Top 5 Ivy League Graduates Turned Actors

While you don’t have to be a brain surgeon to be an actor, that doesn’t mean you can’t be brainy and make it in Hollywood. Here are 5 of the top five actors who graduated from the Ivy League:

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - JANUARY 22: Actress Mindy Kaling attends ELLE's Annual Women in Television Celebration on January 22, 2014 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Elle)
1. Mindy Kaling
– The talented former writer of “The Office,” who also played Kelly Kapoor throughout the NBC hit’s run, honed her improvisational skills while attending the prestigious Dartmouth College. During her time at Dartmouth, she also wrote and starred in a Matt Damon and Ben Affleck-inspired play aptly titled “Matt and Ben,” along with her college roommate Brenda Withers. In the play, Kaling and Withers spoofed the duo’s friendship and how the screenplay for “Good Will Hunting” was developed. The former “Late Night with Conan O’Brien intern has since gone on to create and star in her own sitcom, “The Mindy Project,” which has been renewed by Fox for a third season.

2. Meryl Streep – The legendary actress and 18-time Oscar nominee has been in the acting game for nearly four decades. Streep graduated from Vassar before earning a Master’s in Fine Arts from the Yale School of Drama in 1975. The scholar has not shied away from her Ivy League upbringing either, continuing to rub elbows with fellow scholars like 1969 Harvard graduate Tommy Lee Jones in the 2012 dramedy “Hope Springs.” Streep will continue to wow audiences in both “The Giver and “Into the Woods” later this year.

3. James Franco – What can’t this Columbia graduate do? The overachieving academic stud is currently a PhD candidate at Yale. Franco seems to have done it all, from acting, directing and writing screenplays to performing on Broadway and writing short stories. The noted sex symbol loves himself some Seth Rogen, who he met age 21 during his time on “Freaks and Geeks ,” a cult hit that, with its stable of young actors, was a bit like college itself. While Franco and Rogen have since “graduated,” the dynamic duo can next be seen together this October in the action-comedy flick “The Interview.”

4. Rashida Jones – The “Office” and “Parks and Rec” alum was once an aspiring law student at Harvard. But after becoming disillusioned while watching the O.J. Simpson trial unfold, she chose to get involved in the performing arts scene at the prestigious institution instead. The daughter of mega-producer Quincy Jones graduated from the Ivy League university with a degree in religion and philosophy. Perhaps those skills have helped her stay focused over the years, as she’s already lined up her next gig: starring in TBS’s comedy “Angie Tribeca,” set to air next year.

5. Edward Norton – Norton, who once dated Courtney Love – maybe not the wisest move ever made by an Ivy League grad – is a Yale alum. The Wes Anderson favorite knew he wanted to be an actor almost from day one, beginning to star in plays like “Annie Get Your Gun” at just 8 years old. The history major and two-time Academy Award nominee acted in several college productions alongside fellow actors Paul Giamatti and “Office Space” star Ron Livingston. The “Fight Club” icon takes his next jab at the big screen in “Birdman co-starring Emma Stone in October.