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Carver County's A-List
Jan 05, 2007 | 1988 views | 30 30 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Carver County doesn’t have many over-the-top famous people to claim.

In fact, the rock star Prince is probably the only world-famous resident that calls our wonderful county home (and most people think he lives in Minneapolis).

However, I thought the Herald could throw out a few names, with short biographies, and ask the public to add people they thought should be on the list.

They can be alive or dead, and may have only lived in the county for a short while. It doesn’t matter. (Judy Garland only lived in Grand Rapids, Minn. for four and one-half years and they have an annual festival and museum dedicated to her.)

The term “famous” is dreadfully relative, so have fun with who you add to the list.

Prince, Chanhassen

As a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Prince still has Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen. He tore down his house, near Galpin Boulevard in Chanhassen but, with his business, owns 200 acres of land in Chanhassen. He’s definitely the most funky person to ever call Carver County home.

Edward Van Sloan (at left) in Dracula

Edward Van Sloan, Chaska

Edward Van Sloan was a co-star in such 1930s horror movie classics as “Dracula,” “Frankenstein” and “The Mummy.”

Van Sloan had roles in at least 87 movies, according to the Internet Movie Database. His career ranged from the silent movie “Slander” in 1916, through his last movie in 1950.

Van Sloan (originally “Van Sloun”) was born on Nov. 1, 1882 and lived in Chaska during his childhood years. Edward was born on Nov. 1 1882. He probably lived in Chaska, off and on, for about 10 years.

Alec Soth, Chanhassen

In the art world, photographer Alec Soth has been the cat’s pajamas ever since he exploded onto the scene a couple years ago in the Whitney Biennial Exhibition in New York.

He lived in Chanhassen until he was 15 years old.

His family moved to their Chanhassen home, off of Galpin Boulevard, when Alec’s father, an attorney, began work at the Jonathan office of the Dorsey, Marquart, Windhorst, West & Halladay law firm in Jonathan Village Center in Chaska. Soth, in his mid-30s, has published a number of photography books, notably “Sleeping by the Mississippi.” Check out his work at

Fred Hoiberg, Chaska

Former Minnesota Timberwolves guard Fred Hoiberg lived in Chaska for a few years, receiving six write-in-votes for mayor during one of the city's elections.

He left Chaska to coach the Iowa State University men's basketball team.

William Foster, San Francisco Township

Foster, who was one of the first Carver County commissioners, was also a member of the infamous Donner Party. Starving with the rest of the pioneers in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, he allegedly killed and ate two members of the party for food.

Of 89 settlers, 41 died, including William and Sarah Foster’s 1-year-old son Jeremiah.

William, with Sarah, later attempted to develop the town of San Francisco, near Carver, but gave up and moved back to California.

Debbie Turner, Chanhassen

At the tender age of 8, Turner screen-tested for a part in the “Sound of Music.” Producers loved her and Turner eventually became Marta, the second youngest of the seven Von Trapp children. She shared the screen with heavyweights Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer in one of the most beloved films of all time.

Turner did little acting after her turn in the “Sound of Music.” She moved to Chanhassen after marrying her husband Rick Larson.

Marion Ross, Watertown and Waconia

Ross, best-known as Mrs. Cunningham from “Happy Days” was born in Watertown and grew up in Waconia. She has been in oodles of television shows and a few movies, too, but it was her role as Mrs. C. that made her a household name.

Art James, Chaska

Art James was a regular among game show watchers in the ’60s and ’70s. As a host or announcer, James was involved in more than a dozen game shows including “Concentration,” “Say When!,” “Pay Cards!,” “Tic Tac Dough” and “Joker’s Wild.” He retired to Chaska and died in 2004 during a trip to Palm Springs.

Don Herbert, Waconia

As the creator and host of “Mr. Wizard,” the Waconia-born Herbert inspired children across the country to get interested in science. His weekly show, “Watch Mr. Wizard,” featured science experiments that children could recreate at home.

The show began in 1951 on NBC and ran for 14 years and more than 500 episodes. It was resurrected for a time in the ’70s and again as Mr. Wizard’s World on Nickelodeon in the ’80s. Herbert received a Peabody Award for his work.

Larry Graham, Chanhassen

Larry Graham, rock and roll bassist, is a Chanhassen resident. He played with the Sly and the Family Stone, which makes him (along with Prince) the second Carver County resident in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He is credited with his innovative "slap" bass technique and being one of the leaders in developing the funk sound.

Jim “The Baron” von Raschke, Laketown Township

This wrestler is synonymous with old-school Minnesota. He was among the first of the professional wrestling superstars, with his use of the trademark “claw” on his hapless opponents.

He also lived in Laketown Township in Carver County for 2-1/2 years. He now calls Prior Lake home. The Baron later embarked on another career – the stage, with acollaboration on the “The Baron” performed at the History Theatre in St. Paul.

