Colorado has starred in hundreds of movies -- and more recently, watched as filmmakers pass up the Centennial State for cheaper locales, even if their films are set here. (Thanks for nothing, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.) But lawmakers and industry folks have a plan to change that, a plan that could benefit from the support of homegrown movie stars like Pam Grier, who was a no-show at a film rally last week.
Here, we list ten of Colorado's most famous film folks.
Pam Grier Born in North Carolina, Grier eventually landed in Denver thanks to her father's military career. She attended East High School and entered beauty contests to pay for tuition at Metro State. From there, she went on to kick lots of ass on screen -- as a deadly hairpin-wielding nurse in Coffy, as the leader of an all-girl prison rebellion in The Big Bird Cage, and as a castrating "black belt in bar stools" in Jackie Brown.
Don Cheadle Cheadle is also a graduate of East High (class of 1982). His showbiz career started slowly; in the '80s, he had guest appearances on Night Court and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, in which he played Will Smith's friend, Ice Tray. He later rose to prominence with roles in Out of Sight, Traffic and Ocean's Eleven. In 2005, he was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of humanitarian Paul Rusesabagina in Hotel Rwanda.
Amy Adams Adams grew up in Castle Rock and graduated from Douglas County High School. For about a month afterward, she waited tables at the most famous of all breastaurants, Hooters -- a job that couldn't be more different from the role that launched her career, the manic pixie dream girl Giselle in the Disney movie Enchanted. Adams has had serious roles, too, including as Marky Mark's tough-talking girlfriend in The Fighter.
T.J. Miller Apparently, East High is the shit when it comes to churning out movie stars. T.J. Miller, who played Ranger Jones in the 2010 movie Yogi Bear, is another alum. When we spoke to Miller last year, he told us this: "I wanted to emulate the rappers who talk about where they're from, so I have a song about coming out of Denver. I really want to make that a part of who I am as a comedian. I want to talk about being from Denver, and I like representing Denver, and I like to say the word 'Denver.'"
Roseanne Barr A native of Salt Lake City, Barr cut her teeth in Denver comedy clubs in the 1980s. In 1988, she landed Roseanne, the sitcom that made her famous. The show ended after eleven successful seasons. Now the former Mrs. Tom Arnold lives on a nut farm in Hawaii. Real nuts, that is -- which she says she hopes to get "in your mouth." No joke.
Tim Allen Born in Denver as Timothy Alan Dick, the comedian had dropped the Dick by the time he starred as Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor on the popular sitcom Home Improvement. Allen has had several film roles, too: as guess-who in The Santa Clause; as a dad in Jungle 2 Jungle; and, the only one really worth noting, as the voice of Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story.
Jessica Biel spent part of her childhood in Boulder -- and the other part of it starring on the sticky-sweet family drama 7th Heaven and posing nude on the cover of Gear magazine (rebellion!). She also showed off her belly button as the hot-girl-who-screams-a-lot in the 2003 remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and played Kris Kristofferson's daughter in Blade: Trinity. Most recently, she had a part in the ensemble movie New Year's Eve.
Sinbad Sinbad's Colorado connection is collegiate: He attended the University of Denver from 1974 to 1978. After appearing on Star Search, Sinbad began to land TV roles, including a recurring one on the Cosby Show spinoff, A Different World. From there he jumped to the big screen, starring in such memorable flicks as Jingle All the Way, in which he battles Arnold Schwarzenegger for a Christmas toy. Hilarity ensues.
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Kristin Cavallari Cavallari was born in Denver but made her name in Laguna Beach, California, where she was one part of a love triangle on MTV's Laguna Beach. Later, she replaced rival Lauren Conrad on The Hills, which also starred Crested Butte-born plastic-surgery queen Heidi Montag. The latest gossip? That she's pregnant with former Bronco Jay Cutler's baby.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone If all of our Colorado stars were this cool, we'd be less embarrassed about this list. (Jessica Biel? C'mon, Colorado.) The creators of South Park, The Book of Mormon and movies including BASEketball, Orgazmo and Team America (Fuck, yeah!), these two might be Colorado's greatest export. Raised here, they now live somewhere more glamorous.