What Famous People Are from Rochester, NY?

Who knew that so much talent blossomed in the City of Flowers? The citizens of Rochester, NY, would love to learn about all the famous people from here. Let’s go over a list of famous actors, athletes, politicians, and more who grew up here. Some of them still call it home today. 

Actors and Performers

Being so close to New York, the theatre and film arts call out to the budding talent growing up in Rochester. Unsurprisingly, many acclaimed actors and comedians came from this City. Let’s go over the list of entertainers from the fourth-largest economy in New York!

Winston Duke

The Tobagonian-born American actor debuted on the silver screen as M’Baku in Black Panther. His character was even considered to become the new black panther. He has become a sensation ever since, winning awards and getting movie roles left and right.

We look forward to seeing him in the 2024 movie Fall Guy. Great to see someone who graduated from Brighton High School in Rochester, New York, on a cinema screen. 

Kristen Wiig

The award-winning supporting actress and comedian made her debut on SNL in 2005 and became a permanent cast member in 2006. You may have seen her in movies and heard her voice in animated movies too! However, her career really took off when she played the leading role in the movie Bridesmaids.

Taye Diggs

Taye Diggs is best known for his appearances on the TV shows, Murder in the First and Private Practice. He’s been in several television shows and movies and won lip-sync battles too! His career started as a Broadway actor. Can you believe he grew up right here in South Wedge, NY? 

Vincent Martella

Did you catch the show Phineas and Ferb while growing up? The main character was voiced by non-other than Rochester’s very own Vincent Michael Martella. He has many appearances on other TV shows like Everybody Hates Chris or The Walking Dead.


With the Fashion capital of America a stone’s throw away, are you amazed that such iconic models came from Rochester? Here’s a list of people blessed with stunning looks who became models from Rochester. 

Tyson Beckford

Tyson Beckford may be the world’s most successful black male supermodel. He is best known for modeling for Polo Ralph Lauren and hosting both seasons of the American reality television modeling competition, Make me a Supermodel. 

Born in Rochester, his mother moved to Jamaica and raised him for seven years before returning to the City. He was discovered in 1992 and continued to be one of the biggest names in 90’s fashion. 

Rachel Hilbert

You may have seen her on the cover of international editions of Cosmopolitan, Elle, Marie Claire, or Harper’s Bazaar or in campaigns for Juicy Couture, Macy’s, or Urban outfitters. 

We’re talking about Victoria’s Secret model Rachel Hilbert. She grew up in Webster, New York, and graduated from Webster Thomas High School in 2013. 

Jennifer Nicole Lee

“Strong is the new skinny.” You may have seen Jennifer Nicole Lee posing in a tee shirt bearing her famous slogan. The fitness model has built an empire on her fitness advice and modeling career. 

You can read her books, try her digital products, or wear her merchandise. The fitness model may have moved to Tennessee, but she was born and grew up in Rochester. 


Every inch of American soil has the potential to produce great athletes. The following list of athletes fills every Rochester Resident’s heart with pride. Remember their best plays on the court or the field as we recall their names. 

Isaiah Stewart

Standing a whopping six feet eight inches tall and weighing 250 pounds, Isaiah Stewart was made for basketball. He knew he wanted to be a baller back when he was in Rochester Elementary. Six-zero at twelve, he towered above the rest of the competition. 

Now playing with the Detroit Pistons, the NBA player gained much attention after a scuffle with LeBron James. 

Cito Culver

Culver attended Irondequoit High School and played minor league baseball for the Irondequoit Athletic Association. He was the first draft pick by the Yankees in 2010. He played his final season with the Yankees in 2017 with 12 home runs. Since then, he’s been a free agent. 

Business People

Rochester is becoming home to some impressive companies lately. We’ve got quite a portfolio of successful business people produced in our streets. Who knows, Rochester could be home to the next Gates or Musk. Here’s a list of business people from the City of flowers. 

