Entertainers who went to college
There’s a myth in popular culture that school and art don’t mix. Somehow, you must choose to give one up for the other if you wish to be successful. In some cases, that’s true. Many successful actors and musicians have even skipped graduating high school and completely circumvented higher education, choosing to pursue their craft full-time, and this approach has surely been beneficial to them.
However, there are many artists who have managed to pursue both, balancing a career in the creative arts with college, and achieving exceptional results. Some have even gone beyond earning a bachelor’s degree to receive master’s and doctorate degrees as well. Stacker went looking for these well-rounded individuals, identifying examples of artists and entertainers who you may not have realized also went to college. So while most audiences today recognize these famous names as singers, actors, comedians and more, you’ll know this other side of them as well: These celebrities were too invested in their studies to be considered too cool for school.
#30. Chris Martin
The Coldplay frontman and singer attended University College London as a Classics major. That’s where he met the other members of his band, who he bonded with during orientation in 1996 (“freshers week”) when they started jamming together in the residence halls.
#29. David Duchovny
David Duchovny, star of Californication, got his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and then began to pursue his master’s in English literature at Yale University. While he was on track to get a doctorate, he began acting in off-Broadway shows and commuting to New York City, finally dropping out of his program to pursue acting full-time.
#28. Dolph Lundgren
The Swedish male model-turned-boxer Ivan Drago in Rocky IV had an interesting path to success. After receiving a master’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Sydney, he took a job as a bouncer in Australia and was set to pursue a Fulbright Scholarship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He then met and fell in love with model and musician Grace Jones, who introduced him to the world of acting, ultimately leading him to study the arts instead of science.
#27. Donald Sutherland
Donald Sutherland, the prolific actor and father of 24’s Kiefer Sutherland, pursued dual degrees in engineering and drama at the University of Toronto. In the end, he decided that acting was where his true passion lied.
#26. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
The actor and former pro wrestler was somewhat of a celebrity at the University of Miami, where he received his bachelor’s degree in general studies. According to ESPN, he was a “burly defensive lineman that teammates called ‘Dewey’ who wasn’t afraid to walk around in a traditional lava-lava skirt and belt out country music tunes.”
#25. Emma Watson
While filming several projects, including several films in the Harry Potter series, Emma Watson pursued a degree in English at Brown University. She spent her junior year abroad in her home country of England, studying at Oxford before finishing up her studies in Providence the following year.
#24. Gabrielle Union
Gabrielle Union attended a smattering of schools, including the University of Nebraska, where she played on the soccer team before she transferred to Cuesta College. Later, she attended UCLA and had plans to attend law school. After completing an internship at a Los Angeles modeling agency, Union was offered a spot as a client, which later fed into her acting career.
#23. Gloria Estefan
Gloria Estefan studied psychology at the University of Miami in the ’70s, and on weekends would perform with her future husband Emilio Estefan’s band, Miami Latin Boys (later renamed Miami Sound Machine). The band helped her break into the music industry and eventually become a household name.
#22. Hugh Grant
British actor Hugh Grant received a scholarship to study English at Oxford College, where he participated in school drama societies with the goal of becoming an art historian. Even though he received a grant for his postgraduate studies in art history, he decided to focus on his acting career instead.
#21. Jay Leno
Late-night talk show host Jay Leno attended Emerson College in Boston, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in speech therapy. During school, he performed stand-up on weekends, and after graduating from school he moved to LA to start writing for TV.