When you think about Idaho, the first things that probably comes to mind are potatoes. The state is responsible for producing 13 billion pounds of potatoes every single year.
But Idaho provides the U.S. with more than just spuds. It has also produced quite a few celebrities over the years.
Idaho’s population might be small compared to a lot of other U.S. states. There are only about 1.8 million people living in a state that stretches over 83,000 square miles.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some famous people from Idaho who have made a big splash on the national stage. Here are 10 celebrities from Idaho who are happy to call “The Gem State” home.
1. Aaron Paul
Breaking Bad is regarded as one of the best TV shows of all time. And while Bryan Cranston was obviously the star of the show, it may not have been as successful as it was without Aaron Paul’s portrayal of Jesse Pinkman.
Long before Paul started raking in accolades and awards for his role in Breaking Bad, though, he was just a kid who grew up in Emmett and Boise, Idaho. He lived in the state until he graduated from high school, at which time he drove to Los Angeles to kickstart his acting career.
2. Sarah Palin
Most people associate Sarah Palin with Alaska since she served as the governor of the state from 2006 through 2009. But did you know that she was born in Idaho before moving to Alaska as a young child?
Palin was born in Sandpoint, Idaho prior to relocating to Skagway, Alaska so that her father could take a teaching job. She didn’t spend much time in Idaho after that, but she still maintains a close connection with the state after all these years.
3. Mark Felt
The name Mark Felt might not ring a bell for most people. But Felt, a former FBI investigator, is one of the most important people in American history.
Back in the 1970s, Few supplied Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein with information on the Watergate scandal while using the nickname “Deep Throat.” The info helped lead to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.
Few spent his FBI career working in various parts of the country over the years. But he laid down the foundation for his future in Idaho. He was born in Twin Falls, Idaho and attended the University of Idaho before moving to Washington, D.C. after graduation.
4. Picabo Street
Picabo Street captivated Americans during the 1998 Winter Olympics when she took home gold in the women’s Super-G competition. She did so after winning the World Cup downhill seasons in both 1995 and 1996. Her accomplishments led to her being inducted into the National Ski Hall of Fame in 2004.
Street’s success stemmed from her upbringing in Triumph, Idaho where she first learned to ski. She made a name for herself at the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation in Sun Valley, Idaho where she learned the lessons she would use to turn herself into a world-class skier.
5. Vern Law
Picabo Street is far from the only professional athlete produced in Idaho. Vern Law is another good example of the type of talented athlete that has come out of the state.
Law played Major League Baseball for 16 seasons after spending much of his youth finetuning his skills in his hometown of Meridian, Idaho. The two-time MLB All-Star won both a World Series and a Cy Young Award in 1960.
There are other pro athletes who grew up in homes in Meridian, too. They include:
- Race car driver Davy Hamilton
- NFL player Spencer Nead
- NASCAR driver Randy Tolsma
Law’s son Vance spent about a decade playing professional baseball as well.
6. Rumer, Scout, and Tallulah Willis
You might think that Bruce Willis and Demi Moore raised their three daughters Rumer, Scout, and Tallulah under the bright lights in Hollywood. But all three spent most of their childhoods growing up in different parts of Idaho.
7. Bryan Fuller
Bryan Fuller might not be a household name like some of the other famous people from Idaho on this list. But there’s a good chance you’ve sat and enjoyed at least one of the TV shows that he’s helped produce.
The TV writer and producer has played a role in helping create shows like Dead Like Me, Pushing Daisies, Hannibal, and more. He also co-created the show, Star Trek: Discovery.
Fuller was born in Lewiston, Idaho, and while he also spent time living in Clarkston, Washington as a kid, he attended Lewis-Clark State College in his hometown of Lewistown. He eventually transferred to the USC School of Cinematic Arts before pursuing his career as a TV writer.
8. Torrie Wilson
Born in Boise, Idaho, Torrie Wilson was the winner of the Miss Galaxy competition in 1999. It helped her launch her professional wrestling career with World Championship Wrestling (WCW) the same year.
Wilson later transitioned over to the World Wrestling Federation where she spent about a decade establishing herself as one of the greatest female wrestlers ever. She was added to the WWE Hall of Fame in 2019.
9. Josh Ritter
Josh Ritter has been recording music for two decades now and was once called one of the greatest living songwriters in the world. Most recently, he has performed as part of the Royal City Band.
Ritter was born and raised in Moscow, Idaho, which is where he bought his very first guitar at a Kmart. He flirted with the idea of pursuing a career in neuroscience during his teenage years before chasing down his musical dreams.
10. Robyn Hilton
Though it’s been a long time since she’s appeared in a movie, Robyn Hilton starred in quite a few big roles throughout the 1970s and 1980s. She appeared in films like Blazing Saddles, The Single Girls, Video Vixens, and Malibu Express.
Hilton was born in Twin Hills, Idaho and grew up on a farm there. She went to Boise Junior College and Utah State University prior to working as a weatherperson in Twin Hills and then launching a film and modeling career.
There Are so Many Famous People from Idaho
Idaho might not be the first place you think of when you’re trying to figure out where celebrities were born. But as you can see, the state has made a big impact in many different areas.
From Hollywood actors to Olympic athletes, there are lots of famous people from Idaho. It’s clear that Idaho is a great place to grow up and set a strong foundation for your future.
Check out our blog to see where some of the country’s other celebrities were born and raised.