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Italian Celebrities By State: How Many Can You Name?

There are more than 17 million Americans of significant Italian descent, not to mention millions more who are proudly Italian in some way.

America Domani analyzed celebrities with connections to Italy in each of the 50 States. Note that, for the analysis, they had to have a clear connection to the State, but not necessarily be born or raised in that State. They also had to have partial or full Italian heritage or a clear connection to Italy such as spending part of their childhood in the country before relocating to the United States.

Read on to learn about the most famous Italian celebrities from each State and be sure to take our trivia quiz here to test how well you know them!

Alabama: Donna D’Errico

The former Baywatch star and Playboy Playmate of the Month is a native of Dothan, Alabama. In addition to having authentic Italian roots, D’Errico was given a true Italian name for her role on Baywatch, lighting up the screen for three years as “Donna Marco”.

Alaska: Felix Pedro 

Born Felice Pedroni, “Felix Pedro” was an Italian immigrant who was largely responsible for the Alaska Gold Rush in the early 1900’s. Pedroni was born in a small village outside Modena and immigrated to New York before making it out west. To honor Pedroni’s life and contributions to the Alaska Gold Rush, a monument was erected in his name on the Steese Highway outside of Fairbanks, Alaska.

Arizona: Joe Jonas

The 33-year-old founding member of the hit rock band the Jonas Brothers, was born in Casa Grande, Arizona, while brothers Nick and Kevin were born in Texas and New Jersey, respectively. Jonas is part-Italian and along with his brothers, has played to multiple sold out shows across Italy.

Arkansas: Henri de Tonti

Born Enrico Tonti, he became one of the most important early explorers in Arkansas’ history. He is known as the “Father of Arkansas” for his contributions to exploration in and around the lower Mississippi Valley. De Tonti was born in Gaeta, located between Rome and Naples.

California: Joe DiMaggio

In a state that is rich with Italian American heritage, perhaps none is more famous than “Joltin’ Joe”. DiMaggio was born outside of San Francisco before heading east where he became one of the most legendary baseball players in history. DiMaggio coined the phrase “I’d like to thank the good Lord for making me a Yankee.”

Colorado: Amy Adams

Little known fact. The Golden Globe Award-winning actress was born in Vicenza, Italy. Adams is an Italian-born American who grew up in Colorado after her family moved from one military base to another. Adams’ acting breakthrough came in 2005, when she starred in the film Junebug.

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Connecticut: Charli D'Amelio

Social media sensation Charli D’Amelio has racked up approximately 150 million followers on TikTok and shows no signs of slowing down. Her YouTube channel boasts more than 9.5 million subscribers. She is the daughter of Heidi and Marc D’Amelio and grew up in the Norwalk area of Connecticut. 

Delaware: Valerie Bertinelli

Long before she met Eddie Van Halen, Bertinelli was an unknown girl from Wilmington, Delaware. Her father Andrew was a General Motors executive and proud Italian American. Bertinelli moved frequently throughout her child, however Delaware is her birth state. 

Florida: Ariana Grande

The global pop sensation was born in Boca Raton and is a proud Floridian through and through. Her Italian roots trace back to Sicily and Abruzzo and she often speaks about the influence of growing up in an Italian American household. Grande has recorded duets with hit Italian artists such as opera star Andrea Bocelli.

Georgia: Hulk Hogan

Born Terry Bollea, there is only one “Hulk” when it comes to professional wrestling. Before he was winning WWF (now WWE) championship belts, Hogan was an aspiring baseball player. Hogan’s father Pietro Bollea was a construction foreman who moved the family to Florida after Hogan was born. Hogan’s birthplace is Augusta, Georgia.

Hawaii: Henri Ginaca

When you think of Hawaii, you think of luaus and pineapples. However, what most people don’t know is that it was an Italian American who made pineapples a mainstay on the Hawaiian Islands. Ginaca was an American engineer who helped to invent the machine that mass produced pineapples.

