Yale University Notable Alumni

Discover the notable alumni of Yale University. The list includes people like George H. W. Bush, Jennifer Connelly, James Franco, Liev Schreiber & Hillary Clinton. This list of notable alumni is loosely sorted by popularity and has people from different domains of life, such as writers, intellectuals & academics, miscellaneous, media personalities and film & theater personalities etc.
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 1 
Jodie Foster
(Actress & Director)
Jodie Foster
92
Birthdate: November 19, 1962
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

Jodie Foster is considered to be one of the best actors of her time. She attained fame as a child actor in the acclaimed film Taxi Driver. Some of her memorable roles as an adult are The Accused, The Silence of the Lambs and Sommersby. She’s a director too. Foster has been in the news for her sexual orientation.

 2 
Edward Norton
(Actor and Filmmaker Known for His Film ‘Primal Fear’)
Edward Norton
41
Birthdate: August 18, 1969
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Amongst the most talented actors of his generation, Edward Norton won a Golden Globe Award for his debut film Primal Fear. The formidable actor later went on to work in movies like The Illusionist, The Incredible Hulk, The Birdman and American History X. Norton ventured into film direction with Keeping the Faith. He also supports various environmental and social causes.

 3 
Frances McDormand
(Actress and Producer Best Known for Her Films: ‘Fargo’ and ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’)
Frances McDormand
36
Birthdate: June 23, 1957
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Gibson City, Illinois, United States

Frances McDormand has earned the "Triple Crown of Acting," with two Academy Awards, a Tony, and two Primetime Emmys. She is best known for her roles of headstrong women in Coen brothers’ films, such as Fargo. She has also been vocal about the Me Too and Time's Up movements.

 4 
Anderson Cooper
(Journalist & Anchor of CNN Show 'Anderson Cooper 360°')
Anderson Cooper
48
Birthdate: June 3, 1967
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

As one of the leading television journalists for the past 10 years, Anderson Cooper has played a prominent role in influencing several important events in the United States of America. An openly gay man, Anderson Cooper has also served as an inspiration to the entire LGBTQ community.

 5 
James Franco
(One of the Most Versatile Actors of His Generation, Known for His Films: '127' and 'James Dean')
James Franco
101
Birthdate: April 19, 1978
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Palo Alto, California, United States

Actor, director, and comedian, James Franco, has been active in the entertainment industry for over two decades. He was studious as a child and wanted to become a marine biologist. However, fate had other plans and he became an actor instead. In addition to acting, he teaches film classes at many universities, including New York University.

 6 
Jennifer Connelly
(Best Known for Her Role in the Films: 'A Beautiful Mind' and 'Little Children')
Jennifer Connelly
71
Birthdate: December 12, 1970
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cairo, New York, United States

An actress who began her career as a child model, Jennifer Connelly appeared in magazine, newspaper, and television advertising prior to taking up acting roles. The winner of an Academy Award, she is an accomplished actress who has appeared in many critically acclaimed films. She has been included on the lists of the world's most beautiful women many times.

 7 
Ron DeSantis
(46th Governor of Florida )
Ron DeSantis
246
Listed In: Lawyers & Judges
Birthdate: September 14, 1978
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Jacksonville, Florida, United States

The current governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis became the youngest incumbent governor of a US state at the age of 42. Also an attorney and naval officer, Ron DeSantis was honored with the Bronze Star Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for his military service.

 8 
Bill Clinton
(42nd President of the United States)
Bill Clinton
138
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: August 19, 1946
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Hope, Arkansas, United States

Bill Cinton was the 42nd president of the United States who served for two terms from 1993 to 2001. He was the third-youngest president in the American history and presided over the longest period of peacetime economic expansion in American history. The second-term of his presidency was rocked by the infamous Monica Lewinsky sex-scandal for which he was impeached and later acquitted.

 9 
Lupita Nyong'o
(Named One of Africa’s “50 Most Powerful Women” by Forbes in 2020)
Lupita Nyong'o
74
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: March 1, 1983
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Mexico City, Mexico

Lupita Nyong'o is one of the most popular black actresses of all time. The first Kenyan-Mexican actress to receive the prestigious Academy Award, Lupita Nyong'o has often been named in lists, such as the world's most beautiful woman. In 2020, she was named by Forbes magazine as one of Africa's 50 Most Powerful Women.

