Morgantown, WV

The Hollywood connection to Morgantown

Anita Durairaj

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Morgantown is known as the home of West Virginia University (WVU). It is as far away from Hollywood as you could imagine. Yet, Morgantown can still lay claim to having Hollywood ties through the celebrities who passed through WVU.

Here are a few of the best-known celebrities who will forever be associated with Morgantown.

Steve Harvey

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Steve HarveyImage Source: Wikimedia Commons

Steve Harvey, famous comedian and host of Family Feud is a proud West Virginian and he isn't afraid to show it. Growing up, his father was a coal miner in West Virginia. He has mentioned how beautiful the state is to his fans.

Harvey is a native of Welch, West Virginia but he lived in Morgantown when he attended the West Virginia University for college. WVU was not Harvey's first choice of school. Initially, he had gone to Kent State University in Ohio but he flunked out after two years. WVU was Harvey's second chance to finish college.

At WVU, Harvey may have studied advertising. Regardless his degree did not give him instant fame and success. It wasn't until a few years later that he discovered he had a skill for comedy.

Taylor Kinney

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Taylor KinneyImage Source: Wikimedia Commons

Taylor Kinney is best known for his roles in The Vampire Diaries, Zero Dark Thirty, and the Chicago series (Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., and Chicago Med).

Kinney is originally from Pennsylvania but he attended West Virginia University for college. It was WVU that instigated his interest in acting. In his sophomore year, he took an elective theater course, which was his first step towards Hollywood fame.

TV producer Dick Wolf, creator of the Law and Order franchise has claimed that Kinney's star power could increase. This is what he said of Kinney,

He literally could end up being the next George Clooney.

Unfortunately, Kinney did not graduate from WVU and he left in his junior year to move to Los Angeles and start auditioning.

Kinney isn't just known for his TV roles. He also famously dated Lady Gaga until they broke up.

And more,

Other celebrities associated with Morgantown include actress Cheryl Hines who is best known for playing Larry David's wife on the HBO show Curb Your Enthusiasm. Hines also attended WVU but did not graduate.

Another celebrity is Hoda Kotb, co-anchor of the NBC News morning show Today. Kotb grew up in Morgantown. Her father held a teaching position at WVU. Kotb has fond memories of growing up in Morgantown.

When I was 12, my parents told me were moving to Alexandria, Va. I sat on the milk box outside our front door and cried. I loved my life in Morgantown. There were 50-plus kids on our street and we knew everyone. - Hoda Kotb

Finally, do you know any other contemporary Hollywood stars/celebrities who may have once lived in Morgantown? Please leave your answers in the comments section.

Sources: Southern Living, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal

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