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  #1  
Old 11-17-2016, 02:53 AM
Carryon Carryon is offline
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Pre 1950s Celebrities With College Degrees

I like old time movies and radio shows and such and was wondering since college educations didn't really take off till after WWII and the GI Bill, which celebrities (let's use 1950 as a cut off date) had college degrees?

Thanks
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  #2  
Old 11-17-2016, 03:23 AM
Carryon Carryon is offline
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I found a couple to start

Katharine Hepburn - Bryn Mawr College - history and philosophy

James Stewart - Princeton - Architecture
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  #3  
Old 11-17-2016, 04:45 AM
psychonaut psychonaut is online now
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Some silent film actors:
  • Burr McIntosh - Lafayette College
  • Pramathesh Barua - Presidency College, Calcutta - B.Sc.
  • Frank McGlynn, Sr. - University of California, Hastings College of the Law - Law
  • Ralph Morgan - Columbia University - Law
  • John Boles - University of Texas - B.A.

And some later actors from the 1930s and 1940s:
  • Madeleine Carroll - University of Birmingham - B.A.
  • Robert Allen - Dartmouth College - English
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  #4  
Old 11-17-2016, 06:09 AM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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Sonny Tufts. Yale graduate, and Tufts University was named for an ancestor of his.
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  #5  
Old 11-17-2016, 06:11 AM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is offline
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Paul Robeson, of course.
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  #6  
Old 11-17-2016, 07:02 AM
Jim's Son Jim's Son is offline
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Ronald Reagan, Eureka College class of 1932
Eddie Collins, baseball Hall of Famer, Columbia around 1908. He played minor league baseball before his graduation (a big no-no) under the name Sullivan
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  #7  
Old 11-17-2016, 07:10 AM
Amateur Barbarian Amateur Barbarian is offline
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Eldred G. Peck, English and pre-med, UC Berkeley, ca. 1938. Dropped his first name and went into acting (having appeared in five plays his senior year.)
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  #8  
Old 11-17-2016, 07:51 AM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is offline
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College wrestler Kirk Douglas graduated from St. Lawrence University before serving in WWII, and got his first Oscar nomination for Best Actor before the '40s were out.
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  #9  
Old 11-17-2016, 08:00 AM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is offline
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Gene Kelly graduated from college before dropping out of law school in the '30s before hitting it big in Hollywood in the '40s.
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  #10  
Old 11-17-2016, 08:11 AM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is offline
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Richard Widmark not only graduated from college in the '30s, but then stuck around for a couple of years as an instructor in the drama department before moving on to radio work and Broadway performances and then Hollywood stardom.
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  #11  
Old 11-17-2016, 08:33 AM
Ellis Aponte Jr. Ellis Aponte Jr. is offline
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Joel McCrea and Robert Taylor were both graduates of Pomona College
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  #12  
Old 11-17-2016, 08:47 AM
notfrommensa notfrommensa is online now
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Not sure if he meets everyone's definition of "celebrity" but Dance Instructor Arthur Murray graduated from Georgia Tech in 1923
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  #13  
Old 11-17-2016, 08:58 AM
Ellis Aponte Jr. Ellis Aponte Jr. is offline
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Close to the cut-off date, but Jack Lemmon graduated from Harvard in '47, coming back to finish after serving in WWII (although he wasn't particularly famous till the 1950s)

Last edited by Ellis Aponte Jr.; 11-17-2016 at 09:01 AM..
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  #14  
Old 11-17-2016, 09:06 AM
Ukulele Ike Ukulele Ike is offline
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Rudy Vallee, the great crooner. Yale, philosophy.

While enrolled he played sax in the "Yale Collegians" band along with Peter Arno, the New Yorker cartoonist.

His first band after graduation was called "Rudy Vallee and his Connecticut Yankees."
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  #15  
Old 11-17-2016, 09:09 AM
Tom Tildrum Tom Tildrum is offline
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According to some accounts, Buster Keaton was a brilliant student in high school, but went on to a jock college because he was chasing a girl who went there. He tried several sports to impress her, but he was a bad athlete. Eventually, however, through some unusual circumstances, he won her over and they married. Not sure if he ever graduated.
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  #16  
Old 11-17-2016, 09:22 AM
Ukulele Ike Ukulele Ike is offline
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Ooooooooo you funny!

Great American Songwriter Cole Porter was also a Yale graduate, class of 1913.
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  #17  
Old 11-17-2016, 11:03 AM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is offline
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The great Josť Ferrer didn't earn his Oscar for playing Cyrano de Bergerac until 1950, but he'd already won the Tony for doing it on Broadway back in 1947 -- sure as he'd already earned his first Oscar nomination in 1948 -- so it was pretty obvious he could do it just as soon as he felt like getting around to it.

