The 15 Most Famous Emerson College Alumni

There's a lot of famous alumni from Emerson College that don't get enough recognition. Here are the graduates that have made a name for themselves.

Emerson College is one of the most prominent communications and performing arts colleges in the country, so it’s no surprise that many of its graduates have gone on to make it big. Here are the top 15 most famous Emerson College alumni – see how many names you can recognize!

The 15 Most Famous Emerson College Alumni

1. Jay Leno, Television Host

Jay Leno is one of the most well-known talk show hosts to ever grace the entertainment business thanks to his long-running show, NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The 1973 grad returned to Emerson in 2014 to give a commencement address.

2. Matt McGorry, Actor

Best known for his roles on Orange is the New Black and How to Get Away With Murder, Matt McGorry is easily one of the most famous alumni from Emerson College. He majored in theater studies with an acting concentration and graduated in 2008.

Matt McGorry Emerson College

3. Bobbi Brown, Makeup Maven

Bobbi Brown, who graduated from Emerson College in 1979, is a world-famous makeup artist and entrepreneur in the cosmetics industry. The college has a formal program called the Bobbi Brown Program in Makeup Artistry for students who want to follow her lead, and it takes place in the aptly-named Bobbi Brown and Steven Plofker Design Technology Makeup Suite.

4. Denis Leary, Actor

Denis Leary, an A-list actor who is also known for his stand-up comedy, graduated from Emerson College in 1979 with a degree in comedy. Leary played a key role in forming the Emerson Comedy Workshop, which serves as a training ground for burgeoning Emersonian comedians and actors. 

 5. Bill Burr, Comedian

Whether you know Bill Burr from Breaking Bad or from his viral stand-up comedy, he’s one of the most famous alumni from Emerson College. In fact, Rolling Stone recently ranked him number 17 on its list of the top 50 best stand-up comedians of all time. Bill returns to Emerson College on a regular basis to speak with students and offer advice, which earned him the 2013 Alumni Award of Distinction at Emerson’s EVVY Awards.

Bill Burr Emerson College

6. Michael Angelakos, Musician

Michael Angelakos is the lead singer of Passion Pit, a popular electronica band – their first EP, Chunk of Change, was actually written at Emerson College! He graduated in 2009 with a degree in music. And Emersonians – and the world – have been bopping to his beats ever since.

7. Max Mutchnick, Producer

Max Mutchnick is the man behind one of the most famous television shows in the world, Will and Grace. The set of the show was actually held in the Emerson College library until its recent revival! Max left a major mark on the school by funding the Max Mutchnick Campus Center, which has served as a meeting place for students aspiring to follow in his footsteps.

8. Henry Winkler, Actor

Henry Winkler, also known as The Fonz from Happy Days, is without a doubt one of the most famous alumni from Emerson College. He graduated in 1978 with a degree in acting and, despite his immense success, stays connected with his alma mater.

Henry Winkler emerson College

9. Don Pardo, Television Announcer

Don’t worry if his name sounds unfamiliar – you have definitely heard Don Pardo’s voice on the introductions of shows like Saturday Night Live, Jeopardy!, The Price Is Right, and NBC Nightly News. Don graduated from Emerson College in 1942 with a degree in broadcasting and has served as an inspiration to Emersonians since then.

10. David Cross, Actor

David Cross may not have graduated from Emerson College, but he is certainly one of the most well-known acting majors to ever attend the school. While he is well-known as Tobias Fünke in the sitcom Arrested Development, David is also renowned for his stand-up comedy and writing skills.

11. Jennifer Coolidge, Actress

After graduating from Emerson College in 1985 with an acting degree, Jennifer Coolidge went on to star in movies like American Pie and Legally Blonde. Jennifer makes an effort to visit the school and is considered a member of the school’s “Los Angeles mafia.” 

Jennifer Coolidge Emerson College

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12. Joe Mande, Comedian

Joe Mande, who graduated from Emerson College with a degree in writing, has come up with some of the funniest jokes on shows like Parks and Recreation, Master of None, Modern Family, Kroll Show, and even some of Comedy Central’s celebrity roasts. In addition to his roster of writing credits, he recently released his first Netflix stand-up comedy special.

13. Kate Boutilier, Screenwriter

You may not know Kate by name, but you’ve definitely seen her work. She’s a screenwriter who helped bring Nickelodeon’s RugratsThe Wild Thornberrys, and As Told By Ginger to life after graduating from Emerson College with a degree in mass communications. She also wrote for Baywatch, Family Ties, and Growing Pains.

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14. Maria Menounos, Actress

Maria Menounos, who has served as a correspondent for Today, Access Hollywood, and Extra, is another one of the most famous alumni from Emerson College. She graduated in 2000 with a degree in television, and she was known for participating in the campus organization Emerson Independent Video.

Maria Menounos Emerson College

15. Doug Herzog, Television Executive

Doug Herzog, who graduated from Emerson College in 1981 with a degree in television, has a long list of impressive accomplishments. As the former president of Viacom, he played a pivotal role in the development of the MTV, VH1, Logo TV, Comedy Central, Palladia, and Spike networks. He’s even credited with bringing South Park, The Daily Show, and The Colbert Report to Comedy Central. Doug makes an effort to keep up with Emerson College and credits the school for “preparing him for a career in the communications and arts.”

When you become an Emersonian, you join the ranks of celebrities like these. Let us know if you’ll be attending and following in the footsteps of the famous Emerson college alumni in the comments section below!
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