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

List of famous alumni from Northwestern University, with photos when available. Prominent graduates from Northwestern University include celebrities, politicians, business people, athletes and more. This list of distinguished Northwestern University alumni is loosely ordered by relevance, so the most recognizable celebrities who attended Northwestern 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 Northwestern University.

A list made up of graduates like Zooey Deschanel and Cindy Crawford.

This list answers the questions “Which famous people went to Northwestern University?” and “Which celebrities are Northwestern University alumni?”

1
Zooey Deschanel is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Television producer, Musician, Singer-songwriter Zooey Claire Deschanel is an American actress, singer-songwriter, and musician. In 1999, Deschanel made her film debut in Mumford, followed by her breakout role as Anita Miller in Cameron ...more

2
Cindy Crawford is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Pin-up girl, Fashion Model, Supermodel Cynthia Ann "Cindy" Crawford is an American model. Her success at modeling made her an international celebrity that has led to roles in television and film, and to work as a ...more

3
Stephen Colbert is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Television Show Host, Comedian, Television producer Stephen Tyrone Colbert is an American political satirist, writer, producer, singer, television host, actor, media critic, and comedian. From 2005 to 2014, he was the host of Comedy Central's The ...more

4
Hugh Hefner is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Editor, Publisher, Businessperson Hugh Marston Hefner is an American adult magazine publisher, businessman, and a well-known playboy. This Chicago, Illinois native is a former journalist for Esquire and World War II veteran but ...more

5
Julia Louis-Dreyfus is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Comedian, Television producer, Actor Julia Scarlett Elizabeth Louis-Dreyfus is an American actress, comedian, and producer. She is known for her television work on Seinfeld, The New Adventures of Old Christine, and Veep, which she ...more

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Cloris Leachman is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Comedian, Actor, Voice acting Cloris Leachman is an American actress of stage, film, and television. She has won eight Primetime Emmy Awards and one Daytime Emmy Award. She co-starred in the 1971 film The Last Picture Show ...more

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Megan Mullally is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Actor, Voice acting, Singer Megan Mullally is an American actress and singer. After working in theatre in Chicago, Mullally moved to Los Angeles in 1985 and began to appear in supporting roles in film and television ...more

8
Zach Braff is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Television director, Television producer, Film Producer Zachary Israel "Zach" Braff is an American actor, director and screenwriter. Braff first became known in 2001 for his role as Dr. John Dorian on the television series Scrubs, for which ...more

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Mary Ann Leeper is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Biochemist, Radiobiochemist

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Jeri Ryan is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Actor Jeri Lynn Ryan is an American actress best known for her role as the liberated Borg, Seven of Nine, on Star Trek: Voyager, for which she won two Saturn Awards. She is also known for her role as ...more

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Charles Busch is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Novelist, Drag queen, Actor Charles Louis Busch is an American actor, screenwriter, playwright and female impersonator, known for his appearances on stage in his own camp style plays and in film and television. He wrote ...more

12
Warren Beatty is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Film Producer, Screenwriter, Actor Henry Warren Beaty, known professionally as Warren Beatty is an American actor, producer, screenwriter and director. Beatty has been nominated for fourteen Academy Awards, and has won the Best ...more

13
Ann-Margret is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Actor, Singer, Dancer Ann-Margret is a Swedish-American actress, singer and dancer. As an actress, she is best known for her roles in Bye Bye Birdie, Viva Las Vegas, The Cincinnati Kid, Carnal Knowledge, and Tommy. ...more

14
David Schwimmer is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Television director, Theatre Director, Film Producer David Lawrence Schwimmer is an American actor, director, producer, voice actor and comedian. He was born in New York City, and his family moved to Los Angeles when he was 2. He began his acting ...more

15
Patricia Neal is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Actor Patricia Neal was an actress.

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Patti Davis is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Author, Actor Patti Davis is an American actress and author. She is the daughter of U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Reagan's second wife, First Lady Nancy Reagan. While her father is heralded as a ...more

17
Samantha Harris is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Model, Actor, TV Personality Samantha Harris is an American television hostess. Most notably, she was the co-host of seasons two through nine of Dancing with the Stars with Tom Bergeron. From 2010–12, she was a ...more

18
Shelley Long is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Actor Shelley Lee Long is an American actress, best known for her role as Diane Chambers in the sitcom Cheers, for which she received five Emmy nominations, winning in 1983 for Outstanding Lead ...more

19
Robert Reed is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Actor Robert Reed was an American stage, film and television actor and television director. From 1961 to 1965, Reed portrayed the role of Kenneth Preston on the popular legal drama, The Defenders, ...more

20
Charlton Heston is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Actor, Voice acting, Political Activist Charlton Heston was an American actor and political activist. As a Hollywood star he appeared in 100 films over the course of 60 years. He played the leading role in The Ten Commandments; Touch ...more

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Paula Prentiss is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Actor Paula Prentiss is an American actress best known for her film roles in Where the Boys Are, Man's Favorite Sport?, The Stepford Wives, What's New Pussycat?, The Black Marble, and The Parallax

22
Rod Blagojevich is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Prosecutor, Politician, Lawyer Rod Blagojevich is a former politician who served as the 40th Governor of Illinois from 2003 to 2009. A Democrat, Blagojevich was a State Representative before being elected to the United States ...more

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Edgar Bergen is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Comic book creator, Comedian, Ventriloquist Edgar John Bergen was an American actor, comedian and radio performer, best known for his proficiency in ventriloquism and his characters Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd. He is also the ...more

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Paul Lynde is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Character actor, Comedian, Actor Paul Edward Lynde was an American comedian and actor. A noted character actor with a distinctively campy and snarky persona that often poked fun at his barely in-the-closet homosexuality, Lynde ...more

25
Craig Bierko is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Actor, Singer Craig Philip Bierko is an American actor and singer.

