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  #1  
Old 03-30-2011, 10:02 AM
Bijou Drains Bijou Drains is offline
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Successful people who did not finish high school?

I know of 2, there are probably more:

Peter Jennings
Richard Branson

I am looking for fairly recent people , say the last 100 years or so.
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  #2  
Old 03-30-2011, 10:10 AM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is online now
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James H. Clark, founder of Silicon Graphics and Netscape, never recieved his high school diploma. But he did go on to college:
Quote:
He dropped out of high school after being suspended, and spent four years in the Navy. Clark began taking night courses at Tulane University's University College where, despite his lack of a high school diploma, he was able to earn enough credits to be admitted to the University of New Orleans. There, Clark earned his Bachelor's and a Master's degrees in physics, followed by a PhD in computer science from the University of Utah in 1974.
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Old 03-30-2011, 10:12 AM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is online now
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County singer and sausage magnate Jimmy Dean.
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Old 03-30-2011, 10:22 AM
don't ask don't ask is offline
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Sir Alan Sugar of the BBC show The Apprentice left school when 16.

A few years ago I heard Richard Branson interviewed on the radio and he mentioned a string of his friends who are all in business and all left school early. He explained that, by the time someone left university with a business degree, they were looking to settle down, while people like him had 10 years of trying to make money behind them.
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Old 03-30-2011, 10:42 AM
yabob yabob is offline
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Jerry Garcia.
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Old 03-30-2011, 10:42 AM
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Jamie Oliver the TV chef and restauranter left school at 16 with no academic qualifications. He makes a point of telling us this in each episode of "Jamie's Dream School" a UK TV series following his attempt to give other young people who failed at school a second chance using "experts" from outside education as the teachers - so far, without much success!
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  #7  
Old 03-30-2011, 10:46 AM
Annie-Xmas Annie-Xmas is offline
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John Travolta, who grew up literally four blocks from where I now live.
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Old 03-30-2011, 10:55 AM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is online now
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Billionare potato tycoon J.R. Simplot.
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  #9  
Old 03-30-2011, 11:04 AM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is online now
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Billionaire British publishing mogul and member of Parliment Robert Maxwell.
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  #10  
Old 03-30-2011, 11:04 AM
Jack Batty Jack Batty is offline
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Justin Beiber?
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  #11  
Old 03-30-2011, 11:08 AM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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Justin Bieber

Actually I don't know, he's 17 so maybe he has some kind of high school degree by now. There are probably a number of child stars who never got an official high school diploma, or only gained an equivalent based on questionable standards. I guess the OP is really about people succeeding after reaching adulthood.

Last edited by TriPolar; 03-30-2011 at 11:08 AM.. Reason: jack beat me to it
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  #12  
Old 03-30-2011, 11:12 AM
Sampiro Sampiro is offline
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There are many in show business. Canadian actor Cory Monteith from the cast of GLEE only finished 9th grade.

The Wright Brothers. (Wilbur actually completed the course work but due to moving never received a diploma; Orville dropped out in his junior year.)

Of course it's worth remembering in any field these are the exceptions. Most people who did not finish high school do not succeed.
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  #13  
Old 03-30-2011, 11:16 AM
Bijou Drains Bijou Drains is offline
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I know a guy who is a really good pro motocross racer , his parents made him finish high school before racing full time. He could have gone pro at 16 or 17.
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  #14  
Old 03-30-2011, 11:32 AM
from_a_to_z from_a_to_z is offline
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good gravy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bijou Drains View Post
I am looking for fairly recent people , say the last 100 years or so.
Colonel Sanders (Wikipedia) dropped out of 7th grade about 110 years ago, and lived on until December 1980.
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  #15  
Old 03-30-2011, 12:01 PM
Bijou Drains Bijou Drains is offline
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Some show business people who acted as kids got their GED while others finished at a regular high school.
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  #16  
Old 03-30-2011, 12:34 PM
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Ken Hendricks
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  #17  
Old 03-30-2011, 01:15 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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I don't think there's an important distinction between those who graduate from high school and those who don't. A high school degree generically only represents minimal achievement in literacy. Where used as a job requirement, a GED is an acceptable alternative, and unlike college degrees, I don't think there much checking on the validity of a claim to have graduated or obtained a GED. I wouldn't distinquish this much from successful people who have not graduated from college.

