Top Ten Celebrities who Studied Anthropology at University

Anthropology doesn't exactly scream 'celebrity hotbed'. However, it seems that there is just something about studying it that sets people on the road to stardom. Here are ten celebrities who show that an Anthropology degree can lead to a huge range of careers:

10. Kurt Vonnegut

Having at one point been regarded as the novelist most widely taught in American universities, Kurt Vonnegut is truly worthy of a place in this top ten. Noted for his dark, satirical sense of humour, Vonnegut's most successful and famous novel is Slaughterhouse-Five, which regularly appears in lists of the best novels written in the modern era. 

While Vonnegut did study Anthropology at the University of Chicago as a graduate student, he left the university without a degree after his thesis was unanimously rejected. 

Kurt Vonnegut street art
© Deltapilot97 / wikicommons

9. Will Champion

If somebody asked you to name the four members of Coldplay, the chances are that you'd say Chris Martin and then struggle to get any further. Will Champion, Coldplay's drummer, may only be one of the other band members, but within the group is regarded as their spiritual leader. Chris Martin routinely cites Champion as having the most significant vote when the band are making creative decisions, and once said "We [Coldplay] are all just working for Will Champion".

Champion met his future bandmates while studying Anthropology at UCL, and almost 20 years later, Champion's CV now includes seven number one albums, a cameo appearance in Game of Thrones and even a spell as a doorman for Ricky Gervais.

Will _champion
© S.Camelot / flickr

8. Tracy Chapman

You've got a fast car, she wants a ticket to anywhere. When you've written one of the most well-known songs of all time and got a BA in Anthropology and African Studies from Tufts University, you're almost guaranteed a place on our Top 10 Celebrities who Studied Anthropology at University.

Tracy Chapman's illustrious career has seen her amass four Grammy Awards and passionately engage in social activism. It doesn't take much of a leap of faith to suggest that her Anthropological studies have influenced her humanitarian nature.

Tracy _chapman
© Pieter Morlion / flickr

7. Nick Clegg

He may not be the most popular political figure among students, but having brought the Liberal Democrats back into government for the first time in almost 100 years, Nick Clegg deserves some recognition. Unfortunately for Clegg, while he may well be remembered for years to come, it will be as the man who promised to help eradicate tuition fees and instead became complicit in tripling them for UK students.

As a student, blissfully ignorant to the chequered political career that lay ahead of him, Nick Clegg earned a 2:1 in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge which earns his place on this list.

Nick _clegg
© Liberal Democrats / flickr

6. Glenn Close

Who knew that double majoring in Theatre and Anthropology at the College of William and Mary could turn you into one of the most versatile actresses of a generation? Whether it's playing an obsessive ex-lover in psychological thriller Fatal Attraction, or portraying a woman portraying a man in 2011's Albert Nobb, Glenn Close's performances have earned her more award nominations than most of us have had birthdays.

Despite her hugely varied filmography, Close is probably best known to younger audiences as Cruella de Vil in 101 Dalmations and Kala in Tarzan. 

Glenn _close
© Glenn Close News / flickr

5. Thandie Newton

A 2:1 in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge is a great foundation upon which to build any career, but rarely does it lead to a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. This is the unlikely life story of Thandie Newton, who in addition to her award-winning performance in Crash has also appeared in The Pursuit of Happyness and the hit series Westworld.

Off-screen, Newton has done a great deal of charity work, including writing a book in aid of the NSPCC. Truly a worthy inclusion on our list.

Thandie _newton
© ministryofstories / flickr

4. Joan Rivers

Sometimes offensive, often controversial, but almost always funny, Joan Rivers is widely regarded as one of the most important comedians of the 20th century. Despite attracting criticism throughout her career for her near-the-knuckle brand of humour, the tributes paid following her death in 2014 revealed the astonishing extent to which Joan Rivers has influenced and inspired comedians of all ages and backgrounds.

Before embarking on her sensational journey to stardom, Rivers graduated with a BA in English Literature and Anthropology, thus earning her a place on this list of the Top 10 Celebrities who Studied Anthropology at University.

Joan _rivers
© celebrityabc / flickr

3. Prince Charles

It seems to be damning with faint praise to describe Prince Charles as a celebrity. As the son of Queen Elizabeth II, Charles has been the next-in-line to the throne since 1952 – the longest period in British history – and is the oldest person to be in this position since the early 1700s.

Being part of the Royal Family affords you many privileges, and despite earning just two A Levels at grades B and C, Charles was admitted to read Anthropology, Archaeology and History at the University of Cambridge. He graduated in 1970 with a 2:2, and hence earns a place on this list.

Prince _charles
© Dan Marsh / flickr

2. Hugh Laurie

Despite his many years portraying Dr Gregory House in the hit drama House, Hugh Laurie actually specialised in Social rather than Biological Anthropology when working towards his degree in Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge.

In his time as Dr House, Laurie was among the highest-paid actors in television drama, at one point earning £250,000 per episode. However, it was with long-time friend Stephen Fry that Laurie started his career in showbusiness, starring alongside the future QI host in Blackadder.

Hugh _laurie
© Pako Guzman / flickr

1. David Attenborough

Even into his 90s, Sir David Attenborough is still producing some of the most spectacular viewing on British television. His nature documentaries have fascinated and amazed us all for over half a century, with cutting edge cinematography shining a light on nature's most weird and wonderful spectacles.

Given Attenborough's lifelong association with the natural world, it's no surprise that in the early 1960s, he left the permanent staff at the BBC to study for a postgraduate degree in Social Anthropology at the London School of Economics.

Although accepting the role of BBC Two controller forced him to quit his studies, David Attenborough is undoubtedly our number one celebrity who studied Anthropology at university.

David _attenborough
© Nottingham Trent University / flickr

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