Have you ever wanted to abandon your college plans and run off to Hollywood to pursue an acting career? Don't throw away your college dreams just yet. Many celebrities have earned their undergraduate and masters degrees, some even from the most prestigious universities.
Ball State University
David Letterman: Talk show host, "The Late Show with David Letterman"
Howard Stern: Radio talk show host, "The Howard Stern Show"
California State University at Long Beach
Steve Martin: Actor, Pink Panther, Cheaper by the Dozen
Steven Spielberg: Director and producer, Jurassic Park, Saving Private Ryan
John Cleese (Law degree): Actor, Monty Python, the Holy Grail, Shrek
Richard Nixon: 37th President of the United States
Dave Thomas: Founder of Wendy's Restaurants
Denzel Washington: Actor, Training Day, Remember the Titans
Matt Damon (left to pursue acting): Actor, Eurotrip, The Borne Identity
Al Gore: 45th Vice President of the United States
Tommy Lee Jones: Actor, Men in Black, The Fugitive
John Lithgow: Actor, Shrek, Orange County
Conan O'Brien: Talk show host, "Late Night with Conan O'Brien"
Natalie Portman: Actress, Star Wars Episodes I - III
Elisabeth Shue: Actress, The Saint, Leaving Las Vegas
Mira Sorvino: Actress, Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion
London School of Economics
Mick Jagger (left to pursue music): Lead singer of The Rolling Stones
Cindy Crawford: Model
New York University
Alec Baldwin: Actor, The Aviator, Along Came Polly
Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen: Actresses, Full House
Meg Ryan: Actress, Kate & Leopold, Sleepless in Seattle
Hugh Grant: Actor, Bridget Jones's Diary, About a Boy
Dean Cain: Actor, "Lois & Clark," "Las Vegas"
David Duchovny: Actor, "The X Files"
Brook Shields: Model and actress, "Suddenly Susan," "That 70s Show"
Jimmy Stewart: Actor, It's a Wonderful Life
Calista Flockhart: Actress, "Ally McBeal"
Ted Danson: Actor, "Cheers," Three Men and a Baby
Ben Savage: Actor, "Boy Meets World"
Fred Savage: Actor, "The Wonder Years"
Sigourney Weaver: Actress, Alien
Reese Witherspoon (left to pursue acting): Actress, Walk the Line, Legally Blonde
Tiger Woods: Professional golfer
Tennessee State University
Oprah Winfrey: Talk show host, "Oprah"
Tracy Chapman: Singer, "Give Me One Reason"
University of California at Santa Barbara
Michael Douglas: Actor, Don't Say A Word, An American President
University of Illinois
Hugh Hefner: Founder of Playboy
University of Kentucky
Ashley Judd: Actress, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
University of Michigan
James Earl Jones: Actor, The Sandlot, Star Wars Episodes I - VI
University of Southern California
Mark McGrath: Lead singer of Sugar Ray
University of Texas
Matthew McConaughey: Actor, The Wedding Planner, Dazed and Confused
Renee Zellweger: Actress, Bridget Jones's Diary, Cold Mountain
Anne Hathaway: Actress, The Princess Diaries
Lisa Kudrow: Actress, "Friends"
Meryl Streep: Actress, The Hours, Adaptation
C. Montgomery Burns: Cartoon Character, "The Simpsons"
George W. Bush: 43rd President of the United States
Claire Danes: Actress, The Hours, "My So-Called Life"
David Duchovny (Masters Degree): Actor, "The X Files"
Jody Foster: Actress, Flight Plan, Silence of the Lambs
Meryl Streep (Masters Degree): Actress, The Hours, Adaptation
Sigourney Weaver (Masters Degree): Actress, Alien
Celebrity College Trivia
- Actor Tommy Lee Jones and Vice President Al Gore were roommates at Harvard.
- While Dean Cain played football at Princeton, he dated fellow actress and model Brook Shields.
- Steven Spielberg did not complete his bachelor’s degree in film and electronic arts until 2002. The college decided to waive one of his graduation requirements—a 12 minute short film.
- Several famous students graduated with top honors, including Tommy Lee Jones (cum laude from Harvard), Mira Sorvino (magna cum laude from Harvard), and Jodie Foster (magna cum laude from Yale).
- Hugh Hefner majored in psychology and minored in writing and art, and still managed to graduate in two and a half years from the University of Illinois.