In Hollywood, 'tis the season of what it means to be a celebrity. In the spirit of winners, losers, best-dressed, worst-dressed, thank you speeches and controversial skits, here is a link from our home in Connecticut to those in the West, dressed in lavish gowns and sharp tuxedos for their walk down the red carpet during the Oscars tonight.
Many entertainment industry standouts have ties to Connecticut. Some are natives and others have chosen it as their sanctuary to get away from the whirlwind that is Hollywood. They have produced well-known works and influenced various productions from behind the camera to starring on the big screen. The following list highlights some of the brightest lights, as well as brushes with famous names and other notable Connecticut connections to the world of entertainment.
Kevin Bacon, the Hollywood Walk of Fame member, grew up in Philadelphia, but he and his wife, Kyra Sedgwick, live part time in Sharon. Notable Works: Footloose, Mystic River, Murder in the First.
Richard Belzer, actor and comedian, was born in Bridgeport, grew up in Fairfield and worked as a reporter forThe Bridgeport Post. Notable Works: Law & Order: SVU, Homicide: Life on the Street.
Ernest Borgnine, whose career spans more than six decades, was born in Hamden and later moved to North Haven. His hometown of Hamden named a park in his honor. Notable Works: Marty, McHale’s Navy, Airwolf.
Glenn Close, nominated for five Oscars, was born in Greenwich, attended the private girls school Rosemary Hall - now the campus for the Japanese School. Notable Works: Fatal Attraction, Damages, Dangerous Liaisons, 101 Dalmatians.
Bette Davis, the legendary actress in her later years, lived on Crooked Mile Road in Westport. She sought her Connecticut retreat in 1985 to work on her memoirs. Davis is in an elite group of actors who have been nominated for at least ten Academy Awards (she won two). The elite circle consists of Jack Nicholson, Laurence Olivier, Meryl Streep and Katherine Hepburn. Notable Works: Jezebel, All About Eve, The Little Foxes.
Brian Dennehy, the film, stage and screen actor, was born in Bridgeport and currently resides in Woodstock. He also appears regularly on stage throughout Connecticut. Notable Works: Best Seller, Death of a Salesman, Long Day’s Journey into Night.
Colleen Dewhurst ( 1924-1991) an award-winning stage actress both on and Off-Broadway, and television. Lived in Greenwich during her marriages to actor George C. Scott.
Keir Dullea, an actor on both stage and screen and perhaps most famous for his role as Astronaut David Bowman in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, lives in Fairfield.
Paul Giamatti, rumored to have been a member of the Skull and Bones secret society while at Yale University, was born and raised in New Haven. Notable Works: Cinderella Man, Sideways, American Splendor.
Mel Gibson, the actor and director known for his Mad Max and Lethal Weapon movies, lived for many years with his former wife and their seven children on a farm in backcountry Greenwich. His Oscar turns include Braveheart for Best Movie, Best Director; Apocolypto and What Women Want.
Katherine Heigl, model-turned-actress, was born in Washington D.C., but spent most of her childhood in New Canaan. Notable Works: Grey’s Anatomy, Knocked Up, 27 Dresses.
Katharine Hepburn, the classic American actress, was born in Hartford and lived for decades in the Fenwick section of Old Saybrook. She and her family narrowly escaped the 1938 Hurricane. Today, the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center and Theatre is in Old Saybrook. Notable Works: Morning Glory, Love Among the Ruins, On Golden Pond.
Ron Howard, the actor, director and producer, was born in Oklahoma, but he lives with his high school sweetheart and their four children on a 35-acre estate in Greenwich. Notable Works: Happy Days, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind.
Christopher Lloyd, was born in Stamford and raised in New Canaan and Westport. His family donated their family's ancestral home, Waveny Park, to the town of New Canaan. Notable Works: Back to the Future Trilogy, Taxi, Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Dylan McDermott, one of People’s Most Beautiful People in 1998, was born and raised in Waterbury. Notable Works: In the Line of Fire, The Practice, Dark Blue.
Paul Newman, the classic American heartthrob, was born in Ohio, but along with his wife and three daughters, Newman escaped the Hollywood hills to make their home in Westport. In 2008, he died in his home in Westport. Notable Works: The Color of Money, Cool Hand Luke, The Hustler.
Christopher Plummer, an actor of both stage and screen, calls Weston home. Plummer grew up in Canada, and is perhaps best known for his role as Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music. He is currently filming an adaptation of Stieg Larsson's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Notable works: The Silent Partner, The Insider, Inside Man, The Last Station.
Jason Robards, who was featured in numerous films and whose work was recognized with an Academy Award, lived in Fairfield before his death.
Diana Ross, the Motown diva, may have been born in Detroit, but she lives part time in her multi-million dollar mansion in Greenwich. Notable Works: The Supremes, Lady Sings the Blues.
Meg Ryan, America’s sweetheart, was born and raised in Fairfield. Notable Works: When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail.
Christopher Sarandon, who lent his voice to A Nightmare Before Christmas and who was featured in The Princess Bride, calls Fairfield home.
George C. Scott (1927 - 1999) He was best known for his stage work, as well as his portrayal of General George S. Patton in the film Patton, and as General Buck Turgidson in Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove. He lived in Greenwich with his actress wife Colleen Dewhurst (whom he married and divorced twice).
Chloe Sevigny, an Oscar winner, grew up in Darien. She appeared in high school plays with television actor Topher Grace, who knew Kate Bosworth when she also lived in town.
Meryl Streep, the multiple award winner and nominee, was born in New Jersey, but she and her husband, Don Gummer, were wed on Masons Island and make Greenwich their primary residence. Notable Works: The Deer Hunter, Julie & Julia, Mamma Mia!
Christopher Walken, whose career includes more than 100 movies and shows, was born in Queens, NY, but he and his wife, Georgianne Walken, reside in Wilton. Notable Works: The Deer Hunter, Pulp Fiction, Catch Me If You Can.
Gene Wilder, who starred in classics such as Bonnie and Clyde, Young Frankenstein and Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, was born and raised in Milwaukee, but bought an eighteenth century farmhouse in Stamford in 1981 and shared it with his late wife Gilda Radner. Wilder continues to live in the home with his fourth wife Karen Boyer.
* Local editors Andrew Brophy, David Gurliacci, Chandra Johnson-Greene, Barbara Heins and Justin Reynolds contributed to this report.