Educated actors

by Tom-91 | created - 06 May 2011 | updated - 6 days ago | Public

Actors sometimes get a bad rap for not being the brightest bulbs in the string of lights ... but as a community, actors can be just as bright as any other community of workers. Education requires a balance between intelligence and work ethic in addition to practical experience, and as a community, actors have some members who don't have it, and some who do. Here is a necessarily incomplete list of some actors with some impressive educational credentials.

1. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje

Actor | Lost

Born and raised in London, England, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje began his career as a model in Milan. He graduated with a masters degree in Law from London's prestigious Kings College, before moving to Los Angeles to make the transition to acting. Fluent in several languages, including English, ...

Another "don't judge him by his roles" actor ... while capable of portraying some tough and menacing villains, Akinnuoye-Agbaje is generally quite the opposite in real life. A practicing Buddhist, he holds a Law Degree from King's College in London, and a Masters of Law from the University of London.

2. Rowan Atkinson

Actor | Johnny English

Rowan Sebastian Atkinson was born on 6 January, 1955, in Consett, Co. Durham, UK, to Ella May (Bainbridge) and Eric Atkinson. His father owned a farm, where Rowan grew up with his two older brothers, Rupert and Rodney. He attended Newcastle University and Oxford University where he earned degrees ...

The man who gave us Mr. Bean holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Newcastle University and a MS in EE from Oxford.

3. Karen Austin

Actress | Summer Rental

Karen Austin has worked continually on film, television and stage in a wide variety of roles. She received an MA in Theatre and Philosophy from Northwestern University. She won the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award and a Dramalogue Award for Lead Performance for the play NUTS. Known for her ...

Karen Austin has appeared in numerous guest roles in television, and is likely best remembered for playing the original court clerk in the great comedy Night Court. In addition to her BA in Theater and Philosophy from Mary Baldwin College and her MA in Theater from Northwestern, she studied Shakespeare in the Bard's homeland (St. Anne's College of Oxford University).

4. Angela Bassett

Actress | Strange Days

Captivating, gifted, and sensational, Angela Bassett's presence has been felt in theaters, stages, and television screens throughout the world. Angela Evelyn Bassett was born on August 16, 1958 in New York City, to Betty Jane (Gilbert), a social worker, and Daniel Benjamin Bassett, a preacher's son...

Angela Bassett has played a number of powerful roles throughout her long career. She holds a BA in African-American studies and a Master of Fine Arts; both from Yale (she met her husband, Courtney B. Vance, who is also on this list, while the pair were working on their Masters).

5. Ryan Michelle Bathe

Actress | One for the Money

Ryan Michelle Bathe was born on July 27, 1976 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. She is an actress, known for One for the Money (2012), Boston Legal (2004) and All About Us (2007). She has been married to Sterling K. Brown since June 2007. They have two children.

Star of stage and screens both big and small, Ryan Michelle Bathe holds a BA from Stanford and an MFA from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. She is married to Sterling K. Brown on this list.

6. Hugh Beaumont

Actor | Leave It to Beaver

Beaumont began his career in show business by perfoming in theatres, nightclubs, and on the radio in 1931. He attended the University of Chattanooga, but left when his position on the football team was changed. He later attended the University of Southern California, and graduated with a Master of ...

The actor who played Ward, patriarch of the Cleaver family on Leave it to Beaver, also wrote and directed on the show. Beaumont attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (then a private school called the University of Chattanooga), and later earned a Masters in Theology from the University of Southern California.

7. Mayim Bialik

Actress | Beaches

Mayim Bialik grew up in San Diego and got her first acting job (Pumpkinhead (1988)) when she was just 12 years old. A number of TV roles followed until in 1990 she was cast in Blossom (1990), the role which made her famous.

By 1993, while Blossom was still airing, she had already won a deferred ...

The girl who used to be best known for playing the title role on Blossom has matured into a woman better known for academic accomplishment (in reality and fiction). She turned down Harvard and Yale to attend nearby UCLA where she earned her BS in neurobiology. She completed a PhD program in the same (the thesis dealt with Prader-Willi syndrome) after a break she returned to acting, and is now better known for her role of the geeky and lovable Amy Farrah-Fowler on The Big Bang Theory.

8. Lewis Black

Actor | Inside Out

Lewis Black was born on August 30, 1948 in Silver Spring, Maryland, USA as Lewis Niles Black. He is an actor and producer, known for Inside Out (2015), Accepted (2006) and Man of the Year (2006).

The living embodiment of anger (from his stand up routines to his character in the Oscar-winning Inside Out), Lewis Black holds a BA from the Univeristy of North Carolina in writing plays, and holds an MFA from Yale.

9. Andre Braugher

Actor | Homicide: Life on the Street

Andre Braugher was born on July 1, 1962 in Chicago, Illinois, USA as Andre Keith Braugher. He is an actor and producer, known for Homicide: Life on the Street (1993), Frequency (2000) and The Mist (2007). He has been married to Ami Brabson since December 28, 1991. They have three children.

Braugher graduated from St. Ignatius High School, one of Chicago's best college prep high schools. He earned his BA in theater from Stanford before graduating from the Julliard.

10. Avery Brooks

Actor | American History X

Avery Franklin Brooks was born on October 2, 1948 in Evansville, Indiana to a musically talented family. His maternal grandfather, Samuel Travis Crawford, was a tenor who graduated from Tougaloo College in Mississippi in 1901. Crawford toured the country singing with the Delta Rhythm Boys in the ...

There is a reason you haven't seen much of Hawk or Captain Benjamin Sisko, despite his impressive acting abilities. Brooks has spent most of the last 35 years as a professor of theater at Rutgers; the same school from wihch he earned his BA and MFA.

11. Sterling K. Brown

Actor | This Is Us

Emmy Award winning actor Sterling K. Brown currently stars in NBC's Emmy and Golden Globe nominated drama series THIS IS US. For his role as Randall Pearson, Brown won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, as well as a Golden Globe, becoming the first African American actor to...

While he might best be known for roles on the TV series "Army Wives" and "This is Us", Brown may have reached a wider audience with his supporting role as N'Jobu in "Black Panther". Brown has a BA in Drama from Stanford and and MFA from the Tisch SChool of the Arts at NYU. He is married to Ryan Michelle Bathe on this list.

12. Ben Burtt

Sound_department | WALL·E

Ben Burtt was born in New York, USA. Though he is a writer, an editor and a director, he is best known for his work as a sound designer. Ben has worked on many Pixar and Star Trek movies and all of the Star Wars movies. He is credited for creating Chewbacca's voice and sounds as well as the voice ...

While not predominantly an actor, Ben is credited as an actor for the voice of WALL-E in the film of the same name, and played an imperial officer in Return of the Jedi. Ben holds a BS in physics from Allegheny College in Maryland, and a Masters in film production from USC.