 10 
George W. Bush
(43rd President of the United States)
George W. Bush
81
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: July 6, 1946
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New Haven, Connecticut, United States

The 43rd president of the United States, George W. Bush served two consecutive term in the top office beginning 2001 and led his country post the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He later ordered the invasion of Iraq. Before this, he was twice elected as the governor of Texas and had even helped his father, George H. W. Bush—the 41st president, in his presidential campaigns.

 11 
Liev Schreiber
(Actor & Producer)
Liev Schreiber
27
Birthdate: October 4, 1967
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States

Actor, director, and screenwriter, Liev Schreiber, is mainly known for his appearances in independent films. He had a difficult childhood and struggled a lot as a young man before destiny led him to the world of entertainment. Besides his work on the screen, Liev Schreiber has appeared in many Shakespearean plays.

 12 
Angela Bassett
(Known for Her Portrayal of Singer Tina Turner in the Biopic 'What's Love Got to Do with It')
Angela Bassett
48
Birthdate: August 16, 1958
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

Best known for playing real-life black women in biopics, Angela Bassett does not mind being typecast as someone who often plays biographical roles. She has portrayed prominent personalities like Tina Turner, Betty Shabazz, Katherine Jackson, and Coretta Scott King. Also a director, producer, and activist, Angela Bassett works toward bettering the lives of African-Americans.

 13 
Ben Carson
(U.S. Secretary of Housing & Urban Development (2017 – 2021))
Ben Carson
100
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: September 18, 1951
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, U.S.

Neurosurgeon Ben Carson is credited with many pioneering neurosurgical procedures. He became a Library of Congress “Living Legend” and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He later contested in the 2016 presidential primaries, has authored numerous books, was a Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and earned 60 honorary doctorates.

 14 
Grace Hopper
(Computer Scientist, Mathematician and One of the First Programmers of the ‘Harvard Mark I’ Computer)
Grace Hopper
15
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: December 9, 1906
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: January 1, 1992
Computer scientist and U.S. Navy rear admiral Grace Hopper was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computing system. She pioneered the machine-independent programming language technique, and the FLOW-MATIC language used by her was later used to create COBOL. She received a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom.
 15 
Claire Danes
(Known for Her Performance in TV Series 'Homeland')
Claire Danes
26
Birthdate: April 12, 1979
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, United States

Claire Danes is best known for playing the role of a CIA agent in the popular television series Homeland, which ran from 2011 to 2020. However, her breakthrough role was as a 15-year-old in 1994-95 critically acclaimed television series, My So Called Life. She’s also acted in films like Terminator 3, The Hours, Les Miserables, Brokedown Palace and The Rainmaker.

 16 
Elia Kazan
(One of the Most Honored and Influential Directors in Broadway and Hollywood History)
Elia Kazan
8
Birthdate: September 7, 1909
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Fener, Turkey
Died: September 28, 2003

Elia Kazan was an American actor, screenwriter, director, and producer. Widely regarded as one of the most influential and celebrated directors in Hollywood and Broadway history, Kazan played a key role in launching the careers of actors like Marlon Brando, Warren Beatty, and James Dean. His work has also influenced other prominent filmmakers like Martin Scorsese.

 17 
Nathan Chen
(American Figure skater)
Nathan Chen
9
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: May 5, 1999
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Height: 5'6" (168 cm)
 18 
Kathryn Hahn
(Best Known for Her Role as 'Lily Lebowski' in the NBC Crime Drama Series 'Crossing Jordan')
Kathryn Hahn
38
Birthdate: July 23, 1973
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Westchester, Illinois, United States
Height: 5'5" (165 cm)
 19 
Ronan Farrow
(Journalist, Lawyer and Human Rights Activist)
Ronan Farrow
26
Birthdate: December 19, 1987
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

American journalist Ronan Farrow played a major role in reporting the sexual abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein. His work, which was published in The New Yorker, earned the magazine the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. He is also responsible for exposing allegations against personalities like jurist Brett Kavanaugh, media executive Les Moonves, and politician Eric Schneiderman.

