Sponsored
95.9k readers

26 Famous People Who Were on the Debate Team

Updated June 14, 2019 95.9k views26 items

List of Famous People Who Were on the Debate Team, loosely ranked by fame and popularity. A debate team is a great way for young people to learn how to resolve issues with their words. It is also a great place for future actors, leaders and politicians to learn how to speak in front of large crowds. Many high schools and colleges have debate or forensics teams that compete at local, national and international levels. Which celebrities have been on debate teams? 

Who is the most famous person who was on the debate team? Oprah Winfrey tops our list. The talk show host was on the debate team in high school and she competed at the National Forensics League nationals competition. Winfrey used her skills to debate issues with various people from all over the world on her talk show. She also showed her love for debate by producing the 2007 film The Great Debaters starring Denzel Washington as a college debate coach.

Several comedians also competed in debate. Billy Madison actor Adam Sandler participated on his college debate team. Fellow Saturday Night Live alum John Belushi also competed in debate in both college and high school, as did his brother Jim Belushi. Other funny people who competed in debate include Arsenio Hall, Kelsey Grammer, and Steve Buscemi.

Do you think that participating on the debate team helped these people prepare for their careers? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Photo:
...more
  • Oprah Winfrey
    Photo: Metaweb / CC-BY
    Oprah Winfrey was on the debate team in high school and she competed at the National Forensics League nationals.
    • Age: 66
    • Birthplace: Kosciusko, Mississippi, United States of America

    More Oprah Winfrey 

    The Best Oprah Book Club Books22 Interesting Facts You May Not Know About Oprah#246 of 904 Celebrity Death Pool 2021

  • Adam Sandler
    Photo: Metaweb / CC-BY
    "Billy Madison" actor Adam Sandler participated in his college debate team.
    • Age: 54
    • Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America

    More Adam Sandler 

    The Best and Worst of Adam Sandler#125 of 269 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World#168 of 273 The Best (Male) Actors Working Today

  • Roger Ebert
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY
    Film critic Roger Ebert was the Illinois state champion in the forensics division of radio speaking.
    • Age: Dec. at 71 (1942-2013)
    • Birthplace: USA, Urbana, Illinois

    More Roger Ebert 

    The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars#2208 of 2,443 The Most Influential People of All Time#24 of 32 The Most Powerful People on Twitter

  • South Africa's President Nelson Mandela competed on his college debate team.
    • Age: Dec. at 95 (1918-2013)
    • Birthplace: Mvezo, South Africa

    More Nelson Mandela 

    15 Fascinating Facts About The Brutal, Inspiring Life of Nelson Mandela#70 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive#12 of 347 The Most Important Leaders In World History