Luke Wood

Luke Wood is a rock guitarist who used to be the president of DGC Records and Beats Electronics. His marketing decisions and work with Dr. Dre led the company to be acquired by Apple for Billions. 

Arthur Rock

Arther Rock is a businessman and early tech investor who got his MBA from Harvard. Business School. This businessman is quite a philanthropist. He has donated to both Harvard and other politicians to benefit young entrepreneurs. 


They make decisions for the future of our country. Politicians represent us and carry our values and sentiments into the laws they pass. Whatever your political affiliations, you’d be interested to know what politicians are from Rochester.

David J. Hayes

David J. Hayes served in the Biden Administration as special assistant to the president. He used his expertise in environmental law to implement climate change acts and initiatives and even develop them. 

Robert L. King

While president Donald trump was in power, Robert L. King served as the Assistant Secretary of Education for Postsecondary Education. Since 1998 he has dedicated his career to reforming the higher education sector. 


Just touching a great lake, spotted with beaches, glens, and scenic parks, Rochester is indeed a beautiful city. This City has seen many authors awaken their inner storytellers or find their voice. Here’s a list of authors from Rochester. 

David Cay Johnston

2001 Pulitzer prize winner for beat reporting, David Cay Johnston is a journalist with expertise in economics and tax issues. The author of New York Times bestselling non-fiction and a guest lecturer at the University of Law at Syracuse University, he is one of Rochester’s best minds. 

Linda Sue Park

Linda Sue Park is a Korean-American writer focusing mainly on picture books and historical fiction. Her writings have won her prestigious 2002 Newbery Medal. She is a source of pride for Residents of Rochester. 

David Schickler 

David Schickler is a screenwriter and the writer of a New York Times bestselling story, Kissing in Manhattan, and another national bestseller, Sweet and Vicious. He has also co-created, written, and produced television shows. He was born in and still lives in Rochester, NY, with his family. 


Ever found yourself knowing who someone was, but they don’t sing, dance, act, or score points? They’re famous people but not from your typical categories. Could you ever imagine Rochester was home to a serial killer or a poker champion? Here’s the list of famous people we couldn’t categorize.

Arthur John Shawcross

Arther John Shawcross, also known as the Genesee River Killer, was a serial killer who was active in Rochester from 1972 to 1989. This killer went on a rampage not once but twice! Once after doing unspeakable things to children, he was offered a plea bargain for manslaughter. He was sentenced to up to twenty-five years in prison. 

However, after fourteen years, he was let go for apparently no longer being a menace to society. Upon his release, he cruised the streets of Rochester, looking for sex workers to kill. A year after his release, he was killing again until his capture two years later. 

Jon Finkel

Jon Finkel is considered one of the best Magic: The Gathering player of all time. He is also a poker champion. He has won first place in several Pro Tours and three Grand Prix. People say he’s the most naturally gifted player the game has ever seen. The collectible card game is different from poker, yet he shows prowess in both. 

Shawn Rabideau

Shawn is a lifestyle expert who appears on television shows like Bethany Ever After and Who’s Wedding Is It Anyway? As a featured wedding expert on Good Morning America, he sure knows his stuff. 

One of his telltale catchphrases is his “Rabidos” and “Rabidon’ts,” where he tells you what’s appropriate and what’s not. 


You’ll be surprised by the wealth of talent in your own City. Rochester is home to many talented individuals. Whether you see their faces on the cover of magazines or movies or read their books, you must be proud to know they’re from your home town. 

If you’re planning on visiting Rochester, how cool is it to know the famous people who grew up here? As the fourth biggest economy in New York State, Rochester is not a place to miss while passing through. Which one of these fantastic famous people surprised you the most? Who would you refuse to believe grew up in Rochester, NY?

The McClain Family

We hope we helped. Please let us know of any place that you want to know about in NYS or if we did a poor job with any part of this. Our goal is to help as many people as possible.

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