The foothills of the Upstate are a long way from the Hollywood hills, but they’ve proven to be fertile soil for the entertainment world.
Among others, Greenville has spawned an Oscar-winning actress, a Grammy-winning singer, a world-famous TV chef, and a long line of musicians from the realms of rock, country and blues.
Joanne Woodward, who won the 1958 Best Actress Academy Award for “The Three Faces of Eve,” is one of the most famous Upstate-connected entertainers. Woodward graduated from Greenville High School in 1947 and performed in Greenville Little Theatre productions of “I Remember Mama” and “The Glass Menagerie” before making her way to Tinseltown.
The world of acting can also lay claim to comic Orlando Jones, who starred in such films as “Drumline” and “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt”; actress Celia Weston, a Spartanburg native who starred in the film “Junebug”; and teen actress Britt Robertson, whose roles include the Steve Carell film “Dan in Real Life” and the 2010 sitcom “Life Unexpected.”
When it comes to music, the Upstate has numerous favorite sons and daughters. Singer Peabo Bryson, who won Grammy Awards for his performances of the themes to the animated films “Aladdin” and “Beauty and the Beast,” grew up in the Little Texas community and attended Beck High School.
The list goes on, and it includes country singer Aaron Tippin, who put the Blue Ridge community on the musical map; Edwin McCain, who grew up and still lives in Greenville; Chris Sligh, an “American Idol” finalist who attended Bob Jones and North Greenville universities; television chef Tyler Florence; contemporary Christian singer Amy Grant, who went to Furman University; and Seneca-bred rock band Jackyl.
Donna Isbell Walker
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