A dozen celebrities who call Tampa Bay home

Yes, America's most dysfunctional family -- the Hogans (aka the Bolleas) -- live in Tampa Bay.

Dirk Shadd | Times

Yes, America's most dysfunctional family -- the Hogans (aka the Bolleas) -- live in Tampa Bay.

Yes, there is a Hollywood in Florida. No, it's not located in Tampa Bay.

Still, many celebrities do pass through Tampa, St. Pete and Clearwater for tours, promotional appearances or just for fun. Some grew up here; others decided they liked it and wanted to stick around.

Here are a dozen celebrities who call Tampa Bay home. Whether we should be proud of them or not ... well, that's for you to decide.

The Hogans: The Hogan family is the first family of Tampa Bay celebrities, which should tell you pretty much everything you need to know about the local celebrity scene. Over the past year, Hulk, Linda, Nick and Brooke have made more headlines for their legal troubles and marital dysfunction than anything else. But remember; Hulk is the greatest pro wrestler of all time, and Hogan Knows Best — which often featured scenes shot around Tampa Bay — wasn't that bad of a reality show.

John Cena: Of all the pro wrestlers who live in Tampa Bay, including Chris Jericho and Edge, Cena is the one who's made the biggest breakout. In addition to being a three-time WWE champ, he's headlined movies and is a spokesman for Gillette. A Massachusetts native, he's even converted from a Red Sox fan to a Rays fan. Good for him.

Dick Vitale: Speaking of Rays fans, there are none bigger than Dickie V, a longtime season-ticket holder who drives up from Sarasota to attend games — that is, when he's not busy extolling the virtues of diaper dandies on ESPN.

Bubba the Love Sponge: Despite — or probably because of — his outrageous on-air antics, Bubba Clem of Tierra Verde is one of the nation's most popular shock jocks. His controversial language and behavior (such as castrating and slaughtering a pig on the air) got him booted from terrestrial radio, only to see him launch a raunchier Sirius show on Howard Stern's Howard 101 channel, then return to local airwaves in early 2008.

Bubba Sparxxx: Tampa's other famous Bubba is actually better known as a Georgia boy. But the chunky-style rapper behind Ugly, Ms. New Booty and Deliverance moved to Tampa a few years ago and now runs a recording studio, Twice on Sunday Studio, here in town.

James Blake: The Gulf Coast is known for producing tennis stars (the Bollettieri Tennis Academy is just down the road in Bradenton) so it's no surprise a handful of ATP stars call this area home. James Blake, of Tampa, is currently the most successful. Mardy Fish also lives in Tampa. Jim Courier is a Dade City native, and Jennifer Capriati trained in Wesley Chapel.

Dennis Lehane: That's right, Tampa Bay isn't just known for wrestlers and loudmouths. Mystic River author Dennis Lehane, an Eckerd College graduate, lives in St. Petersburg. And Michael Connelly, author of the bestselling Harry Bosch series of mysteries, lives in Tampa. Who said we didn't have culture here?

Derek Jeter: Wait, what? This guy's a legitimate star! True, and he keeps an off-season home in Tampa, the Yankees' home base in Florida. George Steinbrenner has lived here for years, and Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada have owned homes here. Lou Piniella, a Tampa native, still lives here, too.

Robin Zander: When Cheap Trick prepared a live performance of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, they staged concerts in New York, L.A. ... and Clearwater. That's because Zander, the singer for the power-pop legends, calls Safety Harbor home. Take that, Chicago!

Chick Corea: Clearwater is the spiritual headquarters of the Church of Scientology, and many prominent celebrities have passed through here for that reason. Kirstie Alley and Lisa Marie Presley have lived in Clearwater, and John Travolta owns a ranch in Ocala. Jazz pianist Chick Corea is a longtime Clearwater resident.

Billy Mays: "HI, BILLY MAYS HERE. I'M NOT HERE TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT MIGHTY PUTTY, OXICLEAN, THE BUG BAZOOKA OR ANY OF THE OTHER PRODUCTS YOU'VE SEEN ME PITCH ON TELEVISION. I'M HERE TO TELL YOU THAT I LIVE IN ODESSA. LOTS OF TELEVISION PITCHMEN PASS THROUGH THIS AREA, IN PART BECAUSE THE HOME SHOPPING NETWORK IS HEADQUARTERED IN ST. PETERSBURG. CALL TODAY!"

Reality hits home: It should go without saying that Tampa Bay is home to a number of reality stars, from former American Idol contestants Melissa McGhee and Jessica Sierra to original Bachelorette Mary Delgado to Apprentice: Martha Stewart winner Dawna Stone. You name the show — Survivor, Top Model, Top Chef, anything — and we've sent someone to it. Most recently, you may have spotted uber-Bridezilla Dawn Clark (who made her fiance work out while she ate donuts) and Amazing Race couple Tina and Ken Greene on the telly.

Bonus list: Six stars who got away

We always knew they would someday grow up. We just didn't think — *sniff* — they would leave us so soon. Here are five stars who left Tampa Bay for greener pastures.

Brittany Snow: The American Dreams star and Gaither High graduate landed a plum role in Hairspray and headlined her first movie, Prom Night, in 2008.

Angela Bassett: Oscar-nominated as Tina Turner in What's Love Got to Do With It?, Bassett attended Boca Ciega High in St. Petersburg, but she doesn't come home all that often.

Jenn Sterger: The Lutz native made it big online as a scantily clad "FSU Cowgirl"; she's since landed a column for SI on Campus and an on-air gig with the New York Jets.

Mark Consuelos: The soap star (better known as Mr. Kelly Ripa) attended Bloomingdale High in Valrico and the University of South Florida; other famous USF alums include Lauren Hutton, Tony La Russa, comedian Gallagher and singer-songwriter Lobo.

Stephen Stills: Before hooking up with David Crosby, Graham Nash and Neil Young, the man who put the S in CSN&Y attended Plant High School in Tampa.

Paul Reubens: Yep, Pee-Wee Herman grew up in Sarasota. Of course, he was notoriously later arrested in his hometown for masturbating in an X-rated theater — so perhaps it's no surprise he hasn't come back.

A dozen celebrities who call Tampa Bay home 12/13/08 [Last modified: Thursday, December 25, 2008 12:24pm]

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