Famous People Born in Cleveland


Cleveland has many claims to fame, including the Polish Boy sandwich, the soaring Terminal Tower, and even the first usage of the term “Rock and Roll.” These aren’t the only things that contribute to Cleveland’s fame, though. This city is the birthplace of numerous celebrities, including comedians, actors, and even an astronaut. Though it is neither the largest city in the state nor its capital, some incredible people have been born in Cleveland. These stars are just some of the famous faces that have graced the city.

Drew Carey

Drew Carey grew up in Cleveland’s Old Brooklyn neighborhood with his parents and two brothers. He graduated from James Ford Rhodes High School in 1975 and went on to attend Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. After high school, he served six years in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Drew’s comedy career started in 1985, and he was soon Master of Ceremonies at the Cleveland Comedy Club. “The Drew Carey Show”, appropriately set in Cleveland, premiered in 1995. Drew now resides in Los Angeles and New York City.

Halle Berry

Halle Berry was born in Cleveland and named after Halle’s, a local department store chain. Halle grew up in Oakwood, Ohio, and graduated from Bedford High School where she was a cheerleader, honor student, and class president. She went on to study at Cuyahoga Community College in Northeast Ohio. Halle moved to New York City to pursue her acting career in 1989 and was shortly cast in “Living Dolls”. When the short-lived series was canceled, she moved to Los Angeles where her film career took off. Among her many famous roles is Storm in the “X-Men” series.

Tracy Chapman

Musician Tracy Chapman was born in Cleveland in 1964 and grew up in the South Broadway neighborhood. She began playing ukulele at the age of three and soon picked up guitar and clarinet at the Cleveland Music School Settlement. Tracy left the city to accept a prep school scholarship in Connecticut and went on to graduate from Tufts University. She wrote songs like “Fast Car” and “Across the Lines” about the situations she witnessed in her early life in Cleveland. Tracy won a Grammy for Best New Artist in 1989.

Vanessa Bayer

Actress and comedian Vanessa Bayer was born and raised in the Orange suburb of the greater Cleveland area. She was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the age of 15 and was treated extensively in Cleveland area hospitals. Vanessa graduated from Orange High School in 2000 and went on to attend the University of Pennsylvania. In 2010, she joined the cast of “Saturday Night Live”, and in 2012 was promoted to repertory status. When she departed the show in 2017, she was the longest-serving female cast member (though Kaye McKinnon has since surpassed her). 

Yvette Nicole Brown

A famous actress, comedian, host, and writer, Yvette Nicole Brown was born in Cleveland in 1971. She graduated from Warrensville Heights High School and got her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Akron. After graduating college, she moved to Hollywood to study acting. Yvette is perhaps best known for her role as Shirley Bennett on the television show “Community.” Since leaving the series, she has hosted the Disney game show “The Big Fib” and now stars alongside John Stamos in The Disney+ series “Big Shot.”

Arsenio Hall

Comedian Arsenio Hall was born and raised in Cleveland’s Kinsman district. After school, he would regularly visit Jeans’ Novelty and Magic Shop in downtown Cleveland. Arsenio became so skilled at sleight of hand that he was soon performing during intermission at Karamu House, the oldest African-American theater in the country. This led to an opportunity to perform for CBS in New York City at the age of 12. He graduated from Warrensville Heights High School and attended Ohio University and Kent State University. After college, Arsenio moved to Chicago and later Los Angeles to pursue his career in comedy.

Phil Donahue

Media personality Phil Donahue was born in Cleveland in 1935. He graduated from Our Lady of Angels elementary school in West Park Cleveland and later attended St. Edward High School in Lakewood. Donahue received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame. He began working as a production assistant at KYW radio and television in Cleveland and later became an anchor on Dayton’s WHIO-TV morning newscast. In 1967, he began hosting “The Phil Donahue Show” in Dayton. The show entered nationwide syndication in 1970 and later moved to Chicago followed by New York City.

Lili Reinhart

Actress Lili Reinhart was born in Cleveland in 1996 and grew up in nearby Bay Village. Though she lived in Cleveland as a teenager, Lili would frequently travel to New York City to audition. She moved to Los Angeles at the age of 18 where she guest-starred on the television show “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” and in several films including “The Kings of Summer”, “Forever’s End”, and “The Good Neighbor”. She was cast as Betty Cooper in the hit CW television series “Riverdale” in 2016. “Riverdale” was renewed for a sixth season in 2021.

Paul Newman

Actor, director, entrepreneur, and race car driver Paul Newman was born in the Shaker Heights neighborhood in Cleveland. He took to the stage early, appearing in an elementary school production of “Robin Hood” at age seven. He participated in the Cleveland Play House’s Curtain Pullers program for children and graduated from Shaker Heights High School. He went on to enjoy an illustrious film career, winning three Golden Globe Awards including New Star of the Year in 1956, an Academy Award for Best Actor in “The Color of Money”, and an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor for “Empire Falls”.

Stay Connected With The Cleveland Community With Our Staff

This list covers just some of the celebrities to come out of Cleveland. Do you have favorite celebrities who hail from Cleveland that aren’t mentioned here? Contact our team at North Coast Auto Mall and let us know to help share the love with all the great achievers to have come from the city.

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