The following is a growing list of Princeton alumni who have made contributions in the area of arts, culture and entertainment.
Please note: As is traditional when referring to Princeton alumni, each name is followed by the individual's graduation year. Those with undergraduate degrees are preceded with an apostrophe (e.g., Brooke Shields '87), and those with graduate degrees are preceded with an asterisk (e.g., Charles Moore *57). All alumni who graduated prior to 1930 will have their class year spelled out — including undergraduate alumni (e.g., F. Scott Fitzgerald, Class of 1917) and graduate alumni (e.g., Lowell Thomas, GS 1916).
R.W. "Johnny" Apple '57 – Famed New York Times correspondent. He led the Times' coverage of the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War and the Iranian revolution.
Milton Babbitt *42 *92 – American composer particularly noted for his pioneering serial and electronic music. In 1982, the Pulitzer Prize board awarded him a "special citation for his life's work as a distinguished and seminal American composer."
Hobey Baker, Class of 1914 – Led Princeton to a national championship in football (1911) and two national championships in hockey (1912 and 1914) before enlisting in the U.S. Army as a pilot in 1917. Immortalized in the works of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Class of 1917. Princeton's Baker Rink is named for him; the Hobey Baker Memorial Award is given annually to the top American college men's hockey player.
Alfred Barr, Class of 1922, GS 1923 – The founder of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Broke with common museum practices by creating advertising campaigns to ensure that exhibitions were financially and intellectually accessible to the public. The works he selected for MoMA have formed the canon of modern art history.
A. Scott Berg '71 – Pulitzer Prize-winning American writer and biographer; he expanded his Princeton senior thesis on editor Maxwell Perkins into a full-length biography, "Max Perkins: Editor of Genius" (1978), which won a National Book Award.
Roger Berlind '64 – Noted Broadway producer and philanthropist. The Berlind Theatre (part of the McCarter Theatre Center) opened in Princeton in 2003.
John Peale Bishop, Class of 1917 – Poet, essayist for Vanity Fair and poetry critic for The Nation. Classmate of F. Scott Fitzgerald, he was the inspiration for one of Fitzgerald's literary characters.
Bill Bradley '65 – Hall of Fame basketball player, Rhodes Scholar, former U.S. senator from New Jersey, and presidential candidate who challenged Vice President Al Gore for the Democratic Party's nomination in the 2000 election.
F. Taylor Branch *70 – Pulitzer Prize-winning author. Best known for his trilogy chronicling the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and the history of the American civil rights movement.
Alan Brinkley '71 – Professor of history and provost at Columbia University. Progressive historian of the New Deal era. Has written for Newsweek and The New Republic.
Charles W. Caldwell, Class of 1925 – Head coach of football at Princeton 1945-56; undefeated and won Lambert trophy in 1950-51, national coach of the year 1950, College Football Hall of Fame 1961.
Robert Caro '57 – Won the Pulitzer Prize twice, for his biographies of Robert Moses and Lyndon Johnson.
Ward B. Chamberlin '43 – Spent more than 30 years as an executive in public broadcasting, working to strengthen its foundation and promote its acceptance in American culture.
Ethan Coen '79 - Academy Award-winning film director, screen writer and producer, whose extensive oeuvre (in collaboration with his brother, Joel) includes "Fargo," "The Big Lebowski," "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" "No Country for Old Men" and "Inside Llewyn Davis."
Edward T. Cone '39 *42 – Music scholar, pianist, composer, member of the Princeton faculty. Produced two of the 20th century’s most influential books about Western music, "Musical Form and Musical Performance" and "The Composer's Voice."
Robert P. Tristram Coffin, GS 1916 – Poet, novelist and essayist, wrote 37 books while teaching at Wells College and Bowdoin College. "Strange Holiness" won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1935.
Andres Duany '71 and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk '72 – Founders of New Urbanism in architecture, a critique of suburban development.
David Duchovny '82 - Actor, writer and director; won Golden Globe awards for his roles on the TV series "The X-Files" and "Californication."
Michael Eric Dyson *93 – Writer and a professor who specializes in African American culture. Wrote high-profile books and articles about Martin Luther King, Jr., Tupac Shakur, Bill Cosby, Malcolm X and the Hurricane Katrina aftermath.
José Ferrer '33 – Only actor in history to win an Oscar, Tony and Emmy for the same role – Cyrano de Bergerac. Also Tony-winning director. Subpoenaed to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee as a suspected communist, charges which he vehemently denied.