13. Gerard Butler

Actor | The Phantom of the Opera

Gerard James Butler was born in Paisley, Scotland, to Margaret and Edward Butler, a bookmaker. His family is of Irish origin. Gerard spent some of his very early childhood in Montreal, Quebec, but was mostly raised, along with his older brother and sister, in his hometown of Paisley. His parents ...

While it likely did not help him for his tour-de-force role as King Leonidas in 300, Butler holds a law degree from Glasgow University. It was only after being fired from a law firm that Butler pursued acting as a career.

14. Kate Capshaw

Actress | Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Kate Capshaw was born Kathleen Sue Nail in Fort Worth, Texas, to Beverley Sue (Simon), a beautician and travel agent, and Edwin Leon Nail, an airline employee. Capshaw worked as a teacher with an MA in Learning Disabilities. Her desire to be an actress led her to New York where she landed a role on...

Capshaw, who played a shrieking actress in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and an astronaut in Spacecamp, is likely best known today for being Steven Spielberg's wife. She has a BA in history education and a Masters in special education, both from the University of Missouri.

15. Graham Chapman

Writer | Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Graham Chapman was born on January 8, 1941 in Leicester, England while a German air raid was in progress. Graham's father was a chief police inspector and probably inspired the constables Graham often portrayed later in comedy sketches. Graham studied medicine in college and earned an M.D., but he ...

The first of three members of Monty Python on this list, Chapman attended and graduated from Cambridge's Emmanuel College where he earned a medical degree, all the time writing and performing comedy, even managing to negotiate a year off to tour New Zealand with a London review called the Cambridge Circus.

16. John Cleese

Actor | A Fish Called Wanda

John Cleese was born on October 27, 1939, in Weston-Super-Mare, England, to Muriel Evelyn (Cross) and Reginald Francis Cleese. He was born into a family of modest means, his father being an insurance salesman; but he was nonetheless sent off to private schools to obtain a good education. Here he ...

One of the most respected comic actors in any part of the world, Cleese passed his A-levels in maths, chemistry, and physics, earning him a spot at Cambridge where he earned a law degree.

17. Jeff Cohen

Actor | The Goonies

Jeff Cohen was born on June 25, 1974 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Jeffrey Bertan Cohen. He is a legal representative and actor.

Once upon a time ... young Jeff Cohen played the character Chunk in the beloved film The Goonies. More recently, Cohen is a Hollywood attorney, having earned his law degree from UCLA.

18. Bill Cosby

Actor | The Cosby Show

Bill Cosby is one of the world's most well-known entertainers and comedians. William Henry Cosby, Jr. was born on July 12, 1937, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Anna Pearl (Hite), a maid, and William Henry Cosby, Sr., a U.S. Navy sailor. After tenth grade, Cosby joined the Navy and completed high...

While his film career was never that great, as a TV actor and stand up comic, The Cos had few equals. He has his share of honorary degrees, but he is one of the few performers to have a bonafide earned doctorate. He has a Doctor of Education degree from UMass for his dissertation: An Integration of the Visual Media Via 'Fat Albert And The Cosby Kids' Into the Elementary School Curriculum as a Teaching Aid and Vehicle to Achieve Increased Learning.

19. Marcia Cross

Actress | Desperate Housewives

Marcia Anne Cross was born on March 25, 1962 in Marlborough, Massachusetts. As a child, Marcia always wanted to be an actress, so she set out to have a career in acting. Cross graduated from the Juilliard School in New York, a naturally gifted girl. Her career began in 1984, when she joined the ...

Marcia Cross spent about 15 years, starting in the mid-1980s guest starring on soap operas and then prime time featured series. This was all after earning her BFA in acting from the prestigious Julliard. She earned her Masters in Psychology from Antioch University in Los Angeles in 2003 ... just in time for her to sign on as the character Bree on Desperate Housewives, a role that would net an Emmy and 3 Golden Globe nominations for her acting.

20. David Duchovny

Actor | The X Files

David William Duchovny was born on August 7, 1960, in New York City, New York, USA. His father, Amram Ducovny, was a writer and publicist who was from a family of Jewish immigrants (from Ukraine and Poland), and worked for the American Jewish Committee. His mother, Margaret (Miller), was a ...

Duchovny's acting career started as a break from his academic career; a break he remains on to this day. He earned his BA in English literature from Princeton and his MA in English literature from Yale. He was working on this PhD (ironically, a thesis entitled Magic and Technology in Contemporary Poetry and Prose) when he opted to take a break. The rest is out there.

21. Charles S. Dutton

Actor | Alien³

Charles S. Dutton was born on January 30, 1951 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA as Charles Stanley Dutton. He is an actor and producer, known for Alien³ (1992), Gothika (2003) and A Time to Kill (1996). He was previously married to Debbi Morgan.

Very few actors have had such a tougher road to higher education than Charles S. Dutton. Dutton's introduction to drama was while reading an anthology of African-American playwrights while in solitary confinement on a manslaughter conviction. He earned his GED in prison. His Masters in Drama from Yale came later.

22. Jodie Foster

Actress | The Silence of the Lambs

Alicia Christian Foster was born in Los Angeles on November 19, 1962. She is the daughter of Evelyn Ella "Brandy" (Almond) and Lucius Fisher Foster III, an Air Force lieutenant colonel and later real estate broker. Brandy had filed for divorce in 1959 after having three children with Lucius, but ...

Foster was already an international star when she graduated valedictorian of an exclusive college prep academy. She graduated magna cum laude from Yale with a BA in literature.

23. Jonathan Frakes

Actor | Star Trek: First Contact

Jonathan Scott Frakes was born on August 19, 1952 in Bellefonte, in central Pennsylvania. He is the son of Doris J. (Yingling) and Dr. James R. Frakes, a professor. His parents moved with Jonathan and his younger brother Daniel to Bethlehem in eastern Pennsylvania. There, his father taught English ...

A very busy director (where he earned the nickname "Two Takes Frakes") and still occasional actor, Frakes will always be remembered for his role as "Number One", Commander William Riker along side Patrick Stewart's Captain Piccard on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Frakes, the son of an English professor, started classes at Penn State University during the summer semester after high school, and graduated with a BA in theater arts in 1974. He earned his Masters from Harvard in 1976.

24. James Franco

Actor | 127 Hours

Known for his breakthrough starring role on Freaks and Geeks (1999), James Franco was born April 19, 1978 in Palo Alto, California, to Betsy Franco, a writer, artist, and actress, and Douglas Eugene "Doug" Franco, who ran a Silicon Valley business. His mother is Jewish and his father was of ...

The Oscar nominee has led an interesting and far from ideal life, but has managed to build a great acting career. After abandoning his studies early in his career, he earned a BA in English with honors from UCLA. He earned his Masters of Fine Arts from Columbia University in writing. He missed hearing his own name announced as an Oscar nominee because he was attending one of his PhD classes at Yale, where he is working on his degree in English.

