9 Famous Celebrities Who Live in Bellingham, Washington

We all want to have some small claim to fame by saying that we went to the same school as Jennifer Lawrence or that we once saw Johnny Depp while waiting in line for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney World. We love to brag about how we got Emma Watson’s autograph while at Comic-Con or were this close to Tom Hanks while at the airport. But who doesn’t want to say that they live in the same town as a celebrity? I know that I do.

Bellingham, Washington is a small city in the Pacific Northwest only 21 miles south of the Canadian border. A beautiful area, the locals often call the area the “British Columbia of the United States.” It’s no wonder that celebrities would enjoy living in such a beautiful and peaceful area.

Misha Collins

Supernatural fans, this one’s for you! In 2014, Misha Collins, most easily recognized as the angel Castiel in the sci-fi show Supernatural, moved to Bellingham with his wife and children for a shorter commute to the Supernatural set in Vancouver, Canada.

Outside of Supernatural, Collins has appeared in episodes of NBC’s Timeless, Who’s Line is it Anyway?, CSI: NY, ER, and Monk, among others. He also is has published poems and even wrote a cookbook with his wife. Most of the profits from that book were donated to charity.

Both he and his wife have really embraced the community that they have moved into and have started advocating for the homeless community in Bellingham, working alongside the Bellingham nonprofit, Lydia Place. They even were able to fundraise over $100,000 to help Lydia Place house homeless Bellingham families. To do this, Collins went to his social media to urge his followers to purchase T-shirts and other items, with all the proceeds to go towards Lydia Place. While he recognizes that it’s a lofty goal, he hopes to get every homeless family with children in Bellingham off the street.

George Nelson

Sometimes don’t you just want to leave this world? I know that I do. Having gone into space several times, George Nelson has succeeded in every 8-year-old’s dream of becoming an astronaut, serving as a specialist in all three of his missions. His first escapade into space was in 1984, in the STS-41-C mission. The mission took place from April 6, 1984, to April 13. Their mission was to capture, repair, and redeploy the Solar Max satellite and deploy the Long Duration Exposure Facility. During this mission, Nelson was the first to attempt to retrieve the Solar Max, which ultimately began to spin out of control and had to be captured the next day.

He completed two additional missions in 1986 with the STS-61-C and in1988 with the STS-26, the first flight after the Challenger disaster. He has spent over 400 hours in space. In total, that’s over 16 days in space! Since returning to the planet, he has been inducted into the US Astronaut Hall of fame. If I weren’t worried about muscle atrophy, I personally would’ve stayed out in space.

Now retired, Nelson directs the Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education program and Western Washington University in Bellingham. He taught astronomy and celestial navigation in Fall 2013 at the Semester at Sea, a study abroad program where 600 college students circumnavigate the globe via cruise ship, attending classes on the ship.

Garth Butcher

Former National Hockey League defenseman Garth Butcher played 14 seasons for various teams, many of these years with the Vancouver Canucks, so it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to anyone that this former NHL player ultimately ended up in Bellingham, Washington after so many years of hockey, Vancouver being only about an hour north of Bellingham.

In his career with the NHL, Butcher was better known as a defensive player than an offensive, as he only scored occasionally. However, he was also known to incite reactions from his opponents through his aggressive playing style. An opposing player from the Detroit Red Wings was even suspended for several games for trying to injure Bucher in retaliation, which the Red Wings chose not to appeal.

Butcher currently coaches for the Whatcom Warriors Amateur Hockey Association and is the Director of Hockey Operations at the Bellingham Sportsplex.

RW Goodwin

Do you enjoy the old tv show The X-Files? If you do, it is partially thanks to this Bellingham resident that this show exists. For the first five seasons of the show, Goodwin served as an executive producer. He also served as the director for several of the episodes, usually the first and last episode of each season.

