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  1. Photo Illustration: Jamie DiVecchio Ramsay; Photograph: Kharen Hill/FOX
    Photo Illustration: Jamie DiVecchio Ramsay; Photograph: Kharen Hill/FOX

    Jennifer Beals, 47, actor, Chicago
    Researching her role as Chicago�s police superintendent in The Chicago Code, Beals took ride-alongs with detectives. �It was not the first time I�ve seen someone shot� [Laughs] �unfortunately.� When was the first time? �In my neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago.� It was a pretty decent neighborhood [at 82nd Street and Indiana Avenue], but there were things that happened.�

  2. Photograph: Suzette Troche-Step; Photo Illustration: Jamie DiVecchio Ramsay
    Photograph: Suzette Troche-Step; Photo Illustration: Jamie DiVecchio Ramsay

    Kathy Griffin, 50, comedian, Oak Park
    When asked whether she was speaking from her home in L.A., she replied, �Yes, I�m at my palatial estate. My house is so nice it�s almost Kenilworth-worthy��cause when I was growing up, that was the place to dream to have a home.�

  3. Patti Smith, 64, singer-writer, Logan Square
    She was just a few years old when her family left Chicago; did she remember anything about the city? �Oh, yes. I used to sit on this little stoop on Kedzie�we lived right near Logan Square. I used to sit there and wait for the iceman to come; they still had horse-drawn wagons. It was �49 or �48. And I remember an organ grinder who had a monkey, and people would give him pennies.�

  4. PHOTO: ap/ Louis Lanzano; Photo Illustration: Jamie Divecchio Ramsay
    PHOTO: ap/ Louis Lanzano; Photo Illustration: Jamie Divecchio Ramsay

    Liz Phair, 44, musician, Winnetka
    Phair penned the score for the 2008 CBS drama Swingtown, set in the North Shore. Did she recall Winnetka as swinging in the �70s? �Not at all. I�m laughing now because all the housewives are talking, they�re like, �Oh, yeah, we knew about [swinging].� It seemed to me like a very prudish place, so I�m very surprised.�

  5. Photo Illustration: Jamie DiVecchio Ramsay; Photograph: Matthias Clamer/FOX
    Photo Illustration: Jamie DiVecchio Ramsay; Photograph: Matthias Clamer/FOX

    Jane Lynch, 50, actor, Dolton
    Growing up in south suburban Dolton, was she in a show choir like the one in Glee? �We didn�t have a show choir, but we had six or seven choirs. I was in one of them every year. The biggest choir was called Chorale; the best singers in the school were in that. That was a huge coup for me. We were off in this building called A Building. They kind of pushed us off into another part of the school, so we weren�t held up for ridicule the way the poor Glee kids are.�

  6. Photo Illustration: Jamie Divecchio Ramsay; Photograph: David Gray/FOX/WBTV
    Photo Illustration: Jamie Divecchio Ramsay; Photograph: David Gray/FOX/WBTV

    Chi McBride, 49, actor, West Side
    What did he recall from growing up on the West Side? �Just trying to stay out of trouble and avoid the wrong crowd. You hear about South Central Los Angeles, but there are places in Chicago that make Compton look like Disneyland.�

  7. Photo Illustration: Jamie DiVecchio Ramsay; Photograph: Ben Leuner
    Photo Illustration: Jamie DiVecchio Ramsay; Photograph: Ben Leuner

    Bob Odenkirk, 48, actor, Naperville
    Breaking Bad
    , in which Odenkirk stars as sleazy lawyer Saul Goodman, concerns a meth lab; what was the drug of choice in Naperville? �This was pre-meth, thank God. Holy cow, meth is horrible. That would�ve been pot, but I didn�t smoke pot in�uh, wait a second, I did smoke pot in Naperville. All I got was a headache.�

  8. Jennifer Hudson, 29, singer-actor, Chicago
    Her earliest memories of music? �Oh, goodness, singing in church. As a little girl, I remember being asleep on my mama�s lap and the choir�s singing in rehearsals �cause we were there so much, and that�s where I started singing at, on the South Side of Chicago, Pleasant Gift [Missionary]. I remember my first solo. It was �Must Jesus Bear the Cross Alone.� I forgot the words to the song, and the congregation had to help me out.�

From the archives: Notable Chicagoans reminisce about the city

We mined our interview archives for some of our favorite personalities’ childhood stories.

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