Cream of the Crop: Celebrities Who Went to Ivy League Schools
To think of celebrities as mere beautiful faces is old-fashioned. Some of the best ones gained fame in front of the cameras, and performed just as well in their secondary fields of interest.
Here, a list of the celebrities who attended Ivy League schools.
Psychology at Harvard University, 2003
Portraying multi-faceted characters demands depth and substance, and Natalie Portman certainly has these things: She was innocent but menacing in Léon: The Professional, seductive yet smart in Closer, and controversial in Black Swan.
Portman, who was enrolled under her real name Natalie Hershlag, did not just finish college at Harvard, but graduated with
History and Literature at Harvard College, 1976
It all started with a performance in Gilbert and Sullivan's "Utopia Limited," a romantic-comedy opera, which made Lithgow decide that he wanted to pursue an acting career. He has won multiple awards for playing
Tommy Lee Jones
English at Harvard College, 1969
Before Men In Black, Tommy Lee Jones attended Harvard on a need-based scholarship and graduated cum laude. He also played offensive guard for the school's undefeated varsity football
During his time in college, he was roommates with former American vice-president Al Gore and actor John Lithgow.
Public Administration at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, 2010
During her yearlong stay completing her master's degree, Judd was a devout fan of the Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball team and was often seen in most games.
She is known for portraying tough-but-soft-hearted female leads, as in Double Jeopardy and The Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood, and
English at Harvard University, 1992
Although he left a semester short
English Literature at Brown University, 2014
Emma Watson is undeniably a smart woman who makes all the right career choices—from the Harry Potter series (the last two installments even forcing her to take a break from school for a while) to the classic Beauty and the Beast.
This role model of an actress is a pro at balancing priorities, too. On top of being a candidate for 2017's highest paid actress, she is also a U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador and the
Acting at Yale University's School of Drama, 2012
After completing her master's degree at Yale (she was only one of the 16 in the program),
Acting at Yale School of Drama, Class of 1975
Streep hasn't been called the "Greatest Living Actress" for nothing. Apart from earning her bachelor's degree and postgraduate studies, she has also received honorary doctorates from Harvard, Princeton, and Yale. The Academy Award-winning actress was also invited as the Belknap Visitor by Princeton University's College of Humanities, where she talked about her acting career to 450 students. She also gave a commencement speech at Barnard College in 2010.
Psychology at Yale
Golden Globe and Emmy accolades aside, this Romeo + Juliet and Homeland star
Literature at Yale, 1985
Aside from her Academy Awards for The Silence Of The Lambs and The Accused, Foster received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from her alma mater, Yale, in 1997. She graduated magna cum laude and was invited in 1993 to deliver her commencement speech to the graduating class.
English at Yale
The multi-awarded actress admits to her insecurities, was often picky with accepting roles, and had a preference for playing only "smart people, characters that are complex".
Before her lauded performances in the 2001 biopic A Beautiful Mind and the 2009 romantic comedy He's Just Not That Into You, she first attended Yale in 1988 for a year, before moving to Stanford in 1990, and dropped out, too.
History at Yale, 1991
As a student, Norton wasn't dedicated solely to
Acting at Yale University School of Drama, 1974
While school mate Meryl Streep was given all the glamorous lead roles at Yale, Weaver was told she had no talent. But the actor-producer was determined to rise above the criticism and prejudice, and eventually went on to bag sci-fi queen roles which she would win multiple awards for.
Dramatic Art at Yale School of Drama, 1992
Tony award-winning Shakespearean actor Schreiber initially wanted to become a playwright, but upon attendance at Yale, he was advised by one of his teachers to try acting.
He made his Broadway debut in 1993. He was given the title roles in Henry V and Hamlet, as well as in other famous works of Shakespeare, as Banquo in Macbeth and Iago in Othello.
