Hollywood may be a solid ~2,100 miles away, but our little city still manages to stay on the radar of many a celeb. It’s not just Hollywood stars who’ve had the privilege of calling Columbia home – from pro ball players to business-women to war heroes, here are some of Columbia’s most famous alumni.
Photo via @chiksdigscars
Known for: Medal of Honor recipient
Kyle Carpenter enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2009 at 19 years old. After surviving a Taliban attack and shielding a fellow Marine, Kyle was medically retired in 2013 and received the Medal of Honor in 2014. He also enrolled at the University of South Carolina in 2013 + graduated with an international studies degree.
Photo via @aearhardt
Known for: Co-host of Fox and Friends
Ainsley Earhardt was born in Spartanburg, SC but grew up in Columbia. She graduated from UofSC with a journalism degree and began her career at WLTX.
Photo via @am0slee
Known for: Soul/folk singer-songwriter
Amos Lee was born in Philadelphia + graduated from UofSC with a degree in English. After graduation, he returned to Philadelphia to begin a teaching career before pursuing music.
Photo via @moore_school
Known for: Investor + philanthropist
Born on a farm in Lake City, SC, Darla Moore graduated from the University of South Carolina with a political science degree. She is the first woman to be profiled on the cover of Fortune Magazine and served as the VP of Rainwater Inc. The UofSC business school is also named after her.
Photo via @georgerogers38
Known for: NFL player + Heisman Trophy winner
George Rogers attended UofSC where he won the Heisman Trophy during his senior year in 1980. He went on to play seven seasons in the NFL for the New Orleans Saints and Washington Redskins. His name lives permanently in front of Williams Brice Stadium, on George Rogers Boulevard.
Photo via @hootieofficial
Known for: Hootie and the Blowfish + country music star
Darius Rucker was born in and grew up in Charleston, SC before attending the University of South Carolina. He and two classmates (Dean Felber and Mark Bryan) formed Hootie and the Blowfish + later convinced Jim Sonefeld to join. They played at college parties and bars until going on tour after college. In the late 2000’s, Darius developed a solo career in country music.
Photo via @southcarolinagamecocks
Known for: NFL player + NFL Network analyst
Sterling Sharpe was a running back at UofSC where his number 2 jersey was retired in 1987. He was drafted by and played for the Green Bay Packers for six years until he suffered a neck injury. Following his injury, Sterling joined the NFL Network as an analyst.
Photo via @aja22wilson
Known for: WNBA player
A’ja Wilson graduated from Heathwood Hall before attending UofSC, where she won National Player of the Year + remains the all time leading scorer. A’ja was drafted by the Las Vegas Aces as the number one overall draft pick of the WNBA draft in 2018.
Disclaimer: This is not a complete list of every notable or famous person who spent time in Columbia. Did we miss your favorite? Let us know.