25. Paul Giamatti

Actor | Sideways

Paul Giamatti is an American actor who has worked steadily and prominently for over twenty years, and is best known for leading roles in the films American Splendor (2003), Sideways (2004), and Barney's Version (2010) (for which he won a Golden Globe), and supporting roles in the films Cinderella ...

We have no doubt that Paul Giamatti earned both of his degrees from Yale; BA in English and a Master of Fine Arts (MFA). We have to wonder if his initial acceptance involved some family pull: his dad, A. Bartlett Giamatti was a Yale professor who later served as president of the University before moving up to Commissioner of Major League Baseball.

26. Missy Gold

Actress | Benson

Missy Gold was born on July 14, 1970 in Great Falls, Montana, USA as Melissa Ann Fisher. She is an actress, known for Benson (1979), Captains and the Kings (1976) and Trapper John, M.D. (1979).

After spending the late 1970s and early 1980s as a very young actress, Missy Gold looked like she was ready to break out as an actress after playing the first daughter of California on the hit comedy, Benson. It turned out that Benson would be all but her professional acting swan song. Gold attended George Washington University before earning her PhD from the California School of Professional Psychology, and is now a practicing psychologist.

27. Barry Gordon

Actor | A Thousand Clowns

Barry Gordon was born on December 21, 1948 in Brookline, Massachusetts, USA as Barry Vincent Gordon. He is an actor, known for A Thousand Clowns (1965), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) and The Girl Can't Help It (1956). He is married to Gail Schaper.

From 1988-95, Gordon was President of the Screen Actors Guild, a position that joins him to a list that includes James Cagney, Charlton Heston, Ronald Reagan, Patty Duke, and Ed Asner (among others). While a veteran character actor of stage and television, he is likely best remembered for voicing Donatello on the 1980s-90s series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Today he teaches at his alma mater, California State where he earned his degree in political science, summa cum laude. He also holds a JD from the law school of Loyola Marymount University.

28. Cynthia Gouw

Actress | Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

Cynthia Gouw was born on May 30, 1963 in Contra Costa County, California, USA as Cynthia Gie-Kiok Gouw. She is an actress, known for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects (1989) and The Heart of Justice (1992). She has been married to Douglas A. Alexander since October...

Best known as an Emmy-award winning television journalist, Cynthia's acting career largely spanned 1985-92, where her biggest film role was likely playing the Romulan ambassador in the poorly received Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. She holds a B.A. in Political Science/International Relations from UCLA and a J.D. from UCLA.

29. David Alan Grier

Actor | In Living Color

David Alan Grier was born in Detroit, Michigan, to Aretas Ruth (Dudley), a schoolteacher, and William Henry Grier, a psychiatrist and writer. He trained in Shakespeare at Yale University, where he received an MFA from the Yale School of Drama.

Grier began his professional career on Broadway as ...

Funny? You bet! Smart? Yep! One of the non-Wayans stars of the groundbreaking In Living Color, Grier holds a BA from the University of Michigan and a Masters of Fine Arts from Yale.

30. Dan Grimaldi

Actor | The Sopranos

Dan Grimaldi is an actor, known for The Sopranos (1999), Don't Go in the House (1979) and The Junkman (1982).

Best known for playing twins Patsy and Philly Parisi on The Sopranos, Grimaldi holds a BS in mathematics from Fordham, an MS in operations research from NYU, and a PhD in data processing from CUNY. When not acting, he lectures on computer science at the college level.

31. Danai Gurira

Actress | Black Panther

Danai Gurira was born in Grinnell, Iowa, to Josephine and Roger Gurira, who were from Zimbabwe. Her father was then teaching Chemistry at Grinnell College. When she was five, the family moved back to Zimbabwe, living in the capital Harare. Gurira later returned to the U.S., and studied social ...

A woman of many talents (her resume includes writing several plays, one of which, "Eclipsed" was nominated for the Best Play Tony Award) is perhaps most famous for playing the strong but quiet Michonne in "The Walking Dead", and Wakanda's General Okoye in the MCU, Gurira is the daughter of a chemistry professor from Zimbabwe, though she was born in Iowa. She has a BA in psychology from Minnesota's Macalester College and an MFA from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.

32. Tony Hale

Actor | Arrested Development

Tony Hale was born on September 30, 1970 in West Point, New York, USA as Anthony R. Hale. He is an actor and producer, known for Arrested Development (2003), Veep (2012) and American Ultra (2015). He has been married to Martel Thompson since May 24, 2003. They have one child.

While playing the bootlick to a barely capable vice-president (in the acclaimed series Veep) may not require much education, the same is not true for multi-Emmy winner Tony Hale. He earned a BA in Journalism from Samford University, and then earned a graduate degree in Communications from Regent University.

33. Sheila James Kuehl

Actress | The Stu Erwin Show

Babyboomers remember well the diminutive (4'10"), dark-haired comedienne Sheila James who raised a smile with her portrayals of tomboyish kid sisters and boy-crazy high schoolers on late 50s and early 60s TV. For a while she was a huge hit backed by her characters' plaintive, pony-tailed presences,...

Sheila James was best remembered for playing Zelda Gilroy, the gal with an unrequited crush on the title character of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. She was a state legislator in California after earning her law degree from Harvard. She also served on and off as a law professor and administrator at a few different colleges.

34. Ken Jeong

Actor | The Hangover

Ken Jeong is a Korean-American actor, comedian, and physician. He is best known for his roles as Ben Chang on the critically acclaimed NBC/Yahoo! sitcom Community (2009) and gangster Leslie Chow in The Hangover (2009) Trilogy.

He appeared in Michael Bay's Pain & Gain (2013), as Johnny Wu, a ...

Known for his roles in the film The Hangover and the television series Community, Jeong earned a BS at Duke University before earning his MD at the University of North Carolina ... with his residency complete, he is one of the only actors in Hollywood who is an honest to goodness medical doctor!

35. Ron Jeremy

Actor | The Boondock Saints

Since the demise of the legendary John Holmes in March 1988, the short, mustachioed, heavyset Ron Jeremy has assumed the mantle as the number one U.S. male star of adult cinema. However, don't confuse Ron with the similar looking mustachioed 1970/'80s adult film star, Harry Reems, who has long since...

Before he went on to star in over 2000 adult films, Jeremy earned a bachelors degree in education and a Masters in special education from Queens College. Proof that education is not a barrier to having sex; a lot of it.

36. Tommy Lee Jones

Actor | The Fugitive

Tommy Lee Jones was born in San Saba, Texas, the son of Lucille Marie (Scott), a police officer and beauty shop owner, and Clyde C. Jones, who worked on oil fields. Tommy himself worked in underwater construction and on an oil rig. He attended St. Mark's School of Texas, a prestigious prep school ...

