Every state lays claim to a handful of celebrities, building up state pride while simultaneously capitalizing on the attention received by the former resident. We’d like to say New Mexico is above that kind of nonsense, but in reality, we love it more than most. This isn’t because we want to “claim” a set of famous people as our own. Instead, we want to show the world how New Mexico, one of the strangest places to grow up in the United States, has produced world-class talent in a variety of fields. You don’t have to grow up in L.A. to become an actor, and you don’t have to grow up in the Northeast to work for NASA. (By the way, did we mention our state has more PhDs per capita than anywhere else in America?)
Below, you’ll find our favorite New Mexico born-and-raised celebrities. If you have any suggestions for additions, drop us a line and we’ll add them to the list.
Edward Abbey—Renowned novelist and environmental advocate, Edward Abbey is best known for his novel, The Monkey Wrench Gang. He graduated from the University of New Mexico and spent time bartending in Taos.
D.H. Lawrence—Born in Nottinghamshire, England, the famed English writer and poet D.H. Lawrence made Taos, New Mexico his home for a number of years. Though he died in France, he is buried at Taos.
Cormac McCarthy—McCarthy is famous for his grisly depictions of both a post-apocalyptic world and life on the U.S./Mexican border. He calls Tesuque, New Mexico—a town just north of Santa Fe—his home.
Georgia O’Keefe—O’Keefe was perhaps New Mexico’s most famous resident. Best known for her paintings of enlarged flowers, skyscrapers, and landscapes, she is considered to be the Mother of American modernism. The artist was greatly inspired by the scenes of Santa Fe, incorporating them into her later work.
Tom Ford—Yet another prolific New Mexican, Tom Ford is a fashion designer, film director, screenwriter, and film producer. Before launching his luxury brand in 2006, we served as the creative director at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. He also directed the Academy Award-nominated films A Single Man and Nocturnal Animals. Ford grew up and attended school in New Mexico.
Neil Patrick Harris—Actor, writer, producer, comedian, magician, and singer—this guy does it all. Neil Patrick Harris, who is perhaps known best for his work on How I Met Your Mother, was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Val Kilmer—Though he was born in Los Angeles, legendary actor Val Kilmer has deep roots in New Mexico. His grandfather was a gold miner in the state, and Kilmer himself considered running for Governor of New Mexico in 2010.
John Denver—While John Denver may have cut his teeth in Colorado, he was born in Roswell, New Mexico to a United States Amy Air Forces pilot.