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Writers, artists, actors: All with roots at the University

Princeton has produced its share of luminaries in fields outside politics. Take, for example, the world of literature.

Pulitzer Prize winner for general nonfiction in 1999 John McPhee '53 writes essays for The New Yorker and teaches a creative nonfiction course for undergraduates.


Edmund Wilson '16 authored many celebrated works of criticism. His friend from his college days, F. Scott Fitzgerald '17, is perhaps the most celebrated author in Princeton's history, though he never received a University diploma.

Princetonians have also fared well in journalism. New York Times aces include: John Oakes '34, a former editorial page editor and senior editor; chief correspondent and former Washington and London bureau chief R.W. Apple '57, who never graduated from Princeton; Todd Purdum '82, who covered the White House and is now Los Angeles bureau chief; and Stephen Engleberg '79, who covered the Iran-Contra affair and is now the paper's editor for special investigations.

In broadcast journalism, Lowell Thomas '16 hosted the program "Lowell Thomas and The News," which had the longest continuous run in broadcast history from 1930 until 1976.

Frank Stella '58, the abstract impressionist painter, and P.F. Hoving '53, former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, are Princeton grads who have blazed colorful trails in the art world.

Many alumni have had successful careers in the worlds of television and theater, including playwrights Booth Tarkington 1893 and Thornton Wilder GS '26.

The late Jimmy Stewart '32, Jose Ferrer '33 and the late Joshua Logan '31 brought their Princeton charm to Hollywood.


One of Princeton's most famous graduates, Brooke Shields '87, is well-known for Calvin Klein jean ads, Bob Hope television specials, and movies such as "The Blue Lagoon" and "Pretty Baby." Tiger football star Dean Cain '88 played Clark Kent on ABC's "Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman." Fox Mulder on "The X-Files" is played by David Duchovny '82.

In the sciences, Nobel Prizes have gone to many Princetonians, including John Bardeen '39, co-inventor of the transistor, and William Baker GS '39, Bell Laboratories president. Baker was active in the development of synthetic rubber, spacecraft heat shields and the microwave laser.

Princeton grads have also been influential in the business world. Lee Iacocca GS '46 gained international recognition when he put the Chrysler Corporation back on solid financial ground.

William Ruckelshaus '55, James Baker '52 and Frank Carlucci '52 have all won Princeton's most prestigious alumni honor, the Woodrow Wilson Award for distinguished achievement in the nation's service. In 1992, Librarian of Congress James Billington '50 received the award, and several years ago it was won by Wendy Kopp '89, founder of Teach For America.

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