We’ve told you before about student-athletes turning professional after their time in college. However, there are a lot of different ways to become famous after being a student-athlete.
There’s a good chance that one of your favorite movies or TV shows features a former NCAA athlete. In fact, some of the biggest stars ever used to lace ’em up and compete on the field, court or hardwood during their college days. Here are some former NCAA athletes who starred on television and in the movies.
University: Boston University
Sport: Track and Field
Known for: Orange is the new Black
Uzo Aduba, all Orange is the new Black-fans between us will know her as ‘Suzanne Crazy Eyes Warren’. From 1999 – 2003, she was part of the t Track and Field team @ Boston University. She later won two Emmy Awards and was nominated twice for Golden Globe Awards for her amazing role in this hit series!
University: St. Mary’s
Known for: Moonlight, House of cards, Luke Cage & True Detective
Mahershala Ali, an actor of several well-known films and series who won an Oscar twice for ‘Best Supporting Actor’. This nearly 2-meter athlete was part of the Men’s basketball team @ St. Mary’s before his acting career started. As a ‘guard’ he had a lot of success as well: he scored 348 points in 4 seasons.
Sport: Field Hockey
Known for: The Office, Bridesmaids, 21 Jump Street, Conan, Unbreakably Kimmy
Ellie Kemper was part of the Field Hockey team at Princeton before her great career as an actress started. During her college years she found out that she actually liked acting even more and she also joined the theater group of the university. A good choice for Ellie, she has appeared in several major series and films.
University: Miami (FL)
Sport: American Football
Known for: WWE, Ballers, Fast & Furious, Jumani, San Andreas
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, for many probably one of the better known actors in this list. In fact, he is one of the most famous and successful actors in the world! And if you know who we’re talking about, it shouldn’t surprise you that before his career as a movie star he served as ‘Defensive Tackle’ on the Miami American Football team. In 1991 he and his team won the national championship! This was before he even started wrestling at a professional level, because what did this man not do? Around 2000 he transformed from professional wrestler to actor in TV shows and movies. Because every series or film that needs a huge and strong character wants The Rock. One thing is certain: we prefer not to challenge him to a bit of wrestling!
University: Southeastern Louisiana
Known for: Good Morning America, SportsCenter, Pitch Perfect, He Got Game
Robin Roberts has always been a big name in the American broadcasting world, hosting SportsCenter and Good Morning America. But later she also made fame to the rest of the world, she played roles in the internationally major films ‘Pitch Perfect’ and ‘He Got Game’. But Robin also had an impressive career as student athlete, she played from 1979-1983 in the basketball team of the Lady Lions in Southeastern Louisiana. She has since become part of the Athletics Hall of Fame, as she is in the top 5 with most rebounds, free throws and most played games in school history. In 2006, she was named one of the NCAA’s 100 Most Influential Student Athletes!
University: Brown University
Sport: Field Hockey
Known for: Harry Potter, Beauty and the Beast and way more…
Emma Watson, one of the most famous (English) actresses! She played Hermione Granger in all eight of the Harry Potter films, the last of which was filmed in 2010. In an interview she honestly says that after her role as Hermione she never had to work again, yet she was far from sitting still! She chose to exchange England for the USA, where she studied Liberal Arts at Brown University from 2009 – 2014. She chose the USA because, after missing so much in school life as a child, she was ready for a real student experience. She found this in Brown, where she made many friends and was part of the field hockey team. Do you recognize her in the picture below?
After graduating in 2014 she continued her career as an actress, playing in Beauty and the Beast, The Circle, Little Women and many more … In addition, tennis, fly fishing, art and singing include her hobbies. You go Emma!
Last but not least, Ed O’Neill! Because who doesn’t know him? Actor and comedian who will be known to many of us as Jay Pritchett on the hit series Modern Family or as Al Bundy who appeared in all 261 episodes of Married … with Children! Before Ed’s career as an actor began, he had one big dream: to become a professional American Football Player. He played College Football at Ohio and Youngstown State from 1964 to 1968. After his time as a student athlete, he was scouted by the Pitssburgh Steelers. Ed hoped to start a career as a football player here, but was later asked to leave because he was not good enough, ouch … Luckily for Ed he was in for a great career as an actor, he was even nominated for a Golden Globe and was awarded a ‘star’ on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2011. Ed was seen as Jay Pritchett in Modern Family for no less than 11 years (2009 – 2020) and 11 seasons. In the series he was married to one of the world’s most beautiful actresses Sofia Vergara, in the series known as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett. The comedy duo can be seen in the picture below.
The above 6 actors and actresses are just a glimpse of many student athletes who have entered the film world. So you see, as a student athlete, the world is at your feet in many areas!
Do you want to know more about the life as student-athlete? Or would you like to know what your possibilities are? Reach out and we will discuss them together!