Skip to Content

10 of the Most Famous Actors From Minnesota

When we say the word actor, you may think of California, New York, or Hollywood. But not all actors have their roots in the places where we know them best…some got their start much closer to home. Check out this round-up of some of the biggest actors from Minnesota.

LOS ANGELES - FEB 18: Chris Pratt arriving to the ‘Onward’ World Premiere on February 18, 2020 in Hollywood, CA

1. Chris Pratt

The most familiar actor from our list of famous actors from Minnesota is Christopher Michael “Chris” Pratt. Chris Pratt had a modest upbringing, the youngest of three siblings and the son of a supermarket worker (mother) and home remodeler (father).

He first became known in Hollywood for his small-screen successes in roles such as on Parks & Recreation, The O.C., and in movies such as Zero Dark Thirty and Her. It wasn’t until 2014 that he broke out as a leading man after voicing Emmet Brickowski in The Lego Movie and playing Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, in Guardians of the Galaxy. Since then, he has been headlined in several franchise installments and continues to gain popularity for his strong voice acting talents as well.

Place of Birth:

Virginia, Minnesota

Date of Birth:

June 21st, 1979

What He’s Known For:

  • Peter Quill/Star-Lord in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy – Volumes 1-3, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: End Game
  • Andy Dwyer in Parks and Recreation
  • Owen Grady in Jurassic World 1-3

2. James Hong

One of the most prolific and easily recognizable Asian-American actors in both movies and television, James Hong is often distinguished by just his voice alone! After studying civil engineering at the University of Minnesota, Hong took an interest in the acting field instead; he later transferred to the University of Southern California, where he eventually graduated and practiced for 1½ years as a road engineer in Los Angeles County, using up his sick leave and vacation time for his job to act in films.

Eventually, he quit engineering altogether and went full-time into acting. He has since been in countless movies, working as both an actor and voice actor, has helped found the East-West Players—the oldest Asian American theater in Los Angeles—and has also served as president and charter member of the Association of Asian Pacific American Artists.

LOS ANGELES - FEB 4: James Hong arrives at the 39th Annual Annie Awards at Royce Hall at UCLA on February 4, 2012 in Westwood, CA

Place of Birth:

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Date of Birth:

February 22nd, 1929

What He’s Known For:

  • David Lo Pan in Big Trouble in Little China
  • Ping in Kung Fu Panda 1-3
  • Chi Fu in Mulan
  • Gong Gong in Everything, Everywhere, All At Once

3. Peter Graves

Emmy and Golden Globe winner Peter Graves was a well-rounded actor with a love of sports and music who first began his spot in the public light as a radio announcer at WMIN in Minneapolis at the age of 16 years old. After serving for 2 years in the United States Army Air Force, Graves went on to study drama at the University of Minnesota, then made his way to Hollywood, where he made numerous film appearances, particularly in westerns—though some of his best-known roles are from his television run in Mission: Impossible (1966) and in the comedy movie Airplane! Sadly, Graves passed away in 2010, 4 days before his 84th birthday, of a heart attack.

Place of Birth:

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Date of Birth:

March 18th, 1926

Passed Away:

March 14th, 2010

What He’s Known For:

  • Captain Clarence Oveur in Airplane!
  • James Phelps in the Mission: Impossible! television series
  • Sergeant Frank Price in Stalag 17

4. Izaac Wang

Next on the list of famous actors from Minnesota is Izaac Wang. The youngest actor on our list, little is known about Izaac Wang’s history but that he debuted on the acting scene with his role in Teachers in 2019. Wang became a much more well recognized name after starring in Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon in 2021, where his character, Boun, was considered a show stealer among audiences.

New York, NY - November 5, 2021: Actor Izaac Wang attends Empire State Building

Place of Birth:

Minnesota (city unknown)

Date of Birth:

October 22nd, 2007

What He’s Known For:

  • Boun in Raya and the Last Dragon
  • Soren in Good Boys
  • Owen in Clifford the Big Red Dog

5. Garrett Hedlund

The youngest of 3 siblings, Garrett Hedlund, came from small-town roots in Minnesota on his family’s farm, moving to Arizona in the 9th grade, where his acting lessons began. He pursued the Los Angeles acting life straight out of high school, landing a minor role in the hit movie Troy and kicking off a string of roles opposite big names such as Brad Pitt, Jeff Bridges, and Mark Wahlberg. He is also a talented musician in violin and guitar, and holds a Man of the Year title from the 2011 Glamour Awards.

Place of Birth:

Roseau, Minnesota

Date of Birth:

September 3rd, 1984

What He’s Known For:

  • Sam Flynn in TRON: Legacy
  • Dean Moriarty in On The Road
  • Murtagh in Eragon
  • Hook in Pan

6. Josh Hartnett

From humble beginnings as a worker at a video store, actor Josh Hartnett performed in a spate of small plays and national commercials before finally making it to the big screen. He has since gained a well-deserved reputation in Hollywood that has seen his popularity rise over the years, and he is recognized as one of the most famous actors from Minnesota.

