Did you know that Silver Spring is known for more than just its grand trees and parks? In this episode of Saving DMV, we’re going to talk about what else Silver Spring is famous for: a long list of celebrities and scandals. While this city might only have a population of about 80,000, you’ll be surprised by the famous people that have called this area home.
Number 1. Actress Goldie Hawn went to Silver Spring International for middle school and Blair High School! She graduated in the class of ’63 and then went to American University for college. While she actually lived in Takoma Park, she has talked fondly of her time spent in downtown Silver Spring. My favorite Goldie Hawn moment is from First Wives Club – “I do have feelings. I’m an actress. I have all of them.” If acting had not worked out, she wanted to run a dance school in Maryland.
Number 2. Comedian Louis Black was born and raised in the Burnt Mills Knolls neighborhood of Silver Spring. He went to Springbrook High School and graduated in ’66. Black says that Silver Spring was a lot of nothing when he lived here and that he tells everyone he lived in DC because anyone from Silver Spring is a pussy. And if that shocked you, don’t google any of his work. I first saw him on his Back in Black segment of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. His humor is dark and dry, just like my favorite kind of wine. “(Silver Spring) was like a village in comparison to what has become a major city. It went from nothing to huge,” Black told (WTOP) the radio station. “The Metro made a big change in terms of that.” PS He, like me, went to the University of Maryland College Park, for a year.
Number 3. The Rachel Carson house is in the Colesville neighborhood in Silver Spring. In ’62, biologist, naturalist, and writer Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring, a book that is credited for launching the modern environmental movement and helped start the EPA in 1970. She discussed the interconnectedness of living things and outlined the moral and physical consequences of pesticide use, and was one of the reasons for the ban of DDT, which is now classified as a probable human carcinogen. President Kennedy created a Presidential Science Advisory Committee to investigate her work and they verified her arguments. Carson died of cancer while still living in Silver Spring only two years after writing Silent Spring. The house she lived in while writing Silent Spring was later designated a National Historic Landmark.
Number 4. Lawyer/speechwriter/actor/comedian Ben Stein grew up in Woodside Forest, Silver Spring. He went to Montgomery Hills Junior High with Sylvester Stallone in the late 50s. He then went to Blair High School and was one year ahead of Goldie Hawn and Carl Bernstein. Bernstein was on Bob Woodward’s team that did the reporting on the Watergate Scandal, which as we all remember, led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. Stein actually became a lawyer and came back to DC. He was a speechwriter for Presidents Nixon and Ford. Some people even thought he could be Deep Throat, but that ended up not being true. And if lawyer to speechwriter didn’t seem like a big jump, then he became an actor and was the teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off with Matthew Broderick. The monotone teacher was such a hit that the became that character in the Clear Eyes commercials. After that he hosted a game show, Win Ben Stein’s Money, which is oddly enough how I first heard of him.
Number 5. Let’s stay in politics for just another minute. Investigative Journalist Carl Bernstein also lived in Woodside Forest; in fact, he and Ben Stein were next door neighbors. He grew up in a gorgeous midcentury home off Sligo Creek Park. He went to Montgomery Blair High School where he… worked on the school’s newspaper, Silver Chips. He also went to UMD. Go terps! He and Bob Woodward wrote All the President’s Men which became an academy award nominated movie starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman. Redford played Bob Woodward and Hoffman played Bernstein.
The People Of Silver Spring
This list of people doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. There are others such as comedian Dave Chappelle, journalist Connie Chung, writer-producer David Simon, and Sylvester Stallone. My fellow real estate agent Debbie Cook has written quite a few articles on the area, and Bethesda Magazine has written quite a few too. I hope to talk more about these notable names in a future video for you.
I hope this inspires you and shows you a little bit about the kinds of people that Silver Spring creates. It’s such a wonderful place to live. This video was inspired by my friend and long-term Silver Spring resident, Jack Horner, so I want to thank him for this idea. If you have any additional questions about Silver Spring, whether living here or finding real estate, feel free to contact me and I’d be happy to connect!