21 Big Show Biz Stars Who Attended SUNY Colleges
Their credits include Seinfeld, Backdraft, Mad About You, Independence Day, The Hunger Games, The Sopranos, Die Hard, The Shawshank Redemption, When Harry Met Sally, 10,000 Maniacs, L.A. Law, and Family Ties. Not too shabby, right?
And those are just SOME of the impressive show business success stories of the following 21 entertainment icons who attended SUNY schools before going on to enjoy fame and fortune. You might have already known about NBC weatherman Al Roker and his connection to SUNY Oswego, but some of these others may surprise you.
- Scott Valentine. He attended SUNY Adirondack before being cast as Nick Moore, opposite Michael J. Fox and Justine Bateman, in the hit TV sitcom Family Ties.
- Awkwafina. The actress who starred in Crazy Rich Asians attended SUNY Albany.
- Billy Baldwin. The SUNY Binghamton grad starred in Backdraft. His mom Carol still lives in the Syracuse area.
- Ingrid Michaelson. The singer-songwriter with hits like "The Way I Am" (below) also went to SUNY Binghamton, although much later than Baldwin.
- Paul Reiser. Mad About You's male star, opposite Helen Hunt, attended SUNY Binghamton.
- Wolf Blitzer. He graduated from SUNY Buffalo with a B.A. in History long before becoming a stalwart on CNN.
- Alan Rachins. He played an attorney in L.A. Law and a dad in Dharma & Greg long after he graduated from Empire State College, headquartered in Saratoga Springs.
- Bill Pullman. The president in Independence Day studied at both SUNY Delhi and SUNY Oneonta.
- Billy Crystal. The comedian from Saturday Night Live, Soap, and When Harry Met Sally went to Nassau Community College before becoming a mega-star. I hate when that happens.
- Mary McDonnell. She starred opposite Kevin Costner in Dances with Wolves and opposite Kevin Kline in Grand Canyon, and she graduated from SUNY Fredonia.
- Natalie Merchant. The lead singer of 10,000 Maniacs (below) started out playing coffee houses while studying at Jamestown Community College.
- John Turturro. The go-to favorite of Spike Lee and the Coen brothers attended SUNY New Paltz.
- John McTiernan. The director of Die Hard attended SUNY Old Westbury on Long Island.
- Al Roker. He has a sandwich named after him at the Oswego Sub Shop, a staple for SUNY Oswego college students.
- Jerry Seinfeld. The comedian left SUNY Oswego after two years and double-dipped by finishing his studies at Queens College in New York City.
- Tim Robbins. The actor who starred as Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption and "Nuke" Laloosh in Bull Durham started his education at SUNY Plattsburgh.
- Stanley Tucci. His star turn as the fabulous Caesar Flickerman in The Hunger Games blockbusters was preceded by a stint at SUNY Purchase. He's married to Felicity Blunt, so Emily Blunt and John Krasinski are his sister and brother-in-law.
- Ving Rhames. He was pals with Tucci at SUNY Purchase, then became buds with Tom Cruise in the Mission Impossible film series.
- Edie Falco. The actress who played the wife of Tony Soprano attended SUNY Purchase.
- Wesley Snipes. Long before White Men Can't Jump, he was on the SUNY Purchase campus at the same time as Edie Falco.
- Geraldo Rivera. The FOX News regular attended SUNY Maritime and rowed crew long before he became a sensational journalist.
There are 64 unique SUNY campuses across the Empire State. So, who knows? Maybe your SUNY student will one day become a big star in his or her field.