A few celebrities lived or grew up in my hometown. For example:

Idina Menzel was born on May 30, 1971, in Syosset. Menzel was a powerhouse vocalist; while in high school, she sang at bar mitzvahs and weddings. She eventually attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

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In 1996, Menzel was a part of the original cast of “Rent.” She also starred in the Broadway show, “Wicked.” Menzel played Elphaba, a green young woman who would turn into the Wicked Witch of The West in “The Wizard of Oz.” Menzel won a Tony for best actress in a musical for that role.

Menzel auditioned for “Tangled,” but did not get the part. However, she caught Disney’s attention and did a private recording with Kristen Bell. Both Bell and Menzel would co-star in Disney’s animated “Frozen.” Menzel played the Snow Queen Elsa, a character with great powers struggling to come to terms with her abilities. The movie earned $1 billion globally, becoming one of the biggest animated films ever created.

Natalie Portman was born in Israel. She grew up in Syosset, and began modeling at age 11. In 1994, her film debut was in “The Professional.” While continuing her career, Natalie earned a degree in psychology from Harvard University. She won the 2010 best actress Oscar for her portrayal of a troubled ballerina in “Black Swan.”

Judd Apatow was raised in Syosset. Judd worked at his local high school’s station hosting “Club Comedy” and interviewing talent like John Candy, Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld. Apatow attended the University of Southern California, where he studied screenwriting. He worked as a stand-up comedian. He wrote for comedians like Roseanne Barr, Jim Carrey and Tom Arnold, and by 1992, he had earned an executive producer position with “The Ben Stiller Show.” He also directed a lot of movies, including “Trainwreck.”