The Celebrity Scene Near HGTV Smart Home 2019
The winner of HGTV Smart Home 2019 will join these A-list entertainers in calling Dallas, Texas, home.
Photo By: FlickDirect Inc / Shutterstock
Photo By: Richard E. Aaron/Getty Images
Photo By: Andrea Raffin / Shutterstock
Photo By: Tom DiPace / AP Images
Photo By: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock
Photo By: Jamie Lamor Thompson / Shutterstock
Photo By: Randy Miramontez / Shutterstock
Photo By: Everett Collection / Shutterstock
Photo By: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock
Photo By: s_bukley / Shutterstock
Some may remember Dallas hometown heartthrob Jensen Ackles was an adult Eric Brady on Days of Our Lives—a role that earned him Daytime Emmy Awards nominations—but he is best known as Dean Winchester on the guilty-pleasure CW series Supernatural. It’s hard to follow the honor of Sexiest Ghostbuster (People magazine, 2005), but Ackles managed it when TV Guide named him one of TV’s Sexiest Men (2006). Still busting ghosts with on-screen brother Jared Padalecki (14 seasons and counting), Ackles and his real-life family live in Austin now, rooting for the Cowboys from their beautiful lakeside digs, recently profiled in Architectural Digest. They also co-own Family Business Beer Company—a brewery and taproom outside Austin. Superfans will recognize the name.
Don Henley of The Eagles
Born in Gilmer, raised in Linden and now living in Dallas, Don Henley is all Texas, all the time (except when on tour). We met drummer/vocalist Henley first in the 1970s through the Grammy Award-winning hit dispenser, The Eagles. Henley wrote and recorded legends like "Life in the Fast Lane" and "Hotel California," making the Eagles one of the best-selling bands of all time. But the ’80s hits "Boys of Summer" and "All She Wants to Do Is Dance" made Henley’s solo stint a success too. Recent years have been defined by philanthropic endeavors—including co-founding the East Texas conservation nonprofit Caddo Lake Institute—and reconstituted Eagles tours. The lineup includes originals Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit, accompanied by Deacon Frey (son of the band’s guitarist Glenn Frey, deceased 2016) and country music legend in his own right, Vince Gill.
We refer to her now as Madam President for her award-winning role as the cunning Claire Underwood on the Netflix series House of Cards, but this Dallas-born actress strolled the runway before she dazzled onscreen. Robin Wright’s first big TV role was on Santa Barbara, which garnered her three Daytime Emmy nominations. Wright’s transition to film came with the slapstick Rob Reiner comedy The Princess Bride in 1987, as the imperiled Princess Buttercup. We also loved her as Jenny in Forrest Gump. Wright hasn’t lived in Dallas since her early years, but she keeps her inner Texan alive—both as the Honorary Spokesperson for The Gordie Foundation, a Dallas substance abuse prevention nonprofit (now The Gordie Center for Substance Abuse Prevention), and as the owner of a couple of oil wells. Yep, Texan all right.
You can’t hear the name Vanilla Ice without his 1990s rap-pop hit "Ice Ice Baby" traipsing across your gray matter and lodging in your ear for the day. It was #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, winning young Vanilla (or Ice) an American Music Award and a People’s Choice Award. Though his original industry bio said he was born on the tough Miami streets, this star was actually born Robert Van Winkle in Carrollton, Texas, and spent at least part of his childhood in Dallas. It was here he got his moniker—ethnicity + signature breakdancing move—and in Dallas malls and clubs that his first band, The Vanilla Ice Posse, performed. He had a short stint as a competitive jet skier and had acting cameos on reality-TV shows and film, but the last couple of decades have given him a new and unexpected identity as Vanilla Ice: real estate mogul. An entire generation now knows him best as the host of the hit DIY Network show The Vanilla Ice Project, in which Rob and his team renovate and flip run-down Palm Beach palaces. We remember, though, don’t we? Alright stop, collaborate and listen...
Jamie Foxx was born in Terrell, Texas, a town small enough (16,000 people) and close enough (35 miles) that Foxx’s vast stardom overflows into Dallas. As an award-winning actor, musician and (of course) comedian, what can this man not do? Foxx began playing the piano at age 5 and was studying classical piano and music theory in college in San Diego when he started doing comedy club open-mic nights. The American public met him first as the scandalous Wanda on the hit Fox series In Living Color, and since then he’s been busy. His own TV series, The Jamie Foxx Show, several acclaimed musical endeavors and a bunch of movies—Any Given Sunday, Ali and Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained—have kept Foxx in the limelight. We have also learned over the years to take this funny man seriously. Foxx won an Oscar for his portrayal of Ray Charles in Ray. Did we mention he’s a huge Cowboys fan?
