Noteworthy Names and Faces of Asheville
Do You Know Which Famous People are Connected to Asheville?
The Asheville area has been the hometown for many notable and noteworthy ~
There are so many wonderful qualities to enjoy while living here in Asheville, NC and the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. Everything from the temperate weather and gorgeous seasons to the vibrant music + arts culture and extraordinary dining. Being a local also means you can purchase an annual pass to the Biltmore House property, allowing you access anytime you want. There are other fascinating historic landmarks in Asheville you’ll want to visit more than once: the beautiful historic Grove Park Inn and Grove Arcade.
But, one topic of interest that doesn’t get talked about much is how many famous people either were born here or lived here for a period of time. Did you know that there is a growing list of notable people who wish to live in or visit Asheville on a regular basis? Well, there is.
(It may surprise you to find out who your neighbor is at the Farm At Cane Creek.)
Everyone from ex-presidents to celebrities have fallen in love with our mountains and often return multiple times or even decide to live here. When you visit the Grove Park Inn, you can walk the hotel halls and see all the well-known people who have stayed in the historic hotel over the past 100 years.
So, we’ve made a list of other noteworthy names and faces that you’ll recognize who either were born, raised or have lived here in Asheville:
- Steve Martin, resides part of the year in nearby Brevard, NC and comes to Asheville to record music with his band Steep Canyon Rangers.
- Andie McDowell, a model and actress who once lived in the Biltmore Forest neighborhood for many years in South Asheville.
- Zach Galifianakis actor/comedian who was born and raised in Wilkesboro, NC. Rumors state he has purchased a home in Biltmore Forest but has not been confirmed.
- Harry Anderson (1952–2018), actor, starred in nine seasons of NBC’s Night Court lived in the historic Montford neighborhood until he passed away in 2018.
- Paul Schneider, actor born and raised in Asheville. Went to Asheville High before making it in Hollywood, Ca.
- Bellamy Young, actress, co-star of television series Scandal; born and raised in Asheville
- James Franco, actor and poet, earned his MFA in poetry at Warren Wilson College in Black Mountain and was often seen in and around Asheville.
- Gladys Knight, married a gentleman from Fairview and now resides just outside Asheville in Canton, NC.
- John Goodman, movie actor and star of the hit television series, Roseanne, purchased a bison farm in Madison County as part of the Blues Brothers Corporation, and is known to frequent Marshall businesses. Madison County is slightly north of Asheville.
- Warren Haynes, raised here in Asheville and still lives here part of the year. Warren played with the Allman Brothers and with his own band Gov’t Mule. He returns to the Asheville area to host the Warren Haynes Christmas Jam, which raises money for Habitat for Humanity.
- Thomas Wolfe (1900–1938), author, born and raised in Asheville, buried in Riverside Cemetery. Jude Law plays Thomas in a movie called ‘Genius’ that was released in 2016.
- Zelda Fitzgerald (1900–1948), wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald; died in a fire with eight other women at Highland Hospital, an Asheville mental institution in the Montford district
- George Washington Vanderbilt II (1862–1914), entrepreneur, founder of the Biltmore Estate
- Babe Ruth (February 6, 1895 – August 16, 1948), Would stay at the Battery Park Hotel in downtown Asheville as a stop over to play the Atlanta Braves in Georgia or to play our very own Asheville Tourist. He and Lou Gerhig would head out from the Battery Park Hotel for dinner and drinks where it is said that Mr. Gerhig would often carry (or drag) Babe back to the hotel because he was too drunk to walk back himself. Then, there was the time Babe fell ill as he arrived in Asheville to play against the Tourists on April 7th, 1925, but never made it onto the field. See more here. (Notice the Asheville Citizen Times article quoting Babe’s perception of Asheville during the Great Depression.)
- Nina Simone (1933–2003), jazz singer, attended Allen Home School for Girls in Asheville. Simone was born on February 21, 1933, in Tryon, North Carolina, just 30 minutes south of downtown Asheville. Home childhood home still remains and is a wonderful place to visit.
- Robert Moog (1934–2005), pioneer of electronic music, inventor of the Moog synthesizer
- Sallie Ford, of Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside, singer
- Charlton Heston (1923–2008), Oscar-winning actor, managed the Asheville Community Theatre with his wife Lydia in 1947
- Roy Williams, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill basketball coach, raised in Asheville.
- Dorothy Montgomery (1924–2009), All-American Girls Professional Baseball League player
- Jack Ingram, retired NASCAR driver
- Nolan Ryan, played for the Asheville Tourist baseball team in the 1960’s
And back to those former or future Presidents…. Ten (future) Presidents have stayed at the Grove Park Inn hotel:
- William Howard Taft – 27th President of the United States, stayed in 1929 and 1930
- Woodrow Wilson – 28th President of the United States
- Calvin Coolidge – 30th President of the United States
- Herbert Hoover – 31st President of the United States
- Franklin D. Roosevelt – 32nd President of the United States, stayed in 1936
- Dwight D. Eisenhower – 34th President of the United States, stayed in 1947
- Richard M. Nixon – 37th President of the United States in 1956
- George H. W. Bush – 41st President of the United States in 1986
- William J. Clinton – 42nd President of the United States in 1987
- Barack H. Obama – 44th President of the United States, stayed in 2008 and 2010
What’s the general take away message? That Asheville is a desirable place to live no matter who you are! Living here also means there’s a slight chance you may run into one of your favorite celebrities. With Asheville growing in popularity and sparking celebrity interests, you never know who you will see just out and about in our beautiful mountain region.