2015-07-29 / Features

Astoria Takes The Stage, Page, And Screen


August is American Artists Month. Believe it or not, Astoria is home to many famous American artists. Authors, actors, photographers, and musicians alike have gone from Astoria to bestselling book lists, the Broadway stage, and even the big screen.
Whether you’re 10 or 92, you’re bound to know singer Tony Bennett and actor Christopher Walken, just two of the many legends who were born and raised here.
Broadway star Ethel Merman was born in Astoria in 1908. She attended local school PS 4, and went on to study at William Cullen Bryant High School. Her 1930 debut in George and Ira Gershwin’s Girl Crazy launched a successful career of leading roles in productions such as Anything Goes, Call Me Madam, and Gypsy. Furthermore, she was the voice behind well-known hits I Get a Kick Out of You and You’re the Top.
Eric Metaxas, New York Times bestselling author and founder/host of book and forum, Socrates in the City: Conversations on the Examined Life, was born in Astoria in 1963, and later moved to Danbury, CT. He attended Yale University, where he served as the editor of the Yale Record, the university’s humour magazine. In 2011, Metaxas published Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, which earned him the John C. Pollock Award for Biography and the Christopher Award in the non-fiction category. Apart from Bonhoeffer, he has written for NPR, the Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, and Veggie Tales – a truly diverse writing career.
Best known for his 2010 lead role as Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, Jesse Eisenberg was born in Astoria in 1983. His performance as Zuckerberg garnered him nominations for both a Golden Globe and an Oscar. Since then, his film career has soared upward, as he voiced the main role in Rio (2011) and Rio 2 (2014) and has an upcoming role as Lex Luthor in  Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, due out in 2016.
Friends star David Schwimmer is also an Astoria native. Born in 1966, he starred as Ross Geller in the iconic sitcom, which ran from 1994 to 2004. Schwimmer made appearances in several films during and after his Friends career, including voicing Melman the Giraffe in the 2005 animated film, Madagascar.
From Bennett to Merman to Schwimmer, Astoria is home to an extensive list of talented artists.

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