Although he was originally from Australia and later lived in LA, Goodwin and his wife Sheila Larken (who plays Margaret Scully in The X-Files) decided to move their family to Bellingham in 1993 to get away from LA and find a better environment to raise their children. This also happened to be near Vancouver, British Columbia, where the first five seasons of The X-Files were to be filmed. Five years and five seasons later, when The X-Files was to be moved down to LA, Goodwin and Larken both bowed out and opted to stay in Bellingham rather than move back to Las Angeles, despite the pleadings of their superiors.

James Bertolino

While perhaps you never have heard of James Bertolino, he is still well known within his circle of poetry. Many people when thinking about poets think about men and women living outside of society, a recluse and social pariah. However, the truth is far from that. Bertolino has been very busy within the publishing community for many years. He began writing early in life and has published 30 books of poetry. His poetry has also appeared in many magazines. He founded the Stone Marrow Press, cofounded the Egress Studio Press, and cofounded two literary magazines. He taught creative writing at many colleges and institutes for over 30 years, retiring from teaching in 2006.

Now he lives in Bellingham with his partner and fellow poet, Anita Boyle. While it’s hard to speak of his personal social skills without personally knowing the man, it’s hard to imagine someone unable to communicate well teaching for as long as he did, so it’s probably safe to say that he isn’t a social outcast.

Ryan Stiles

Have you ever seen the show hosted by Drew Carey, Whose line is it anyway? If you have, you are probably familiar with this Bellingham resident. Ryan Stiles was one of the recurring players in this improv show, and along with Wayne Brady and Colin Mochrie, returned to the show when it was revived in 2013.

While performing regularly on the British version of Whose Line is it Anyway?, Stiles was regularly seen on The Drew Carey Show, where he played the character Lewis Kiniski. Together, Stiles and Carey were able to get Whose Line started in the United States, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Since moving to Bellingham with his wife Patricia, Stiles has opened Upfront Theater, an improv community theater that has improv shows Thursdays through Saturday evenings. They even offer classes for both youth and adults to teach about the art of improv. However, starting April 23, 2020, the theater has been temporarily closed to transition into a nonprofit organization.

Krissy Moehl

Do you like running? If you do, kudos to you because I really hate running. Despite that, even I can’t help but admire Krissy Moehl, who in 2005, became the youngest woman to complete the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning, being 27-28 years old as she completed it. While the name of the event by itself sounds rather intimidating, when you know exactly what is, you can’t help but be impressed.

The Grand Slam of Ultrarunning is an event where you complete four of the five most prestigious 100-mile races in the United States. I don’t know about you, but the thought of completing a 26 some-odd mile marathon sounds like a killer, so a hundred-mile race sounds absolutely impossible. When you realize that she ran four of them in the same year, and won the gold medal in one. It almost makes you want to call her Superwoman.

Living in Bellingham, Moehl has been the race director for the Chuckanut 50k – a mountain ultra that has you climb 5000 feet amongst the Chuckanut Mountain Ridge in Fairhaven, Washington – for over 19 years.

Bear McCreary

While Bear McCreary no longer lives in Bellingham, he did grow up in Bellingham and graduated from Bellingham High School in 1997. For the last two years of high school, McCreary wrote prepared himself for his future career by writing music every day.

One of the most important things in a movie, at least in my opinion, is a really good soundtrack. A good storyline is important, but the music can really enhance the movie or TV show. Bear McCreary is one of those men that we can thank for the music behind the movies. He is best known for his compositions for the TV shows Battlestar Galactica, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Outlander, and The Walking Dead, where he enjoys bringing sounds from different cultures together.

Hilary Swank

Hilary Swank is an actress and film producer who was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2005. She starred in The Next Karate Kid, Boy’s Don’t Cry, and Freedom Writer, as well as other movies and television shows.

While Swank also no longer lives in Bellingham, she grew up in the Bellingham area, attending Sehome High School until she was 16. The city still has some claim to fame with her on the list!

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Eliza Hill

My name is Eliza and I enjoy being outdoors. I have lived in many cities in the northwest united states and have traveled to many more. I have been writing on suggested by locals for about a year and love it!

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