Another thing to note, not all people earn a high school diploma before entering college. I know someone who left high school in the 11th grade to start college because of a change to SS survivor benefits that required him to be enrolled in college before the change took place. He never graduated from high school, or college, but has been gainfully employed for many years.
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  #18  
Old 03-30-2011, 02:26 PM
Kevbo Kevbo is offline
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Thomas Edison:

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Originally Posted by http://www.patentdrafting.com/edison.htm
The Education of Thomas Edison

Edison began school in Port Huron, Michigan when he was seven. His teacher, the Reverend G. B. Engle considered Thomas to be a dull student. Thomas especially did not like math. And he asked too many questions. The story goes that the teacher whipped students who asked questions. After three months of school, the teacher called Thomas, "addled," which means confused or mixed up. Thomas stormed home.

The next day, Nancy Edison brought Thomas back to school to talk with Reverend Engle. The teacher told his mother that Thomas couldn't learn. Nancy also became angry at the teacher's strict ways. She took Thomas out of school and decided to home-school him. It appears he briefly attended two more schools. However, his school attendance was not very good. So nearly all his childhood learning took place at home.
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  #19  
Old 03-30-2011, 02:31 PM
bibliophage bibliophage is online now
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Kirk Kerkorian, a businessman worth over $10 billion, is an eighth-grade dropout.
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  #20  
Old 03-30-2011, 02:44 PM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
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From the TV show Hazel

Quote:
Hazel) You never even graduated high school

Mr Griffith) Hazel, I'll have you know I'm the head of 10 international corporations

Hazel) Yeah but think of how much MORE successful you'd have been if you had graduated high school.
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  #21  
Old 03-30-2011, 02:55 PM
HeyHomie HeyHomie is offline
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Demi Moore
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  #22  
Old 03-30-2011, 03:02 PM
multimediac17 multimediac17 is offline
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Cher:

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Due to severe, undiagnosed dyslexia, she left Fresno High School at age 16.
From her Wikipedia page.
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  #23  
Old 03-30-2011, 04:51 PM
Bijou Drains Bijou Drains is offline
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On a related note , the only president who served since 1897 with no college degree was Truman.
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  #24  
Old 03-31-2011, 03:56 AM
Hari Seldon Hari Seldon is offline
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I know someone who dropped out of HS, never went to college, but somehow got a PhD in math (and probably an MSc as well) and had a full career as a math professor. It is a long story with some surprises that he told me once. He also managed to talk his way into OCS and became a pilot in the navy during the Korean war. I guess they were really desperate (and he was VERY charming).
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  #25  
Old 03-31-2011, 08:13 AM
SGT42 SGT42 is offline
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Former Brazilian president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva.
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  #26  
Old 03-31-2011, 10:16 AM
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Johnny Depp.
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  #27  
Old 03-31-2011, 10:28 AM
Omar Little Omar Little is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hampshire View Post
Johnny Depp.
I was pretty sure he finished his high school equivlancy while on 21 Jump Street.
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  #28  
Old 03-31-2011, 10:33 AM
Omar Little Omar Little is offline
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Mark Wahlberg never graduated HS. He even spent several years doing drugs and boosting people. Spent time in one of Boston's prisons, before making a break in the music business.

