Each of them hails from Stark County
By Dan Kane & Chris Beaven
Whether on the field as an offensive tackle who gained induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame or in the booth as a color analyst, Dierdorf has been a part of the NFL for 40 years.
The Glenwood High School graduate spent 13 years with St. Louis Cardinals and was named All-Pro six times. He smoothly moved to the broadcast booth and became a three-time Emmy Award nominee as an analyst.
He enjoyed a 12-year run in the booth of Monday Night Football before returning to CBS Sports in 1999.
He went into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996 for his work as a player. His broadcast work earned him the Hall’s 2008 Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award.
One of the most notorious figures in rock ’n’ roll, Marilyn Manson came of age in Canton as Brian Warner, a student at Heritage Christian School and then GlenOak High School.
After graduation in 1987,Warner moved with his parents to Florida, where he formed a band called Marilyn Manson that attracted the attention of Trent Reznor, who produced its 1994 debut album.
Later Manson releases such as “Antichrist Superstar” and “Mechanical Animals” drew critical praise, spawned hits and were certified platinum, while Manson’s deliberately shocking concerts made headlines and drew protests.
Still recording and touring, the Los Angeles-based Manson has been romantically involved with starlets (Rose McGowan, Evan Rachel Wood, ex-wife Dita von Teese), exhibited an accomplished body of artwork, and penned an autobiography titled “The Long Hard Road Out of Hell.”
A former Lake Township resident and Lake Middle School student, Nate Hartley played a neurotic nerd who took Miley to the prom on a 2009 episode of “Hannah Montana.”
Also on TV, he played Carl, a friend of the Jonas brothers, on the Disney Channel sitcom “Jonas”; has a recurring role as Zeke in the Disney sitcom “Zeke and Luther”; had a guest spot on “CSI” last October; and has been seen in TV commercials for State Farm and Time Warner Cable.
Hartley had a prominent role in the Owen Wilson comedy film “Drillbit Taylor.” His other feature films include “Role Models” and “Great Buck Howard.”
Eddie McClintock, a proud Hoover High School grad, finally — finally! — has a hit TV series on his hands.
Now in its second season, “Warehouse 13,” a kind of “XFiles”/“ Moonlighting” hybrid, is the highest-rated series in the SyFy (formerly Sci Fi) network’s history.
And McClintock has a great role to play — light-hearted Secret Service agent Pete Lattimer, who (like the actor) hails from North Canton and sports Hoover wrestling T-shirts.
McClintock has paid his dues with a long string of short-lived network sitcoms, among them “Stark Raving Mad” (opposite Neil Patrick Harris and Tony Shalhoub) and “Crumbs” (with Jane Curtin and Fred Savage).
The GlenOak High School graduate emerged as a go-to receiver for the Miami Dolphins this season before suffering a season ending finger injury in a game against the Cleveland Browns.
After appearing in all 16 games as a rookie in 2009, Hartline started 11 games this season and totaled career highs of 43 catches for 615 yards.
The 24-year-old starred at Ohio State before heading to the NFL as fourth-round pick by Miami. In high school, he first gained attention as a standout hurdler in track and field, qualifying for the state meet all four years and winning two state titles as a senior.
Naturally funny and just plain likable, Nate Torrence first gained attention in a series of memorable TV commercials for Capital One (co-starring David Spade), Volkswagen, Enterprise, Golden Grahams and NFL.com.
He has had prominent roles in the comedy films “Get Smart” and “She’s Out of My League.” He has a supporting role in “Mr. Sunshine,” the new Matthew Perry-starring sitcom that premiered Feb. 9 on ABC. His other TV series work includes “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” “CSI,” “House, M.D.” and “How I Met Your Mother.”
Born in Canton,Torrence was reared in Bolivar and Berlin, and attended classes at Kent State University Stark Campus.
A member of the Stark County High School Football Hall of Fame, the former NFL quarterback is better known nationally for his work as a college football analyst for ESPN.
Blackledge starred in football and basketball at North Canton Hoover before heading to Penn State, where he was a threeyear starter for Joe Paterno at quarterback. He helped the Nittany Lions win the 1982 national title, winning the Davey O’Brien Award as the top quarterback in the nation.
The Kansas City Chiefs selected him with the No. 7 overall pick of the 1983 NFL Draft. Blackledge spent five seasons with the Chiefs and two with Pittsburgh Steelers, ending his career after the 1989 season.
He soon began his successful broadcasting career, joining ABC Sports in 1994, moving on to become lead college football analyst with CBS Sports in 1999 and coming to ESPN in 2006.
Blackledge, though, still calls North Canton home and can be found on the bench of the Hoover High School boys basketball team, where he helps as an assistant coach.
Over a long career that started in 1971, Canton native and current Jackson Township resident Joe Vitale, a drummerpercussionist, has recorded and/or toured with Joe Walsh, the Eagles, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Dan Fogelberg, Peter Frampton, Ringo Starr, Ted Nugent and many more.
After spending the summer of 2010 touring with Crosby, Stills & Nash, as he does annually,Vitale performed with the reunited Buffalo Springfield at two sold-out amphitheater concerts in California.
Vitale has released three solo albums and in 2008 published “Backstage Pass,” a vivid autobiography filled with rock stories.
A 1967 Lehman High School grad, Vitale’s first band was the Canton-based combo The Chylds.
A 2003 Jackson High School grad, Ashley Spencer is about to appear in her third Broadway musical. “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,” based on the 1994 film about three drag queens crossing the Australian outback in a bus, is schedule to open March 20 in New York City.
Spencer made her Broadway debut in the hit musical “Hairspray” in July 2007, playing bratty Amber Von Tussle.
