Catching Up

Celebrities from Westchester—Where Are They Now?

While many celebrities, athletes, and other famous folk have moved into Westchester (e.g., A-Rod, Beyoncé, William Baldwin, Rob Thomas), some, who were born and/or raised here have moved out:

Ray Rice

Where From: Rice grew up in New Rochelle and played running back for New Rochelle High School, where he won a state championship in 2003, his junior season.
Where Now: Rice went on to play football at Rutgers and was drafted by the National Football League’s Baltimore Ravens in the second round of the 2008 draft. This past season, he ranked sixth in the NFL in rushing yards with 1339 and was voted to his first Pro Bowl.

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Frank Bruni

Where From: Bruni spent his childhood in White Plains. His family were avid sports fans and Bruni discovered a talent for swimming. At the age of 11, Bruni swam competitively at various meets around the nation. The Bruni clan were also almost always around food. Bruni loved his grandmother’s cooking, but struggled with his weight and became bulimic.
Where Now: Bruni’s passion for food turned into a profession. From 2004 to 2009, Bruni, 45, was the chief restaurant critic for the New York Times. He then stepped down to become a writer for Time Magazine and released a book in August called Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-Time Eater.

Copyright © Rogue Pictures

Sean Combs

Where From: Sean Combs, aka Puff Daddy, Puffy, P. Diddy, Diddy, or Sean John, was born in Harlem but moved to Mount Vernon at the age of three, after his father, an associate of Frank Lucas, a notorious New York City drug lord, was shot dead in a car.
Where Now: Combs, 40, is one of the most successful figures in the hip-hop industry. He is a jack of all trades, having worked as a producer, rapper, and fashion designer, among other things. He is even a part owner of Ciroc, a French vodka, earning 50 percent of the profits. In 2006, Combs’s net worth was estimated at $346 million.

Keith Olbermann

Where From: Keith Olbermann clearly was no slouch in the brains department. He graduated from the private Hackley School in Tarrytown at age 16. Raised in Hastings-on-Hudson, Olbermann began broadcasting at Hackley, doing play-by-play at the school’s radio station, WHTR. He went on to Cornell University, graduating in 1979 at age 20.
Where Now: From 1992 to 1997, Olbermann frequently anchored for SportsCenter on ESPN. After a falling-out with the sports network, he served as a host for a variety of media outlets before getting his own show, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, on MSNBC and later hosted Football Night in America, Sunday nights on NBC.

Copyright © Lionsgate

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Mary J. Blige

Where From: After her father, said to be abusive, left the family when Blige was only four, the family moved to the Schlobohm Houses, a public housing project in Yonkers. (Blige was born in the Bronx, briefly lived in Savannah, Georgia, and then moved to Yonkers.) She was sexually abused at the age of five by a family friend and dropped out of Roosevelt High School in the 11th grade.
Where Now: At the age of 17, Blige recorded a song at the Galleria in White Plains. The CEO of Uptown Records heard the recorded cassette from her mother’s boyfriend, who also worked at Uptown, where she was promptly signed as the label’s youngest and first female artist. In 1992, her debut album was released with the help of producer Sean Combs (see above). Blige, 39, has since received nine Grammy awards, eight multi-platinum albums, and has sold more than 48 million albums.

Steven Tyler

Where From: Born Steven Victor Tallarico, Tyler was the youngest of two children. His father, a classical musician, taught music at Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx. Tyler was expelled for drug use from Roosevelt High School in Yonkers but eventually graduated from Leonard Quintano’s School for Young Professionals in New York City.
Where Now: Known as much for his well-publicized drug and alcohol abuse and oversized lips as for his music, Tyler, 61, has been the lead singer of the hard-rocking band Aerosmith since its founding in 1970.

Mark Zuckerberg

Where From: Zuckerberg was born in White Plains, grew up in Dobbs Ferry, and attended Ardsley High School before attending Phillips Exeter Academy, a prestigious New Hampshire college preparatory boarding school.
Where Now: Today, at 25, Zuckerberg, who created the world’s largest social networking site, Facebook, is worth an estimated $2 billion.

Denzel Washington

Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

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Where From: Before he was “Denzel,” Washington grew up in Mount Vernon, raised by his mother and father, a beauty-parlor owner and a minister, respectively. He attended Pennington-Grimes Elementary School, but was sent to Oakland Military Academy, a private school in New Windsor, New York. He later earned a B.A. in journalism and drama from Fordham University in 1977.
Where Now: Washington is one of the most sought-out actors in Hollywood. He has won three Golden Globes and two Academy Awards. He has acted in countless films and has even written, produced, and directed a few. His most recent film, The Book of Eli, is set in post-apocalyptic 2043 and has Washington’s character, Eli, guarding a sacred book that provides knowledge that can save mankind.

George Pataki

Where From: Pataki was born and raised in Peekskill. He attended Peekskill High School, is a 1967 graduate of Yale University, and earned his law degree at Columbia in 1970. He served as Peekskill’s mayor from 1981 to 1984.
Where Now: Out of the governor’s mansion (he served for 12 years until 2006), today at 64, he is said to be contemplating running for a senate seat or even the U.S. presidency.

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