Jones came from a poor family, and needed scholarships to attend an elite high school in Texas and Harvard, where he was an All-Ivy League offensive tackle, and roommate with future Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore. Jones wrote a thesis on the role of Catholicism in the works of Flannery O'Connor, and graduated cum laude with a BA in English.

37. Ashley Judd

Actress | Double Jeopardy

American actress and political activist Ashley Judd was born Ashley Tyler Ciminella on April 19, 1968, in Granada Hills, California. She grew up in a family of successful performing artists as the daughter of country music singer Naomi Judd and the sister of Wynonna Judd. While she is best known ...

Beautiful and original ... and very intelligent, Ashley Judd has had an interesting career and education arc. The daughter and sister of major performers in country-western, Ashley received attention immediately, playing Wesley Crusher's crush in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation before setting off for major films including Heat, A Time to Kill, De-Lovely, and more recently Divergent. She attended over a dozen schools prior to going off to college at the University of Kentucky and eventually graduated with a degree in French. Her substantial humanitarian and public advocacy work eventually led her to earning a Mid-Career Masters in Public Administration from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

38. Thomas Kee

Actor | Chappaquiddick

Tom has worked as an AEA and SAG actor for the last twenty years. Born in Rockford IL, he studied acting at Brandeis University's professional MFA training program before working in LA, NYC, and finally settling in Boston. Tom was a member of the original American cast of the A.R.T./Punchdrunk UK ...

Rockford born Thomas Kee holds a BA from Eastern Illinois University in Theater, Economics, and Philosophy, and earned his MFA in Acting from Brandeis. Since 2002, Kee has been an instructor for a variety of courses at several universities, including Northeastern University. In fact, his teaching job is his primary job, with acting being somewhat secondary to his work in academia.

39. Milt Kogan

Actor | E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

Milt was born at Beth Israel Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 10, 1936 to Eastern European immigrants, Mildred and Joseph Kogan. Joseph earned a degree as a pharmacist from Temple University and after one year moved his family across the Delaware River to Camden, New Jersey, where he...

A versatile character actor, Kogan returned to finish his BS in animal Science from Cornell in 2007 (after a 50 year wait!). He had previously earned a Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology from UCLA. In addition to work in series like Barney Miller and small roles in films like E.T: The Extra Terrestrial and The Descendants, Kogan has practiced medicine with the Peace Corps in Burkina Faso. He also speaks five languages.

40. Charlie Korsmo

Actor | Hook

Charles R. Korsmo is an Assistant Professor of Law and the U.S. director of the Canada-U.S. Law Institute at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law, where he teaches courses in corporate law, corporate finance, and torts. Korsmo's articles have appeared in the William & Mary Law Review ...

While his career in acting didn't last long, he is likely best remembered for playing the son of Peter Pan (Banning) in Steven Spielberg's Hook. After his young acting career, Korsmo earned a BS in physics from MIT, and a JD from Yale. He has since become a law professor.

41. Peter Krause

Actor | Six Feet Under

Peter William Krause was born on August 12, 1965 in Alexandria, Minnesota. Both his parents were teachers, and he has a sister and brother. He was raised in Roseville, Minnesota. He graduated in 1987 from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota, with a degree in English literature. In ...

A TV star best known for his roles in the TV series Parenthood and Six Feet Under, Krause graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College (St. Peter, Minnesota) with a degree in English literature. He received an MFA in Acting from New York University's Graduate Acting Program at the Tisch School of the Arts.

42. Kris Kristofferson

Actor | Blade

Kris Kristofferson was born in Brownsville, Texas, to Mary Ann (Ashbrook) and Lars Henry Kristofferson. His paternal grandparents were Swedish, and his father was a United States Air Force general who pushed his son to a military career. Kris was a Golden Gloves boxer and went to Pomona College in ...

Someday, someone will make a story of Kristofferson's life, and no one will believe it was real! He earned a BA in literature from Pomona College, graduating summa cum laude (and earning membership to Phi Beta Kappa), all the while becoming a big enough collegiate athlete that Sports Illustrated included him in their "Faces and Places" section on non-professional athletes. He earned a Rhodes Scholarship that took him to Oxford, where he earned a degree in English literature. He served in the army, later achieving the rank of captain. He was offered a position teaching at West Point, which he turned down to enter show business.

43. Lisa Kudrow

Actress | Friends

Hardly the dumb blonde of Romy and Michele's High School Reunion (1997), Lisa was born in Encino, California on July 30, 1963. Her mother, Nedra S. (Stern), worked as a travel agent, and her father, Lee N. Kudrow, is a physician. Her parents are both from Jewish families (from Belarus, Russia, and ...

One of the ultimate "never judge an actor by the roles they play" performers, Lisa Kudrow is as smart as her famous Phoebe Buffay character was not. Kudrow earned a BS in Biology from Vassar and worked as a research assistant for her father for 8 years (researching headaches) before her brother's friend, Jon Lovitz, convinced her to try comedy. No doubt her ability to fool people explains why she was the first cast member of Friends to earn an Emmy Award.

44. Hedy Lamarr

Actress | Samson and Delilah

Hedy Lamarr, the woman many critics and fans alike regard as the most beautiful ever to appear in films, was born Hedwig Eva Kiesler in Vienna, Austria. She was the daughter of Gertrud (Lichtwitz), from Budapest, and Emil Kiesler, a banker from Lember (now known as Lviv). Her parents were both from...

Women in Hollywood's golden era may not have had the educational opportunities that exist today, but Lamarr made her mark anyway. At the height of her career on the silver screen, and as World War II raged on, Lamarr worked with her neighbor to invent and patent a frequency hopping system that used a piano roll to help defend Allied torpeedos from being jammed by Axis ships. This invention was later crucial in the development of cordless telephones and WiFi.

45. Sanaa Lathan

Actress | AVP: Alien vs. Predator

Sanaa Lathan, pronounced Sa-NAA, "like Sinatra without the tra", was born on September 19, 1971, in New York, as her actress mother Eleanor McCoy performed on Broadway with the likes of Eartha Kitt, and her director father Stan Lathan worked behind the scenes in television for PBS. She was exposed ...

Star of both stage, silver screen, and small screen, after earning her BA in English from Cal-Berkeley, Lathan almost went to law school ... but couldn't turn away from acting. While some will remember her for following in Sigourney Weaver's footsteps to star in Alien vs. Predator, or for her turn in the acclaimed drama Love and Basketball, her voice is likely familiar as that of Donna Tubbs, the wife of the title character on The Cleveland Show.

46. Spike Lee

Director | Do the Right Thing

Spike Lee was born Shelton Jackson Lee on March 20, 1957, in Atlanta, Georgia. At a very young age, he moved from pre-civil rights Georgia, to Brooklyn, New York. Lee came from artistic, education-grounded background; his father was a jazz musician, and his mother, a schoolteacher. He attended ...