In 2008, she starred as Sandy in the Broadway revival of “Grease.” Earlier, Spencer had competed in an NBC-TV talentsearch series, “Grease:You’re the One That I Want!” in which she placed second.
Born Natalie Renee McIntyre in Canton and a 1985 graduate of Canton South High School, Macy Gray was not vocally active during her formative years.
But an irresistible R&B single titled “I Try” became a worldwide smash in 1999, and her debut album, “How Life Is,” sold more than 3 million copies in the U.S.
“I Try” went on to be Grammy Awardnominated for Song of the Year and Record of the Year, and won Gray the Grammy for Best Female Pop Performance.
While she has yet to score another significant U.S. chart hit, Gray has released four more major-label studio albums and a greatest hits collection; appeared in numerous films, among them “Training Day,” “Idlewild” and “For Colored Girls,” and was a short-lived contestant on TV’s “Dancing With the Stars.”
One visit to his website (dirkhayhurst.com) lets you know Dirk Hayhurst is no ordinary Major League Baseball pitcher.
Player. Author. Speaker.
The Canton South High School graduate is every bit of all three, as he carves out a niche for himself on and off the field.
His book — “The Bullpen Gospels” — is a New York Times best-seller and has received praise from prominent media personalities since its release a year ago.The book came out of the columns he wrote initially for Baseball America and then The Repository.
Hayhurst recently signed with the Tampa Bay Rays.The 29-yearold right-handed pitcher has played eight professional seasons, including two stints at the major league level with the Padres (2008) and Blue Jays (2009). In 15 games with Toronto in ’09, the reliever posted a 2.78 ERA before spending all of last year recovering from right shoulder surgery.
A Kent State University graduate, he is in that school’s athletic hall of fame and ranks as the Golden Flashes’ career leader in innings pitched and strikeouts.
A singer, guitarist, keyboardist and prolific songwriter, 1998 Tusky Valley High School graduate (and class president) Matt Thiessen is the only active original member left in Relient K, the pop-punk band he has fronted since he was a teenager.
Formed in Canton in 1998 by Thiessen, Matt Hoopes and Brian Pittman, the band started out exclusively in the contemporary Christian market, and repeatedly has played the area’s Alive Festival.
But Relient K’s 2004 album “MmHmm” and single “Be My Escape” broke into the mainstream, and its 2007 CD “Five Score and Seven Years Ago” debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard Top 200 chart.
Relient K continues to tour and record. Thiessen dated pop star (and onetime Christian vocalist) Katy Perry prior to her stardom.
Already on a Wheaties box by the time he changed his Massillon Tigers uniform for an Ohio State Buckeyes one, Chris Spielman has been a household name to Stark County football fans for four decades.
His intensity and passion for football helped make him a two-time All- American at Ohio State and a fourtime Pro Bowl linebacker with the Detroit Lions.
He earned a spot in the College Football Hall of Fame, and became the first Lions player to lead the team in tackles in seven straight years.
He now works for ESPN as a college football analyst.
Spielman also has been active in the fight against breast cancer. His wife, the former Stefanie Belcher of Jackson Township, died in November 2009 after battling the disease for more than 10 years.
The foundation the Spielmans started together — the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research — has raised more than $6 million for research at Ohio State.
These days, Massillon-born Matt Lanter seems to have all bases covered.
On the CW series “90210,” he plays a sensitive bad-boy stud named Liam Court. In the recent feature film “Vampires Suck,” a spoof of the “Twilight” series, he played the leading role of Edward Sullen.
And he provides the voice of Anakin Skywalker for “Star Wars:The Clone Wars,” now in its third season on the Cartoon Network.
Lanter attended Whipple and Northwood elementary schools before moving to Atlanta at age 8. His big break was playing the son of U.S. President Geena Davis on the ABC-TV series “Commander in Chief.”
It didn’t take long for the 7-foot GlenOak graduate to make the transition from high school All-American to the NBA. Within two years of leading the Golden Eagles to their first state tournament, Koufos was a first-round pick by the Utah Jazz.
GlenOak’s career scoring leader, Koufos is the only member of his family taller than 6 feet. Proud of his Greek heritage, the Canton-born Koufos went overseas the summer after high school graduation to lead Greece to a silver medal in the 2007 18-and-under European Championships.
In one season at Ohio State, he averaged 14.4 points and 6.7 rebounds, helping the Buckeyes win the 2008 NIT title. Koufos was named the NIT MVP after the win.
A few months later, he was in the NBA playing for legendary Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan. Koufos spent two seasons as a backup center in Utah before being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves last summer.
A 2000 graduate of GlenOak High School, Manhattan-based Joshua Jay has performed and lectured in 59 countries to date.
Close-up magic is his area of expertise, and he has appeared twice on the “Today” show, has headlined Hollywood’s prestigious Magic Castle, writes a monthly column for Magic magazine and has written several books that teach readers step-by-step how to perform the clever and surprising card tricks that he invents.
In the foreword to the 2010 book “Joshua Jay’s Amazing Book of Cards,” the renowned illusionist David Blaine writes, “I consider Josh an important emerging voice in our art.”
A game-breaking receiver at McKinley High School, Corner is carving out an NFL career by being a reliable cornerback. He has spent three years with the Buffalo Bills, though his highlight probably came in a preseason game. He returned an interception for a touchdown in the 2009 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game on his former home field, Fawcett Stadium.
A three-sport athlete at McKinley, Corner emerged as a record-setting receiver his junior year for the Bulldogs. He made the switch to defense in college and became an All- MAC cornerback with the Akron Zips.
Corner played all 16 games the last two seasons with the Bills, intercepting Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez in 2009.