2013 Ashvegas Year in Review: Celebrities in Asheville, from Palin and Patinkin to Somerhalder and Smith

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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Minka_Kelly_screen2013 was another fun year for celebrity spotting in Asheville. Here’s a quick run through:

Seth Avett and Jennifer Carpenter: I owe these two a huge debt of gratitude. These two young lovers afforded me my very first opportunity to use the word “canoodling” in a celebrity spotting blog headline earlier this year. The two were spotted lovin’ it up during a show at the LAB. Avett is part of The Avett Brothers band out of Charlotte. Carpenter was part of the cast of the hit Showtime series Dexter. The two were spotted again this week doing some Christmas shopping at Williams & Sonoma in Biltmore Village.

Mandy Pantinkin: This star of the hit Showtime series Homeland was spotted around downtown on Memorial Day weekend. He caught lunch at Posana Cafe and took in an evening screening of Mud at the Fine Arts Theatre. Homeland was filming in Charlotte, so he likely made the Asheville run as a break from that. Patinkin is fondly and famously remembered for his role in The Princess Bride.

Ian Somerhalder: Somerhalder, a star of the TV series Vampire Diaries, stopped in Asheville to make an appearance at an Asheville Beyond Coal rally in Pack Square. An army of teen girls were thrilled to no end at Somerhalder’s appearance at the rally, which was organized by the WNC Alliance.

Ellie Goulding: The British pop star was hanging out in Asheville for several days. She dined at 12 Bones and was spotted jogging up a street in the River Arts District. Known for her song “Lights,” Goulding is a big runner. Why was she in town? She’s been romantically connected with War Horse star Jeremy Irvine, who had a role in the independent film The World Made Straight, based on the book by my local author hero Ron Rash.

Minka Kelly: This actress babe, perhaps best known for her work in Friday Night Lights, has a starring role in The World Made Straight and was in the area for filming. She tweeted a photo from the top of Chimney Rock.

Noah Wyle: Yet another The World Made Straight connection – he also stars in the film. Wyle and the film crew caused a stir in Black Mountain in the spring when they shot several scenes around town, including at the Old Depot. Some Black Mountain residents also took part in a key sequence that depicts the Civil War-era Shelton Laurel massacre in Madison County. Wyle is best known as a star in the long-running TV drama ER.

Aasif Mandvi: This reporter for The Daily Show spent an afternoon in downtown Asheville interviewing people about recent controversy regarding North Carolina’s voter ID law. His “man on the street” interviews didn’t make the cut for the show’s final segment, which focused in large part on Mandvi’s interview with local Republican Don Yelton. The interview made national news and got Yelton kicked out of the party.

John Oates: One half of the famous Hall & Oates hit music duo of the 1970s and ’80s, Oates was in town with his son on a tour of prospective colleges. After I gave Oates a shout-out on the blog, his publicist emailed me to alert me to a new music project Oates was working on. That led to an interview offer, which I eagerly accepted. Talking to John Oates one summer morning for about 20 minutes was one of my highlights of the year. A cool dude, a consummate musician.

Ed Helms: This star of  TV’s The Office was spotted grabbing a cup of coffee in town.

Will Patton: Patton, an actor, recorded an audio book at Echo Mountain Studios. And it just wasn’t any audio book. It was the audio book version of Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep, a recording later named the Audible Audiobook of the Year.

Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing: The former NBA players – who once faced off in college – were seen hanging out together at a Biltmore Park restaurant in October. Jordan was in town because his Charlotte Bobcats were holding a training camp in Asheville.

Other notables: Star newsman Dan Rather spent time in Western North Carolina; Elizabeth Mitchell, a star of the TV series Lost, dropped by Asheville; Jaclyn Smith, an actress known for her turn on TV’s Charlie’s Angels, was spotted in town; funny girl Mamrie Hart visited; and a slew of stars old and new gathered at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville to help celebrate the 95th birth of the Rev. Billy Graham. Stars in attendance included: TV talk show host Greta Van Susteren; former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin; Donald Trump; Fox News media mogul Rupert Murdoch; Lauren Green of Fox News; country music star Ricky Skaggs; contemporary Christian singing star Michael W. Smith; TV star Kathie Lee Gifford and her husband Frank Gifford; longtime friend and colleague Cliff Barrows; and more.

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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1 Comment

  1. Briana December 27, 2013

    Jennifer Carpenter & Seth Avett also came to Early Girly Eatery & I got Jennifer’s autograph…really sweet lady 🙂


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