Calling Spike Lee an actor might be the same as calling Alfred Hitchcock an actor ... yes, they did appear on screen, but everyone remembers them for their work behind the camera. Still, it isn't possible to ignore one of the more thoughtful director's of his generation.

Lee started his college career at Clark in Atlanta, but earned his BA in mass communication from Morehouse. His MFA in film and television was earned from New York’s Tisch School of the Arts.

47. John Lithgow

Actor | 3rd Rock from the Sun

If "born to the theater" has meaning in determining a person's life path, then John Lithgow is a prime example of this truth. He was born in Rochester, New York, to Sarah Jane (Price), an actress, and Arthur Washington Lithgow III, who was both a theatrical producer and director. John's father was ...

One of America's most accomplished actors, in addition to his Oscar nominated work on the silver screen and his award winning television work, all ranging from slapstick comedy to deep drama, Lithgow is an accomplished writer and has voice credits which include Yoda in the radio broadcast of the original Star Wars trilogy in addition to Shrek ... not to mention a Tony Award for his work on the New York stage. Lithgow graduated magna cum laude with a BA degree in history and literature from Harvard. He is also a Fulbright Scholarship winner, which he used to attend the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art

48. Lucy Liu

Actress | Kill Bill: Vol. 1

Born to immigrants in Queens, New York, Lucy Liu has always tried to balance an interest in her cultural heritage with a desire to move beyond a strictly Asian-American experience. Lucy's mother, Cecilia, a biochemist, is from Beijing, and her father, Tom Liu, a civil engineer, is from Shanghai. ...

An actress equally adept in comedy, drama, and action films, Liu attended New York's prestigious Stuyvesant High School before attending NYU for one year. She then transferred to the University of Michigan, where she earned a BS in Asian languages, and can now speak five of them fluently.

49. Dolph Lundgren

Actor | Rocky IV

Dolph Lundgren was born in Stockholm, Sweden, to Sigrid Birgitta (Tjerneld), a language teacher, and Karl Johan Hugo Lundgren, an engineer and economist for the Swedish government. He lived in Stockholm until the age of 13, when he moved in with his grandparents in Nyland, Ångermanland, Sweden. ...

Perhaps no actor in history has managed to fool more people into thinking that he wasn't that bright. After graduating from the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology, he earned a MS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Sydney, and had begun classes at MIT on a Fullbright Scholarship when he left to start acting. He also speaks three languages fluently, with some knowledge of four others. Not bad for a man who is likely to be remembered for saying "I must break you!"

50. Gates McFadden

Actress | Star Trek: First Contact

Gates McFadden was born on March 2, 1949 in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, USA as Cheryl Gates McFadden. She is known for her work on Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Star Trek: Insurrection (1998) and Star Trek: Nemesis (2002).

Jim Henson puppeteer and choreographer, McFadden is best known for her role as Doctor Beverly Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation. She graduated cum laude from Brandeis with a BA in theater arts. After TNG, in addition to other projects, she has taught drama at various schools, including USC.

51. Danica McKellar

Actress | The Wonder Years

Together with her younger sister, Crystal McKellar, she began acting at a young age in her mother's dance studio. In 1982 the family moved to Los Angeles and a few years later she appeared in her first commercial. A few guest appearances in The Twilight Zone (1985) was followed by her breakthrough ...

After playing Winnie Cooper on "The Wonder Years", McKellar attended UCLA, graduating summa cum laude with a degree in mathematics while co-authoring a paper (Percolation and Gibbs states multiplicity for ferromagnetic Ashkin-Teller models on Z Squared) that proposed the Chayes-McKellar-Winn theorem. She has helped produce a video series teaching yoga, and published a series of books helping young girls to get more involved in math. In 2005, she got her PhD in Math from the University of Chicago.

52. Debra Messing

Actress | Will & Grace

Messing was born in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, the daughter of Jewish American parents, Sandra (née Simons), who has worked as a professional singer, banker, travel and real estate agent, and Brian Messing, a sales executive for a jewelry manufacturer. When Messing was three, she moved ...

The Emmy-winning actress best known for playing the latter half of Will & Grace is more than just funny. She graduated summa cum laude from Brandeis with a BA in Theater Arts, and then earned an MFA from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.

53. Ilan Mitchell-Smith

Actor | Weird Science

Ilan Mitchell-Smith was born in New York City and began studying ballet at an early age. After his family relocated to Amherst, Massachusetts, he was enrolled in dance classes four days a week and eventually got a scholarship with the School of American Ballet. While at the ballet, he was ...

Ilan Mitchell-Smith acted for less than ten years, and is best remembered for playing Wyatt, opposite Anthony Michael Hall, in the cult classic Weird Science. He earned a BA from the University of California-Davis in Medieval Studies, an MA from Fordham, and a PhD in English from Texas A&M. He is currently a professor of English.

54. Michael Moriarty

Actor | Courage Under Fire

As one of Hollywood's tallest actors standing at 6' 4", he will always be noticed. Michael Moriarty is one of the great character T.V. actors of all time. He was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1941. Moriarty was to move to London, England, where he built up a name as a great stage actor. It was also...

One of the original stars of Law & Order, Moriarity earned a degree in theater from Dartmouth before earning a Fulbright Scholarship to attend the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.

55. Kunal Nayyar

Actor | The Big Bang Theory

Kunal Nayyar is an Indian actor. He moved from India to the US in 1999. He first moved to Portland, Oregon, to study business. He started acting in plays as a way of making new friends. He took acting classes, but he went on to graduate from the University of Portland with a degree in business, as ...

Born in the U.K. and raised in India, Nayyar did all of his studying in America. He earned a Bachelors in Business from Portland University and an MFA from Temple before jumping back to England to work briefly with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Then it was (fictitiously) off to CalTech for The Big Bang Theory.

56. France Nuyen

Actress | Battle for the Planet of the Apes

France Nuyen was born on July 31, 1939 in Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhône, France as France Nguyen Vannga. She is an actress, known for Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973), South Pacific (1958) and The Joy Luck Club (1993). She was previously married to Robert Culp and Dr. Thomas Gaspar Morell.

Making her film debut in South Pacific, France turned her suffering as an abused child, into something positive. She earned a masters degree in psychology and, between acting roles, worked as a counselor, focusing on abused children, abused women, and women in prison. In 1989, she won the "Woman of the Year" Award from the City of Los Angeles.

57. Lupita Nyong'o

Actress | 12 Years a Slave

Lupita Amondi Nyong'o was born March 1, 1983 in Mexico City, Mexico, to Kenyan parents, Dorothy Ogada Buyu and Peter Anyang' Nyong'o. Her father, a senator, was then a visiting lecturer in political science. She was raised in Kenya. At age 16, her parents sent her back to Mexico for seven months to...

Born in Mexico City to Kenyan parents, Nyong'o's first feature film role was in Twelve Years a Slave, and for that she earned an Oscar. Her third film credit was Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens, so big budget blockbusters seem to agree with her as well. She holds a masters in acting from Yale.