 20 
David Duchovny
(Best Known for Playing FBI Agent 'Fox Mulder' on the TV Series ‘The X-Files’)
David Duchovny
14
Birthdate: August 7, 1960
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

David Duchovny is best known for his Golden Globe-winning roles of FBI Agent Fox Mulder in the sci-fi series The X-Files and Hank Moody in Californication. He is an environment enthusiast and advocates for the use of electric cars. He has released music albums, written books, and recorded audiobooks.

 21 
William Howard Taft
(27th President of the United States)
William Howard Taft
33
Listed In: Lawyers & Judges
Birthdate: September 15, 1857
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Died: March 8, 1930

The 27th president of the United States, William Howard Taft also served as the tenth Chief Justice of the US; he is the only person in the history of the US to have held both the offices. He had a great impact as chief justice and has been regarded as the greatest US chief justices of all time.

 22 
Lance Reddick
(American Actor and Musician Best Known for His Role as ‘Cedric Daniels’ in the TV Series ‘The Wire’)
Lance Reddick
28
Birthdate: June 7, 1962
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Died: March 17, 2023

Lance Reddick is an American musician and actor. Over the years, Reddick has contributed immensely to the success of several TV series, such as Oz, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, The Wire, Fringe, and Bosch. He has also been entertaining children and adults alike by providing his likeness and voice for video games like Quantum Break and Destiny series.

 23 
Bob Woodward
(Journalist)
Bob Woodward
7
Birthdate: March 26, 1943
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Geneva, Illinois, United States
 24 
Jordana Brewster
(Best Known for Her Role of 'Mia Toretto' in the Action Film Franchise 'The Fast and the Furious')
Jordana Brewster
11
Birthdate: April 26, 1980
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Panama City, Panama

Jordana Brewster is an American model and actress best known for playing Mia in the Fast & Furious franchise. In 2009, she was honored at the Teen Choice Awards for her performance in Fast & Furious. Brewster is also renowned for her modeling skills and has posed for several magazines. In 2011, Maxim included her in their Hot 100 list.

 25 
Jennifer Beals
(Actress and Former Teen Model)
Jennifer Beals
20
Birthdate: December 19, 1963
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Jennifer Beals is an American actress who received appreciation for her portrayal of Alex Owens in the 1983 romantic drama film Flashdance. Over the years, she has also been an ardent advocate for gay rights; she received the Ally For Equality Award for her support for the LGBT community. She also works closely with charities like the Matthew Shepard Foundation.

 26 
Mark Rothko
(American Painter Known or His Abstract Expressionism and Color Field Paintings)
Mark Rothko
10
Birthdate: September 25, 1903
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Daugavpils, Latvia
Died: February 25, 1970

Considered part of the New York school of painters of the 1940s, Mark Rothko was best known for his signature color field paintings, consisting of vertically set rectangular patches of color. A significant figure of the Abstract Expressionist movement, he also experimented with murals and mythological themes.

 27 
Paul Giamatti
(Actor and Film Producer)
Paul Giamatti
26
Birthdate: June 6, 1967
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New Haven, Connecticut, United States

Paul Giamatti is an American actor known for playing important roles in popular films like The Illusionist and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Paul Giamatti became the subject of a famous campaign called Wax Paul Now, which inspired a short film. The short film was premiered in October 2019 at the Virginia Film Festival.

 28 
Tony Shalhoub
(best known for playing Adrian Monk in the USA Network television series Monk)
Tony Shalhoub
21
Birthdate: October 9, 1953
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Green Bay, Wisconsin, United States
Height: 5'10" (178 cm)
 29 
Sonia Sotomayor
(Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States )
Sonia Sotomayor
38
Listed In: Lawyers & Judges
Birthdate: June 5, 1954
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bronx, New York, United States

Sonia Sotomayor, the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of America, entered the record books when in August 2009 she became the first Hispanic and the fourth woman to be appointed to the court. She’s a strong defendant of the rights of accused and has raised her voice against misdemeanors by the police and the prosecutors, and abuses in prisons.

