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Famous Illinois State University Alumni

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Updated July 22, 2019 13.6k views 87 items

List Rules People on this list must have gone to Illinois State University and be of some renown.

List of famous alumni from Illinois State University, with photos when available. Prominent graduates from Illinois State University include celebrities, politicians, business people, athletes and more. This list of distinguished Illinois State University alumni is loosely ordered by relevance, so the most recognizable celebrities who attended Illinois State University are at the top of the list. This directory is not just composed of graduates of this school, as some of the famous people on this list didn't necessarily earn a degree from Illinois State University.

This list includes John Malkovich, Jane Lynch and more.

This list answers the questions “Which famous people went to Illinois State University?” and “Which celebrities are Illinois State University alumni?”
1
Cloris Leachman is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Illinois State University Alumni
Comedian, Actor, Voice acting

Age: 92

Birthplace: Des Moines, Iowa, USA

Cloris Leachman (born April 30, 1926) is an American actress and comedian. In a career spanning over seven decades she has won eight Primetime Emmy Awards, a Daytime Emmy Award, and an Academy ...more

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2
Jane Lynch is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Illinois State University Alumni
Comedian, Author, Actor

Age: 58

Birthplace: Evergreen Park, Illinois, USA

Jane Marie Lynch (born July 14, 1960) is an American actress, voice actress, author, singer and comedian. She is best known for her role as Sue Sylvester in the musical television series Glee. ...more

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3
John Malkovich is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Illinois State University Alumni
Fashion designer, Businessperson, Film Producer

Age: 65

Birthplace: Christopher, Illinois, United States of America

John Gavin Malkovich (born December 9, 1953) is an American actor, producer, and fashion designer. He received Academy Award nominations for his performances in Places in the Heart (1984) and In ...more

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4
Laurie Metcalf is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Illinois State University Alumni
Actor, Voice acting, Teacher

Age: 63

Birthplace: USA, Illinois, Carbondale

Laura Elizabeth Metcalf (born June 16, 1955) is an American actress. Over the course of her four-decade career, she has been the recipient of numerous acting awards and nominations. She has won ...more

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5
Craig Robinson is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Illinois State University Alumni
Actor, Voice acting, Singer

Age: 47

Birthplace: USA, Chicago, Illinois

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6
Gary Cole is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Illinois State University Alumni
Actor, Voice acting

Age: 62

Birthplace: Park Ridge, Illinois, United States of America

Gary Michael Cole (born September 20, 1956) is an American actor and voice actor. Cole began his professional acting career on stage at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company in 1985. On ...more

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#6 of 23 Actors Who Are the Best at Playing Sleazeballs #47 of 58 The Best Law & Order SVU Guest Stars #10 of 22 Famous Parents of Special Needs Children

7
Gary Sinise is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Illinois State University Alumni
Spokesperson, Television director, Theatre Director

Age: 63

Birthplace: Blue Island, Illinois, United States of America

Gary Alan Sinise (born March 17, 1955) is an American actor, director, musician, and philanthropist. He is known for his comedic and dramatic roles in his career. Among other awards, he has won ...more

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The Best Gary Sinise Movies #26 of 274 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #56 of 177 The Best Living American Actors

8
Michelle Williams is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Illinois State University Alumni
Record producer, Songwriter, Actor

Age: 38

Birthplace: Rockford, Illinois, United States of America

Tenitra Michelle Williams (born July 23, 1979) is an American recording artist and actress. Williams rose to fame in the 2000s as a member of R&B girl group Destiny's Child, one of the ...more

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9
Sean Hayes is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Illinois State University Alumni
Comedian, Television producer, Actor

Age: 48

Birthplace: USA, Chicago, Illinois

Sean Patrick Hayes (born June 26, 1970) is an American actor, comedian, singer and producer. He is best known for his role as Jack McFarland on the NBC sitcom Will & Grace, for which he won ...more

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10
Tim Russ is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Illinois State University Alumni
Musician, Film Producer, Screenwriter

Age: 62

Birthplace: Washington, D.C., USA

Timothy Darrell Russ (born June 22, 1956) is an American actor, film director, screenwriter, and musician. He is known for his roles as Lieutenant Commander Tuvok on Star Trek: Voyager, as Frank ...more
11
Suzy Bogguss is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Illinois State University Alumni
Record producer, Musician, Singer-songwriter

