10 famous people who majored in English literature – NoHo Arts District


To some people, the very idea of ​​getting an English degree can seem boring and a bit outdated. Why should you get an English degree unless you are planning to become a university professor?

It turns out that there are many career paths you can take with an English degree, and not all of them involve teaching or working in academia. An English degree is not just about learning the language or the literature that has helped shape our culture and consciousness since start of language – although that’s a huge part of it. An English degree can also help you think and write creatively, organize your thoughts, learn new perspectives, and critically appraise the things you read.

An English degree also often goes hand in hand with the arts. It is not uncommon for those who earn an Enlightened English degree to go on to work in the performing arts or film / television. After all, what better place to learn about the authors of great plays than by specializing in English literature? That, and it’s not uncommon for actors to attend college or university before getting into acting, often for a completely unrelated field.

Even beyond academia or the performing arts, however, there are a number of other avenues that a graduate could take with a degree in English. Students who get their english diploma Often pursue careers in journalism, publishing, content writers, grant writers, researchers, librarians, etc.

With that in mind, here are some famous faces you might recognize who majored in English in college.

1. Barbara Walters

Barbara Walters is one of the biggest names in journalism. Now retired, Walters began her career in the 1960s, making her debut on The Today Show before co-hosting the ABC Evening News in 1976. She was co-host of the venerable news magazine 20 / 20 from 1979 to 2004, and was the creator of the daytime talk show View, where she co-hosted until 2014. She received a BA in English from Sarah Lawrence College in 1951.

2. Joan Rivers

Considered a pioneer of female comedy, Joan Rivers graduated from Barnard College in 1954 with a BA in English Literature and Anthropology. First a frequent guest on The Tonight Show, she became the first woman to host a late-night TV show, then won a Daytime Emmy in the 1990s for her work on the Joan Rivers Show. She pursued a long and successful career in a multitude of shows, before being inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.

3. Stephen King

Without a doubt one of the most famous writers of all time, Stephen King graduated from the University of Maine with a BA in English. He briefly taught as a high school teacher at Hampden Academy before achieving his first major success with his novel Carrie.

4. Martin Scorsese

A student at New York University and a graduate in English Literature, Martin Scorsese went on to write and direct some of the most influential and beloved films of all time, including Goodfellas, Casino, Kundun, Taxi Driver, and Silence. He also dedicated his life to conservation and restoration of films.

5. Stitch

Better known as the frontman of The Police, Sting (born Gordon Sumner) has had a long and prestigious musical career, winning a Golden Globe, an Emmy and a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, as well as a star on the Walk. of Hollywood Fame. But before becoming a musician, Sting graduated as a teacher after attending the Northern Counties College of Education.

6. Steven Spielberg

Before becoming one of the world’s most famous and prolific filmmakers, Steven Spielberg unsuccessfully applied to the University of Southern California film school, turned down because his grades weren’t good enough. . He eventually attended California State University in Long Beach, where he studied English before dropping out to become a filmmaker when the first opportunity presented itself.

7. Paul Newman

A true jack of all trades – actor, filmmaker, race car driver and entrepreneur – Paul Newman received his BA in English from Kenyon College and then continued his education at the Yale School of Drama. The award-winning artist went on to establish the Newman’s own brand, which donates all after-tax profits to charity.

8. Renée Zellweger

Before becoming a notable actress, Renee attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she received a BA in English. While attending college, Zellwegger took an elective course in drama, which initially sparked her interest in acting, which ultimately led to an award-winning acting career. .

9. David Duchovny

David Duchovny is best known for his role as Fox Mulder on the long-running show that has spanned decades. The X-Files, but before starting to advertise beer in the late 1980s, Duchovny was a promotion major at his high school and graduated with a BA in English Literature from Princeton with distinction.

10. Jodie Foster

Another actor with a prestigious education, Jodie Foster graduated from Yale University with a BA in English before getting her first big acting break in a Coppertone commercial. Foster’s acting career is also very prestigious: two Oscars, three BAFTAs, three Golden Globes and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

About Madeline J. Carter

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