MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Would you like to buy a vowel?
Dozens of recognizable figures have emerged from the Grand Strand, whether they’re game show hosts, actors, novelists or science pioneers.
Here are 10 celebrities from the Myrtle Beach area, in no particular order, and excluding athletes:
- Vanna White
The “Wheel of Fortune” hostess graduated from North Myrtle Beach High School before going on to become one of tv’s most familiar faces. White, who reveals letters on the show, has also spent time as a model. She’s been the show’s regular hostess since 1982, starring beside Pat Sajak.
- Aziz Ansari
The comedian, known for playing Tom Haverford on “Parks & Recreation,” along with creating and starring in “Master of None,” is from Bennettsville. After receiving a Golden Globe, Ansari became the first Asian American actor to win the award for acting on tv.
- Robert H. Brooks
Brooks, born in 1937 in Loris, was raised on a tobacco farm. He went on to found Naturally Fresh, Inc, and helped make Hooters a national and international brand.
Brooks studied dairy science at Clemson University before retiring to Myrtle Beach, where he died in 2006. He donated $2 million to Coastal Carolina University to create Brooks Stadium, which is named in honor of his children, Coby Garrett and Boni Belle.
- Mickey Spillane
Born Frank Morrison Spillane, the crime novelist is known for his books featuring the fictional investigator, Mike Hammer. The books were extremely popular in the 1950s and 1960s, selling more than 225 million copies to date. Spillane also wrote comic books, working on titles like Batman, Superman and Captain America.
He died in 2006 in Murrell’s Inlet. The city went on to honor him by renaming U.S. 17 Business the Mickey Spillane Waterfront 17 Highway.
- Mark L. Walberg
Do you have hidden treasures in your attic? If so, Walberg wants to see them.
Mark Lewis Walberg is a tv host known for being the face of “Antiques Roadshow,” “Temptation Island,” “Russian Roulette” and “The Moment of Truth.” Walberg, who is from Florence, had his own talk show in the 1990s called “The Mark Walberg Show.” He also led “Buried History with Mark Walberg.”
- Ronald McNair
McNair, one of the astronauts who died in the Challenger explosion in 1986, was born in 1950 in Lake City. The second Black person in space, McNair overcame discrimination as he collected achievements in science.
His legacy lives on through the Robert E. McNair Post-Baccalaurette Achievement Program, which helps low-income, first-generation students pursue graduate degrees. Lake City’s Ronald E. McNair Life History Center teaches students about math and science, and serves as a museum about the physicist. A statue of him and a square in his honor is located next to his grave.
- Darla Moore
An investor and a philanthropist, Moore was born in 1954 in Lake City. She is the former president of the private investment firm Rainwater Inc. She’s donated more than $75 million to the University of South Carolina, which named its Darla Moore School of Business after her. She has also given more than $10 million to Clemson’s school of education, which is named after her father.
- Brad J. Cox
Another pioneer in science, Cox was a computer scientist known for creating Objective-C, the primary programming language for Apple’s OS X and iOS. Cox attended Lake City High School and died in early 2021.
- Kelly Wearstler
The interior designer was born in 1967 in Myrtle Beach. She founded Kelly Wearstler Interior Design, which works in hospitality and retail environments, as well as does lifestyle product designs. She now designs for “residential hotel living,” according to her company website, and has written five books. The New Yorker once referred to her as “the presiding grande dame of West Coast interior design.”
- William Gibson
Born in Conway in 1948, Gibson is credited with being the father of the cyberpunk science fiction subgenre. His work includes the Sprawl trilogy, the Bridge trilogy, the Blue Ant trilogy and the Jackpot trilogy, in addition to numerous short stories.