10 celebrities with Utah connections

From Post Malone to Robert Redford, these famous folks have made Utah part of their lives

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Welcome to Utah! Glad to have you here. If you’re famous, let us know!

OK, if you’re famous, you’re never going to do that. But odds are we know who you are and we know that you’re here.

As for you newcomers, you’re probably wondering why you hear people talking about Ty Burrell. The “Modern Family” guy. What the heck does he have to do with Utah?

Well, he married a Utah native. He lived here part time during the 11 seasons he was filming “Modern Family.” He co-owns (with various family members) Bar X and the Beer Bar in Salt Lake City, the Eating Establishment in Park City, and the Cotton Bottom in Holladay.

He’s also a really good guy who worked really hard to help food service employees survive the pandemic.

He’s not the only celebrity who lives in Utah. The list includes:

Post Malone

Yep. The rapper (born Austin Richard Post) with all the tattoos makes his home in Cottonwood Heights. In a little 12,000-square-foot house that sits on seven acres.

He’s referenced the state in several of his songs, and flashed his Utah driver license in a Doritos commercial.

Malone moved here to escape the Southern California rat race, forsaking Beverly Hills for suburban Salt Lake City. Some of you can relate, no doubt.

Robert Redford

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Robert Redford welcomes the crowd to the opening night film of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival at the Eccles Theatre in Park City.

He first bought land in Utah way back in 1961, before most of the state’s current residents were born. When he wasn’t making blockbuster movies, he bought the old TimpHaven ski resort, and renamed it Sundance, after his star-making role in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” Then came the Sundance Institute, the Sundance Film Festival, the Sundance catalog store and SundanceTV.

Redford sold the resort in 2020. And he’s put the 30-acre Horse Whisper Ranch, about 15 miles north of Sundance, on the market — so keep that in mind, if you’ve got an extra $4.9 million laying around.

Redford hasn’t sought the spotlight in Utah — he lives here to get away from it. But no celebrity more a part of the fabric of than the two-time Oscar winner.

Katherine Heigl

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Katherine Heigl Joins Sen. Michael McKell, R-Spanish Fork, as they discuss gas chamber euthanasia for animals shelters during a news conference at the Capitol, on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023.

The former “Grey’s Anatomy” star and her husband, singer/musician Josh Kelley, have long lived on a 25-acre ranch in Oakley, about a 45-mile drive east of Salt Lake City. In addition to three children, the family includes a variety of pets — not just a whole lot of rescue dogs, but everything from goats to chickens to horses to donkeys.

Heigl has reportedly been spending less time at home in Utah as her career — long stalled when she was labeled “difficult” — has picked up. She recently starred in the Netflix series “Firefly Lane” and the movie “Fear of Rain”; and she’s got a couple of projects in pre-production — a miniseries about Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for president of the United States, and a movie titled “That’s Amore!”

However, widespread reports that she sold her Utah home were erroneous. Her mother/manager sold her home in Oakley.

Scott Wolf

(Richard Shotwell | Invision/AP) Kennedy McMann, left, and Scott Wolf participate in The CW "Nancy Drew" panel during the Summer 2019 Television Critics Association Press Tour at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Beverly Hills, Calif.

He became a teenage heart-throb (in his 20s) in “Party of Five,” and his life took an unexpected turn when he joined the cast of the made-in-Utah TV series “Everwood” in 2004 and “fell madly in love with the place” when he got here.

Wolf, his wife, Kelly — who was a member of the “Real World: New Orleans” cast in 2000 — and their three children make Park City their home, and he commutes to acting jobs. Including his just-completed gig as the dad on “Nancy Drew.”

Mike Lookinland

(Photo courtesy Paramount/ABC) Mike Lookinland starred as Bobby in “The Brady Bunch.”

He was Bobby on “The Brady Bunch” way back in the early 1970s, and he’s appeared in umpteen Brady sequels and reunions since then. He was pretty much a California kid, but his grandparents lived here and he was born in Utah while his parents were visiting for Christmas 1960.

He’s been pretty much a permanent resident of the state for more than 40 years. He worked as a camera operator on a number of local productions, including “Everwood,” “Promised Land,” “The Stand” and “Halloween 5.” These days, he owns and operates Just Add Water Custom Concrete in Midvale.

Danny Ainge

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Jazz CEO Danny Ainge is asked about plans to replace outgoing Jazz coach Quin Snyder during a press conference in Salt Lake City on Monday, June 6, 2022.

Four decades ago while at BYU, Ainge won the Wooden Award as the best college basketball player in the nation, and when he wasn’t hooping it up, he was playing baseball for the Toronto Blue Jays. He spent 15 seasons in the NBA, winning a couple of championships with the Boston Celtics. And he won another as a top Celtics executive.

