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Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Checking in on our homegrown celebs
By Rick Gershman
Published June 22, 2007
Maybe I'm spoiled, because one of Hollywood's most beloved actors, the late Jimmy Stewart, hailed from my hometown of Indiana, Pa. But I've also lived in the Tampa area a couple of decades. And while we might not be able to boast any Hollywood legends yet, it's not like we lack for talent. And goodness knows it's unfair that the latest celebrity to make news out of Tampa Bay - outside of Hiccup Girl, that is - was Tampa native and former American Idol finalist Jessica Sierra. You'll probably remember that in April, police charged Sierra - who most recently had been working at a local Hooters - with chucking a cocktail glass at a guy's head. Oh, and they also charged her with cocaine possession. Not a banner evening. So things aren't going swimmingly for Sierra. But plenty of other locals are faring far better. Here's a rundown on a few of them and where you can enjoy their work:
Patrick Wilson It has been a pretty impressive run for Wilson, 33, whose father, John, and brother, Mark, work as news anchors at the local Fox affiliate, WTVT-Ch. 13. A graduate of Shorecrest Prep in St. Petersburg, Wilson likely is best known for his role as Raoul in the 2004 film version of Phantom of the Opera. But he also made waves in a starring role in the controversial 2005 indie flick Hard Candy. On the horizon: Wilson joins an all-star ensemble (Glenn Close, Vanessa Redgrave, Claire Danes and more) in the drama Evening, which opens in limited release June 29. Where to see him: Several of his films are available on DVD, including Phantom, Hard Candy, the widely-acclaimed 2006 drama Little Children and 2004's The Alamo.
Brittany Snow A Tampa native and Gaither High graduate, the 21-year-old Snow made her mark on the soap Guiding Light before earning a lead role on NBC's American Dreams, which ran for three seasons. She hit the big screen in the Vin Diesel comedy The Pacifier (2005) and 2006's John Tucker Must Die. On the horizon: Snow plays a supporting role in one of this summer's most anticipated movies, Hairspray, due to hit screens July 20. Next year, she'll star with Matthew Broderick in Finding Amanda and step into Jamie Lee Curtis' shoes for a remake of the 1980 horror flick Prom Night. Where to see her: Pacifier and Tucker are available on DVD, as is the first season of Dreams. You can also catch her five-episode guest-starring run on the third season of Nip/Tuck.
Sarah Paulson She should be a household name already, but give her time. Outside of her television work, you might remember this Tampa native best from her role as Renee Zellweger's buddy in the 2003 comedy Down with Love. (She also played David Hyde Pierce's love interest, so you know she can act.) Her star quality's currently shining on TV's Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, but sadly, NBC has pulled the plug on this fine show. On the horizon: She doesn't have any films awaiting release right now, but this veteran of numerous TV shows and stage performances should find work again quickly. Where to see her: Enjoy the usually-blond on DVD as a brunette in Down with Love, catch her supporting role in the excellent 2005 sci-fi flick Serenity, or tune in to the remaining episodes of Studio 60 on Thursday nights.
Shawn Pyfrom He was born in Tampa, though like Paulson, the 20-year-old Pyfrom left for a bigger stage as a child (Pyfrom to Los Angeles, Paulson to New York City). The child actor had dozens of TV appearances before landing a role on the ABC hit Desperate Housewives. On the horizon: More Housewives, which begins its fourth season in the fall. Pyfrom plays Andrew Van De Kamp, a teenager coming to terms with being gay. Where to see him: The first two seasons of Housewives are out on DVD. Also available: Pyfrom in a lead role in the 2006 horror film The Darkroom, and a supporting role in the 2006 Tim Allen comedy The Shaggy Dog.