Buffalo’s most famous

A list of famous people to have come from Buffalo

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What do Rob Gronkowski, Patrick Kane, and Chad Michael Murray all have in common? While they may be people you have seen on your television before, there’s another quality that ties them together – they’re all from Buffalo.

Goo Goo Dolls

The band formed in 1986, originally under the name “Sex Maggots” before switching over to the name we know today. It wasn’t until 1995 when the band released its hit song “Name” that the group garnered popularity. The band is not shy about its Buffalo roots, either. Its album Superstar Car Wash featured pictures of Buffalo buildings as its album and cover art and its song “Broadway” – which peaked at 24 on Billboard’s Top 100 – was about formerly popular bars located in Buffalo. The group recently played a free concert in Delaware Park for the annual Music is Art Festival in September.

Rob Gronkowski

Nicknamed “Gronk,” the New England Patriots tight end was born and raised in Williamsville, New York and played football for Williamsville North High School. He was drafted by the Patriots in 2010 as a second round pick. Gronkowski has gone on to set several records for the NFL including most receiving yards by a tight end. He has gone to win a Super Bowl with the Patriots and has been noted as one of the best tight ends in the NFL.

Wolf Blitzer

Journalist and CNN’s “The Situation Room” anchor Wolf Blizter, while born in Augsburg, Germany, was raised in Buffalo and even graduated from University at Buffalo in 1970. During his time as a journalist, Blitzer has won several awards including the American Veteran Awards' Ernie Pyle Journalism Award in 2002 for his military reporting and an Emmy for his reporting of the Oklahoma City bombing. In 2014, CNN released a story that featured Blitzer returning to Buffalo to explore his roots.

Chad Michael Murray

Best known for his character Lucas Scott from the WB/CW series “One Tree Hill,” Chad Michael Murray grew up in Clarence, New York – a suburb outside of Buffalo. After starting his career as a model, Murray made his television series debut playing a recurring character on the show “Gilmore Girls.” Murray’s performance on “One Tree Hill” led him to success as a “teen heartthrob” and he won several Teen Choice Awards including Choice TV Actor in a Drama. Murray is known to post pictures on social media wearing Buffalo Bills sports gear to show support for the team.

Christian Laettner

Born in Angola, New York – about 30 minutes away from downtown Buffalo – Christian Laettner is a retired basketball player. His college career for Duke earned him a spot in the College Basketball Hall of Fame and his spot on the U.S. Olympic team earned him a gold medal. Laettner attended Nichols School, a private school located in the city. Their gym was named Laettner Gymnasium after he made “generous” donations to the school. Laettner has been polled as the most hated college player in history according to ESPN, which led to the 30 for 30 documentary “I Hate Christian Laettner” which documented his success as a basketball player and looked into why he was so hated. Laettner’s history in Buffalo and his attendance at Nichols School is discussed in the film.

Patrick Kane

Regarded as one of the best players in the NHL, Patrick Kane grew up in South Buffalo before attending Detroit Country Day School to play hockey. After being drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2007 as the first overall pick, Kane has gone on to have many successes with the team including three Stanley Cup victories. Kane is also the first American forward to receive the Conn Smythe Trophy – which is the playoff MVP award. Kane also represented the United States in two Winter Olympic games. In 2010 the team won the silver medal and in 2014 the team finished in fourth place.

Nancy Marchand

This actress enjoyed a 50-year career in the industry starting in 1951 television and film industry. Known for her role as Lydia Soprano in the hit HBO series “The Sopranos”in the early 2000s and Margaret Pynchon in “Lou Grant”in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Raised a Methodist, she would go on to graduate from Carnegie Mellon and make her Broadway debut in the production of “The Taming of the Shrew.” With an extensive theater credit list, she’s solidified herself as a legend of acting in Buffalo.

Rick James

As a Buffalo teenager this rock legend would sing in R&B and doo-wop groups around town. During the draft, he would join the United States Navy, but would desert to Toronto. It would be during his time in the six that he would form the band The Mynah Birds, who would include Neil Young, Bruce Palmer and Nick St. Nicholas. When he separated with the band, he would serve a year in prison for desertion, but would release his debut album Come Get it! under Gordy records in April 1978. This would be the beginning of a successful career for the artist. He then went on to release 11 albums and win a Grammy for his songwriting credit on “Superfreak.”

Brian McKnight

Nominated for 16 Grammy nominations, this singer-songwriter first started his career as a member of his local church choir back in 1989. Over the years he would work with Mercury Records and Motown Records. Next year he will be starting his own music label. Between his time working for Motown and creating his own label, he works in television and radio under Warner Brothers. He sung the national anthem at multiple sporting events and has his own show on both KHJZ-FM, Smooth Jazz 95.7 The Wave and 98.7 KISS FM, both shows named after him. He’s expected to release and album under his label this coming January titled Better.

Stevie J.

This now famous television personality is an award-winning musician, record producer and songwriter. He got his first taste of fame working with Bad Boy Records as part of the “Hitmen” team of in-house producers in the ’90s. He produced some of the most well-known songs on posthumous album Life After Death. Outside of his time with Bad Boy Records, he would work with various groups, including Jodeci and Swing Mob. Since being a personality on VH1’s hit show Love & Hip HOP: Atlanta he would make appearances in music videos with Faith Evans, Young Jeezy and Lil Wayne, among others.

Marlee Tuskes is the news editor and Kenneth Kashif Thomas is the arts editor. They can be reached at marlee.tuskes@ubspectrum.com and kenneth.thomas@ubspectrum.com