 30 
Jonathan Majors
(Best Known for His Role as ‘Atticus Freeman’ in the TV Series ‘Lovecraft Country’)
Jonathan Majors
34
Birthdate: September 7, 1989
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lompoc, California, United States
Yale alumnus Jonathan Majors is best known as Atticus Freeman from Lovecraft Country and Kang the Conqueror from Ant-Man 3. He is also known for the series When We Rise and the film The Last Black Man in San Francisco. He actively participated in the Black Lives Matter movement.
 31 
Vincent Price
9
Birthdate: May 27, 1911
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Died: October 25, 1993

Vincent Price was an American actor who was honored with two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Remembered for his iconic voice, Price narrated many animation films and documentaries. His life inspired Tim Burton to direct a stop-motion film titled Vincent. Since he was also an ardent art collector, The Vincent Price Art Museum is named in his honor.

 32 
Sam Waterston
(Best Known for His Iconic Role as ‘Jack McCoy’ on the NBC TV Series “Law & Order”)
Sam Waterston
10
Birthdate: November 15, 1940
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Sam Waterston is an American actor, director, and producer. He is popular for his contribution across all three major acting mediums. An active humanitarian, Sam Waterston works closely with organizations, such as Meals on WheelsRefugees International, Oceana, and The United Way. In 2012, he was honored with the Goodermote Humanitarian Award for his support of refugees.

 33 
John Turturro
(Actor, director who received early critical recognition with the independent film Five Corners (1987))
John Turturro
6
Birthdate: February 28, 1957
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Height: 6'0" (183 cm)
 34 
Zoe Kazan
(American Actress Known for Her Role in the TV Series 'Olive Kitteridge')
Zoe Kazan
20
Birthdate: September 9, 1983
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

Born to screenwriters Nicholas Kazan and Robin Swicord, Zoe Kazan is also the granddaughter of director Elia Kazan and thus was never a stranger to show business. Now a regular on Broadway and in films, she also bagged an Emmy nomination for her role in the miniseries Olive Kitteridge.

 35 
Sanaa Lathan
(Actress and Voice Actress Known for Her Films: ‘The Best Man’, ‘Love & Basketball’ and ‘Disappearing Acts’)
Sanaa Lathan
20
Birthdate: September 19, 1971
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Sanaa Lathan voiced Donna Tubbs in The Cleveland Show and Family Guy. She has also starred in movies such as Contagion and The Best Man. She delivered a Tony-nominated performance in A Raisin in the Sun and was part of the all-Black cast of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
 36 
Tom Wolfe
(American author)
Tom Wolfe
8
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: March 2, 1931
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Richmond, Virginia, United States
Died: March 14, 2018
Height: 5'3" (160 cm)
 37 
David Hyde Pierce
(Best Known for Starring as Psychiatrist 'Dr. Niles Crane' on the NBC Sitcom 'Frasier')
David Hyde Pierce
9
Birthdate: April 3, 1959
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Saratoga Springs, New York, United States

Actor David Hyde Pierce is best known for his role as psychiatrist Dr. Niles Crane in the NBC sitcom Frasier, for which he received four Primetime Emmy Awards. Active in the entertainment industry for almost four decades, he has acted in many stage productions, TV shows, and films. He is openly gay and is married to producer Brian Hargrove.

 38 
Chris Noth
(American Actor Known for His Role as Detective Mike Logan in the TV Series ‘Law & Order')
Chris Noth
21
Birthdate: November 13, 1954
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Madison, Wisconsin, United States

Chris Noth is best known as Mike Logan from Law & Order. Fans also loved him in his Golden Globe-nominated roles in Sex and the City and The Good Wife. He co-owns the New York music venue The Cutting Room. He has also been part of Broadway and off-Broadway plays.