Anyhow, before all of that he starred as Philo Vance in the eponymous private-eye radio show, and before that he was pretty much the definitive Iago on stage; and before that he was a Princeton grad, Class of '33.
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  #18  
Old 11-17-2016, 11:09 AM
Horatio Hellpop Horatio Hellpop is offline
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Should "celebrity" include athletes? Most football and basketball players played on college teams first, though I'm not familiar enough with either sport to name anyone before around 1960.

Sir Lawrence Olivier and Richard Burton both attended Oxford, but I can't seem to pin down whether they got degrees or not.

Dave Brubeck graduated from the College of the Pacific in Stockton, California (now the University of the Pacific).

Last edited by Horatio Hellpop; 11-17-2016 at 11:11 AM..
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  #19  
Old 11-17-2016, 11:16 AM
Ukulele Ike Ukulele Ike is offline
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CELEBRITY athletes would count, folks like Muhammad Ali and Joe Namath. But not people who are only famous for being athletes.

I don't think Dave Brubeck should count, because his professional career started after WWII. The Brubeck Octet only began recording in 1946.
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  #20  
Old 11-17-2016, 11:21 AM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is offline
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Dana Andrews was a pretty danged big movie star in the '40s, after graduating from Sam Houston State University in 1930.

Last edited by The Other Waldo Pepper; 11-17-2016 at 11:24 AM..
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  #21  
Old 11-17-2016, 11:28 AM
Horatio Hellpop Horatio Hellpop is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ukulele Ike View Post
CELEBRITY athletes would count, folks like Muhammad Ali and Joe Namath. But not people who are only famous for being athletes.

I don't think Dave Brubeck should count, because his professional career started after WWII. The Brubeck Octet only began recording in 1946.
Yes, but the OP specified 1950 as the cut-off date.

Looking through a bunch of actor bios in the past hour, one thing kept popping up: they all gt their big break while they were college-aged, whether in college or not. You kind of stop being the "new hot boy on the street" at 21, and most degree recipients are at least 22. Faced with an acting contract in the Depression/War years, few sane actors would have said "Not 'til I finish my BFA, Mr. Zanuck!"
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  #22  
Old 11-17-2016, 11:40 AM
jtur88 jtur88 is online now
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James Mason "earned a first" at Cambridge, I have no idea what the hell that means. Apparently some kind of a degree in the British aristocracy vernacular.
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  #23  
Old 11-17-2016, 02:08 PM
lew_cody lew_cody is offline
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Josephine Hull: Radcliffe, 1899
Frank Capra: California Institute of Technology, 1918
Jessica Dragonette: Mount St. Mary College, 1923 (now Georgian Court University)
Charles Starrett: Dartmouth, 1926
Vincent Price: Yale, 1933

Julia Child graduated from Smith College in 1934, although she wasn't a public figure for another 27 years.
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  #24  
Old 11-17-2016, 06:38 PM
Jim's Son Jim's Son is offline
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Baseball's Branch Rickey got his B.A. From Ohio Wesleyan in 1903. Remembered more as a front office man, he did play and holds the record for most stolen bases allowed in a game as a catcher with 13.
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  #25  
Old 11-17-2016, 06:52 PM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is offline
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Don Ameche graduated from the University of Wisconsin before getting top-billed in plenty of stuff during the '40s.
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  #26  
Old 11-17-2016, 07:05 PM
Loach Loach is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Other Waldo Pepper View Post
Paul Robeson, of course.
Another Rutgers graduate is Ozzie Nelson of Ozzie and Harriet fame. He graduated from Rutgers undergraduate and also from Rutgers law school.
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  #27  
Old 11-17-2016, 07:39 PM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is offline
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USC grad Buster Crabbe was Tarzan and Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon.
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  #28  
Old 11-17-2016, 08:07 PM
Ukulele Ike Ukulele Ike is offline
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Ozzie Nelson also played the saxophone and led a successful dance band in the 1930s and '40s.