58. Masi Oka

Actor | Heroes

Masayori "Masi" Oka is a Japanese American actor, producer and digital effects artist. He became widely known for his role on NBC's Heroes as Hiro Nakamura and in CBS' Hawaii Five-0 as Doctor Max Bergman. Oka was born in Tokyo, Japan, to Setsuko Oka. His parents divorced when he was one month old; ...

Born in Japan, Oka earned his BS in Computer Science from Brown before going off to work for Industrial Light and Magic, helping create the visual effects on films like Mighty Joe Young and the three Star Wars prequels. He is probably best know today for his acting on the TV series Heroes and re-imagined Hawaii 5-0.

59. Michael Palin

Actor | Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Michael Palin is an English comedian, actor, writer and television presenter. He was one of the members of the comedy group Monty Python.

After the Monty Python television series ended in 1974, the Palin/Jones team worked on Ripping Yarns, an intermittent television comedy series broadcast over ...

World Class comedian and world traveler, Palin earned a degree in History from Oxford in 1965. In recent years, Palin has taken to producing documentaries in history including the lives of artists and World War I.

60. Randall Park

Actor | The Interview

Randall Park is an American actor, comedian, writer, and director. He was born in Los Angeles, California, to Korean parents, and graduated from the Humanities Magnet Program at Hamilton High School. Park went on to receive a Bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing and a Master's degree ...

Randall Park has been all over the silver and little screen, ranging from Selina Meyer's rival for the presidency in "Veep" to his long running role as Louis Huang in "Fresh Off the Boat", and as Jimmy Woo in the MCU. Park has a BA in English and Creative Writing and an MA in Asian American Studies from UCLA.

61. Jim Parsons

Actor | The Big Bang Theory

Having grown up in Houston, and its northern suburb of Spring, he made his first stage appearance in a school play at the age of 6. Parsons then went on to study theater at the University of Houston. From there he won a place on a two-year Masters course in classical theater at the University of ...

A great actor of stage and screens of all sizes, Parsons probably is not quite the pure intellect of his Dr. Sheldon Cooper character from The Big Bang Theory, but that doesn't mean he and Cooper are so different. Like Dr. Cooper, he started off in Texas, with a BA degree from the University of Houston before moving on to southern California to earn his Masters of Fine Arts from the University of San Diego.

62. Ron Perlman

Actor | Hand of God

Ron Perlman is a classically-trained actor who has appeared in countless stage plays, feature films and television productions.

Ronald N. Perlman was born April 13, 1950 in Washington Heights, Manhattan, New York. His mother, Dorothy (Rosen), is retired from the City Clerk's Office. His father, ...

Ron Perlman's career is so diverse and contains so many varied films from the amazingly popular to the solemnly artistic that it is virtually impossible to classify his career in any simple manner other than to say he is damn good at what he does. Perlman earned a BA in Fine Arts from Lehman College in New York City. He later earned a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota.

63. Ethan Phillips

Actor | Inside Llewyn Davis

Ethan Phillips was born on February 8, 1955 in Garden City, Long Island, New York as the only boy of six children. He graduated from Boston University with a degree in English Literature and received a Masters Degree in Fine Arts from Cornell University.

He began his acting career on stage in both ...

Probably best known for his role as Pete in the series Benson and as the Talaxian chef, Neelix, in Star Trek: Voyager, Phillips has a wide array of stage work under his belt. He has a BA in English Literature from Boston University and a MFA from Cornell.

64. Rosamund Pike

Actress | Gone Girl

Born on January 27, 1979 in London, England, actress Rosamund Mary Elizabeth Pike is the only child of a classical violinist mother, Caroline (Friend), and an opera singer father, Julian Pike. Due to her parents' work, she spent her early childhood traveling around Europe. Pike attended Badminton ...

Not many actresses can switch between the world of video game Doom and the world of Georgian England in Pride and Prejudice with such aplomb. She had to take a day off from her feature film debut Die Another Day to take a final exam ... which helped her earn a degree in English Literature, with honors, from Oxford's Wadham College.

65. Natalie Portman

Actress | Black Swan

Natalie Portman is the first person born in the 1980s to have won the Academy Award for Best Actress (for Black Swan (2010)).

Natalie was born Natalie Hershlag on June 9, 1981, in Jerusalem, Israel. She is the only child of Avner Hershlag, an Israeli-born doctor, and Shelley Stevens, an ...

She was quoted in 2002 as saying "I'd rather be smart than a movie star". She got to be both. As a high school student, she co-authored A Simple Method to Demonstrate the Enzymatic Production of Hydrogen from Sugar; a paper that earned her semifinalist status in the Intel Science Talent Search. She holds a BA in psychology from Harvard.

66. Meinhardt Raabe

Self | Little People

Raabe was born in Watertown, Wisconsin, in 1915. In 1934, he was a member of the Midget City cast at the Chicago World's Fair. The money from his appearances at the fair and other places was how he paid for his bachelor's in accounting and master's in business administration.

His wife, Marie ...

Meinhardt Raabe, did not have a degree in mortuary science, but was the last surviving cast member with a speaking part from the immortal The Wizard of Oz. Meinhardt earned a BA in Accounting from the University of Wisconsin in 1937, and earned his MBA from Drexel University in 1970.

67. Paul Robeson

Actor | King Solomon's Mines

This handsome, eloquent and highly charismatic actor became one of the foremost interpreters of Eugene O'Neill's plays and one of the most treasured names in song during the first half of the twentieth century. He also courted disdain and public controversy for most of his career as a staunch Cold ...

An incredible talent of stage and screen, Robeson was a gifted athlete (inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame) and incredible singer (received a lifetime Grammy Award), likely best known for his role in "Show Boat". Robeson earned his undergraduate degree from Rutgers (Phi Beta Kappa), and played professional football to support his education at Columbia Law School, where he earned his law degree.

68. Ricco Ross

Actor | Aliens

Ricco Ross ~ Actor, writer & producer and CEO of "Something Positive Productions". Ricco lives in LA and is a second term SAG/AFTRA board member. He was born in Chicago and has five brothers & five sisters. From age 7 to 13, he lived in what Oprah stated was the poorest town in the US: Pembrook, ...

Ricco Ross came from inordinately humble beginnings, spending most of his childhood in a poverty stricken part of Kankakee County in Illinois. From there talent and hard work took him around the world for work and studies, and got him into some top productions including Spies Like Us, Mission Impossible and Aliens. His BA in drama is from Florida Atlantic, and his MFA is from UCLA. He also heads Something Positive Productions.

69. Jeri Ryan

Actress | Star Trek: Voyager

Jeri Ryan was born Jeri Lynn Zimmerman on February 22, 1968 in Munich, West Germany, to Gerhard Florian Zimmerman, a Master Sergeant in the United States Army, and his wife Sharon, a social worker. She and her older brother Mark grew up on several military bases, including Kansas, Maryland, Hawaii,...

