KATY MAGAZINE, Katy, Texas
Katy Life Residents’ Guide 2020
By Jennifer Miko
Meet the celebrities who have called Katy, Texas home. From the silver screen to Monday Night Football, these talented people make Katyites proud!
Country Music Artist
Clint Black's family moved from Houston into Katy's Westlake subdivision when he was still in school. The youngest of four brothers, Black enjoyed performing at backyard family barbecues with his brother Kevin.
When Katy was devastated by Hurricane Harvey, Black helped raise over $300,000 for residents impacted by the flood. The funds were donated to Katy Christian Ministries.
His debut album, Killin' Time went triple platinum and produced five consecutive number one singles, including "A Better Man." During his career, Black has earned more than a dozen gold and platinum awards in the U.S. and Canada, won a Grammy Award, countless Country Music Association, American Music Awards and Academy of Country Music Awards, as well as a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Black just released his 22nd album, Still Killin' Time, 30 years after his debut album introduced him to country music fans around the world. Read Katy Magazine’s most recent story on Clint here.
Former Katy girl Renee Zellweger recently received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for her title role in "Judy," the film about Judy Garland's life. Winners will be announced at the 92nd Academy Awards, in Hollywood, on Sunday, February 9.
Zellweger was born in Katy and is a 1987 graduate of Katy High School, where she was a member of the cheerleading squad. In May 2016, Zellweger made a surprise appearance at Katy High School, reuniting with some of her favorite teachers and coaches.
Over the years, Zellweger gained critical acclaim for the title role in Nurse Betty (2000), where she won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical. She was nominated for an Academy Award for her leading role as Roxie Hart in the musical Chicago (2002). The film adaptation of Cold Mountain (2003) won Zellweger an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
The talented actress has a star on Hollywood Boulevard, and was inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame in Austin, Texas.
Quarterback, Cincinnati Bengals
Former Katy High School football player Andy Dalton has been the starting quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals since 2011. Before going pro, he was the starting quarterback at Texas Christian University for four years, where he lead the Horned Frogs to a Rose Bowl championship.
He and his wife Jordan created the Andy & Jordan Dalton Foundation that helps provide financial aid to families of children with life-threatening illnesses.
Kearran Giovanni, a former head cheerleader at Taylor High School, is known for her roles as Dr. Vivian Wright on One Life to Live (2009-2012), and Detective Amy Sykes on the TNT series, Major Crimes (2012-2018). She has also appeared on Bull and several episodes of Black Lighting. The multi-talented Giovanni has also performed on Broadway in numerous musicals such as The Lion King, Anything Goes, Catch Me If You Can, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and Tarzan.
Giovanni has two children and is married to Philip Ambrosino. She is heavily involved with the Sunshine Kids organization, as well as the Lupus Foundation, in memory of her mother.
Fullback, Houston Texans
Taylor High School graduate (2014), Cullen Gillaspia, made history becoming the first Texas A&M 12th Man to be drafted into the NFL. Then, Gillaspia’s dreams came true when the Katy native was drafted by the Houston Texans with their final pick in the 7th round (220th overall). Read Katy Magazine's story on Gillaspia here.
Born in Katy, Gavin Warren is an up-and-coming child actor. Recently, he played the role of "Young Rick Armstrong," (Neil Armstrong’s son) in the film First Man (2018) starring Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy.
Watch for Warren as "Young Rusty" in the film 12 Mighty Orphans, starring Robert Duvall, Martin Sheen and Luke Wilson.
Katy High School graduate Sage Northcutt gained attention as the youngest fighter on the Ultimate Fighting Championship roster. From 2014 to 2018 he fought with the UFC, and finished out his contract with an 11-2 record. Northcutt is currently training to drop from welterweight to lightweight for upcoming matches. Read Katy Magazine's story on Sage here.
Actress and Musician
Since 1996, Missi Pyle has been building up her credits in television programs and movies. She has appeared on Friends, Grey's Anatomy, 2 Broke Girls and recently Bob Hearts Abishola. Her big screen credits include Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 50 First Dates, Dodgeball, Gone Girl, and Bringing Down the House. Pyle has several projects in post-production, so keep watching for her!