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Charlotte Rae is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Comedian, Actor, Voice acting Charlotte Rae is an American character actress of stage, comedienne, singer and dancer, who in her six decades of television is perhaps best known for her portrayal of Edna Garrett in the ...more

27
Jennifer Jones is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Actor Jennifer Jones, also known as Jennifer Jones Simon, was an American Oscar-winning actress during the Hollywood golden years. Jones, who won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance ...more

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Denis O'Hare is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Actor Denis Patrick Seamus O'Hare is an American actor noted for his award-winning performances in the plays Take Me Out and Sweet Charity, as well as portraying the vampire Russell Edgington on HBO's ...more

29
Mary Frann is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Actor Mary Frann was an American actress best known for her role as Bob Newhart's wife, Joanna Loudon, on the television series Newhart.

30
John Cameron Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Film Producer, Screenwriter, Actor John Cameron Mitchell is an American actor, writer and director, best known for his films Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Shortbus and Rabbit Hole.

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Charles Horace Mayo is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Physician Charles Horace Mayo was an American medical practitioner and was one of the founders of the Mayo Clinic along with his brother, William James Mayo, Augustus Stinchfield, Christopher Graham, E. ...more

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Gloria Root is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Nude Glamour Model Gloria Root was Playboy magazine's Playmate of the Month for the December 1969 issue. Her centerfold was photographed by Pompeo Posar.

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Clinton Kelly is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Clinton Kelly is an American fashion consultant and media personality best known for his role as co-host on What Not to Wear, a reality program that featured fashion makeovers. He shared on-air ...more

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Ned Rorem is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Diarist, Author, Composer Ned Rorem is an American composer and diarist, best known and most praised for his song settings. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1976.

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Lloyd Hall is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Chemist, Inventor Lloyd Augustus Hall was an African American chemist who contributed to the science of food preservation. By the end of his career, Hall had amassed 59 United States patents, and a number of his ...more

36
Laura Linney is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Television producer, Actor, Voice acting Laura Leggett Linney is an American actress. A three-time Academy Award nominee and three-time Tony Award nominee, she won her first Emmy Award in 2002 for Wild Iris, and had subsequent wins for ...more

37
Noah Wyle is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Television producer, Film Producer, Actor Noah Strausser Speer Wyle is an American film, television, and theatre actor. He is best known for his roles as Dr. John Carter in ER and as Tom Mason in Falling Skies. He has also played Steve ...more

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Jerry Orbach is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Actor, Singer Jerome Bernard "Jerry" Orbach was an American actor and singer, described at his death as "one of the last bona fide leading men of the Broadway musical and global celebrity on ...more

39
George McGovern is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Politician, Soldier, Historian George Stanley McGovern was an American historian, author, U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator, and the Democratic Party presidential nominee in the 1972 presidential election. McGovern grew up in ...more

40
Dermot Mulroney is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Musician, Film Producer, Actor Dermot Mulroney is an American actor and director. Acting since the 1980s, he is known for his roles in the films Young Guns, Where the Day Takes You, My Best Friend's Wedding, The Last Outlaw, ...more

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Saul Bellow is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Novelist, Author, Essayist Saul Bellow was a Canadian-born American writer. For his literary contributions, Bellow was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the Nobel Prize for Literature, and the National Medal of Arts. He is the ...more

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Leigh Taylor-Young is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Actor Leigh Taylor-Young is an American actress who has appeared on stage, screen, podcast, radio, and television.

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Adlai Stevenson II is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Politician Adlai Ewing Stevenson II was an American politician and diplomat, noted for his intellectual demeanor, eloquent public speaking, and promotion of liberal causes in the Democratic Party. He ...more

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Clyde Kusatsu is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Actor, Voice acting Clyde Kusatsu is an American actor of Japanese descent.

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Richard Kline is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Television director, Actor Richard Kline is an American actor and television director. He is best known for playing Larry Dallas on the ABC sitcom Three's Company.

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Claude Akins is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Actor, Voice acting Claude Marion Akins was an American actor with a long career on stage, screen and television. Powerful in appearance and voice, Akins could be counted on to play the clever tough guy, on the ...more

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Craig Sager is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Journalist Craig Graham Sager, Sr. is an American sideline reporter for TNT and TBS. Sager is a graduate of Northwestern University. He has previously covered sports for CBS and CNN. His nicknames are ...more

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Debi Thomas is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Physician, Surgeon Debra Janine Thomas is an American figure skater and physician. She is the 1986 World champion, two-time U.S. national champion and 1988 Olympic bronze medalist. Her rivalry with East Germany's ...more

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Greg Berlanti is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Television producer, Film Producer, Screenwriter Greg Berlanti is an American film and television writer, producer and director. He is well known for his work on the television series Dawson's Creek, Everwood, Political Animals, Arrow and The

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Aimee Garcia is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Famous Northwestern University Alumni
Screenwriter, Actor, Voice acting Amy Garcia is a screenwriter.