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You May Be Surprised to Learn These 6 Famous People Are From North Carolina

Carly Rutledge



What do a boxer, comedian, and redhead have in common? A pretty incredible home state! You may be familiar with Carolina-born country stars as well as American Idol contestants. But you may also be surprised to discover that these 6 famous people from North Carolina used to call this state their home.

1. Julianne Moore


Born in Fayetteville, Julianne Moore is a native Carolinian. With her father being in the military, Moore was subject to several moves as a child but her home roots are here in North Carolina.

2. Michael Jordan


Although he was born in Brooklyn, NY, Michael Jordan relocated to Wilmington, North Carolina when he was a toddler. He attended Laney High School where he was rejected from the varsity basketball team his sophomore year for being too short. Then Jordan played for the University of Chapel Hill for three years before he left to enter the 1984 NBA draft.

3. Sugar Ray Leonard


Boxing Hall of Famer, Sugar Ray Leonard was born Ray Charles Leonard in Rocky Mount, North Carolina in 1956. He was known as the “combo king,” because you never knew what combination he was going to come at his opponents with. But when he did, he would mutilate them.

4. Zach Galifianakis


Zach Galifianakis was born and raised in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. He attended North Carolina State University where he was one credit shy of graduating before dropping out and moving to New York. Zach is easily the funniest of the famous people from North Carolina.

5. Ava Gardner


Ava Lavinia Gardner was born in the southern town of Grabtown, North Carolina. She grew up on a farm and had difficulty losing her conspicuous southern accent at the start of her career. She soon became one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Which also at the time made her one of the most famous people from North Carolina.

When Ava Gardner died of pneumonia in London in 1991, she was brought back to North Carolina to be buried with her parents.

6. Andrew Jackson


Andrew Jackson, America’s seventh president, was born in the Waxhaws region in 1767. Jackson studied law in Salisbury before being appointed prosecuting attorney for the western district of North Carolina. Jackson’s Carolina roots also allowed him to be the first chief executive living outside Massachusetts or Virginia.

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