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Fargo famous: Local lookalikes pass for celeb status

FARGO -- For a community thousands of miles away from the Hollywood hills, Fargo still has an unusually large number of "celebrities." In fact, one might confuse it for the San Fernando Valley instead of the Red River. Here, we take a look at a f...

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FARGO - For a community thousands of miles away from the Hollywood hills, Fargo still has an unusually large number of "celebrities." In fact, one might confuse it for the San Fernando Valley instead of the Red River. Here, we take a look at a few of local lookalikes who share the limelight with their famous doppelgangers.

Music legend, popstar and country crooner

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Zahradka pictured on the left. Joel on the right performing at Fargodome. Special to The Forum.

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Larry Zahradka (50) and Billy Joel (68)

Joel's hits: "We Didn't Start The Fire," "Uptown Girl" and "Piano Man"

First recognized: It was "too long ago to remember," Zahradka says.

Working as sales manager at Creative Kitchen, Zahradka is compared to the Piano Man a few times a week. People say that they share a similar smile, eyes and grow the same goatee. A particular memorable sighting happened for Zahradka when he attended a professional conference.

"I was in a piano bar and the piano player was yelling out 'piano man' to get my attention," he recalls. "It took several minutes for me to realize he was talking to me, and once I acknowledged it, the whole crowd erupted."

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Backman pictured on the left. Perry is shown on the right. Special to The Forum.

Roberta Backman (26) and Katy Perry (32)

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Perry's hits: "Firework," "Roar" and "I Kissed A Girl"

First recognized: In high school when a friend first noticed their similarities.

Backman - who, by day, works at Discovery Benefits - found her own "Teenage Dream" on the streets of Fargo more than 10 years ago when she moved to the area for college. Backman who is compared to Perry once or twice a month says Perry and her share a similar eye shape and smile - although Perry has a slightly more defined chin. Backman shares Perry's love of glitter and cat videos, but she has yet to wear a whipped cream brassiere.

When Backman was 15-years-old, a girl stopped her at West Acres.

"She honestly thought I was Ms. Perry until I told her I was a totally average North Dakotan looking for earrings to wear to a wedding," Backman recalls. "She ended up taking a selfie with me anyway."

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Carrier pictured on the left. McGraw is shown on the right. Special to The Forum.

Jason Carrier (48) and Tim McGraw (50)

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McGraw's hits: "Don't Take The Girl," "I Like It, I Love It" and "Please Remember Me"

First recognized: His wife and siblings first remarked about Carrier's looks when he donned a cowboy hat.

The "singing and selling" real estate agent with Beyond Reality says people notice the similar facial features and characteristics. After moving to Fargo in 1996 for work, Carrier discovered a passion for both Tim's music and the art of performing. Brother Jukebox - Carrier's singing group with his brother - regularly books both large and small gigs. Many notice a similar stage presence between McGraw and Carrier.

"Once people see me in a cowboy hat, they actually just call me Tim instead of my real name," he says.

A mean girl, "Breaking Bad" and '90s dad

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Henrichs (left) and Seyfried (right). Special to the Forum.

Racia Henrichs (29) and Amanda Seyfried (31)

Seyfried's prominent role: Karen Smith in "Mean Girls"

First recognized: Her aunt and uncle texted her when they were watching "Mean Girls," saying, "We've found your twin!"

 

After moving to Fargo more than 15 years ago, Henrichs says most highlight their similar eyes and hair. Now working as doula at Sanford Health, Henrichs is still recognized a couple times a month by strangers. While she was breakfasting at IHOP the waitress was astounded by Henrichs' resemblance to Seyfried.

"I am used to hearing that I look like her and it usually doesn't surprise me anymore, but that day it did because I looked like a hot mess," she says. "I was wearing sweats, had a messy bun and wasn't wearing any makeup, so we must look alike."

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Morast pictured on the left. Cranston as Walter White is shown on the right. Special to The Forum.

 

Noel Morast (41) and Bryan Cranston (61)

Well-known role: Walter White in "Breaking Bad"

First recognized: A passerby first stopped him while he was working at Sanford.

Morast was first quite skeptical about his striking resemblance to the "Breaking Bad" star.

"I didn't see it until my wife showed me a side-by-side photo," he says. "But then I noticed the similar facial structure, our beard and eyes."

Morast gets stopped regularly; the resemblance is pointed out to him three to four times a month. Morast hasn't seen the popular series yet so when one man asked for his autograph he felt dumbfounded.

"I didn't really know what he was talking about so I just scribbled something for him," he says.

Now, Morast says that most of the time, he gladly accepts these compliments. Although he is adamant that he doesn't share any personality traits with the slightly amoral White.

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Flakoll channels Heard during a 2008 meeting. Forum File Photo.

Tim Flakoll (57) and John Heard (72)

Well-known role: Peter McCallister, (the dad) in "Home Alone"

First recognized: Friends and family have been comparing the two for more than 15 years.

Flakoll believes he shares a similar "focused look" with Heard, although he is a quite a bit younger.

While Flakoll is rarely mistaken for the actor in Fargo because he's long held public office, the long-time state senator does get recognized when away from home. Currently he is the provost at the Tri-College University and director of operations for North Dakota State University's downtown facilities. While in Hickory Park restaurant in Ames, Iowa, the waiter kept insisting Flakoll was the dad from "Home Alone."

"It was a rib place and had paper placemats that were plain on one side and had kids coloring on the back," he says. "Before I left, I took the kids' crayons and wrote, 'When you are at Hickory Park, you never feel home alone.' and I signed John Heard's name."

Flakoll once changed his Facebook profile photo to Heard once to see his friends would notice. They didn't.

 

On the first glance, Fargo has its full share of A-listers even without red carpet premieres. Before you run, screaming to snap a selfie with hot celebs, take a second glance. They might just be a part of our Fargo famous elite.

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