16 Actually Cool Floridians Who Are Nothing Like "Florida Man"
Because it's not just face eaters that call the Sunshine State home.
With its fair share of outlandish news...
Florida has gained a mockable reputation as the home of loons and murders. But surprisingly enough, actually cool people have called the Sunshine State home.
Note: This is by no means an exhaustive list, these are just the names I bring up at parties when defending my home state.
1. Ray Charles
Ok, we all know Ray Charles had Georgia on his mind, but did you know that he was raised in the small town of Greenville, Florida? He later attended the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine from 1937 to 1945.
2. Aasif Mandvi
Aasif Mandvi of the "Daily Show" went to high school and college in Tampa, Florida. Mandvi worked as a performer at Walt Disney World in Orlando before moving to New York.
3. Zora Neale Hurston
Writer Zora Neale Hurston grew up in Eaton, Florida, one of the first all-black towns incorporated in the United States. Eaton would inspire the backdrop of her famous 1937 novel, "Their Eyes Were Watching God."
4. Tom Petty (and the Heartbreakers)
Tom Petty, my mom's favorite Floridian, was born and raised in Gainesville where he met his future bandmates.
5. Jeff Garlin
Wikipedia will tell you that comedian Jeff Garlin is from Chicago, but South Florida natives claim him as our own. The star of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "The Goldbergs" moved to Davie, Florida with his family in the sixth grade and stayed in South Florida through college. Garlin began performing stand up in Miami.
6. Catherine Keener
Best known for her roles in "The 40 Year Old Virgin," "Being John Malkovich," and "Capote," this Miami native is perfect in everything she does. Bonus points for her sister, Elizabeth Keener, who played Dawn Denbo on "The L Word."
7. Against Me!
Punk band Against Me! formed in Gainesville in 1997 and has had a devoted following ever since. Frontwoman Laura Jane Grace is originally from Naples.
8. Todd Barry
You might know Todd Barry from his stand up or his guest spots on "Louie" and "Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee." Born in the Bronx, Barry grew up in Florida and graduated from UF in 1986.
9. Faye Dunaway
Nominated for an Oscar for her role in "Bonnie and Clyde," Faye Dunaway was awesome in "Chinatown" and freaking brilliant in "Mommie Dearest." She's from Bascom, Florida and she's cool.
10. John Ringling
John moved the Ringling Brothers headquarters to Sarasota, FL in 1927. Nearly penniless at the time of his death, Ringling willed his waterfront mansion, museum, and robust art collection to the state of Florida in 1936. Today, his Florida legacy includes the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art and the Ringling College of Art and Design.
11. Oscar Isaac
Best known for his roles in "Inside Llewyn Davis," "Ex Machina" and "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," this hunky actor was raised in Miami and got his acting start at the Area Stage Company, Miami Beach.
12. Ernest Hemingway
Originally from Oak Park, IL, Hemingway took up residence in Key West, FL in the 1930s. The Hemingway House, where he wrote "To Have And Have Not" and "Green Hills of Africa," is now a tourist destination well known for its population of six-toed cats, descended from Hemingway's own.
13. Thomas Edison
Born in Ohio, Edison made his winter home and laboratory in Fort Myers, Florida from 1886 to 1931.
14. Mandy Moore
Mandy Moore grew up outside of Orlando and attended Bishop Moore Catholic High School, which probably gave her plenty of fodder for her role in "Saved!"
15. Bob Vila
Bob Vila: home improvement guru, host of "This Old House," and role model to millions of dads. Vila was born in Miami and later attended the University of Florida. Go Gators!
16. Aaron Staton
The guy who played Ken Cosgrove on "Mad Men" went to high school in Jacksonville. I'm counting it.