He proudly said "Yeah, we were white, but we could SWING."
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  #29  
Old 11-18-2016, 06:27 AM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is offline
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Leading man Adolphe Menjou -- who was up for the Oscar for THE FRONT PAGE, and who got stuck with Shirley Temple in LITTLE MISS MARKER, and who was Billy Flynn opposite Ginger Rogers as ROXIE HART, and et cetera -- was a Cornell grad.
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  #30  
Old 11-18-2016, 10:16 AM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is offline
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Robert Ryan was up for Best Supporting Actor for his role in 1947's CROSSFIRE, and so on throughout the 1940s: he was second-billed, as the Sundance Kid, to Randolph Scott in RETURN OF THE BAD MEN; and second-billed to Laraine Day, in I MARRIED A COMMUNIST; and second-billed to Merle Oberon, in BERLIN EXPRESS; and second-billed to Pat O'Brien, in MARINE RAIDERS; and second-billed to Van Heflin, in ACT OF VIOLENCE; and so on.

Anyhow, in '49 he got a top-billed role in THE SET-UP, as a past-his-prime boxer getting paid to take a dive -- which made a lot of sense, since he'd been the boxing champ at Dartmouth back when he was earning his degree there in the '30s.
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  #31  
Old 11-18-2016, 11:43 AM
Loach Loach is offline
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After serving in the Army in WWI Randolph Scott attended both Georgia Tech and UNC but did not graduate.
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  #32  
Old 11-18-2016, 12:01 PM
Asimovian Asimovian is offline
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After serving in the Army in WWI Randolph Scott attended both Georgia Tech and UNC but did not graduate.
Randolph Scott?

<singing> RANDOLPH SCOTT! </singing>
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  #33  
Old 11-18-2016, 02:46 PM
Amateur Barbarian Amateur Barbarian is offline
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Originally Posted by Horatio Hellpop View Post
Dave Brubeck graduated from the College of the Pacific in Stockton, California (now the University of the Pacific).
Which Mrs. B., a UOP conservatory graduate, never lets me forget.
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  #34  
Old 11-18-2016, 02:58 PM
Skywatcher Skywatcher is offline
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Moe Berg graduated from Princeton with a B.A. in modern languages.
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  #35  
Old 11-18-2016, 06:21 PM
Ukulele Ike Ukulele Ike is offline
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Moe Berg graduated from Princeton with a B.A. in modern languages.
Impressive. But what makes him a celebrity, other than being the rare Jewish baseballer?
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  #36  
Old 11-18-2016, 06:28 PM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is offline
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After serving in the Army in WWI Randolph Scott attended both Georgia Tech and UNC but did not graduate.
If we're going to include guys who started working toward a degree before dropping out, this list is going to get plenty longer; off the top of my head, John Wayne famously left school when an injury sidelined his college football career.

At that: James Whitmore stopped playing football for Yale due to injuries, but stuck around to graduate -- and then served in the USMC during WWII, and then got his big break in Hollywood in '49, impressing folks with the role that would earn him his first Oscar nomination (after he'd already won a Tony on Broadway).
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  #37  
Old 11-18-2016, 06:32 PM
dropzone dropzone is online now
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Because Moe Berg was a spy and tasked to assassinate Heisenberg if he was too close making a Bomb. He wasn't.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moe_Berg

Last edited by dropzone; 11-18-2016 at 06:32 PM..
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  #38  
Old 11-18-2016, 06:37 PM
Skywatcher Skywatcher is offline
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Originally Posted by Ukulele Ike View Post
Impressive. But what makes him a celebrity, other than being the rare Jewish baseballer?
After his playing days, in addition to his working for the OSS, he was still popular enough that he made a radio broadcast in fluent Japanese for them to not get involved in a war which they had zero possibility of winning. Presumably he picked up the language while touring the country with Babe Ruth and others in '34.

Last edited by Skywatcher; 11-18-2016 at 06:40 PM..
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  #39  
Old 11-18-2016, 06:38 PM
dropzone dropzone is online now
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Casey Stengal called Berg "the strangest man ever to play baseball," but that was before the '62 Mets.
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  #40  
Old 11-18-2016, 06:43 PM
Ukulele Ike Ukulele Ike is offline
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Well, shit! Why didn't you say so in the first place?

Now I'm going to spend the rest of the evening immersed in Moe Berg trivia.
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  #41  
Old 11-18-2016, 08:40 PM
Jonathan Chance Jonathan Chance is offline
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There is a GREAT book called, "The Catcher Was A Spy". It's a bio of Berg and a truly entertaining read if you're into that sort of thing.
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  #42  
Old 11-18-2016, 11:50 PM
AK84 AK84 is online now
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James Mason "earned a first" at Cambridge, I have no idea what the hell that means. Apparently some kind of a degree in the British aristocracy vernacular.
It means that he got the highest possible grades.
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  #43  
Old 11-19-2016, 05:53 PM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is offline
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Ronald Reagan, Eureka College class of 1932
Eddie Albert, who acted alongside him in the BROTHER RAT movies starting in '38, moved on to leading-man status in a number of pictures in the '40s -- and had a college diploma in his back pocket, likewise.
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  #44  
Old 11-20-2016, 09:09 AM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is offline
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George Macready got a degree from Brown and a distinctive facial scar before hitting Hollywood, where he spent the '40s as a sinister-looking "Hey, It's That Guy" actor: often as the second-billed antagonist to the hero, or third-billed after the hero and his gal (as was the case, most famously, with Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford in GILDA).

