‘Pet Sematary’ stars a St. Pete native. What other celebs have ties to Tampa Bay?

Sarah Paulson, Angela Bassett and Kenan Thompson all have connections to the Tampa Bay area.
Sarah Paulson (left), Dave Bautista (center), and Angela Bassett (right) all have ties to the Tampa Bay area. [From left to right: AP/Fox Searchlight, Matt Kennedy/Global Road Entertainment via AP, Lions Gate Entertainment photo]
Sarah Paulson (left), Dave Bautista (center), and Angela Bassett (right) all have ties to the Tampa Bay area. [From left to right: AP/Fox Searchlight, Matt Kennedy/Global Road Entertainment via AP, Lions Gate Entertainment photo]
Published Apr. 4
Updated Apr. 7

By now, you may have heard about the remake of Stephen King’s terrifying book Pet Sematary, which hits theaters Thursday night. What you might not know is that it stars St. Pete Beach native Amy Seimetz.

Seimetz plays Rachel, who moves to rural Maine with her family. Upon moving, the family discovers a mysterious burial ground near their home that, well, — isn’t your normal cemetery.

But before her role in the latest King film adaptation, Seimetz grew up in St. Petersburg and graduated from Boca Ciega High School in Gulfport. She even filmed the indie crime thriller Sun Don’t Shine in St. Petersburg and the Fort De Soto Park area.

But Seimetz isn’t the only actress or actor with ties to the Tampa Bay area. Here are some of the most prominent stars with a connection to Tampa Bay.

Amy Seimetz

St. Pete Beach native Amy Seimetz on the set of The Girlfriend Experience. [Courtesy of Starz.]

Seimetz first gained prominence in the independent film community for acting and filmmaking, which she has been doing for more than a decade now.

In 2008, she was the associate producer for the indie drama film, Medicine For Melancholy. In 2016-2017, she wrote and led the Golden Globe-nominated series The Girlfriend Experience, which follows the life of an attorney who also is a high-end escort.

As an actress, Seimetz has played Eleven’s Aunt in Netflix’s Stranger Things, and Maggie Faris, a crewmember aboard the ill-fated spacecraft in 2017′s Alien Covenant.

Seimetz, now 37, told the Tampa Bay Times in 2017 that she always wanted to be a writer, but thought it would be a hobby — not a career.

“I was in the medical magnet program at Bogie; I wanted to be a doctor,” she said. “I always thought I would have a career and be a writer on the side. But just like suddenly I decided I wanted to make movies. It was very scary for my parents, who are not artists. It was scary to commit my life to the arts.”

Other notable work:

  • Tiny Furniture (2010), Ashlynn
  • Upstream Color (2013), Kris
  • Atlanta (2018, 2 episodes), director

Will Packer

Hollywood filmmaker and St. Petersburg native, Will Packer, receiving a standing ovation, takes to his seat after shaking the hand of Write Field Junior Mentor , Dominic Rosado during the Poynter Institute's Write Field 4.0 graduation at the Mahaffey Theater. [Boyzell Hosey | Tampa Bay Times]

Will Packer, who was born and raised in St. Petersburg, is a movie producer and filmmaker known for Straight Outta Compton, Ride Along and the 2016 remake of Roots. Packer, 44, has had many of his films open at No. 1 at the box office, including Ride Along 2, No Good Deed and Think Like a Man Too along with The Wedding Ringer and Girls Trip.

While attending Florida A&M University in 1994, he produced Chocolate City, which follows a young man who attends a historically black college. According to IMDB, that was the first film he produced. (Fun fact: Packer graduated with a degree in electrical engineering.)

In 2016, Packer delivered the keynote address for an event honoring successful individuals from the 'Burg. He told the crowd that growing up in St. Petersburg played a pivotal role in his rise to success.

“I know this because I’ve done it for myself,” he said. “I know because I’m blessed to be BurgBorn. I know because from Maximo (Elementary) to Baypoint (Middle School) to St. Pete (High School), I had people around me who encouraged me, who told me what I could do, who I could be. And I had people who told me what I couldn’t do or be.”