Idaho: Genevieve Cortese

The 42- year-old television star is known for her role as Kris Furillo on the series Wild Fire. She was born in San Francisco, but later moved to Sun Valley, Idaho before breaking through as an actress. She now resides in Austin, Texas with her husband Jared Padalecki and their three children.

Illinois: Sebastian Maniscalco

The 49-year-old comedian has reached rockstar status in the Italian American community over the past decade. He often references his childhood outside of Chicago in his stand-up routines. Maniscalco was born in Arlington Heights, Illinois and later attended Northern Illinois University.

Indiana: Angelo Pizzo

The Indiana-raised screenwriter and film producer is most famous for his work on Hoosiers and Rudy. He is the grandson of a Sicilian immigrant who went on to contribute to some of the most iconic sports movies of the 1980’s and 90’s. He is also a diehard fan of the Indiana Hoosiers basketball team.

Iowa: Lara Flynn Boyle

The 52-year-old actress has starred on the television classic Twin Peaks, as well as popular films such as Wayne’s World and Men in Black II. She was born in Davenport, Iowa to parents of Irish, German and Italian ancestry. Her family later moved to Chicago.

Kansas: Mike Pompeo

The former United States Secretary of State and Member of the US House of Representatives from Kansas’s 4th district is an Italian American whose great grandparents came from Abruzzo. Pompeo resides in Wichita, Kansas with his wife Susan and their son Nicholas.

Kentucky: Ashley Judd

The 54-year-old actress was born Ashley Tyler Siminella in Los Angeles. However, she identifies much more with the state of Kentucky. Judd spent most of her childhood in Kentucky and attended the University of Kentucky in Lexington. Judd has Sicilian ancestry on her father’s side. She is an avid supporter of the Kentucky Wildcats basketball team and can frequently be seen sitting courtside.

Louisiana: Grant Cardone

The successful entrepreneur has now become a well-known national media personality, speaker, and author. Cardone can often be seen on YouTube offering his opinions on the latest real estate and investment trends. Cardone was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana in 1958.

Maine: John Baldacci

Baldacci is the former Governor of Maine, who served from 2003-2011. Baldacci was born in Bangor, Maine as the son of Italian-Lebanese parents. His family owned an Italian restaurant in Maine called Mama Baldacci’s. He began his career in politics at the tender age of 23. 

Maryland: Frank Zappa

For more than three decades, the Baltimore-born artist helped to shape an entire generation of music. Zappa was of Neapolitan and Sicilian ancestry and grew up with his parents and grandparents. He died at the age of 52 in Los Angeles after a battle with prostate cancer. 

Massachusetts: Rocky Marciano

Often listed as one of the greatest boxers of all time, the “Brockton Blockbuster” is the only heavyweight champion to have never lost a fight. Born Rocco Frances Marchegiano, he was a lifelong native of Massachusetts. Marciano died tragically in a plane crash in 1969 just before his 46th birthday. 

Michigan: Frances Ford Coppola

The Detroit-born film director and producer has won five Academy Awards throughout his career which has spanned over six decades. Coppola’s grandparents immigrated to the United States from Basilicata and Naples. Beyond his successes in filmmaking, Coppola has branched out to wine making, tourism, and the restaurant business. 

Minnesota: Robert Mondavi

Mondavi is known as one of the most influential winemakers to ever set food on American soil. His family hailed from the Marche region of Italy before landing in the state of Minnesota. Mondavi was born in Virginia, Minnesota, just south of the Canadian border.  Mondavi died in 2008 at the age of 94.

Mississippi: Leah Laviano

The former beauty pageant star was awarded Miss Mississippi honors in 2008. That same year, she also finished as first runner-up of the Miss USA pageant. Laviano competed in the Miss Universe state pageant in 2005 and in the Miss Mississippi Teen USA pageant in 2006. Laviano is a graduate of the University of Mississippi. 

Missouri: Mark Consuelos

Together, Consuelos and wife Kelly Ripa form one of today’s most admired Italian American power couples and success stories. The 51-year-old actor and producer was born in Zaragoza, Spain to a Spanish father and Italian mother. He then moved to Italy before making his home in the United States. In addition to Florida, Illinois, and New York, Consuelos spent time living in Kansas City, Missouri.  