Mel Ferrer '39 – Actor, director and producer; directed the 1946 stage production of "Cyrano de Bergerac," in which José Ferrer '33 appeared in the title role; known for his acting roles in "War and Peace," "Lili" and "Scaramouche."
F. Scott Fitzgerald, Class of 1917 – Author of several novels and short stories; considered one of the greatest 20th-century American writers. "The Great Gatsby" is regarded as his masterpiece.
Philip Freneau, Class of 1771 – Poet and political writer; roommate and close friend of James Madison, Class of 1771. Known as the "Poet of the Revolution." Later works are understood as precursors to the transcendentalist movement, inspiring both Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Jason Garrett '89 – Became the Dallas Cowboys' head coach in 2010; two-time Super Bowl winner as Dallas backup quarterback, Ivy League player of the Year as Princeton quarterback in 1988.
Robert Garrett, Class of 1897 – Olympic athlete at the first modern games of 1896, medaled in the discus throw (despite immense competition from the Greek team), shot put, high jump and long jump. Collector of Near Eastern manuscripts, which he donated to Princeton.
Charles Gibson '65 – Television journalist, anchorman on "World News Tonight," former host of
"Good Morning America."
Richard Greenberg '80 – Writer of more than 25 plays, won the Tony Award for Best Play for "Take Me Out."
Hugh Hardy '54 *56 – Architect. Projects include the New York Botanical Garden Leon Levy Visitor Center, reconstruction of the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, restoration of Radio City Music Hall and redesign of Bryant Park in New York City.
Thomas Hoving '53 *60 – As director from 1967 to 1977, presided over expansion and renovations of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Lynn Jennings '83 – One of the best female distance runners in history, a three-time World Cross Country champion and winner of the bronze medal for the 10,000-meter race in the 1992 Olympics. Holds 39 national titles, more than any other American runner, and speaks out against doping.
James Johnson *69 – Former CEO at Fannie Mae, became chairman of the Kennedy Center in 1996. He began the "Performing Arts for Everyone" initiative, increasing the visibility of the center's frequent low-priced and free events. Created and endowed the Millennium Stage, which presents a free event every evening.
Robert L. Johnson *72 – Founder and former chair and CEO of the television network Black Entertainment Television (BET); in 2001 he became the first African American billionaire.
Richard W. Kazmaier '52 – Princeton's only Heisman Trophy winner in 1951, tailback on consecutive undefeated football teams in 1950 and 1951, member of College Football Hall of Fame 1966.
Patricia Kazmaier-Sandt '86 — Daughter of Richard Kazmaier '52, All-Ivy ice hockey player and namesake of the Patty Kazmaier Award, the Heisman Trophy of women's ice hockey. Died in 1990 of a rare blood disease.
David E. Kelley '79 – Writer and producer; creator of TV series such as "Picket Fences," "Chicago Hope," "Ally McBeal," "Boston Public," "Boston Legal” and "Harry's Law."
Galway Kinnell '48 – Poet, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.
Bowie Kuhn '47 – Commissioner of Major League Baseball from 1969 to 1984. First to suggest that World Series games be played at night, in order to attract more television viewers.
Joshua Logan '31 – Stage and film director and writer. Shared the 1950 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for co-writing "South Pacific." (The show also earned him a Tony Award for best director.) Nominated for an Academy Award for directing "Picnic" and "Sayonara."
Allan Marquand, Class of 1874 – Founder of the Department of Art and Archaeology. One of the first to introduce the serious study of art into the curriculum of American colleges. Made important contributions to the Princeton University Art Museum, and supplied the department's library with books and photographs from his own collection. By the early 1900s, half of the art teachers at colleges east of the Mississippi had been trained in the graduate curriculum he had developed.
Henry Martin '48 – Author of hundreds of droll New Yorker cartoons, many depicting the foibles of Princeton alumni.
Douglas McGrath '80 – Writer, director and actor; nominated (with Woody Allen) for an Academy Award for the screenplay for "Bullets Over Broadway."
Jason McManus *58 – Editor-in-chief of Time Warner from 1987 to 1994.
John McPhee '53 – Princeton professor of journalism; Pulitzer Prize-winning magazine writer and author, has trained hundreds of Princeton students in a legendary creative writing seminar.
William Morris Meredith '40 – Poet and Pulitzer Prize winner 1980. Poet laureate of the United States from 1978 to 1980.
W.S. Merwin '48 – One of the most influential American poets of the later 20th century. Antiwar poet during the 1960s. Awarded Pulitzer Prize and Tanning Prize.
