9 Biggest Vegas Celebrities
The desert soil has proved fertile for a few lucky one-time residents
For a metropolitan area of more than 2 million people, you’d expect the Las Vegas Valley to have produced a wealth of famous actors, athletes and singers. But the true success stories are few and far between. Although, we might argue, when they are successful, they’re very, very successful. Just ask our first star.
1. Bryce Harper
An up-and-down year that saw a trip to the DL and an engagement to his longtime girlfriend has done little to faze the Las Vegas native, one of baseball’s brightest stars. The first pick in the 2010 MLB draft is in the midst of a fine career with the Washington Nationals.
2. Brandon Flowers
Credit the Killers frontman for repping the city at just about every turn. The band’s second album (Sam’s Town) and Flowers’ first solo album (Flamingo) are named after Las Vegas hotels, and 2012’s Battle Born references a phrase found on the Nevada state flag.
3. Andre Agassi
The former No. 1 tennis star in the world was raised on the courts of Vegas, where his father pushed him to become the best in the sport. In 2001, he opened the doors to Agassi Prep on the city’s west side. He resides here with his wife, fellow champ Stefanie Graf.
4. Jenna Jameson
It’s hardly an ignominious distinction to have given rise to the biggest adult film star in history. Jameson was groundbreaking, helping porn crack the mainstream and becoming an entrepreneur with Club Jenna, which was purchased by Playboy in 2006.
5. Greg Maddux
Born in Texas, Maddux was raised in Vegas and graduated from Valley High School after receiving All-State honors his junior and senior years. Some 3,371 major-league strikeouts later, he’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer with four Cy Youngs and 18 Gold Gloves to his name.
Before the R&B hitmaker teamed up with Caesars Palace headliner Celine Dion on her most recent album, he was Shaffer Smith, a self-described “weird kid” who split time between Rancho High and Las Vegas Academy, where he studied visual arts.
7. Rick Harrison
Maybe it’s obvious that the Harrison clan of Pawn Stars fame has Las Vegas roots, given that downtown’s Gold & Silver Pawn Shop is their home base. “Spotter” Rick spent most of his life here after moving from San Diego with his dad, Richard “The Old Man” Harrison.
8. Charisma Carpenter
Las Vegas-born Carpenter attended Bishop Gorman High School before moving to suburban San Diego, when she flexed her acting muscles at a performing arts school. Her big break came when she was cast as Cordelia Chase on the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
9. Kurt & Kyle Busch
You can always count on finding the Busch brothers somewhere among NASCAR’s Sprint Cup standings. At press time, younger brother Kyle was ranked ninth and Kurt 24th, with Kyle also placing ahead of Kurt at this year’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.