Ryan was an army brat, born in Munich while her father was stationed there, and graduated from high school as a National Merit Scholar. She won the Miss Illinois pageant (and the preliminary Miss America swimsuit competition) while attending Northwestern. She graduated with a BA in Theatre.

70. Faith Salie

Actress | Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Faith Salie was the host and executive producer of the National Public Radio show "Fair Game from PRI with Faith Salie". During its 300 episode run, she conducted over 1000 interviews with the likes of President Jimmy Carter, Lorne Michaels, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Slash, Elizabeth Edwards, Norah Jones...

Best known for her work on NPR (Fair Game from PRI with Faith Salie and Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me), in addition to acting, she has been a writer, an interviewer, and a correspondent. Her Bachelors degree is from Harvard while her MPhil in literature is from Oxford.

71. Robert Schenkkan

Writer | Hacksaw Ridge

Robert Schenkkan was born on March 19, 1953 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA. He is an actor and writer, known for Hacksaw Ridge (2016), The Quiet American (2002) and The Pacific (2010). He was previously married to Maria Dahvana Headley.

While his acting career stretched from 1979 to 1994, and on TV emphasized soap operas and science fiction (his character's head was literally blown off by Captain Picard and Commander Riker in one episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation), he had other creative outlets. He graduated with a BA in Drama, magna cum laude from the University of Texas before earning his MFA from Cornell. He later earned Tony and Pulitzer Prizes for writing The Kentucky Cycle.

72. Brooke Shields

Actress | The Blue Lagoon

"Want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing". If you have not heard of Brooke Shields before, this tagline from her Calvin Klein Jeans ad had to grab your attention. Not that she has not had a previously noteworthy resume. She was born on May 31, 1965 in New York City and, at age 12,...

One of the first big name American supermodels, Brooke Shields earned her degree in French literature from Princeton in 1987. Her senior thesis was entitled The Initiation: From Innocence to Experience: The Pre-Adolescent/Adolescent Journey in the Films of Louis Malle, 'Pretty Baby' and 'Lacombe Lucien'. Shields had starred in Malle's Pretty Baby at age 11.

73. Elisabeth Shue

Actress | Leaving Las Vegas

Elisabeth Shue was born in Wilmington, Delaware, to Anne Brewster (Wells), who worked for the Chemical Banking Corporation, and James William Shue, a lawyer and real estate developer. She is of German and English ancestry, including descent from Mayflower passengers. Shue's parents divorced while ...

Shue's diverse career started in earnest after she left Harvard, but she went back, and in 2000, earned her degree in Government.

74. Ron Silver

Actor | Timecop

Ron Silver was born on July 2, 1946 in New York City, New York, USA as Ronald Arthur Silver. He was an actor and director, known for Timecop (1994), Reversal of Fortune (1990) and Find Me Guilty (2006). He was married to Lynne Miller. He died on March 15, 2009 in New York City.

After graduating from New York's prestigious Stuyvesant High School, the late actor earned his BA in Spanish and Chinese from SUNY - Buffalo before earning his MA in Chinese History from St. John's.

75. Mira Sorvino

Actress | Mighty Aphrodite

Mira Katherine Sorvino was born on September 28, 1967 in Manhattan. She is the daughter of Lorraine Davis, an actress turned drama therapist, and veteran character actor Paul Sorvino. Her father's family were Italian immigrants. The young Sorvino was intelligent, an avid reader and an exceptional ...

Lisa Kudrow's costar in Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion also played a ditzy blonde like Kudrow, and like Kudrow was nothing like the character. Winning an Oscar for playing another ditz in Mighty Aphrodite, few people knew that she had graduated from Harvard, magna cum laude, in East Asian Studies. Her studies included spending time in China, and gaining fluency in Mandarin.

76. Danielle Spencer

Actress | What's Happening!!

Danielle Spencer was born in Bronx, New York, USA. After 'What's Happening' got canceled in 1979, Danielle in 1983, went to University Of California to pursue a degree in medicine, she was inspired to by her stepfather, Tim Pelt who died in an automobile accident in 1977. Spencer only attended the ...

Danielle Spencer's life was far from ideal, having to recover from a long coma and physical injuries from a car accident that killed her father while she was portraying Dee Thomas on What's Happening!. She recovered, and on her late father's advice, began attending veterinary school in California. Her schooling was interrupted when she reprised her role in What's Happening Now!. She eventually completed her DVM from Tuskegee Institute, and has been a practicing veterinarian ever since (she even returned to show business to play a veterinarian in the acclaimed film As Good As It Gets).

77. Jerry Springer

Actor | Domino

Jerry Springer was born on February 13, 1944 in London, England as Gerald Norman Springer. He is an actor and producer, known for Domino (2005), Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999) and Ringmaster (1998). He was previously married to Margaret 'Micki' JoAnn Velten.

Education is not a guarantee that everything you do will be intellectual or even a positive contribution to society. Before going to work for Bobby Kennedy on his campaign for president, and before he was Mayor of Cincinnati, Springer earned a Bachelors in political science from Tulane and a JD from Northwestern's School of Law. Being the subject of the Laurence Olivier Award winning Jerry Springer: The Opera came later.

78. James Stewart

Actor | Vertigo

James Maitland Stewart was born on May 20, 1908 in Indiana, Pennsylvania, to Elizabeth Ruth (Johnson) and Alexander Maitland Stewart, who owned a hardware store. He was of Scottish, Ulster-Scots, and some English, descent. Stewart was educated at a local prep school, Mercersburg Academy, where he ...

Decorated soldier ... pilot ... family man... one of the most respected actors in American history ... and he was smart. Stewart always had a thing for flying, and he took that love with him to Princeton where he earned a degree in architecture ... his major work was on airport design. His work earned him a graduate school scholarship, but by then the acting bug had bitten him, and he was focusing elsewhere.

79. Julia Stiles

Actress | 10 Things I Hate About You

Julia O'Hara Stiles was born on March 28, 1981 in New York City, the outgoing daughter of a Greenwich Village artist mother, Judith Newcomb Stiles, and an elementary school teacher father, John O'Hara. She is the eldest of three children, and has Irish, English, and German ancestry. Encouraged to ...

Probably best known for her role as Nicky Parsons in the Bourne franchise, Stiles' career goes back to the early 90s where an older generation might have remembered her for her appearances on the PBS series Ghostwriter. She has more recently appeared in the critically acclaimed Silver Linings Playbook. In addition to work with Habitat for Humanity and Amnesty International, Stiles has a degree in English Literature from Columbia.

80. Meryl Streep

Actress | Out of Africa

Considered by many critics to be the greatest living actress, Meryl Streep has been nominated for the Academy Award an astonishing 21 times, and has won it three times. Meryl was born Mary Louise Streep in 1949 in Summit, New Jersey, to Mary Wolf (Wilkinson), a commercial artist, and Harry William ...

