It turns out some celebrities really do have it all. Not only are they wildly successful, rich, good-looking and talented, but a rare few have also been educated at the most elite universities in the country. Wonderwall.com is taking a look at some of the stars who have Ivy League educations on their impressive resumes… starting with Matt Damon, who attended Harvard (which was founded in 1636 and happens to be the oldest college in America). Although Matt left before finishing his senior year, his early success onscreen is directly linked to his academic pursuits. The 1997 Oscar-winning film he co-wrote and starred in, "Good Will Hunting," was penned for one of his playwriting classes at the prestigious university. Keep reading to see who else attended one of the eight Ivy League schools…
Grammy-winning singer Alicia Keys was once a student at New York's Columbia University. With a mere 6 percent acceptance rate, few can claim student status at the elite institution. Shortly after starting school, however, another Columbia came knocking on Alicia's door — Columbia Records. Right after starting her higher education, Alicia made one of the most difficult decisions of her life and dropped out of college to pursue a career in music. By the looks of it, her choice paid off.
"Saturday Night Live" and "Weekend Update" star Colin Jost (who's dating actress Scarlett Johansson) can also claim an Ivy league affiliation. The actor and writer is a Harvard grad who got a degree in the history and literature of Russia and Britain (whoa, dense stuff). He also was a writer for the famous Harvard Lampoon, which undoubtedly helped him develop his remarkable talent for satire.
"Beauty and the Beast" star Emma Watson is known for being incredibly well-spoken and intelligent. Maybe her education at Brown University is partly responsible. At Brown, Emma studied English literature, ultimately earning a bachelor's degree in 2014. She even spent a year studying at Oxford University, coining it her "year abroad" (even though it was actually a chance for her to return home to England).
Whether you think James Franco is the weirdest celebrity ever or an absolute genius (we're team genius), you can't deny the guy is seriously educated. After getting a bachelor's degree in English in just two years at UCLA, he enrolled in four master's programs including at Columbia University, where he studied fiction writing. Like a train moving full steam ahead, James didn't quit after completing his graduate degree. Instead, he enrolled at Yale to work on his Ph.D. in English. He also happens to teach at NYU (lucky students). How he manages it all is anyone's guess.
Mama-to-be Mindy Kaling (who's currently starring on the final season of her hit show "The Mindy Project") isn't just one of the funniest ladies on TV today — she's also fiercely smart. In 2001, Mindy graduated from Dartmouth in New Hampshire. Initially, Mindy planned on majoring in Latin but switched to playwriting. In addition to her academic pursuits, Mindy also famously penned a daily comic strip from 1999 to 2001 called "Badly Drawn Girl" under her real name, Mindy Chokalingam.
Jake Gyllenhaal, who currently stars in the biographical drama "Stronger," isn't just a hunky movie star — he's also a former student at Columbia University. Although Jake dropped out two years before completing his degree (which would have been in Eastern religions and philosophy), he went on to star in one of the first box office hits of his career, "Donnie Darko" — a film that opened the door to Jake's future as a Hollywood superstar.
Another Gyllenhaal who made an educational pit stop at Columbia was Maggie Gyllenhaal, who graduated from the elite university in 1999 with a degree in literature. Maggie, who's married to actor Peter Sarsgaard and a mother of two, is currently starring on the HBO streaming series "The Deuce."
One of the stars of the Emmy-winning show "The Handmaid's Tale" is Max Minghella, a British cutie with a college degree. He graduated from Columbia University in 2009 after studying history. Before pursuing his higher education, Max considered a career in directing music videos, but found his passion for acting after seeing Jake Gyllenhaal on Broadway in "This is Our Youth" in 2002.
Amazing Angela Bassett doesn't just have one degree from an Ivy League school — she's got two. The star of the upcoming Marvel superhero film "Black Panther" has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from Yale's School of Drama. In fact, while attending Yale, Angela met her future husband, actor Courtney B. Vance, who also has two degrees from the prestigious university. Talk about a power couple.
"Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" star Ellie Kemper is known for her hilarious roles, but she's also as card-carrying Princeton graduate who once played on the university's women's field hockey team. Ellie earned an English degree in 2002 from the top-tier school and later went to Oxford to continue her studies. Since then, the actress has gone on to enjoy a successful career as an actress. Aside from making us laugh on-screen, Ellie occasionally pens essays for McSweeney's (and they're usually pretty damn funny).
Amazing music career? Check. Grammys? Check. Beautiful wife? Check. Gorgeous kid? Check. English degree with an emphasis on African-American literature from an Ivy League institution? Checkmate. John Legend didn't just graduate from the University of Pennsylvania (the only Ivy league school with a state in its name) — he was also offered admission to Harvard and a full-ride scholarship to Georgetown University. Clearly his talent and potential was evident from a very young age.
