

Here are some of Asheville’s most famous + notable folks:

⭐️ Chris Chalk (1987 – present) | Actor

Chris Chalk was born in London, but raised in Asheville. He graduated Asheville High School in 2004 + went on to attend UNC Greensboro. You probably know Chris from Homeland, When They See US, and the Broadway production of Fences.

⭐️ Anthony Mackie (1978 – present) | Actor

Anthony Mackie has been a household name ever since his debut as Sam Wilson/Falcon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Before becoming a superhero, he graduated from the high school drama program at the North Carolina School of the Arts (NCSA) in 1997. Anthony has been in several Broadway + Off-Broadway productions, including Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Most recently, he has held the Top Ten on Netflix several weeks in a row for the series Altered Carbon + the Netflix original Outside the Wire.

⭐️ Bellamy Young (1970 – present) | Actor

Mellie Grant – a household name for any fan of the Shonda Rhimes series Scandal. If you participated in Scandal Thursdays on Twitter, you know this fierce Asheville star for her role as Mellie Grant (spoiler alert) President of the United States of America. DYK Bellamy went to Yale after she graduated from Asheville School in 1987?

Bellamy Young as Mellie Grant | Via Giphy

⭐️ Beth Phoenix (1980 – present) | Professional wrestler + commentator

Beth Phoenix, a.k.a., The Glamazon, won the WWE Divas Championship in 2011, has won the WWE Women’s Champion three times, and is the first woman to be inducted into the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame, dedicated to professional wrestlers with amateur backgrounds. She + her husband retired to Asheville several years ago.

⭐️ Harry Anderson (1952 – 2018) | Actor, comedian, magician

Best known for his leading role as Judge Harry Stone in the TV series Night Court, Harry Anderson was a New Orleans native for much of his life. He + his wife relocated to Asheville in 2006, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

⭐️ Dorothy Hansine Andersen (1901 – 1963) | Physician

Dorothy Andersen spent her early life in Asheville. She was a pediatrician + pathologist and was the first person to identify and describe cystic fibrosis. She was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2001.

⭐️ Charles Frazier (1950 – present) | Actor

Charles Frazier is a novelist. He was born in Asheville + grew up in Andrews and Franklin before attending UNC, Appalachian State University, and the University of South Carolina for his Bachelors, M.A., and Ph.D. respectively. He was a professor before his wife convinced him to quit to work on his book – Cold Mountain – full time.

⭐️ Sarah Addison Allen (1971 – present) | Author

Sarah Addison Allen (also known by the pen name Katie Gallagher) is a NYT best selling author from Asheville. She graduated from UNC Asheville with a degree in literature. She has won numerous awards for her work + her books have been translated into 30+ languages.

⭐️ Judy Clare Clarke (1987 – present) | Criminal Defense Attorney

Judy Clarke is one of the most high profile defense attorneys in American history. She is most notably known for her negotiations of plea agreements to spare her clients the death penalty. She also served as the President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in the 90s.

⭐️ Brett Andrew Swain (1985 – present) | Wide Receiver

Brett Swain is a former wide receiver. He was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 2008 NFL Draft + won Super Bowl XLV with the Packers. He signed with the Seattle Seahawks in 2013 and the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2014.

⭐ ️Pamela Y. Duncan (1961 – present) | Novelist

Pamela Y. Duncan is a novelist from Black Mountain, NC. She was chosen as one of the Ten Best Emerging Writers in the South + won the Sir Walter Raleigh Prize in 2003. She teaches creative writing at Western Carolina University and has a masters from NCSU.

⭐️ Isaiah Rice (1917–1980) | Photographer

Isaiah Rice was a photographer who focused on representations of Black Appalachian communities from a Black Appalachian perspective. He worked for the Works Progress Administration, served in WWII, and was a member of St. Paul’s Missionary Baptist Church in West Asheville.

⭐️ Paul Schneider (1976 – present) | Actor

Paul Schneider is probably most famous for his role on Parks and Recreation, starring Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman, and Rashida Jones. Paul played Mark Brendanawicz – love interest of Leslie Knope and then Anne Perkins. Paul also won Best Actor in a Narrative Feature award at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival for his performance in Goodbye to All That.

⭐️ Luke Albert Combs (1990 – present) | Singer

Luke Combs is a country music singer + songwriter. He dropped out of college to pursue his career and moved to Nashville to release The Way She Rides. His debut album was released in 2017 + he has since earned two Grammy nominations, five Country Music Awards, and many others.


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