Other notable work:

  • Think Like a Man (2012)
  • Takers (2010)
  • Obsessed (2009)
  • Stomp the Yard (2007)

Sarah Paulson

Sarah Paulson as Lana in "American Horror Story: Welcome to Briarcliff." [Michael Yarish | FX]

Sarah Paulson, 44, who most people know from American Horror Story and the miniseries American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, was born in Tampa in 1974. The Golden-Globe winning actress lived in South Tampa until she was 5, then moved to New York.

After moving, Paulson spent summers in Tampa visiting her grandmother’s house on Azeele Street and the Palma Ceia Country Club. She decided she wanted to act after seeing the movie Annie in Tampa.

“I thought it was the greatest thing ever,” Paulson told the then-St. Petersburg Times in 2002. “And I wouldn’t stop singing.”

Other notable work:

  • 12 Years a Slave (2013), Mistress Epps
  • Bird Box (2018), Jessica
  • Ocean’s Eight (2018), Tammy

Angela Bassett

Angela Bassett plays LAPD Sgt. Athena Grant in "9-1-1" on Fox. [Fox]

Boca Ciega High School graduate Angela Bassett has played the director of the CIA in Mission: Impossible 6, the queen of Wakanda in Black Panther, and LAPD Sgt. Athena Grant in Ryan Murphy’s 9-1-1.

The actress also played Tina Turner in the 1993 film What’s Love Got to Do with It. That role earned her an Oscar nomination.

Bassett was born in New York City, but was raised in St. Petersburg. Bassett, 60, has given nods to the city through the years.

In an episode of 9-1-1 Bassett gave a subtle shout out to the ‘Burg. Her character unit number while on patrol is 727-L-30. St. Petersburg’s area code is 727.

In 2016, Bassett talked about growing up in St. Pete on the podcast Nerdist with Chris Hardwick. In one part of the interview, Bassett recalled doing theater in high school.

Here’s that excerpt:

“Well, there was only one theater, St. Petersburg Little Theatre (now called St. Petersburg City Theatre). And I really wanted to go out for the Little play but that meant there were rehearsals every night, but my friends were over at Eckerd College, of course. I only had four lines in the play, but my mom didn’t know that. My rehearsal was over pretty quickly and then it was like, ‘Hey, swing by. Pick me up. Take me to the college to be with my little college boyfriend for an hour then be home by midnight.’ We’re only going so far.”

Other notable work:

  • Akeelah and the Bee (2006), Tanya Anderson
  • Malcolm X (1992), Betty Shabazz
  • Panther (1995), Betty Shabazz
  • BoJack Horseman (2015-2018), Ana Spanikopita
  • Strange Days (1995), Lornette ‘Mace’ Mason

Terry Bollea

Hulk Hogan takes the stage during the announcement that Wrestle Mania 36 will be held in Tampa. [Monica Herndon | Tampa Bay Times]

Terry Bollea, better known as Hulk Hogan, is one of many pro-wrestlers who calls Tampa Bay home.

Bollea, 65, has a long history in Tampa. He moved to Paul Avenue in Port Tampa when he was one and a half years old, and went to school at Robinson High School.

Amid wrestling fame and after, Bollea also acted. Most notably, he played the villain, Thunderlips, in the 1982 film Rocky III. After that, he went on to star in No Holds Barred, where he fittingly-played Rip, a World Wrestling Federation champion.

Also, worth noting is his 2-year stint as a reality TV Star on the VH1 Show Hogan Knows Best, which was taped at his former Belleair home.

Now, Bollea owns a $3.3-million home on Clearwater Beach, according to county records. Before becoming a 13-time world champion in wrestling, Bollea played in the Tampa-based band called Ruckus. During that time, he would work out in his free time at Hector’s-Elisa’s Health Club, which has since shut down.

Hogan owns Hogan’s Beach on the Courtney Campbell Causeway as well as other businesses in the area.

Other notable work:

  • Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990), himself
  • Suburban Commando (1991), Shep Ramsey

Dave Bautista

Drax the Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy is played by South Tampa resident Dave Bautista. [Walt Disney]

Dave Bautista, known for playing Drax the Destroyer from Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and WWE fame, lives in South Tampa. He also has an office and a private gym there.

