Did you have someone in your class you knew before they became "famous?" Did you know they were going to go on to "big" things? The Quad-Cities has produced numerous familiar faces on television and the silver screen along with thousands of others who have gone on to do big things in other endeavors.
Eric Christian Olsen from Bettendorf and Lara Flynn Boyle of Davenport are two stars of television.
Olsen was born on May 31, 1977, in Eugene, Oregon but grew up in Bettendorf. He is perhaps best known for his portrayals of Detective Marty Deeks on the television series "NCIS: Los Angeles." and as Lloyd in the movie "Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd."
Boyle was born March 24, 1970, in Davenport. Her first major role was as Donna Hayward in the critically acclaimed television series "Twin Peaks." She also portrayed Assistant District Attorney Helen Gamble in the 1997 series, "The Practice." In 2002, Boyle played a lead role in the blockbuster feature film "Men in Black II" as the villainous shapeshifting alien Serleena.
And then in the "Who knew Department?" consider this: Walt Disney — you know, the guy that has (Disney)land and a (Disney) World named after him and a buddy named Mickey Mouse — was once rejected for a job in the Quad-Cities. Would hate to be the person who turned him away.
According to Times columnist Bill Wundram, Disney once applied for a job in Davenport with Victor Animatograph Co., a pioneer in 16 millimeter films. The building still stands at West 4th Street and Western Avenue. The company needed an artist for film slides. After going over Disney’s artwork for a couple days, company officials told him that his artwork was lousy.
Disney was dismal. He was dejected. He thought that he was better than peddling movie projectors. He packed up his artwork and headed for California. The rest is told in Mickey Mouse, Bambi, Snow White, Lion King, “Toy Story,” etc., etc.
Then there's Ronald Reagan who started a very normal life as a radio broadcaster for WOC during a brief stay in Davenport before hitting it big in Hollywood as a movie actor and then in Washington, D.C., as president of the United States.