22 Celebrities Who Call Chicago Home
Chicago boasts snap-worthy bean sculpture, the second oldest ballpark in the United States and of course the most delicious deep-dish pizza. But this global city is also home to some of the most influential celebrities in the industry. Some stars are true Chi-town natives, born and raised in the streets of the Windy City, while others found their fame while living in Chicago. For two (aka the POTUS and FLOTUS) Chicago was the setting for their love story. Scroll down to see the celebs who have called—or currently call—Chicago home.
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The creative genius may have been born in Atlanta, Georgia but it is the city of Chicago that clearly influenced him—on his song "Homecoming," West refers to the Windy City at least 10 times. After collaborating with local Chicago artists and receiving an honorary doctorate from the Art Institute of Chicago, there's no doubt that the rapper owes much of his artistic inspiration to the city.
How could we forget the actor who won over our hearts as the sweet Corey Matthews on the 90’s sitcom, Boy Meets World? Ben Savage was born and raised in Chicago and fortunately for us he’s currently back on television with Topanga by his side on the Disney Channel spin-off series, Girl Meets World.
Rhimes, creator of the hit TV shows, Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, and Chicago native, told the Chicago Tribune that she spent much of her childhood inventing made-up characters and stories to cope with standing out in a predominantly white elementary school in her suburban hometown in Chicago. Luckily for us, her imaginary Shondaland became the television production company that we cannot get enough of today.
The actor best known for his iconic roles as Han Solo and Indiana Jones may have been born and raised in Chicago but the city did not spark his interest in performing. Interestingly enough, the Hollywood star focused on social sciences while in Chicago and didn’t jump-start his acting career until he went to college in Wisconsin.
Chicago is where this ‘80s movie star got his start in show business. The Sixteen Candles actor began perfecting his skills as a performer in Chicago’s very own Piven Theatre Workshop while he was still in elementary school. He’s also a diehard Chicago Cubs fan!
Lupe Fiasco first started making music in the basement of his Westside Chicago home and rose to A-list status after his mix-tapes were noticed by Jay-Z. Since then his roots have largely influenced his music—"Go Go Gadget Flow," a song from his 2007 album The Cool, is practically an ode to the city.
Before Bill Murray came to New York to kick off his career on Saturday Night Live, the iconic comedian joined Chicago’s Second City improvisational comedy troupe to keep himself out of trouble as a kid.
Jennifer Hudson grew up in a close-knit family in the neighborhood of Englewood in Chicago. She may have left the city to find fame on American Idol but the Oscar-winning star stays grounded by frequently visiting her hometown.
Model Karlie Kloss may currently be traveling the world in luxury to walk in the shows of fashion’s elite designers but her career roots were first set down in Chicago. Kloss told ELLE that her start in modeling was random and her first gigs were scattered all over Chicago for obscure bridal magazines before she ventured to New York.
TV personality Jenny McCarthy owes her strong will and perseverance to her upbringing in the resilient South Side neighborhood of Chicago. After being turned down by modeling agencies, McCarthy didn’t give up and she started getting media attention after auditioning for a modeling gig at Chicago’s Playboy Headquarters.
The actress and singer may have left her hometown to pursue her acting career in California but Palmer has Chicago to thank for exposing her to show business. She got her start performing in a local Chicago stage show as a child.
The comedian and TV talk-show host was born and raised in Chicago before she got her first big break in comedy. Shepherd discovered that her humor could help her deal with bullies at a young age —it would also eventually help her win an Emmy too!
Jennifer Morrison prepared for her big time roles in both the fairy-tale inspired TV show, Once Upon a Time, and the medical drama, House, while she was growing up in Chicago. The actress studied theater at Loyola University Chicago and then went onto perform for Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company to perfect her acting skills before she left Chi-town for Hollywood.
The Golden-Globe-winning actress grew up in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood of Chicago and got her start in acting when she landed a role in her school’s production of A Chorus Line.
Better known in our hearts and on the TV screen as Dr. Jackson Avery in Grey’s Anatomy, Jesse Williams is a true Chicago native. The actor told Michigan Ave Mag that his time spent in Chicago has given him the life experiences he needs to succeed in his creative field.
Michelle Obama & Barack Obama
The love story of the United States’ power couple started in Chicago. Michelle Obama, a Chicago native, and Barack Obama, recent transplant, met and fell in love while working at a Chicago law firm. Their love story continued and the couple married in Chicago, landed jobs at the University of Chicago, and moved to Kenwood to start their family before relocating to the White House.
Chance the Rapper
Chance the Rapper got his start on Chicago’s South Side. Before anyone knew his name, he performed at Chicago’s YOUmedia youth center. The emerging rapper credits the city for the success of his music (his recent mix tape Coloring Book was the first streaming-only album to land on the Billboard 200 chart), explaining to SPIN that his experiences in Chicago make his music relatable to everyone.
Although Oprah Winfery was born and raised in Mississippi and didn’t find herself in Chicago until she was 30-years-old, Chicago is the place where the talk show host made a name for herself with her televised talk show, the Oprah Winfrey Show.