Today he's worth about $150 million, primarily through his production business.
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  #29  
Old 03-31-2011, 11:07 AM
yabob yabob is offline
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Add Al Pacino to the show biz list. He dropped out of high school, eventually got into Lee Strasbourg's actor's studio.
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  #30  
Old 03-31-2011, 11:17 AM
yabob yabob is offline
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Ah. Here's a list. Page 4 of this book, "Cracking the GED" provides a list of famous people who didn't finish high school. It marks with an asterisk those on the list who got a GED:

http://books.google.com/books?id=xfW...page&q&f=false

Predictably, most of the people on that list are entertainers. Whether you want to consider news anchors like Peter Jennings and John Chancellor "entertainers" is up to you. There's probably a snide comment to be made about Harold Robbins.
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  #31  
Old 03-31-2011, 11:36 AM
amarone amarone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yabob View Post
Ah. Here's a list. Page 4 of this book, "Cracking the GED" provides a list of famous people who didn't finish high school. It marks with an asterisk those on the list who got a GED:

http://books.google.com/books?id=xfW...page&q&f=false

Predictably, most of the people on that list are entertainers. Whether you want to consider news anchors like Peter Jennings and John Chancellor "entertainers" is up to you. There's probably a snide comment to be made about Harold Robbins.
There are several British people on that list so I wonder how they are determining "did not finish high school". There is no concept of graduating high school, nor is there a diploma. At the time relevant to the people on that list, the minimum school leaving age was 16. Most people did leave at that age, although it was possible to stay on for an extra 2 years to get 'A' levels. This was generally done only by people planning to go to college/university, which was a significantly lower portion of the population than today.

So if saying that David Bowie did not finish high school means that he left at 16, that was perfectly normal at that time.
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  #32  
Old 03-31-2011, 11:47 AM
yabob yabob is offline
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Good point. With a list that long, it's not surprising that they are stretching things a bit. But it's a starting point, and a lot of the named people are American. For them, the concept of "high school diploma" does make sense.
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  #33  
Old 03-31-2011, 03:07 PM
Bijou Drains Bijou Drains is offline
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Jane Goodall got a PhD but never got a BA/BS degree.
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  #34  
Old 03-31-2011, 04:35 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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Eddie Murphy did a bit back when he was on Saturday Night Live about having dropped out of high school.
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  #35  
Old 04-01-2011, 12:47 PM
SimonMoon5 SimonMoon5 is offline
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CNN has a list of people who were successful but not only did they not graduate from high school, they didn't even exist!

http://www.cnn.com/2011/LIVING/04/01...ex.html?hpt=C2

One of them did, nonetheless, graduate from college.
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  #36  
Old 04-01-2011, 01:45 PM
chappachula chappachula is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amarone View Post
There is no concept of graduating high school, nor is there a diploma. At the time relevant to the people on that list, the minimum school leaving age was 16. Most people did leave at that age, although it was possible to stay on for an extra 2 years to get 'A' levels. This was generally done only by people planning to go to college/university, which was a significantly lower portion of the population than today.

So if saying that David Bowie did not finish high school means that he left at 16, that was perfectly normal at that time.
note for Americans: British "dropouts" may have gone to the many private schools in England, which are vastly superior to a typical American high school. I know British people who left school at 16, with a solid knowledge of Latin, basic calculus, and Shakespeare.
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  #37  
Old 04-08-2011, 12:10 AM
Siam Sam Siam Sam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
Justin Bieber

Actually I don't know, he's 17 so maybe he has some kind of high school degree by now. There are probably a number of child stars who never got an official high school diploma, or only gained an equivalent based on questionable standards. I guess the OP is really about people succeeding after reaching adulthood.
Slight hijack, but at least it's been several days since anyone's posted here. I thought about this thread and your post last night while sitting in a small bar chatting with a 21-year-old bargirl. Quite a looker, too. She went into graphic detail about how hot Justin Bieber made her and what she would like to do to him given the chance. If he ever holds a world tour, I shudder to think of the rip that will appear in the fabric of the space-time continuum should he get let loose here with his raging teenage hormones.
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  #38  
Old 04-08-2011, 08:05 AM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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Originally Posted by from_a_to_z View Post
Colonel Sanders (Wikipedia) dropped out of 7th grade about 110 years ago, and lived on until December 1980.
I hear when he died the had a "Kick the Bucket" sale...
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  #39  
Old 04-08-2011, 10:05 AM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is online now
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Charlie Sheen. Successful? He's WINNING!
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