Actor, Composer, Producer
Former Taylor High School teacher and baseball coach Brandon Makovy moved to L.A. to pursue his acting career. He has appeared on Dr. Ken (2015), Criminal Minds (2005), Days of Our Lives, and in many national television commercials.
Makovy is an actor, writer, composer, and producer. In Deadwood: The Movie (2019), he played Sheriff Laraby. Watch for Makovy's role as Tim in the sci-fi thriller Beverly H., which is currently in post-production.
Defensive End, Minnesota Vikings
Danielle Hunter (pronounced Dun-eel) graduated from Morton Ranch High School in 2012 and played football for Louisiana State University as a defensive end. In 2015, he was drafted to the Minnesota Vikings as the 88th draft pick overall and his performance earned him recognition as the break-out star of 2018 and a 5-year, $72 million dollar contract extension.
In December of 2018, this hometown hero donated $54,000 to the Morton Ranch High School Football team to pay for the Mavericks' new uniforms. Read Katy Magazine’s story on Danielle here.
Since 2011, Katy actor Evan Vourazeris has appeared in more than 30 different productions including short films, TV series and full-length films. Several of his recent projects are in post-production.
Vourazeris is best known for his supporting role as "Tuck" in the critically-acclaimed Netflix original series Ozark along side A-list celebrity cast mates Laura Linney and Jason Bateman. Read Katy Magazine's story on Evan here.
On May 15, 2020, Katy lost a familiar face, a creative spirit, and reality TV star, all in one. Frank Bielec, best known for his whimsical designs on TLC’s Trading Spaces, passed away after complications from a heart attack.
Frank held a master’s degree in art and loved sharing his passion with others. He started his career as a first-grade teacher and taught art and social studies. In 1989, Frank and his wife Judy founded Mosey 'N Me, which specializes in floral design, painting, greeting cards, cross-stitch patterns and more. Frank also worked as a florist for 20 years and was known for creating incredible arrangements.
Frank’s rise to fame was unexpected but no shock to those who loved him, as his big personality was easy to love. He debuted on Trading Spaces as part of the original cast. During each episode, Frank would add his personal touch to each room he decorated, often with hand-painted designs onto the walls or furniture. In 2018, Frank joined the cast for a reboot of the program.
More Celebrities with Katy Ties
Singer/songwriter Kevin Black won country music fans' hearts with his debut album Dream On, and with hit songs like “Why Can’t I Get Over You” and “I Got This Thing About You.” His latest record, “Kevin Black: SOLD OUT Live at Dosey Doe,” features his son Coleton Black and brother Brian Black.
Katy High School graduate Julie Henderson appeared in several swimsuit issues of Sports Illustrated and on America's Next Top Model.
Country singer Roger Creager made a name for himself on the Texas Country music scene.
In 1998, Creager released his first album "Having Fun All Wrong." By 2014, he released his seventh album and continues to tour across the country.
Actress Erika Erica graduated from Cinco Ranch High School in 2005. Ten years later, audiences saw her in Better Call Saul, American Crime, and Jurassic World.
Garofalo was born in New Jersey, and grew up in Katy, graduating from Taylor High School in 1982. The actress, stand-up comedian, and writer has dozens of roles on her resume. She was a cast member on Saturday Night Live, and was featured on The Larry Sanders Show for five seasons. Garofalo has many movie credits, including voice over work in Pixar's Ratatouille.
Heitmann attended Katy High School and Stanford University, and continued on to a successful NFL career. The former center for San Francisco 49ers retired in 2011.
From 1996-2001, O'Connor gained world-wide fans as Gabrielle, Xena's trusted sidekick on the popular television series Xena: Warrior Princess. IMDB lists the Taylor High School graduate as an actress, producer, and director.
Jay P. Richardson
Richardson's father was the legendary "Big Bopper Jr." who was killed in the infamous 1959 plane crash that also killed Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens. He kept his father's rock 'n' roll legacy alive until his passing in 2013.