Charles Moore *57 – Architect and former dean of the Yale School of Architecture. Described as one of the first postmodern innovators, along with Robert Venturi '47 *50.
Frederick Morgan '43 – Co-founded the Hudson Review, served as its editor until 1948. Published 10 books of poems, two collections of prose fables and two books of translations.
Jeff Moss '63 – Children's TV writer and composer. The founding head writer of "Sesame Street," created the personalities of Cookie Monster and Oscar the Grouch, wrote storylines and penned tunes including "The People in Your Neighborhood," "Rubber Duckie" and "I Don't Want to Live on the Moon." Winner of 14 Emmy Awards and four Grammy Awards. Wrote a dozen popular books published by the Sesame Street franchise, three volumes of poetry for children and short stories. Newsday called him the "children's poet laureate."
Jodi Picoult '87 – Best-selling novelist who published stories in "Seventeen" as an undergraduate; won the New England Bookseller Award for fiction in 2003.
Rose Catherine Pinkney '86 – Television executive and former director of programming at Twentieth Century Fox Television; her development credits include the television series "The X-Files" (1993–2002).
Edward Platt '38 – Actor best known for his portrayal of "The Chief" in the popular TV series "Get Smart."
Demetri Porphyrios *74 *80 – Leading traditional-style architect. Designer of Whitman College at Princeton as well as buildings at Oxford and Cambridge.
David Remnick '81 – Editor of The New Yorker since 1998. Author of several books, including "Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire," which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1994.
Charles Rosen '48 *51 – Pianist and writer on music and art history, leading English-language critic of music for the last 35 years.
Charles Scribner, Class of 1840 – Founded Scribner publishing house, where he was followed by many Princeton-educated Scribners.
Charles Scribner, Class of 1875 – Founded Scribner's Monthly Magazine, popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, publishing articles by Jacob Riis, Richard Harding Davis, Edith Wharton and Theodore Roosevelt, as well as illustrations by Maxfield Parrish and Frederic Remington.
Brooke Shields '87 – A child model and a TV/film/stage actress, she also embarked on a public-awareness campaign about postpartum depression.
Frank Stella '58 – As a painter and printmaker, had a significant influence on minimalism, post-painterly abstraction, patterns and offset lithography. In 2001 a monumental Stella sculpture was installed outside the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Jimmy Stewart '32 – Film and stage actor. Won an Academy Award for his role in "The Philadelphia Story," and another for lifetime achievement. Other films include The "Anatomy of a Murder," "Harvey," "It's a Wonderful Life," "Rear Window," "Vertigo" and "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." Stewart also had a noted military career, rising to the rank of brigadier general in the U.S. Air Force.
Booth Tarkington, Class of 1893 – Novelist and dramatist, best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning novels "Alice Adams" and "The Magnificent Ambersons."
Lowell Thomas, GS 1916 – Writer, broadcaster and traveler, best known as the man who made Lawrence of Arabia famous.
John Thompson III '88 – Became coach of Georgetown University basketball team in 2004, including 2007 NCAA Final Four; coach of three Ivy Champion teams in four years at Princeton from 2000 to 2004, assistant coach from 1995 to 2000, co-captain in 1987–88.
Willem "Butch" van breda Kolff '45 – Princeton basketball coach from 1962 to 1967, went to NCAA Final Four with 1965 team, won four Ivy titles in five years, overall record 103-31, Ivy record 59-12; also coached Los Angeles Lakes to NBA finals 1968 and 1969, and other college and professional teams.
Robert Venturi '47 *50 – Philadelphia-based architect, has designed buildings on Princeton's campus and around the world. He is a winner of the Pritzker Prize.
Cornel West *80 – Professor of religion from 1988 to 1994 and 2001 to 2011; author of several works about race relations and American politics, including a historical/philosophical rap CD called "Sketches of My Culture." Winner of National Book Award.
Thornton Wilder, GS 1926 – Playwright and novelist. "The Bridge of San Luis Rey" (1927) brought commercial success and his first Pulitzer Prize. In 1938 and 1943 he won the Pulitzer Prize for drama for his plays "Our Town" and "The Skin of Our Teeth."
Tod Williams '65 *67 – Architect. Recipient of the 2014 National Medal of Arts.
Edmund Wilson, Class of 1916 – Writer for The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and The New Republic during the early 20th century. "Axel's Castle," an international survey of Symbolist poets, and "To the Finland Station," a history of socialism/communism, cemented his reputation as the preeminent literary critic of the era.
Robert Wright '79 – Essayist for The New Republic, Time, Slate, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine.