Not one of the most well-known cities in the US, El Paso has none the less given rise to dozens of famous folk, from astronauts to artists, actors to architects. Here are 30 of those Tex-Mex major leaguers.
Let’s kick things off with the celebrated character actor F Murray Abraham, (the F stands for Fahrid) who won an Oscar for his portrayal of mediocre musical composer Salieri in the film Amadeus. Following in those imposing footsteps comes Thomas Haden Church, who received an Oscar nomination for his role in Sideways, though is perhaps better known for his turn as Sandman in the largely abysmal Spider-Man 3.
Law and Order’s Alana de la Garza has appeared in various television shows, and Lupe Ontiveros is the veteran of television seriesof varying quality, from dur-brained Greg Evigan vehicle BJ and the Bear to ground-breaking cop show Hill Street Blues, also cropping up in movies like The Goonies and As Good As It Gets.
Anthony Quinn grew up in El Paso, even if he was born in the unlikely-named city of Chihuahua in Mexico – Quinn won a couple of Oscars through his long career, having acted in more than 100 movies, though he is remembered best for his titular role as Zorba the Greek.
Hal Warren lies at the other end of the spectrum, having written, directed and acted in a film widely recognised as one of the worst in the history of the medium – Manos: The Hands of Fate, a horror film which he is said to have made for a bet. Warren would later go on to have a successful career as a fertiliser salesman, having had a dry run (so to speak) in making Manos, which holds a rating of 1.5 stars (from 10) on Imdb.com.
Gene Roddenberry didn’t attract quite such scornful reviews with the television series he created, Star Trek. The enduring sci-fi show was cancelled after just three seasons, but it gained popularity through syndication after production had ceased.
One of El Paso’s most respected sons must be author Cormac McCarthy, who is among America’s most venerated novelists; even if you’ve never read one of his books, chances are you’ll have seen the Coen Brother’s movie adaptation No Country For Old Men.
Another man of letters from the same city is John Rechy, most famous for his novel City of Night, while Steven Sills is an up-and-coming screenwriter and film producer.
A slew of music makers also hail from the Texan city, with Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks joined by Ministy’s Al Jourgensen, Mottley Crue guitarist Nikki Sixx – and of course the exotically named Cedric Bixler-Zavala , vocalist with At The Drive-In.
The city has also given rise to a slew of sports stars, from golfers Rich Beem, Lee Trevino and Paul Stankowski to NBA star Kenny Thomas, NFL defensive end Paul Smith and the jockey Willie Shoemaker, who won a remarkable 8,833 times in his career.
Cesar Bazan is a boxer, while Chavo Guerrero Jr. and Manny Fernandez are pro wrestlers, and Bob Beamon held the world record in the long jump for more than 20 years. And Bill Macatee is a famous sports broadcaster with CBS.
Beyond sport, El Paso has also seen its fair share of more unusual stars. Ho Baron is an acclaimed sculptor, while Henry Trost is a renowned architect from the city. And then there’s Patrick G Forrester, an astronaut, and veteran of four spacewalks in all.
The town can also boast entertainers in the shape of comedian Ryan Stout and ventriloquist Ronn Lucas, and chef Aaron Sanchez has also made a name for himself, thanks in part to his appearance on television show Iron Chef. And you thought El Paso was just a kind of spicy Mexican cooking sauce…
By: Steve Colton