As a prospective or current Emerson College student, you may be wondering who the famous and notable alumni who have attended this very institution are. With Emerson College’s establishment in 1880 and its recognition for majors in Communications; Marketing; Visual and Performing Arts; and Writing, Literature and Publishing, the list of accomplished alumni is a long one. But the names that follow are famous alumni from Emerson that have made it in their industry and are the most recognizable in this day and age.
1. Jay Leno
Having graduated from Emerson College in 1972, Jay Leno is most known for being the host of NBC’s The Tonight Show, bringing comedy and entertainment to late night television. He was the host for almost 20 years, interviewing celebrities and other public figures, often poking fun at them. In his show, he created segments that joked about bad headlines and conducted “man on the street” interviews. Aside from his stand-up comedy and TV hosting, Leno is also known for his extravagant vehicle collection of almost 300 cars and motorcycles, which he showcases in his TV show Jay Leno’s Garage. He is one of the most well-known famous alumni from Emerson!
2. Maria Menounos
If you’ve ever watched a movie in an AMC Theater, I’m sure you have seen Maria Menounos. She is the woman introducing new movies and shows for AMC’s “First Look.” Menounos graduated from Emerson College in 2000 and is a well-known American actress, journalist and television host. She has been a correspondent and host for E! News, Extra, Access Hollywood and Entertainment Tonight.
3. Bobbi Brown
Bobbi Brown is a professional makeup artist, who graduated from Emerson College in 1979. With the help of a chemist, she was able to create a makeup line of 10 beige lip colors, which she launched in her own brand, Bobbi Brown Essentials. Due to popularity in her product, Estée Lauder eventually bought her company. Aside from this, Brown has also written a few books on makeup and beauty.
4. Denis Leary
Denis Leary is an American actor, writer, producer, singer and comedian. He is most known for his roles in the Ice Age franchise as Diego, the serious and occasionally playful saber-toothed tiger, and in The Amazing Spider-Man as Gwen Stacy’s father. He was also the star and co-creator of the FX show Rescue Me, a show about the lives of a group of New York City firefighters. He graduated from Emerson College in 1979.
5. Bill Burr
Having graduated from Emerson College in 1993, Bill Burr is most known for his role as Patrick Kuby in Breaking Bad and for his stand-up comedy. He has also paid a visit to the Emerson LA campus to talk to students about his job and his experience at Emerson. Aside from acting and comedy, he also writes and hosts the Monday Morning Podcast.
6. Jennifer Coolidge
As an actress and comedian, Jennifer Coolidge is best known for her role as Stifler’s mom in the American Pie films. She also played Sophie Kaczynski, Max and Caroline’s Polish neighbor in Two Broke Girls, Paulette in Legally Blonde and the evil stepmother in A Cinderella Story, starring Hilary Duff. She graduated from Emerson College in 1985.
7. Michael Angelakos
Michael Angelakos, a 2009 Emerson graduate, is the frontman of the indietronica band Passion Pit, which was formed in 2007. Angelakos started writing songs at Emerson College, which would later be featured in the band’s first EP Chunk of Change. His music gained popularity as his songs were circulated around campus and eventually the Greater Boston Area until signing with Frenchkiss Records. Their popular songs include “Take a Walk” and “Sleepyhead.”
8. Matt McGorry
Having graduated in 2008, Matt McGorry has starred in two hit TV shows: Orange is the New Black as John Bennett and How to Get Away with Murder as Asher Millstone. While at Emerson, McGorry majored in Theatre Studies with an acting concentration and also participated in the Emerson Comedy Workshop.
9. Quinn Marcus
As a graduate of the Class of 2013, Quinn Marcus is making a name for herself with her ABC digital show, A Little of Your Time with Quinn Marcus. She is best known for Quinnterviews (her hilarious version of man on the street interviews) and for her role in the MTV show Girl Code. Marcus has also acted, produced and written films, such as A Lack of Dating in Brooklyn, Sensitivity Training and is especially known for her short Alone with People, which is based on her coming out story.
10. Betsy Morgan
For those of you who have dreams of acting on Broadway, Betsy Morgan, an Emerson 2003 grad, made it! She has had a few Playbill roles, starring in The King and I, Les Misérables, A Little Night Music, The Little Mermaid and High Fidelity. She credits Emerson for their vast access to alumni in the industry and for providing her with the space and community to truly express herself.
11. Henry Winkler
A famous alumni from Emerson known for his iconic role in Happy Days as Fonzie, Henry Winkler graduated from Emerson College in 1967. He is an esteemed American actor, making appearances in movies such as The Waterboy, Click and An American Christmas Carol. He is also a comedian, director, producer and author.
12. David Cross
Although David Cross did not graduate from Emerson College, he did attend classes for a semester until dropping out. At Emerson and in the Boston Area, he was able to find his voice in comedy, joining a college sketch group called This is Pathetic. Aside from stand-up comedy, Cross has had numerous acting roles in movies and shows such as Arrested Development, Alvin and the Chipmunks and She’s the Man.
13. Seth Grahame-Smith
Seth Grahame-Smith is a famous alumni from Emerson who is a New York Times best-selling author, screenwriter, producer and director, known for his novels: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. Having graduated from Emerson College in 1998 with a degree in film, Grahame-Smith has visited the Emerson LA campus to give students advice and to talk about his experience in the film industry, making him a famous alumni from Emerson!
14. Doug Herzog
As an influential television executive, Doug Herzog is the former president of Viacom Entertainment Group, having overseen channels such as MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, and Spike. He graduated from Emerson College in 1981 and has since then built up his Emerson Network, often meeting other alumni through his line of work.
15. Max Mutchknik
Last but definitely not least, is Max Mutchknik. If you go to Emerson College, the name Max Mutchknik may sound familiar to you. Most-known for co-creating the much-beloved and Emmy-winning sitcom Will & Grace, Max Mutchknik also has a campus center named after him located in the Piano Row dorm building. He is an Emerson College Trustee and has received an honorary degree from the college.
At Emerson College, the possibilities are endless and the experiences you gain are lasting. Maybe one day your name will join this list of famous alumni from Emerson!