In 1975, two years before her break-out role in Julia, Streep completed her MFA at Yale. Her study and student production schedule supposedly got so stressful that she developed ulcers and thought about changing from acting to law. We can all be grateful she gutted it out.

81. Faran Tahir

Actor | Star Trek

Faran Haroon Tahir was born in Los Angeles, California while his parents were studying acting and directing at UCLA Theatre Department. He comes from a theatre family well-known in Pakistan and India. Both his parents are actors, directors and writers in Pakistan. Faran moved back to Los Angeles, ...

He played a terrorist leader opposite Robert Downey, Jr. in Iron Man and the brave captain of the USS Kelvin in Star Trek. His BA is from Cal-Berkley and his graduate degree is from Harvard.

82. Jeffrey Tambor

Actor | Transparent

An incisive talent when it comes to playing bent, off-the-wall characters, Jeffrey Tambor has been captivating audiences for nearly four decades.

Tambor was born and raised in San Francisco, to Eileen (Salzberg) and Michael Bernard Tambor, a flooring contractor. His family is Jewish (from Hungary ...

One of America's great character actors, Tambor is best remembered on TV for The Larry Sander's Show, Arrested Development, and his award-winning work in Transparent. He holds a BA in Theater from San Francisco State University and a Masters degree from Wayne State University.

83. Fred Dalton Thompson

Actor | The Hunt for Red October

Fred Dalton Thompson was born on August 19, 1942 in Sheffield, Alabama, USA as Freddie Dalton Thompson. He was an actor, known for The Hunt for Red October (1990), No Way Out (1987) and Sinister (2012). He was married to Jeri Kehn Thompson and Sarah Elizabeth Lindsey. He died on November 1, 2015 in...

In between his key role in the Watergate investigation, and serving as US Senator from Tennessee (and running for the Republican nomination for president), Thompson had a brief but very successful career in acting (The Hunt for Red October, Die Hard 2, and In the Line of Fire). He earned degrees in philosophy and political science from Memphis State University, and earned a scholarship to attend Vanderbilt University, where he earned his JD.

84. James Michael Tyler

Actor | Friends

James Michael Tyler was born in Winona, Mississippi on May 28. The youngest of five children, he was raised by a retired Air Force captain and a homemaker. At age 11, his parents died and he moved to Anderson, South Carolina to live with his sister. Tyler enrolled at Clemson University as a geology...

Known best for his supporting work as Gunther on the show Friends, Tyler has a BS in geology from Clemson and an MFA from the University of Georgia.

85. Courtney B. Vance

Actor | The Hunt for Red October

Courtney B. Vance was born on March 12, 1960 in Detroit, Michigan, USA as Courtney Bernard Vance. He is an actor and producer, known for The Hunt for Red October (1990), Space Cowboys (2000) and Dangerous Minds (1995). He has been married to Angela Bassett since October 12, 1997. They have two ...

Tony Award winner Courtney B. Vance has had a long career of starring, supporting, and guest roles in film and cinema, starting from his earliest roles in Hamburger Hill, and as the sonar operator, Seaman Jones, on the USS Dallas in the acclaimed adaptation of Tom Clancy's The Hunt for Red October. Vance earned a BA from Harvard before moving on to Yale for his MFA where he met his future wife Angela Bassett (also on this list).

86. Robert Vaughn

Actor | Bullitt

Robert Francis Vaughn was born on November 22, 1932 at Charity Hospital in New York City, the son of show business parents, Marcella Frances (Gaudel) and Gerald Walter Vaughn. His father was a radio actor and his mother starred on stage. Robert came to the public's attention first with his ...

With a career that includes an uncredited role in The Ten Commandments and Pootie Tang, Robert Vaughn has seen the highs and lows of cinema and television. He earned an MA in Theater from the Los Angeles State College of Applied Arts and Sciecnes, and later earned a PhD in Communications from UCLA, publishing his dissertation Only Victims: A Study of Show Business Blacklisting.

87. Thomas G. Waites

Actor | The Thing

Thomas G. Waites was born on January 8, 1955 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. He is an actor and director, known for The Thing (1982), ...and justice for all. (1979) and Money Train (1995).

An accomplished actor of stage and screen, and long time member of the Actors Studio, Waites is likely best remembered for two different roles, one in ... And Justice for All, and the radio operator, Windows in John Carpenter's The Thing. Waites has a B.A. in writing from The New School in New York, and an MFA in playwriting from the University of Iowa.

88. Sigourney Weaver

Actress | Avatar

Sigourney Weaver was born Susan Alexandra Weaver in Leroy Hospital in Manhattan, New York City. Her father, TV producer Sylvester L. Weaver Jr., originally wanted to name her Flavia, because of his passion for Roman history (he had already named her elder brother Trajan). Her mother, Elizabeth ...

Before battling aliens and poachers and the male dominated work place, Weaver earned her BA in English from Stanford, and her MFA from Yale.

89. Peter Weller

Actor | RoboCop

Peter Frederick Weller was born in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, to Dorothy Jean (Davidson) and Frederick Bradford Weller, a federal judge and career helicopter pilot for the United States Army. He traveled extensively as his father literally flew around the world. Before he was out of his teens, he ...

Before he became a star (RoboCop, The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai Across the Eighth Dimension), Weller earned a BA in Theater from North Texas State University. After he became a star, he went back to school, earning an MA from Syracuse in Roman and Renaissance Art, and earning his PhD in Renaissance Art History from UCLA in 2014. When he acted as host for the History Channel's series Engineering an Empire, that wasn't just some actor reading a script ... that was a world class expert talking from the heart!

90. Rainn Wilson

Actor | The Office

Rainn Wilson lives in Los Angeles with his wife, fiction writer Holiday Reinhorn (Big Cats), and his son, Walter McKenzie Wilson who was born in 2004. He grew up in Seattle, Washington but graduated from New Trier H.S. in Winnetka, Illinois. After attending both Tufts University and the University ...

The man who brought Dwight Schrute to life on The Office, among other memorable roles, holds a BA in Drama from the University of Washington and an MFA from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.

91. Henry Winkler

Actor | The Waterboy

Henry Franklin Winkler was born on October 30, 1945, in Manhattan, New York. His parents, Ilse Anna Maria (Hadra) and Harry Irving Winkler, were Jewish immigrants who avoided the German Holocaust, moving to the US in 1939. His father was the president of an international lumber company while his ...

Perhaps few actors understand the truths of learning like actor, director, producer, writer, and philanthropist Henry Winkler. He graduated late from high school because he was held back by dyslexia, and this caused a long time strain with his gifted father who couldn't understand why his son did so poorly in school. Winkler earned his BA at Emerson College and his MFA from Yale.