Age: 62

Birthplace: Aledo, Illinois

Susan Kay Bogguss (born December 30, 1956) is an American country music singer and songwriter. She began her career in the 1980s as a solo singer. In the 1990s, six of her songs were Top 10 ...more

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#621 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time #249 of 332 The Top Country Artists of All Time #59 of 157 The Top Female Country Singers

12
Francis Guinan is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Illinois State University Alumni
Actor

Birthplace: USA, Council Bluffs, Iowa

Francis V. Guinan Jr. is an American film, television and stage actor who is perhaps best known for his role as Edgar Teller the patriarch in the short-lived series Eerie, Indiana. The Council ...more
13
Donald F. Mchenry is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Illinois State University Alumni
Businessperson, Diplomat

Age: 82

Birthplace: Area code 557, St. Louis, St. Louis County, Area code 314, United States of America, + more

Donald Franchot McHenry is an American former diplomat. He was the United States Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations from September 1979 until January 20, 1981.
14
Syleena Johnson is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Illinois State University Alumni
Songwriter, Singer-songwriter, Model

Age: 42

Birthplace: Harvey, Illinois, United States of America

Syleena Johnson (born September 2, 1976) is an American R&B and soul singer-songwriter, actress and talk show co-host.
15
Boomer Grigsby is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Illinois State University Alumni
American football player

Age: 37

Birthplace: Canton, Illinois, United States of America

James Harvey "Boomer" Grigsby (born November 15, 1981) is a former American football fullback. He was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2005 NFL Draft. He ...more
16
Neal Cotts is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Illinois State University Alumni
Baseball player

Age: 38

Birthplace: Lebanon, Illinois

Neal James Cotts (born March 25, 1980) is an American former professional baseball pitcher. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers, ...more
17
Dennis Tobenski is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Illinois State University Alumni
Composer, Singer

Age: 36

Birthplace: Kankakee, Illinois

Dennis Tobenski (born April 18, 1982 in Kankakee, Illinois) is an American composer of contemporary classical music and art song.
18
Mark Staff Brandl is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous Illinois State University Alumni
Mark Staff Brandl Artist

Age: 64

Birthplace: Peoria, Illinois

Mark Staff Brandl (born 1955) is an American-born artist, art historian and art critic now living primarily in Switzerland.
19
Darell Garretson is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Illinois State University Alumni
Basketball Official

Age: Dec. at 76 (1932-2008)

Birthplace: Long Point, Illinois

Darell Lee Garretson (March 18, 1932 – April 21, 2008) was an American professional basketball referee in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for 27 years from 1967 to 1994, and he later ...more
20
Terry Kinney is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Illinois State University Alumni
Television director, Theatre Director, Actor

Age: 65

Birthplace: USA, Lincoln, Illinois

Terry Kinney (born January 29, 1954) is an American actor and theatre director, and is a founding member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, with Laurie Metcalf, Gary Sinise, and Jeff Perry. ...more
21
Brent Hawkins is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Illinois State University Alumni
Brent Hawkins American football player

Age: 35

Birthplace: Godfrey, Illinois

Brent Lee Hawkins (born September 1, 1983) is a former American football defensive end who played 2 years in the National Football League and 2 years in the Canadian Football League, until ...more
22
Reggie Hayes is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous Illinois State University Alumni
Screenwriter, Actor

Age: 49

Birthplace: USA, Chicago, Illinois

Reginald "Reggie" C. Hayes (born July 15, 1969) is an American actor, screenwriter, and director. He is best known for his role as William Dent on the UPN/CW show, Girlfriends.
23
Sandra Steingraber is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Illinois State University Alumni
Biologist, Author, Science writer

Age: 60

Birthplace: Illinois, United States of America

Sandra Steingraber (born 1959) is an American biologist, author, and cancer survivor. Steingraber writes and lectures on the environmental factors that contribute to reproductive health problems ...more
24
Aveion Cason is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Illinois State University Alumni
American football player

Age: 39

Birthplace: St. Petersburg, Florida

Aveion Marquel Cason (born July 12, 1979) is a former American football running back and kick returner in the National Football League for the St. Louis Rams, Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys. ...more
25
Jeremy Accardo is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous Illinois State University Alumni
Baseball player

Age: 37

Birthplace: Mesa, Arizona

Jeremiah Lee Accardo (born December 8, 1981) is an American former professional baseball pitcher and current pitching strategist for the New York Mets. He previously played in Major League ...more