English Literature at Princeton University, 1995
When he wasn't playing the hunky Michael Scofield in Prison Break, Miller busied himself writing screenplays. But his best-written work is said to be the 120-word letter that he penned to turn down an invitation to a film festival in Russia. In the same way that he was able to eloquently express his disagreement in the government's treatment of the LGBT, it was also his official coming out piece.
French Literature at Princeton University, 1987
A commercial model at 11 months old by way of an Ivory soap ad, Pretty Baby Brooke Shields is famously known for putting her acting career on hold to attend school. During her days at Princeton, the paparazzi tailed her shamelessly. They dressed up as students, followed her around, bribed her classmates, and even attempted to snap her in the nude while she was taking a shower.
But the Calvin Klein model managed to graduate with
Eastern Religions and Philosophy at Columbia University
The younger Gyllenhaal dropped out of university after two years to focus entirely on his acting career. His notable performance in Brokeback Mountain won him a BAFTA, an Academy Award, and a nomination
Literature at Columbia University, 1999
Hailing from the same celebrity family, the elder Gyllenhaal starred in many of her father's projects while in school. She is known for her performances in indie films Secretary and Sherrybaby, and her leading role in the 2008 box office hit, The Dark Knight.
History, Literature, and French Poetry at Columbia University
Gordon-Levitt might as well have been in school for the full university experience. During his stay, he became a professed Francophile, was a regular at the Morningside
The former go-to actor for indie projects, however, seemed to always be distracted by the Hollywood
American History at Columbia University, 1994
Peet was an actress who took her education seriously and initially had no intentions pursuing an acting career. That
Soon after, Peet appeared in off-Broadway projects one after another, made her debut in the 1995 film Animal Room, and has starred in The Whole Nine Yards and The Good Wife.
Art History, Columbia University
Talent, good looks, and a drive for continuous learning have propelled Emmy Rossum to be the multi-talented artist that she is today. But during her first semester at Columbia, she got a message from her agent confirming her roles in Mystic River and The Day After Tomorrow. She
While she was in school, Rossum studied art history, French, and philosophy.
English Literature at Columbia University, 2005
Young and reluctant to fall in love in 10 Things I Hate About You and madly chasing her dream in Save The Last Dance, Stiles was and remains an actress who always made us felt like she was one of us.
Like the rest of us, this John Jay awardee has had her fair share of struggles in balancing school and career, too, and admits to having performed poorly in her exams while she was busy filming the Bourne series.
Fiction Writing at Columbia University, Class of 2010
Man of our dreams James Franco is nowhere near stopping his educational pursuits. Apart from being able to star in several projects simultaneously, he also went on a learning spree, studying filmmaking, literature, creative writing, and poetry all at the same time. The truly restless James Dean, Pineapple Express, and Milk star is now on his way to getting his English
English and Film Studies at Dartmouth College, 1991
Aside from being the brains behind long-running series Grey’s Anatomy, and recent hits Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder, Rhimes' list of achievements also includes being a mother of three daughters (two are adopted) and founding ShondaLand, her production company.
Rhimes is a Golden Globe awardee and a three-time Emmy nominee. In 2014, she was invited back to her alma mater to give the commencement address, where she challenged the graduating class to practice activism beyond hashtagging.
Before The Office and The Mindy Project, this actor-producer-writer was an active student. She joined the college paper, where she created “Badly Drawn Girl”—a campus comic strip that poked fun at the institution and its frat culture, also funnily documenting the daily lives of students.
Kaling also interned at the Late Night with Conan O’Brien show, where she admitted to spending most of her hours stalking Conan instead of doing actual work. Today she is one of the most in-demand women in Hollywood and is often referred to as a comedic genius.
Theatre at Cornell University, 1984
It all began when she portrayed the role of a candle at a grammar school play. Before her award-winning role as Sue Sylvester on Glee, she was a regular at
theater houses, a home-shopping TV show host, and a commercial model for Frosted Flakes—all of which she says significantly helped propel her career.
Lynch has a published memoir called Happy Accidents. Her work has also earned her a star on the prestigious Hollywood Walk of Fame.