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For many locals, a flip through the television channels often has them exclaiming, “Hey, I know that guy.”
That guy is Kent Avenido.
Avenido has appeared in feature films, television shows and many national commercial campaigns. He most recently was seen in a Sonic commercial that aired during the Super Bowl, his fourth Super Bowl commercial appearance.
From third grade until his graduation in 1989, Avenido went to Elizabethtown Independent Schools. His late father, Terry, was an anesthesiologist at Hardin Memorial Hospital and his mom and sister still live in Elizabethtown.
Avenido’s close friend, John McIntyre, grew up with him in Elizabethtown.
“Kent has always been someone that has lived life to the fullest and followed his passion,” he said. “He has a genuine love for life and a natural aversion toward complacency.”
McIntyre describes Avenido as someone with integrity and good character.
“He has always enriched the lives of those around him and has profound dedication to his family, his friends and his faith,” he said.
Avenido always dreamed of becoming an actor but didn’t put that career in motion until after college, he said.
“My earliest recollections included watching Ricky Schroder in ‘Silver Spoons’ on television and wanting to do what he did,” Avenido said.
He wasn’t really involved in theater growing up but his parents enrolled him in piano and dance lessons.
“My parents instilled in me a love for the performing arts from a very young age,” he said.
He played saxophone in school and grew up going to productions at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts in Louisville.
Originally, the plan was to follow in his father’s footsteps to become a physician after college. He was wait-listed after applying for medical school.
“It was during this interim period in my life when I initially moved to New York City in the hopes of making it on Broadway,” he said.
He quickly realized he wanted to focus more on films and television. Three months later, he moved to Los Angeles and has lived there ever since.
“Thankfully, I never had the need or desire to reapply to medical school,” he said.
Avenido now is a professional actor working in Hollywood. He’s probably best known for his role as Howard Bamboo on the Fox series “Glee.”
On television, he’s also appeared in “Raising Hope,” “The Mentalist,” “Southland,” “iCarly” and “ER.”
He’s had some roles on the big screen including Adam Sandler’s “50 First Dates” and “Just Go with It.”
Audiences can see him in the upcoming movie musical “Lucky Stiff” staring Jason Alexander and Dennis Farina.
But most often viewers can catch him in many successful national commercial campaigns for products such as Coke Zero, FedEx, Heineken, Vitamin Water, Wendy’s, Quiznos, Toyota, Kia, Toys R Us, Scott Tissues, Emerald Nuts, Starbucks and soon Snapple.
He also can be seen in a trailer for “Call of Duty” with actor Peter Stormare.
“With his drive, it’s no surprise he is having a successful acting career in Hollywood,” McIntyre said. “It’s always been amazing to me how dedicated he is to his vocation.”
He lets no opportunity pass him by and will do anything to make an audition, McIntyre said.
“I’ve witnessed him drive six hours to and from L.A. in the same day while on vacation to make an audition before,” he said.
McIntyre said it’s “surreal” to see him on television or in the movies.
“Especially when I have people come up to me and say, ‘Hey, I saw Kent on TV last night,’” he said. “It makes me proud to know him and happy that all his hard work is paying off.”
Avenido enjoys hearing from people from his hometown.
“It’s always fun to reconnect with people from back home after I’ve randomly appeared on their television screens,” he said. “I love the people from back home and can feel and very much appreciate their continued love and support.”
He’s had many memorable moments so far in his career. During the filming of “50 First Dates,” he got to film at Sony Studios in L.A. and on location in Hawaii.
While filming “Glee” and “Lucky Stiff,” he was able to act, sing and dance alongside Tony Award winners and nominees.
“In fact, one of my ‘Lucky Stiff’ co-stars, Jayne Houdyshell, with whom I shared all of my scenes in the movie, had to fly back to New York in the midst of our rehearsals to attend the Tony Awards as a nominee,” he said.
Acting has been a dream for Avenido and he’s loved every minute of it, he said.
“I am extremely blessed to have had the opportunity to work with some amazing actors and directors,” he said.
To keep up with Avenido’s Hollywood career follow him, @KentAvenido on Twitter.
Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Getting to know Kent Avenido:
Favorite movie: “50 First Dates”
Favorite TV show: “Glee”
Favorite book: “The Giving Tree”by Shel Silverstein
Favorite type of music: Music from almost every genre.
Most famous person he’s enjoyed meeting: Drew Barrymore or Jane Lynch, both “absolute sweethearts,” he said.
Person in Hollywood he’d most like to work with: Fellow Kentucky actors George Clooney and Jennifer Lawrence.
Movie or TV character he most wanted to be like when he grew up: Superman because he’s a “humble, down-to-earth, regular guy when he’s not out saving the world from evil.
“Plus, I already share names with his alter ego,” he said.