Tony Denman, Chanhassen

Since Denman had a role in one of the greatest movies ever made, “Fargo,” he makes the A-List.

Denman was a Chaska High School freshmen when he portrayed the accordion-playing Scotty Lundegaard in the 1996 Coen brothers film. His ill-fated father was played by William Macy.

According to the Internet Movie Data Base, Denman has appeared in everything from episodes of “7th Heaven,” to “Judging Amy” to National Lampoon’s “Dorm Daze” (parts 1 and 2).

Amy Adams, pictured in 1999.

Amy Adams, Chanhassen

It's unknown Amy Adams ever had a mailing address in Carver County.

However, she appeared in so many Chanhassen Dinner Theatres performances between 1996 and 1998, that we'll include her as an honorary member of the Carver County A-List.

She took a short leave from musical theater to appear in the locally filmed "Drop Dead Gorgeous." From there, she went on to star ina number of movies and TV shows.

She was nominated for an Academy Award for her work in "Junebug." However, Adams really proved she had star power in the 2007 hit "Enchanted."

Amy Adams Chanhassen performances and start dates:

“Crazy for You,” Feb. 2, 1996 (came in as a replacement)

“State Fair” Jan. 31, 1997

“Brigadoon,” Jan. 30: 1998

“Good News,” Nov. 6, 1998 (Left midway through show’s run to pursue Hollywood career)

Adams may be the biggest star to come out of the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, but here are a few other notable alumni:

Loni Anderson: Best known for her role in “WKRP in Cincinnati.”

Warren Frost: Has appeared in numerous television series, including reoccurring roles in “Twin Peaks,” “Matlock,” and “Seinfeld.”

T.R. Knight: Known for the television role of Dr. George O’Malley in “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Laura Osnes: Competed in NBC reality show “You’re the One That I Want,” and is now performing “Grease” on Broadway.

Ron Perlman: Starring roles in many movies, including “Hellboy” and “Enemy at the Gates,” as well as the “Beauty and the Beast” television series.

Pat Proft: Writer for many zany movie comedies, such as “Hot Shots,” “Police Academy” and “The Naked Gun.”

Michael Ian Black, Chaska

If you’re famous and marry someone from Carver County, does that mean you’re on the Carver County A-List?

Yes … yes it does. Thus comedian Michael Ian Black graces our list. Black, has appeared in a number of television shows, including “The State” and “Ed,” and most recently on “Michael and Michael have Issues.”

Black is married to Martha Hagan from Chaska and his in-laws are long-time Jonathan residents Richard and Suzanne Hagen.

He's perhaps the only nationally known comedian to have attended both the Taste of Chaska and the Jonathan Fourth of July kiddie parade.

Johnny Holm, Chaska

Johnny Holm, front man of The Johnny Holm Band, is possibly the hardest-working man in show business. He’s been performing at town festivals, street dances, bowling alleys – you name it – for about 40 years. There are few people who grew up in the Upper Midwest that probably don’t have at least one great anecdote about a night at a Johnny Holm concert. (And what other musician would name the New Munich Ballroom as his favorite place to play.)

Nicholas Sparks, Watertown

With over 50 million books sold in more than 40 languages and eight of those books turned into movies, Nicholas Sparks has the love story market cornered. "The Notebook" author lived in Watertown for three years as a young child while his father pursued a degree at the University of Minnesota. He details some of the family's time in Carver County at the outset of his 2004 memoir "Three Weeks with My Brother." The Herald interviewed him in October 2010.

Kris Humphries, Chaska

All right, so he never played for the Chaska Hawks. Instead former Chaska resident Kris Humphries opened-enrolled to Hopkins, and led the school to a state Championship in 2002.

He now plays ball for the New Jersey Nets.

Kim Kardashian, Chaska

Since Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries were married Aug. 20, 2011, Kardashian also makes it on the Carver County A-List (per the Michael Ian Black claus, as explained above).

The socialite/model is well-known through her family's reality TV series "Keeping up with the Kardashians." Since the pair hooked up, local Kardashian sightings (albiet infrequent) have become as popular as Prince sightings.

Kardashian, with hubby Kris, have most notably been spotted at Westwood Church. The church's pastor, the Rev. Joel Johnson, flew out to California to hitch the couple.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
August 25, 2011
Gart-man -- thanks for the info.

I believe Rich Gannon lives on Lake Minnetonka -- so just a bit out of of Carver County.

I'm not sure about Jerry Koosman and Dave Casper. (Someone also told me Dan Gladden lives in the county).

If someone calls/e-mails me verification that these guys (or any other current or former pro athletes) live in Carver County, I'll pop them up on the A-List.