He is known for having great variety in his repertoire, from the romantic war drama Pearl Harbor to horror films such as 30 Days of Night and thrillers in the vein of The Black Dahlia. He also made waves with his performance on the small screen in the horror series Penny Dreadful.

Josh Hartnett, one of the most famous actors from Minnesota, attends the Los Angeles Premiere of "30 Days of Night" held at the Grauman's Chinese Theater

Place of Birth:

St. Paul, Minnesota

Date of Birth:

July 21st, 1978

What He’s Known For:

  • Slevin Kelevra in Lucky Number Slevin
  • Danny Walker in Pearl Harbor
  • Eben Oleson in 30 Days of Night
  • Ethan Chandler in Penny Dreadful

7. Vince Vaughn

Perhaps one of the best known actors from Minnesota, Vince Vaughn, is the son of a salesman and character actor (father) and real-estate agent and stockbroker (mother) and is the youngest of three siblings. He grew interested in acting at a young age and kicked off his career in a Chevron commercial, then began making waves with his portrayal of Trent Walker in the movie Swingers, which he signed on to do as a favor to a friend.

From there, director Steven Spielberg noticed him and cast him in the sequel to blockbuster hit Jurassic Park, which threw open the floodgates of Vaughn’s career. Vaughn has since appeared in many comedies and dramas alike, as well as serving as a producer on several movies.

Place of Birth:

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Date of Birth:

March 28th, 1978

What He’s Known For:

  • Jeremy Grey in Wedding Crashers
  • As a producer of Couples Retreat
  • Norman Bates in Psycho (1998 version)

8. Kevin Sorbo

Next on the list of most famous actors from Minnesota is Kevin Sorbo. The son of a nurse (mother) and high school teacher (father), Kevin Sorbo began his working career as a traveling actor in a theater group, with a love for and excellence in sports that carried over from his schooling years to help make him a shoo-in for modeling for print ads, appearing in commercials, and finally becoming the title hero of his signature series, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.

After experiencing plenty of fame in the role and growing his talents by learning the crafts of filmmaking as well as martial arts to better himself as an actor, Sorbo became chairman and spokesperson of A World Fit for Kids!, a successful mentoring model that focuses on training inner-city teens on the use of school, fitness, sports, and positive role models for themselves to become positive coaches and mentors for younger children subsequently.

Sorbo has also developed a great passion for faith and justice, starring in more faith-based films in the latter portion of his career and using his voice to bring attention to issues in line with his beliefs.

LOS ANGELES - FEB 5: Kevin Sorbo at the 24th Annual MovieGuide Awards

Place of Birth:

Mound, Minnesota

Date of Birth:

September 24th, 1958

What He’s Known For:

  • Hercules in the Hercules: The Legendary Journeys television series
  • Sol Harkens in Let There Be Light
  • Drake Hunter in The Santa Suit

9. Richard Dean Anderson

A multitalented man, Richard Dean Anderson grew up with a love of sports and a storied past, including dreams of professional hockey playing, a job juggling and street miming, hitchhiking from Minnesota to Alaska, and playing in a rock band.

His first big acting break came about in the last 1970s, when he landed a role on the popular daytime drama General Hospital, and again as his name became a household staple when, in 1985, he was cast in the role of the title character on the hit show MacGyver, and its two TV movies, MacGyver: Lost Treasure of Atlantis and MacGyver: Trail to Doomsday.

Another great success came about for Anderson, one of the famous actors from Minnesota, in Stargate SG-1 and its spinoff Stargate: Atlantis, perpetuating his generational and cross-genre infamy as a well-rounded actor.

Place of Birth:

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Date of Birth:

January 23rd, 1950

What He’s Known For:

  • MacGyver in MacGyver
  • Major General Jack O’Neill in Stargate: Atlantis and Stargate SG-1
  • Jack Webber in General Hospital

10. Mike Farrell

Last but not least to be recognized as one of the most famous actors from Minnesota is Mike Farrell. An actor, political and social activist best known for his role as Captain B.J. Hunnicutt in the popular wartime comedy-drama TV series, M*A*S*H, Mike Farrell came from very modest, working-class familial roots in the St. Paul area of Minnesota and rose to become one of the most famous TV actors in Hollywood. He remains very politically involved in the latter part of his career, with nods from PETA and other political groups for his activism.

LOS ANGELES - OCT 28: Mike Farrell arrives for the Carney Awards 2018

Place of Birth:

St. Paul, Minnesota

Date of Birth:

February 6th, 1939

What He’s Known For:

  • Captain B.J. Hunnicutt in M*A*S*H
  • Scott Banning in Days of Our Lives
  • Jonathan Kent in Superman: The Animated Series

Wrapping Up Famous Actors From Minnesota

Curious to know more about big names and amazing facts from Minnesota? Check out our Minnesota People page. Next, explore the rest of our site to learn lots of cool tidbits about Minnesota life, state history, recreation, and so much more!

Be sure to check out our Things To Do page to discover everything you need to know about fun things to do in Minnesota’s great towns and cities!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.