Another "Saturday Night Live" alum who has an Ivy League degree in her back pocket is comedic actress Kate McKinnon. Kate graduated from Columbia University in 2006 with a bachelor's degree in theater. Not long after graduating, Kate turned her talent for impersonations into a full-time gig, starring on the Logo network's "Big Gay Sketch Show" for four years. In 2012, Kate joined "SNL" as its first openly gay female cast member.
Funnyman John Krasinski graduated from Brown in 2001 with a degree in theater arts. He spent his first semester abroad in Costa Rica teaching English. When John enrolled at the university, he was dedicated to pursuing a degree in education, but (luckily for us) he later realized acting was a better fit and changed his major.
Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o is jaw-droppingly beautiful, insanely talented and just happens to have a master of fine arts degree from Yale. After graduating from Hampshire College in Massachusetts with her bachelor's degree, Lupita was accepted into the Yale School of Drama where she completed her graduate degree in 2012, one year before delivering her award-winning performance in "12 Years a Slave." Fun fact: Lupita was raised in Kenya but was born in Mexico City.
"Prison Break" star Wentworth Miller has a long history in Hollywood going back to his guest-starring role on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" in 1998. Before he turned to Tinseltown, however, Wentworth attended Princeton, one of the most prestigious universities in the country. In 1995, he graduated with a degree in English literature.
Natalie Portman is smarter than us and we're not afraid to admit it. The actress, wife and mother of two graduated from Harvard with a degree in psychology in 2003. While there, she even managed to get her research on frontal lobe activation published. It should also be noted that Natalie can rap — as evidenced by her performance with Lonely Island on "Saturday Night Live" in 2006. Clearly Natalie knows how to live her best life.
The name Edward Norton just sounds smart, doesn't it? The actor, director and producer lived up to his impressive sounding name by completing his higher education at one of the top schools in the country, Yale. He graduated in 1991 with a degree in history and promptly moved to Japan afterward to work at his grandfather's company before embarking on a career in Hollywood. Edward also speaks Japanese, which basically makes him an international man of mystery.
Yes, Rashida Jones is music mogul Quincy Jones's daughter, but she's so much more than that. In 1997, the actress (and current star of "Angie Tribeca") graduated from Harvard with a degree in religion and philosophy and, shortly before she was cast in the hit comedy "The Office" in 2006, she almost pursued a graduate degree in public policy.
"Ray Donovan" star Liev Schreiber might play rough and rugged characters on-screen, but he's totally refined when it comes to his education. Liev studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and at Hampshire College (where he received his bachelor's degree) before pursuing a master of fine arts degree from the Yale School of Drama in 1992.
Living legend Meryl Streep is exceptionally well-educated. Her impressive academic resume includes a bachelor's degree from Vassar (not Ivy league but a rigorous institution that deserves a mention) followed by a master of fine arts degree from the Yale School of Drama. Since graduation, Meryl has been awarded not one, not two, not even three but four honorary doctorate of fine arts degrees from the following universities: Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Indiana University at Bloomington. This means it's entirely acceptable to call her Dr. Meryl Streep.
"Triple 9" and "Manchester by the Sea" star Casey Affleck might have discovered a taste for Hollywood at an early age, but he didn't let his fame stop him from getting an education. He originally enrolled at George Washington University before transferring to Columbia for his sophomore and junior years. While there, he studied physics, but he grew tired of spending so much time reading alone in the library so he decided to drop out before his senior year.
Aisha Tyler has starred on "The Talk," "Archer," "Criminal Minds" and more. She also happens to be a graduate of Dartmouth with a degree in political science. She completed her bachelor's degree in 1992 and just two years later married her college sweetheart, Jeff Tietjens. The couple divorced in 2017.
As a kid, Joseph Gordon-Levitt loved Hollywood but wasn't always comfortable with fame. The "3rd Rock From the Sun" and "Snowden" star took time off from his busy acting schedule in 2000 to indulge in academic pursuits at Columbia, all in the hopes he could avoid the limelight for a while. The handsome star studied history, literature and even French poetry. Ultimately, he found he couldn't stay away from his true calling as an actor so during his senior year, he dropped out and returned to the big screen.
Beautiful Brooke Shields might have been at the height of her fame in 1983 after appearing as the face of Calvin Klein Jeans and starring in box office hits like "The Blue Lagoon" and "Pretty Baby," but that didn't stop her from getting a college degree. Immediately after Brooke graduated high school, she enrolled at Princeton University to study French poetry and romance languages. The model and actress later revealed in her memoir "There Was a Little Girl" that while at Princeton, she lost her virginity to another famous student — actor Dean Cain. Brooke graduated from the university with honors in 1987.