(Don't worry, we'll keep their addresses private.)
August 25, 2011
The Carver County A-List, now with more Kardashian. Yes, Kris Humphries and Mrs. Humphries, aka Kim Kardashian are now on our list of local celebs. Is our list missing someone? Post your bid for the A-List or e-mail
August 24, 2011
You forgot Jerry Koosman MLB pitcher, Rich Gannon NFL quaterback and Dave Casper NFL tight end.
Mollee Francisco
October 07, 2010
We're adding Sparks to the Carver County A-List as well. I'm sure it will be one of his biggest honors to date.

(Mollee Francisco is a staff writer for the Chaska Herald. She can be reached at
Mark Olson
September 09, 2010
TV star (and Carver County A-lister) Ron Perlmann speaks out about his pivotal role working in the lighting and costume department at The Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. Read about it here:
Mark Olson
April 02, 2010
A-lister and Chanhassen native has what looks to be an excellent New York Times series called Continental Picture Show. It can be found at:

The blog also notes that there will be a Walker Art Center exhibit of his American photographs this September -- can't wait to see it.
Mark Olson
August 07, 2009
You are absolutely right. Grade A entertainer Johnny Holm is now on Carver County's A-List.
Greg Boe
July 19, 2009
Yes 'Chainsaw' lives in Chaska now. I also knew Mike and his family back when they were our next-door neighbors in Norwood in the 1980's.
Greg Boe
July 19, 2009
Isn't Johnny Holm a Chaska resident?
Mark Olson
July 17, 2009
Comedians, cannibals, Mrs. C. What do all these things have in common? They're all on the Carver County A-List. Michael Ian Black (recently profiled in our newspaper) is now on the list.
Mollee Francisco
January 23, 2009
First Oscar nomination for someone with Carver County roots? Amy Adams was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for "Doubt."

(Mollee Francisco is a staff writer for the Chaska Herald. She can be reached at
Mollee Francisco
December 22, 2008
Looks like a banner year is on tap for Amy Adams who just picked up a Screen Actors Guild best supporting actress nomination for her role in "Doubt."

(Mollee Francisco is a staff writer for the Chaska Herald. She can be reached at
Mollee Francisco
December 11, 2008
Congrats to Amy Adams who picked up a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress this morning for her role in "Doubt."

(Mollee Francisco is a staff writer for the Chaska Herald. She can be reached at
Mark Olson
July 11, 2008
"Hellboy 2: The Musical" opens today. Well, actually it's "Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, but it does star Ron Perlman, who is a Chanhassen Dinner Theatres alumnus.

Amy Adams and Perlman must be the biggest stars to have emerged from Chanhassen institution.

I can't help but wonder what musical prepared Perlman for Hellboy. "Oklahoma" perhaps?
Mark Olson
June 09, 2008
A-list news:

* Former Chanhassen resident Alec Soth has an exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, through Aug. 10. The exhibit includes 26 prints from his "Sleeping by the Mississippi" series.

* Debbie Turner Larson (Marta, from the classic movie "The Sound of Music") was recently approved for a big account. Her business, Debbie Turner Originals, is one of four Minnesota companies selected as a preferred florist by planners of the Republican National Convention, Sept. 1-4 in St. Paul.

Mollee Francisco
March 10, 2008
Did anyone catch A-lister Amy Adams hosting Saturday Night Live this weekend? What did you think?

(Mollee Francisco is a staff writer for the Chaska Herald. She can be reached at
Mark Olson
February 28, 2008
Carver County A-Lister Amy Adams’ popularity has been growing over the past few years.

However, she recently seems to have shot into the Hollywood stratosphere.

At the Academy Awards, she performed one of three songs nominated for an Oscar from her summer Disney movie “Enchanted.”

And she also graces THREE magazine covers currently on the stands, including Vanity Fair’s annual Hollywood issue, Interview, and Elle.

We’re bound to see more of her this spring, with the spring release of “Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.”

In the Interview article, Adams gives a big shout out to her Chanhassen Dinner Theatre “family”:

“Eventually I ended up in Minnesota at a theater company where you did not have to wait tables. … But it was also remarkable to me how talented the people in these theaters were. When I arrived at Chanhassen in Minnesota I was stunned – the dancers were awesome and all of them could sing. I ended up staying there for three years. There were times when I first arrived in Los Angeles where I would pine for that time when I knew exactly what was in front of me, and every day was the same … The people I worked with there were also a great family to me… ."


Mark Olson
January 24, 2008
Carver County A-Lister Alec Soth is profiled in a recent City Pages:

Mark Olson
December 31, 2007

Amy Adams was added to our Carver County A-List as an honorary member. I thought she was a good representative of Chanhassen Dinner Theatre alumni who have gone on to star in TV shows and movies.

October 04, 2007
This just in!

We understand that Chainsaw Caine of the 80s hair metal band Slave Raider is from Chaska.

(Karla Wennerstrom is the editor of the Eden Prairie News. She can be reached at
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