Famous and Highly Successful English Majors

Writers Douglas Adams, Amy Tan, Tom Wolfe, Philip Roth, Bobbie Ann Mason, Gwendolyn Brooks, Toni Morrison, Joyce Carol Oates, Stephen King, Pat Conroy, Joseph Heller, Eudora Welty, Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel, and John Updike

Playwright Arthur Miller

Journalists Diane Sawyer, Russell Baker, Barbara Walters, Helen Thomas, Andrea Mitchell, Bob Woodward, Gretchen Morgenstern, and Garrison Keillor

Librarian Nancy Burdick Galbraith (head of the Poetry and Literature Center of the Library of Congress)

Social activist Michael Harrington (author of The Other America

Actors Alan Alda, David Hyde Pierce, Edward Burns, Chevy Chase, Joan Cusack, Vin Diesel, Harrison Ford, Catherine Keener, John Mahoney, Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, David Duchovny, Susan Sarandon, Reese Witherspoon, Renee Zellweger, Emma Watson, James Franco, Tommy Lee Jones, Paul Newman, Christopher Reeve, Geoffrey Rush, and Sigourney Weaver

Talk-show hosts Joy Behar, Conan O’Brien, Mary Hart, Joan Rivers, and Johnny Carson

Directors James Cameron, Steven Spielberg, and Martin Scorsese

Nobel laureate in medicine Harold Varmus 

Coaches John Wooden, Joe Paterno, and Marty Shottenheimer

Former baseball commissioner Bart Giamatti

CEOs and former CEOs Andrea Jung (Avon), Michael Eisner (Disney), Anne Mulcahy (Xerox), Judy McGrath (MTV), and Grant Tinker (MTM Productions)

Former First Lady Laura Bush 

Cartoonist Cathy Guisewite (“Cathy”) 

Musicians Paul Simon, Don Henley, Sting, Kris Kristofferson, and Chris Isaak

Supreme Court justices Clarence Thomas, Thurgood Marshall, and John Paul Stevens

Politicians Mitt Romney and Mario Cuomo 

Doctor Benjamin Spock and behaviorist B.F. Skinner 

Astronaut Sally Ride 

Biologist-environmentalists Rachel Carson and Sandra Steingraber 

Federal agency/bureau chiefs Carol Browner (Environmental Protection Agency) and and Hank Paulson (Treasury Secretary under George W. Bush) 

Humorists Joan Rivers, Chevy Chase, Joy Behar, and Dave Barry 

Plus there are a lot of successful but not-so-famous former English majors. On the CollegeConfidential.com website, SBmom posted, “I was an English major who later went into t.v. production, then made a career in screenwriting for films. I think English is a great major for almost anything, because if you know how to write you know how to think. In today’s world you need to be able to move from field to field as technologies change, etc.—almost every field favors someone who is an effective communicator and can present ideas with clarity. Plus it is a fun thing to study!

(http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-search-selection/9041-future-current-english-majors-what-do-you-plan-do-your-degree.html)

We couldn’t have put it better.