Courtesy of MCT Campus, Robert Gauthier

5 celebrities from the Palmetto State

The intensity of the entertainment industry and the glamour of Hollywood have bred some talented and iconic figures over the years. It's easy to forget that some of our favorite television and film stars used to lead relatively normal lives; some even grew up right here in South Carolina. 

Stephen Colbert

Although he was born in Washington, D.C., comedian, actor and television host Stephen Colbert grew up on James Island in Charleston, South Carolina. Colbert, the youngest of 11 children, attended the Porter-Gaud School in Charleston and his father served as vice president for academic affairs at the Medical University of South Carolina. The comedian is most famous for his role on The Daily Show, his own television show, The Colbert Report and his role as the host of The Late Show, which he assumed after David Letterman’s retirement.

Viola Davis

"How to Get Away with Murder" star and two-time Academy Award nominee Viola Davis was born in St. Matthews, South Carolina, a small town outside of Columbia. Her father, a horse trainer, and her mother, a maid, factory worker and civil rights activist, moved Davis and her five siblings to Rhode Island at a very young age. Davis, who attended the Juilliard School in New York City, is well known for her lead role in the film "The Help" as well as her role in "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close." In 2012, the actress was also named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by Time magazine.

Aziz Ansari

Actor and comedian Aziz Ansari was born right here in Columbia, South Carolina to a family originally from Tamil Nadu, India.Ansari spent most of his childhood in Bennettsville, South Carolina where he attended Marlboro Academy as well as the South Carolina Governor’s School. He later graduated with a major in marketing from the New York University Stern School of Business.Ansari is widely known for his role as the hilariously sarcastic government employee Tom Haverford on the NBC series "Parks and Recreation."

Kristin Davis

Born in Boulder, Colorado, actress Kristin Davis moved with her parents to Columbia, South Carolina early in her childhood. Davis lived in Columbia until she graduated from A.C. Flora High School and moved to New Jersey to attend Rutgers University. Her stepfather, Keith Davis, is a distinguished psychology professor here at the University of South Carolina. Davis is known for her role as the lovable Charlotte York on HBO’s "Sex and the City," "Sex and the City: The Movie" and "Sex and the City 2."

Chris Rock

Actor, comedian and two-time Academy Awards host Chris Rock was born in Andrews, South Carolina. Rock and his family later moved to Brooklyn, New York where he spent most of his childhood. Rock’s parents pulled him out of James Madison High School when he became the victim of bullying, and Rock eventually dropped out altogether and earned his GED. After working his way up in the industry, Rock landed appearances on Saturday Night Live as well as more prominent roles in films including "Madagascar" and "Grown Ups."

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