Bautista, 50, was raised in Washington, D.C., but now lives in South Tampa. Bautista started his wrestling career in 1999 and is a six-time world champion. A fun fact about Bautista is that he has a tattoo on his right peck to promote the charity, “Love is Louder,” which is headed by another celebrity who is a Tampa native, Brittany Snow.

[ALSO READ: Dave Bautista does not want to be a movie star]

Other notable work:

  • Hotel Artemis (2018), Everest
  • Blade Runner 2049 (2017), Sapper Morton
  • The Man with the Iron Fists (2012), Brass Body

Brittany Snow

Actress Brittany Snow arrives at the Crystal Lucy Awards on Thursday June 16, 2011 in Beverly Hills, Calif. [Matt Sayles | AP Photo]

Tampa native Brittany Snow is known for playing Chloe in the Pitch Perfect franchise. For a short time, Snow attended Tampa’s Gaither High School, but left for Hollywood when she was a sophomore.

Snow’s father still has a home in Tampa, according to county records.

Other notable work:

  • Hairspray (2007); Amber Von Tussle
  • Prom Night (2008); Donna Keppel
  • Guiding Light (1998-2001), Susan Lemay

Eugenie Bondurant

Eugenie Bondurant works with students during an acting class at the Patel Conservatory at The David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa on October 24, 2015. [Eve Edelheit |Tampa Bay Times]

Eugenie Bondurant, 57, has lived in St. Petersburg for more than a decade. She played Tigris in The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay, Part 2. She has been teaching acting at Andi Matheny Acting Studios since 2015, and at the David A. Straz Jr. Center Patel Conservatory in Tampa since 2004.

Other notable work:

  • Fight Club (1999), Weeping Woman
  • Space Truckers (1996), Bio-Mechanical-Warrior

Kenan Thompson

This Sept. 11, 2012 photo provided by NBC shows Kenan Thompson, left, and host Seth MacFarlane on the set of "Saturday Night Live" in New York. [AP Photo/NBC]

Kenan Thompson, the longest-tenured cast member on Saturday Night Live, has a home in Tampa, according to county records. The New York Times reported that Thompson, 40, and his wife, Christina Evangeline, have been coming to Tampa during recent summers.

Other notable work:

  • Snakes on a Plane (2006), Troy
  • Kenan & Kel (1996-2000)
  • Good Burger (1997), Dexter Reed

JoAnna Garcia Swisher

Joanna Garcia, left, Scarlett Pomers and Reba McEntire laugh during a break in the taping of the "REBA" show, in Los Angeles, January 8, 2002. [Ann Johansson | AP Photo]

JoAnna Garcia Swisher, aka Reba McIntire’s daughter Cheyenne, on the sitcom Reba, was born in Tampa in 1979 and went to Florida State University.

She nabbed her first acting role at about age 11, winning the role of Wendy in the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center’s children’s production of Peter Pan. She attended Tampa Catholic High School and is the daughter of Tampa gynecologist Jay Garcia and former schoolteacher Lorraine Garcia.

Other notable work:

  • Not Another Teen Movie (2001), Sandy Sue
  • The Internship (2013), Megan
  • Once Upon a Time (2013-2018), Ariel

Other celebrities with Tampa Bay ties:

Tony Little, an American TV fitness personality, lives in South Tampa.

Dreama Walker, an actress known for her role as Hazel Williams on Gossip Girl, was born in Tampa.

Milly Shapiro has held lead roles on Broadway and starred in the movie Hereditary. She was born in Tampa.

Kirstie Alley, an actress and Scientologist, owns a home in Clearwater.

Ephraim Sykes, had a role in the original cast of Hamilton in Broadway and appeared in NBC’s Hairspray Live! He was born in St. Petersburg.

Aasif Mandvi was a correspondent for Comedy Central’s Daily Show from 2006 to 2017. He attended the University of South Florida.

Dr. Jen Arnold, who stars in TLC’s The Little Couple, is the medical director of the Simulation Center at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.

Mark Consuelos, who stars in Riverdale and is married to Kelly Ripa, went to school at the University of South Florida.

Did we miss anyone? Let us know in the comments below.