Montana: Christopher Paolini

The 39-year-old author and screenwriter lives in Paradise Valley, Montana. Paolini has written the popular literary series The Inheritance Cycle as well as a variety of science fiction works. Paolini was born in Los Angeles and started working on his first novel when he was a teenager.

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Nebraska: Jojo Siwa

Born Joelle Joanie Siwa, “Jojo” has become one of the most popular social media influencers in the world. The 19-year-old boasts over 12 million subscribers on her YouTube channel and has been churning out hit after hit for the past half decade. Siwa is of part Italian descent and was born in Omaha, Nebraska.

Nevada: Lorenzo Fertitta

The 54-year-old entrepreneur is best known for transforming the UFC into a multibillion-dollar global enterprise. Fertitta was born in Las Vegas and has been a fixture on the Nevada state gaming scene for several decades, including a stint as a Board Member of the Nevada State Athletic Commission and the American Gaming Association. 

New Hampshire: Ray LaMontagne

Born in Nashua, New Hampshire, LaMontagne is a world-renowned singer songwriter who has released several studio albums. LaMontagne’s most recent commercial album, “Monovision”, was released to critical acclaim in 2020 behind the popularity of “Strong Enough” as the album’s lead single.

New Jersey: Frank Sinatra

In perhaps the most difficult state to choose the most famous Italian American, “Ol’ Blue Eyes” stands out in a field rich with icons that make everyone proud to be Italian. Born Francis Albert Sinatra in Hoboken, New Jersey, the legacy of this legendary crooner and “Rat Pack” founding member can still be seen up and down the entire state of New Jersey. The son of Italian immigrants, Sinatra died in 1998 at the age of 82.

New Mexico: Freddie Prinze, Jr. 

Most people know who Freddie Prinze, Jr. is, however few know that he has Italian ancestry. The 46-year-old actor was born in Los Angeles, but grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, following the tragic death of his father Freddie Prinze. His mother is of partial Italian descent.

New York: Al Pacino

There is no shortage of famous Italians to choose from in New York State. Pacino was born in New York City in 1940 and graduated from the acclaimed Actors Studio. Pacino would go on to become one of the most influential actors in the history of film and he would inspire future generations of Italian Americans.

North Carolina: Jean-Pierre Dalmas

Located in Wells County, the Jean-Pierre Auguste Dalmas House is an important part of the history of the State of North Carolina. The landmark was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. Jean-Pierre Dalmas was an Italian immigrant who built the house over a 13-year period beginning in the late 1920’s.

North Dakota: Dean Bresciani

Although he grew up in California, it was the great State of North Dakota where Dean Bresciani solidified his legacy in the higher education sector. Bresciani served as the President of North Dakota State University over a 12-year period from 2010 to 2022. Under Bresciani’s leadership, the university achieved record fundraising and academic goals.   

Ohio: Dean Martin

The pride of Steubenville, Ohio, Martin was born Dino Paul Crocetti in 1917. Martin became one of the most iconic music and film stars of the 20th Century, paired with other legends such as Jerry Lewis, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr. Martin’s Italian ancestry traces its roots back to Abruzzo and Bergamo. 

Oklahoma: Teresa Victoria-Carpio

The 41-year-old actress is known for her versatility on the stage and on the screen. She has starred in movies, Broadway plays, and performed on stage to loud applause as a singing sensation.

Oregon: Lisa Rinna

The 59-year-old actress is known for her roles in Days of Our Lives and Melrose Place. Although she was born in California, Rinna’s family moved to Oregon when she was a child. She graduated from Medford High School in Oregon and then pursued a career as a model. Rinna is of Italian and Portuguese descent.

Pennsylvania: Bradley Cooper

Everyone knows him for his iconic roles in The Hangover, A Star is Born, Silver Linings Playbook, and American Hustle. However, few know him for his proud Italian ancestry. Cooper’s mother’s maiden name is Campano and he grew up very close to his Italian grandmother in the suburbs of Philadelphia. 