Now he’s back in Utah, and he’s taken a job as a Jazz executive.

By the way, if somebody — probably a Ute fan — tries to tell you that Ainge once bit a player during a game, that’s a lie. Tree Rollins of the Atlanta Hawks bit Ainge … but, by most accounts, Danny started the fight.

Tan France

In this March 15, 2019, photo, Tan France, a cast member on the Netflix series "Queer Eye," looks at his clothes in the attic of his home in Salt Lake City. The series touches on some of the country's deepest divides with persistent optimism. The makeover program starring five gay men tackles the contrast between urban and rural, white and black, liberal and conservative. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

A nice, Muslim, gay man from England — the son of Pakistani parents — moved to the United States, made a snap decision to move to Salt Lake City while visiting friends here, married a gay Wyoming cowboy and they settled down in Utah’s capitol city. And then Tan auditioned, on a whim, to be on “Queer Eye” and, much to his surprise, was chosen as a member of the cast.

Now he’s famous, has even more famous friends (like Courteney Cox and Brandi Carlisle), has been nominated for four Emmys (and the show has won 10), and he’s still one of Utah and Salt Lake City’s biggest boosters, talking up the state and the city at every opportunity.

“The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City”

(Gizelle Hernandez | Bravo) The Season 4 cast of "The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City" — Monica Garcia, Meredith Marks, Heather Gay, Lisa Barlow, Whitney Rose and Angie Katsanevas.

They’re sort of famous for being famous, but you should probably at least be familiar with the names of the stars of the Bravo reality show — currently Lisa Barlow, Mary Cosby, Monica Garcia, Heather Gay, Meredith Marks and Whitney Rose.

The most famous Housewife, Jen Shah, is no longer on the show because she’s in prison after pleading guilty to federal fraud charges.

Mary is just a “friend” in Season 4, not a fulltime Housewife. She’s back after getting fired at the end of Season 2 because she didn’t show up for the reunion episodes because, apparently, she didn’t want to talk about her own racist behavior. Or her marriage to her step-grandfather.

It’s not a requirement for residency, but feel free to pick a side in any of the intra-Housewife fights — Lisa vs. Heather, Heather vs. Whitney, Whitney vs. Whitney, Whitney vs. Lisa, Lisa vs. Meredith, Mary vs. everybody but Meredith … and so on.

And if you have an opinion about whether Jen deserved her federal fraud conviction and her sentence, well, there’s another topic of conversation.

The Osmonds

(Isaac Brekken | AP) In this April 28, 2011 file photo, siblings Donny Osmond, left, and Marie Osmond pose backstage at their show at the Flamingo hotel and casino in Las Vegas

Along with Redford, the Osmonds are perhaps Utah’s longest-running celebrities — the original Osmond Brothers started performing on national TV (“The Andy Williams Show”) six decades ago. And members of the first generation — Alan, Wayne, Merrill, Jay, Donny, Marie and Jimmy — still make their homes here, either part-time or full-time.

What with the dozens of second- and third-generation Osmonds, even those of us who have lived in Utah for a long time have a hard time keeping track of who’s who.

Tyler Glenn

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Tyler Glenn sings for Neon trees at the LoveLoud Festival at Vivint Arena, on Saturday, May 14, 2022.

He’s the lead singer of Neon Trees, which released its first album in 2010 and its most recent in 2020. He’s also released a solo album, and made a few headlines for things other than his music.

In 2014, Glenn — who grew up a Latter-day Saint — announced that he was gay. He later announced he’d left the church, and in 2016 released an album titled “Excommunication,” which very strongly illustrated his bitter breakup with his former faith. And that, of course, made headlines in his adopted home state.

Famous people from Utah

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) David Archuleta performs at the LoveLoud Festival at Vivint Arena, on Saturday, May 14, 2022.

The list of celebrities who were born in Utah (or lived here for extended periods) includes singers David Archuleta, Jewel and Brendan Urie; actors Wilford Brimley, Matthew Davis, Laraine Day, Patrick Fugit, Anthony Geary, Merlin Olsen, Pat Priest, Marie Windsor, James Woods and Loretta Young; dancers Derek and Julianne Hough; “Jeopardy!” champion and host Ken Jennings; filmmakers Jared and Jerusha Hess; comedian Roseanne Barr; authors Orson Scott Card, Richard Paul Evans and Brandon Sanderson; sportscasters Jim Nantz, Alex Smith and Steve Young; model Chrissy Teigen; TV inventor Philo T. Farnsworth; and outlaw Butch Cassidy (born Robery LeRoy Parker).