R&B’s Dallas daughter Erykah Badu is as much a Big D devotee as she is an award-winning musician. Born and raised in, departed from and returned to Dallas, the neo soul pioneer won international acclaim in 1997 with her debut and Grammy Award-winning album Baduizm. Chart singles like "On and On" and "You Got Me" (a collaboration with the band The Roots) earned her numerous accolades and a reputation as the queen of neo soul. Badu started in local theater at age 4 and attended the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Along with a successful musical career, Badu is the master of side hustles—acting in television and film, modeling, performing stand-up comedy and on the turntables as DJ Lo Down Loretta Brown. Big on Dallas community development, Badu operates nonprofit B.L.I.N.D. (Beautiful Love Incorporated Nonprofit Development) that brings the arts to the inner city, and she renovated downtown’s Black Forest Theater to serve as an arts venue and charity event space.
Tenacious rock 'n' rollers ZZ Top is a trio of true Texans. Guitarist and co-vocalist Billy Gibbons hails from Houston. Drummer Frank Beard (the guy without a beard) was born in Frankston (no kidding), a tiny town southeast of the Big D. Bassist and co-vocalist Dusty Hill was born and raised in Dallas. Before he plugged in, Hill played cello at Woodrow Wilson High School. ZZ Top put its Texan brand on American music’s backside using a boogie-and-blues sound coupled with lighthearted lyrics. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers have more than a dozen studio albums under their belt, and we remember them best for hits "Legs," "Gimme All Your Lovin'" and "Sharp Dressed Man" off the 1983 Eliminator album. After almost 50 years, the band is still two-thirds bearded and still 100% boogieing, with 2019 shaping up to be a busy touring year.
Disney Channel darling Selena Gomez was born in Grand Prairie and raised in Dallas, finding her performance mojo on Dallas’s own Barney & Friends in 2002. The kids loved her in the Disney Channel TV-series Wizards of Waverly Place, in her 2003 film debut Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over and as a guest star on other Disney Channel programs such as Hannah Montana. Gomez continued to act in films and, in 2009, embarked on a music career as Selena Gomez & the Scene releasing a tween pop album Kiss & Tell. After a few more albums with the band, she went solo in 2013. Gomez has been a UNICEF Ambassador since 2009, and in 2017, after complications from lupus necessitated a kidney transplant (donated from a bestie), she raised half a million dollars for the Lupus Research Alliance nonprofit.
Dallas native Owen Wilson is known for such offbeat comedies as Bottle Rocket, The Royal Tenenbaums and Rushmore—which he co-wrote with college friend and director Wes Anderson—and also as a superstar of the silly for roles in masterpieces of adolescent humor Cable Guy, Meet the Parents and Zoolander, opposite Ben Stiller. The childhood troublemaker Wilson was booted out of his original Dallas high school, St. Mark’s School of Texas, and moved to Hollywood after college with his two brothers. We’ve seen baby brother Luke in several hits, including Legally Blonde, Idiocracy (alongside middle brother Andrew) and in Owen’s quirky original comedies.
The Dixie Chicks
Country-rock supergroup The Dixie Chicks took the national stage in 1998 with their major label debut Wide Open Spaces, but the Big D had known them for a while. The original Dallas gal group had been performing on street corners, small venues and as hired guns at private parties for several years. When Natalie Maines (from nearby Lubbock, Texas) joined the band, she added a little rock to their bluegrass, they got their label deal and success started following them around like a groupie. Seven studio albums later, this bestselling band has 13 Grammy Awards and several CMAs and ACMs to boot. Rumor has it the Chicks are back in the studio.
Dallas-born Jesse Plemons started acting in commercials as a young kid but was first recognizable to mainstream America as Landry Clarke on the long-running Texas-based NBC series Friday Night Lights. We then knew him as sociopath Todd Alquist in AMC’s Breaking Bad and in the second season of FX’s Fargo as the butcher Ed Blumquist. That role got him nominated for an Emmy and a fiancé (in co-star Kristen Dunst). Plemons isn’t hurting for TV or film work, recently starring in an episode of Netflix’s dystopian Black Mirror and working on Scorsese’s upcoming film The Irishman. Well regarded for his natural portrayal of often dark characters, he turned down the role of Pennywise in It. (Really Jesse, too dark?) What do you think makes Plemons a truer Texan: his FNL legacy and the episode of Walker, Texas Ranger he appeared in, or that this Dallas son is a descendent of Father of Texas Steven F. Austin, who led the 1825 colonization of the state?