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10 Famous People You Never Knew Were From Colorado

Colorado is known for many things. There’s its rich history rooted in the mining and railroad industries, as well as the spectacular and diverse natural scenery ranging from desert sand dunes to 14,000-foot mountain peaks (58 of them, to be exact). And of course, Colorado is the birthplace of the almighty cheeseburger.

The Centennial State also has a reputation for something else: There are several famous people from Colorado, ranging from Olympic gold medalists to A-list actors and Grammy-winning singers.

Famous people from Colorado

Here’s a highlight of 12 notable famous people from Colorado — but this is just the tip of the iceberg; there are dozens of others.

1. Tim Allen

Actor Tim Allen, one of the most famous people from Colorado

Tim Allen is arguably one of the most famous people from Colorado. The Denver-born actor is best-known for playing Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor on Home Improvement in the 1990s and Santa in The Santa Clause movies, as well as voicing Buzz Lightyear in the Toy Story franchise.

2. Jon Heder

Actor Jon Heder

The one and only Napoleon Dynamite were born right here in Fort Collins. He shot to superstardom for his “nunchuck skills” scene and saying “Gosh!” a ridiculous number of times, but Heder also starred in several other hilarious, oddball comedies including The Benchwarmers, Mama’s Boy, and Blades of Glory.

 

3. Duane Chapman

Duane Chapman, better known as "Dog" the Bounty Hunter

More commonly known as “Dog” the Bounty Hunter, Chapman grew up in Denver before becoming a world-famous bail bondsman. The dog has consistently starred in reality TV shows since the early 2000s, most of them alongside his late wife, Beth Chapman, who was also from Colorado.

 

 

4. Kristin Davis

Actress Kristin Davis, one of several famous people from Colorado

Kristin Davis, the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning actress, was born in Boulder. She’s best known for playing Charlotte York Goldenblatt on Sex and the City, both the HBO series and the two movies. Davis has also starred in several romantic comedies and is a dedicated philanthropist, serving as a Global Ambassador for Oxfam.

5. John Carroll Lynch

Actor John Carroll Lynch

Mr. Lynch has had a long, successful career in Hollywood. The Boulder-born, Denver-raised actor first gained notoriety in 1996’s Fargo and has since starred in dozens of movies and television shows, including Face/Off and The Drew Carey Show. Lynch’s most recent role is the lead in the ABC sitcom Big Sky.

 

6. Trey Parker

Actor, producer, and director Trey Parker holding a microphone

No list of famous people from Colorado could be complete without mentioning Trey Parker, who’s from Conifer, a community just outside of Denver. Parker famously co-created South Park with Matt Stone, whom he met while both were attending UC Colorado in Boulder. Some of Parker’s and Stone’s other career highlights include creating The Book of Mormon and Orgazmo.

7. Zachery Ty Bryan

Zachery Ty Bryan, one of the many famous people from Colorado

Another Home Improvement alum, Zachery Ty Bryan was born in Aurora. The one-time teen heartthrob who the world knew as Brad Taylor, Tim’s son on the show, grew up as a child model and actor in Denver. While Brad Taylor was Bryan’s biggest role, he’s also made cameos in dozens of other TV shows and movies.

 

8. India Arie

Singer India Arie on stage speaking
Photo credit: Harry Wad

 

Being that music is such an important part of Colorado’s culture, it should come as no surprise that some award-winning musicians are from here. Denver-born India Arie has won four Grammys and has been nominated for a stunning 23. Arie has also sold well over 10 million records internationally.

 

9. Jack Dempsey

Boxer Jack Dempsey, one of several famous people from Colorado
Photo credit: Fandom

 

Legendary boxer Jack Dempsey grew up in Manassa, Colorado, a historic ranch and farming community in the southernmost part of the state. Dempsey, frequently called “The Manassa Mauler,” was one of the biggest celebrities of his time, defending the title of World Heavyweight Champion from 1919 to 1926.

 

10. Lindsey Vonn

Athlete Lindsey Vonn waving to the crowd at the Pyeong Chang 2018 OlympicsOlympic skier Lindsey Vonn wasn’t actually born in Colorado. However, her career is so closely tied to the Centennial State that she is widely considered one of the more famous people from Colorado. Vonn spent years training in Colorado as a child before her family moved to Vail, one of the world’s skiing capitals, in the late ’90s.

The list of Olympic medals Vonn won is lengthy, but highlights include being one of only two female skiers in the world to win four World Cup skiing championships.

 

Do you know of other famous people from Colorado? Connect with us on Facebook or tag us on Instagram @riverbeatscolorado and tell us who!

From the River Beats Colorado team: 2020 has been a very challenging time for travel, adventure, and events around our state. While we’re aware these uncertain times may limit many aspects of life, we hope our editorials provide helpful tips while ensuring safe social and physical distancing

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