 39 
Brian Tyree Henry
(Actor)
Brian Tyree Henry
14
Birthdate: March 31, 1982
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Fayetteville, North Carolina Fayetteville, North Carolina, U.S.
Height: 6'2" (188 cm)
 40 
Eli Whitney
(American inventor)
Eli Whitney
5
Birthdate: December 8, 1765
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Westborough
Died: January 8, 1825
 41 
Ernie Hudson
(Actor)
Ernie Hudson
13
Birthdate: December 17, 1945
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Benton Harbor, Michigan, USA
Height: 6'0" (183 cm)
 42 
Harry Hamlin
(Actor)
Harry Hamlin
8
Birthdate: October 30, 1951
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Pasadena, California, United States
Height: 5'11" (180 cm)
 43 
Courtney B. Vance
(American Actor)
Courtney B. Vance
10
Birthdate: March 12, 1960
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States
 44 
Phil LaMarr
(Actor, Comedian who was one of the original featured cast members on the sketch comedy television series Mad TV)
Phil LaMarr
7
Birthdate: January 24, 1967
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Height: 5'10" (178 cm)
 45 
Patricia Clarkson
(Actress)
Patricia Clarkson
20
Birthdate: December 29, 1959
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Height: 5'5" (165 cm)
 46 
Peter Hermann
(Actor)
Peter Hermann
4
Birthdate: August 15, 1967
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York City, U.S.
Height: 6'5" (196 cm)
 47 
Stacy Keach
8
Birthdate: June 2, 1941
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Savannah, Georgia, United States

Stacy Keach is an American actor best known for playing the popular fictional detective Mike Hammer in several stand-alone television films and television series. Renowned for his soothing voice, Stacy Keach has also gained popularity as a voice actor and narrator. Also known for his contributions to theatre, Stacy Keach was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in 2015.

 48 
Ron Livingston
(Actor)
Ron Livingston
8
Birthdate: June 5, 1967
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA
Height: 5'10" (178 cm)
 49 
Jane Kaczmarek
(Best Known for Her Roles in the TV Series: ‘Malcolm in the Middle’ and ‘Equal Justice’)
Jane Kaczmarek
16
Birthdate: December 21, 1955
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States

Jane Kaczmarek is an American actress known for her portrayal of Lois in the popular television sitcom Malcolm in the Middle. A registered Democrat, Jane Kaczmarek is also a renowned voice actress, voicing such characters as Judge Constance Harm in the famous animated sitcom The Simpsons. Along with her ex-husband Bradley Whitford, Jane Kaczmarek was also involved in charity work.

 50 
Dick Cavett
(Comedian & Former Talk Show Host Notable for His Conversational Style and In-depth Discussions)
Dick Cavett
16
Birthdate: November 19, 1936
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Gibbon, Nebraska, United States

Dick Cavett is an American comedian, television personality, and former talk show host. For five decades, Cavett made frequent appearances on the United State's nationally broadcast television. In 2020, Stephen Colbert on his TV show, Late Show with Stephen Colbert, acknowledged that Dick Cavett had served as a major influence due to his conversational style. 

The Yale University, situated in the United States, is one of the most reputed educational institutions in the world, which has been attracting students from several countries every year. It is believed that the name of the university has been derived from Elihu Yale, a governor of the East India Company, known for his generosity. He apparently donated a lot to the university and the name Yale was the institution’s way of paying tribute to the late governor. The infrastructure of the university is simply outstanding. The dining hall and the library, in particular, deserve a special mention. The remarkable Goth architecture and the breathtaking campus might remind you of the ‘Hogwarts’ school from the ‘Harry Potter’ movie franchise. Several noteworthy public figures were once students of this remarkable institution. Democrat leader Hillary Clinton is an alumnus of the notable Yale University and apparently visits her alma mater quite often. Her husband Bill Clinton, who was the 42nd President of the United States, known for his outstanding leadership skills, had studied here too. Former American President George W Bush, Academy Award winning actress Meryl Streep and noted journalist Anderson Cooper are a few other famous personalities among Yale’s alumni. The university is also notable for producing several students who went on to become a part of the American intelligence agency ‘CIA’. In addition, there are several rumors of this university being a hotbed for creepy secret societies. Here is a list of notable Yale alumni who have made a mark in various spheres of life and inspired others to follow suit!