Our list of actors from Buffalo Niagara. Though not widely known for its celebrity progeny, Buffalo Niagara has in fact gestated some silver screen stars throughout the years.
by Max Fisher
You might recognize faces, but probably do not know the names of these notable actors from Buffalo Niagara.
Oh, We’ve got Thespians
When you think of the city of Buffalo, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Delicious chicken wings revered all around the world? The Bills and their die-hard fandom that is unparalleled in their intensity and devotion to their hometown team? A city of hardworking, neighborly people that care deeply about their community? Rick James (b****)?
Chances are when you think of Buffalo, you don’t instantly think of the great crop of internationally-acclaimed acting talent the city has produced through the years. But maybe you should, because the Queen City has birthed some downright great thespians! Check out our list of actors from Buffalo Niagara and see for yourself.
Chad Michael Murray
Chad Michael Murray
If you were around in the early 2000s, there’s no way you missed this guy’s face. He was as bona fide a heartthrob as they come, playing basketball star / emotionally sensitive high schooler Lucas Scott in the WB/CW show One Tree Hill. As the show’s main protagonist, Murray was able to carry the drama up to 2009 with a commanding presence and subdued acting style. Murray also has been in major motion pictures such as Freaky Friday and Fruitvale Station. He even had a leading role in Marvel’s Agent Carter (further proving that if you look close enough, there truly is no place the tentacles of The Marvel Cinematic Universe haven’t touched).
Jeffrey DeMunn may not be a household name. Still, I’m sure if he’s out and about doing everyday errands and decides to wear a bucket hat, you’ll instantly get a flashback of arguably the heart of The Walking Dead, Dale Horvath, who he portrayed for the first two seasons of the long-running show. Presenting the demeanor of an older, wiser father figure to the ragtag group of survivors in the zombie-infested areas they traversed, DeMunn imbued Dale Horvath with a world-weary attitude and a sense of conviction that riveted audiences and helped emotionally connect viewers to the show in its early stages. This helped it become The juggernaut it is today.
Some of Dunn’s other credits include the 1988s remake of The Blob and the 2007 depression inducing The Mist. So, if you see Mr. DeMunn up and about, thank him for being the wise voice of reason that helped those survivors in the early days. (If you say this to him without him wearing a bucket hat, I’m sure he’d be doubly impressed).
You may not know the name, still, chances are you heard his voice sometime in your life, from Scooby-Doo to Bam Bam of The Flintstones. Don Messick was a pivotal contributor to the heyday of Hannah Barbera Cartoons and a staple of generations Saturday morning cartoon schedule. (Yes, you actually had to wake up at a specific time to watch new cartoons, a long, long time ago, in the pre-streaming era. It wasn’t just handed to you. Kids these days with their lightning-fast internet have no idea.)
To put it bluntly, Donald Earle Messick helped to change pop culture forever. Despite the Hanna-Barbera cartoons being now decades away from their heyday at this point, Scooby-Doo and The Flintstones are as ubiquitous as ever! Even if characters like Astro from The Jetson’s, fall on deaf ears to the newer generation of kids and Papa Smurf from The Smurfs has been relegated to three awful CG live-action films, Don’s vocal talents nevertheless paved the way for voice work in modern cartoons, and American animation in general!
Although Christine Baranski carries a solid list of film credits under her belt, including the 2000s How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Mamma Mia! and its sequel Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, her TV work is where she truly shines as the Versatile journeywoman she truly is! She is a 15-time Emmy Award nominee and won in 1995 for her supporting role as Maryann Thorpe in Cybil.
She has traversed the gamut of roles ranging from comedies like Cybil to procedurals like Law& Order to Dramas like The Good Wife and modern comedies like The Big Bang Theory (in which both shows she was subsequently nominated for an Emmy). Christine Baranski is considered one of the best actresses working today, and with a track record like hers, she deserves every bit of recognition she gets.
Wendie Malick has a highly illustrious career spanning more than 40 years. Primarily known for her work as Nina Van Horn in the NBC sitcom Just Shoot Me! She also has more than 50 guest appearances on multiple shows under her belt and an impressive resume in film, which includes such pictures as The Emperor’s New Groove, and Confessions of Shopaholic. She’s still very much going strong with her last film role being 2020’s Beautiful Dreamer, and on the TV side she still has guest spots on shows like Billions as well, as a leading role in the show Owl House. It’s pretty safe to say Wendie Malick will be in front of our screens for many more years to come.
From Zombies to Smurfs
Whether it’s heartthrobs from the early 2000s or pioneers in the art of voice acting, Buffalo’s homegrown crop of acting talent may not always be front and center. Still, their impact can always be felt throughout the entertainment industry.
So, the next time you hear someone say something along the lines of (“Buffalo? Pfff only famous person they ever had was Rick James”). Get this rude person’s attention and get to educating them about how a Buffalonian made the ladies swoon in the early years of the new Millennium. Tell them how Buffalonian endeared himself to many and helped make a weird show about zombies a hit. Tell them about how the voice talents of one Buffalonian forever changed pop culture and the animation industry.
Just try to give them the cliff notes, though, because the list of actors from Buffalo Niagara is so long that you’d be going on for days!
(More) Actors from Buffalo Niagara
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What do you think of our list of actors from Buffalo Niagara? Did we miss anybody (chances are we did)? Have anyone else to add? Let us know.