Everyone loves to see their favorite characters from screen and stage living like ordinary folks and Asheville is a popular getaway for celebrities looking to maintain a low profile. Here are some of the famous people that have chosen to make these mountains their home as well as a few historical characters.
Warren Haynes is a legend living in our own time. He is currently the vocalist and songwriter for Gov't Mule, and has been a long time member of the Allman Brothers Band as well as The Dead. Thanks to Warren Haynes, Asheville has celebrated the holiday season in a special way with national acts and local talent at the annual Christmas Jam for the last 20 years.
Gladys Knight, also known as the “Empress of Soul,” resides just outside of town in Fairview. She made it big in the 60s and 70s with her R&B and soul music. In addition to being a Grammy-winning musician, Gladys also won a lot of fame with her acting career.
Steve Martin is a comedian and an entertainer at the core. You may have seen him in such films as It's Complicated or Bowfinger. Steve is also a veteran host of Saturday Night Live. A lot of movie fans don't know that he is an accomplished musician too, the banjo his instrument of choice. Fitting for a local resident here in the Southern Appalachians. Today Steve resides in Brevard.
Luke Combs, a multi-platinum country singer/songwriter, grew up in Asheville. He earned a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist in 2019. Combs' first album spent 37 non-consecutive weeks at #1 on the Billboard Country albums chart. The album's first five singles all reached No. 1 on Billboard Country Airplay chart.
Bellamy Young has made a name for herself playing Millicent "Mellie" Grant on the hit television drama Scandal. She was born and raised in Asheville before going to school at Yale University and launching her acting career.
Harry Anderson was best known for his character as the judge in the 1984-1992 television series Night Court, but he got his start in entertainment with his skills as a magician. He moved to Asheville from New Orleans for its positive atmosphere in a mountain setting. He passed away in Asheville in 2018.
Bernard Goldberg has won 12 Emmy awards for his career in journalism. He is currently a correspondent for HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel and a commentator for Fox News.
Roberta Flack is an accomplished singer and songwriter who was born in Black Mountain. Her style of music usually falls under jazz, soul, R&B and folk. She is the only artist besides U2 ever to win the Grammy Record of the Year in two consecutive years, with "The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face" in 1973 and "Killing Me Softly With His Song" in 1974.
David Holt has dedicated his life to performing and preserving traditional American music and stories. This four-time Grammy winner is best known for his legendary banjo skills, which he uses to capture the essence of Southern Appalachia. Although originally from Texas, David has called the Asheville area home since the late 1960s, and has performed regularly with Doc Watson and other legends.
Andie MacDowell's childhood vacation home in Arden, NC is now the Blake House Inn. She first made it big as a model in the early 80s, then achieved stardom in her career as an actress in 1993 when the movie Groundhog Day was released. Andie resided in Biltmore Forest for several years in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Adam Copeland, otherwise known as professional WWE wrestler "Edge," recently moved to Asheville after a match at (what is now) the Harrah's Cherokee Center convinced him of just how great this place really is. It seems even the toughest of men can feel at home in this charming mountain town. In an interview with the Asheville Citizen-Times, he said "I've always liked this town. We walked around the downtown and really got a feel for what it's like — an old-fashioned downtown... We liked the art, and it seemed like it was pretty cool culturally — and we love the mountains and the seasons."
Celebrities in Asheville History
George Vanderbilt envisioned and created America's largest home, the Biltmore House. An heir to the Vanderbilt fortune, George could have built his dream home anywhere. He chose Asheville after falling in love with the area during his travels here. George employed the talent of Richard Morris Hunt and Frederick Law Olmsted to design his ultimate home. Although the home was not yet complete, he opened his doors to friends and family on Christmas Eve in 1895. With 250 rooms, George was constantly entertaining guests with state-of-the-art accommodations on his 125,000-acre estate. Today you can experience this architectural wonder by visiting Biltmore.
Zelda Fitzgerald spent the last twelve years of her life in Asheville, seeking refuge from her notoriously turbulent relationship with the famous writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. Zelda, known for her free spirit and captivating beauty, died tragically in a fire in the hospital where she was institutionalized in 1948. An icon of the Jazz Age and the Roaring Twenties, Zelda's vibrant energy seems to flow through the city to this day. You'll find a little bit of Zelda anywhere music moves people, which happens all over Asheville on a nightly basis.
Thomas Wolfe was a famous American novelist of the early 20th century, born and raised in Asheville. His boyhood home is now the Thomas Wolfe Memorial State Historic Site, a museum that offers a glimpse into that time period. His legacy is also evident in the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium in the Harrah's Cherokee Center, which has hosted artists from Phish to Phil Lesh. Wolfe's writing was often based on his own life, containing specific references to individuals from Asheville in his day. Asheville's natural setting and interesting characters were the perfect combination to brew the kind of stories that Americans could relate to.