Anyhow, he actually got a rare star turn in 1946's THE MAN WHO DARED, as a crusading newsman who does a half-assed job of framing himself for murder to show the world how easy it is for the state to get a death-penalty conviction based solely on circumstantial evidence that doesn't really prove anything; and then my pal will deliver proof of my innocence, and -- what's that? Did you say 'car accident'? Huh. Did not see that coming. Well, guess I have to escape custody somehow, and try to clear my name...
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  #45  
Old 11-20-2016, 12:26 PM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is online now
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AK84 writes:

> . . . It means that he got the highest possible grades . . .

Sort of, but be aware of the difference between American and British ways of evaluating university students. British universities don't give grades in individual courses. Students take overall examinations in their chosen subject (i.e., their major) at the end of their university career. Their honors degree is determined by the results of that test. About 15% of university students get a first-class honors degree. A standard way of explaining the equivalence between British and American universities is that a first-class honors at a British university is equivalent to getting at least a 3.67 GPA at an American university:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Britis...-class_honours
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  #46  
Old 11-20-2016, 12:40 PM
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It really depends actually, In some subjects getting a First requires being sharp enough to complete the coursework and do well in the exams. For others, getting a First is a super big deal. In Law, about 3% of graduates get Upper Class; i.e the ranking below First, and its not unknown for no one in a graduating class to get a First. In others, you have to be really thick to not get at least a Second, and a bit of smarts should get you an Upper or a First (PP&E).
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  #47  
Old 11-20-2016, 05:10 PM
hogarth hogarth is offline
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Raymond Massey graduated from Balliol College, Oxford.
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  #48  
Old 11-21-2016, 06:13 AM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is offline
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University of Washington grad and Olympic medalist Herman Brix starred in a TARZAN movie serial in '35 -- and in '36, Brix went on to earn top billing as a football player in, well, TWO MINUTES TO PLAY; and then in '37, he earned top billing as a prizefighter in FLYING FISTS; and after getting top billing as Eric "Agent 17" Lane in SKY RACKET, Brix again earned top billing in '38 as HAWK OF THE WILDERNESS.

Anyhow, he, ah, sensibly decided to drop that German-sounding name in time to get plenty of leading-man roles in the '40s as all-American "Bruce Bennett": foiling Nazi spies as the top-billed hero of SABOTAGE SQUAD, and battling U-Boats as the top-billed hero of ATLANTIC CONVOY -- and then spending more than a little time inside one of 'em, as the top-billed hero of U-BOAT PRISONER -- and so on.

And he was second-billed to Bogie in SAHARA; and third-billed, after Bogie and Bacall, in DARK PASSAGE; and fourth-billed in Bogie's TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE; and so on: he was tall and athletic, but he was no Bogie -- but, hey, who is?
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  #49  
Old 11-21-2016, 06:26 AM
Loach Loach is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Other Waldo Pepper View Post
If we're going to include guys who started working toward a degree before dropping out, this list is going to get plenty longer; off the top of my head, John Wayne famously left school when an injury sidelined his college football career.

At that: James Whitmore stopped playing football for Yale due to injuries, but stuck around to graduate -- and then served in the USMC during WWII, and then got his big break in Hollywood in '49, impressing folks with the role that would earn him his first Oscar nomination (after he'd already won a Tony on Broadway).
Scott's story is similar. Once his sports career was cut short due to injury he left school.
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  #50  
Old 11-21-2016, 10:12 AM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is offline
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Originally Posted by Loach View Post
Scott's story is similar. Once his sports career was cut short due to injury he left school.
Yeah, again, if we start listing guys who dropped out of college and then hit it big in Hollywood, this could get crazy long.

Tex Ritter, f'rinstance, fits the bill -- but, so long as we're limiting it to folks who in fact graduated from college, let me add that he was second-billed in a number of westerns to Johnny Mack Brown, who (a) apparently did graduate from college after earning a spot in the College Football Hall Of Fame, and who (b) was top-billed in more westerns than you'd maybe even think possible.
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