Rhode Island: Nicholas Colasanto

Before he passed at the age of 61 in 1985, Colasanto was loved for his role as Coach Ernie Pantusso on the sitcom Cheers. Colasanto worked alongside acting greats Woody Harrelson, Ted Danson, Shelley Long, and George Wendt, and he was a fixture on the set of Cheers during the glory years of the 1980’s. Colasanto was a native of Providence, Rhode Island.  

South Carolina: Vanessa Minnillo

Minnillo’s family bounced around a bit before finally settling in Charleston, South Carolina in the 1990’s. Minnillo’s rise to fame began when she started competing in beauty pageants and she was crowned Miss South Carolina Teen USA in 1998. She met future husband Nick Lachey in 2006 and the couple remain happily married today. Minnillo’s father is of Italian and Irish descent. 

South Dakota: Terry Francona

The man who finally broke the “Curse of the Bambino” was in fact, a proud Italian American. Terry “Tito” Francona led the Boston Red Sox to the 2004 World Series. It was the Red Sox’s first World Series championship since 1918. He would go on to lead the Red Sox to one more World Series in 2007 before becoming the manager of the Cleveland Indians. Francona was born in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

Tennessee: Quentin Tarantino

The legendary film producer and director is of partial Italian descent through his father. Tarantino was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, and lived there for a few short years before his mother relocated to California. Tarantino would go on to become one of the most decorated directors in Hollywood history with films such as Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, and Django Unchained. 

Texas: Joe Rogan

Before he was a popular podcast host and comedian, Joe Rogan called many places his home including New Jersey, Florida and California. Rogan eventually settled in Austin, Texas, after landing a massive deal from Spotify. Rogan is primarily Italian, with three of four grandparents hailing from various regions of Italy.

Utah: Amanda Righetti

The 39-year-old actress is known for her role in The Mentalist. She also became popular for her recurring roles on The OC, Colony, and Friday the 13th. Righetti grew up in St. George, Utah, before she moved to Los Angeles at age 18. Her father is Italian and her mother is German, French and English.

Vermont: Alessandro Nivola

Although he was born in Boston, Nivola’s family lived for a period of time in Burlington, Vermont. Nivola’s grandfather was a famous Italian sculptor who was born in Sardinia. Nivola is a Yale graduate who has more than 50 credits to his name across film, television and theater.

Virginia: Adriana Trigiani

The bestselling author often integrates her Italian upbringing into her novels. Trigiani’s first novel, Big Stone Gap, is named after her birthplace in Virginia. Her novels, including The Shoemaker’s Wife and Lucia, Lucia, have become a source of inspiration for Italian American women and families for multiple generations. 

Washington: Fred Couples

The legendary golfer’s family changed their name from “Coppola” to Couples when they arrived from Italy. Couples won the Masters Tournament in 1992 and has had a successful career on both the PGA Tour and Senior PGA Tour. Nicknamed “Boom Boom”, Couples was born in Seattle and graduated from O’Dea High School in the city.

West Virginia: Bobby Campo

Born Robert Joseph Camposecco, Campo became famous for his role in the hit movie The Final Destination. Although he grew up in Florida, Campo was born in Wheeling, West Virginia. In addition to The Final Destination, Campo appeared in Legally Blondes, General Education, and Starve.

Wisconsin: Mark Ruffalo

The 55-year-old actor is one of the most famous film stars to come from the State of Wisconsin. Ruffalo has starred in several megahits, including Zodiac, Shutter Island, and The Kids are All Right. He is of Italian descent on his father’s side, hailing from the region of Calabria. Ruffalo’s mother is also of partial Italian descent.

Wyoming: Dana Perino

The former White House Press Secretary turned political commentator was born in Evanston, Wyoming. Perino stepped into the position of White House Press Secretary in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks. Although she was born in Wyoming, Perino grew up in Denver and attended Colorado State University Pueblo. 

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