Need Not Go to College
You don't have to go to college to be a success. Even if you go for awhile, you don't have to graduate to be a success. Here are just a few of the people who have become famous and/or successful without graduating from college and/or high school.
Clark Gable, Oscar-winning actor. High school dropout.
Lady Gaga, aka Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, rock singer and songwriter. Dropped out of NYU at the age of 19 to pursue her music career full time.
Amancio Ortega Gaona, billionaire fashion entrepreneur, third riches man in the world (early 2013). Born in poverty, he could not afford to go to college. He dropped out of high school and got a job at a local clothing store. He went on to found and build the Zara retail empire.
Melody Gardot, singer and songwriter. At the age of 19, while studying fashion at the Community College of Philadelphia, she was injured in a serious automobile accident that left her unable to continue college.
Brad Garrett, actor, comedian. Left UCLA after six weeks to do standup comedy.
Bill Gates, billionaire co-founder of Microsoft, one of the richest men in the world, philanthropist. Dropped out of Harvard after his second year to work with Paul Allen on the venture that became Microsoft. As he noted, “I realized the error of my ways and decided I could make do with a high school diploma.”
Ben Gazzara, aka Biagio Anthony Gazzarra, actor and director. Attended City College of New York for two years. Then took some classes in acting at the Dramatic Workshop of The New School in New York City. Did not finish college.
Richard Gere, Golden Globe-winning actor. Dropped out of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst after two years.
David Geffen, billionaire founder of Geffen Records and co-founder of DreamWorks. Dropped out of the University of Texas at Austin after his freshman year. Also flunked out of Brooklyn College. Admittedly, “I was a lousy student.” Started work by sorting mail at the William Morris Agency.
Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, See Lady Gaga.
Alan Gerry, billionaire cable TV executive, philanthropist. Dropped out of high school during World War II to join the Marines. Trained as a TV repairman on the GI bill. Launched his cable business with $1,500 in 1956.
George Gershwin, songwriter, composer. High school dropout.
J. Paul Getty, billionaire oilman, once the richest man in the world. Failed to graduate from the University of Southern California, Berkley, or Oxford University.
Rosetta Millington Getty, model, fashion designer (Rosetta Millington Kids), and artist (Riser Goodwyn). By the time she was 15, she was modeling full time. Did not finish high school.
Amadeo Peter Giannini, multimillionaire founder of Bank of America. High school dropout.
William Gibson, science fiction novelist, first to use the word cyberspace. Was orphaned at the age of 18. To avoid the draft and the war in Vietnam, he moved to Canada where he worked odd jobs. Years later he finally finished his first novel, Neuromancer. Never attended college.
Daniel Gilbert, psychology professor at Harvard University. Dropped out of high school but later earned an equivalency diploma.
Dizzy Gillespie, musician, songwriter. Dropped out of high school but later received an honorary diploma from the high school he attended.
Jackie Gleason, actor and comedian. With 36 cents in his pocket, he left home after his mom died while he was still in his teens. He soon moved beyond amateur night shows and began working as a professional. He never finish high school.
John Glenn, astronaut, U.S. senator. Did not finish at Muskingum College in Ohio. According to Wikipedia, “In April 1959, despite the fact that Glenn failed to earn the required college degree, he was assigned to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as one of the original group of Mercury astronauts.”
Thomas Godwin, Olympic cyclist. Left school at the age of 14 and got a job delivering groceries on a bicycle.
Sam Goi, billionaire owner of Tee Yih Jia Food Manufacturing, the Popiah King. Dropped out of school to work in his father's grocery store.
Whoopi Goldberg, Oscar-winning actress, comedienne, talk show host. Dropped out of high school after getting hooked on heroin. Got cleaned up at the age of 20. Worked as a bricklayer and trained as a beautician before hitting it big as a comedienne.
Hyman Golden, multimillionaire cofounder of Snapple. A high school dropout and one-time window washer.
Barry Goldwater, U.S. senator and presidential candidate. He dropped out of the University of Arizona after one year to take over the family department store.
Benny Goodman, clarinetist, bandleader. Dropped out of high school.
Bob Goodson, CEO, YouNoodle.com. Dropped out of Oxford University where he was studying for a master's degree in medieval literature and philosophy.
Alex Gordon, professional baseball player. “What would I do if I weren’t a ballplayer? I would have finished college. I went to Nebraska, and I’m good with animals, so being a veterinarian would have been cool. I looked into it in college, but I was so busy with baseball that I didn’t have time for it.”
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, actor. A child star, he took time off to do two years of college, but then left college to act again.
Lew Grade, producer. Dropped out of high school.
John Graden, author of Black Belt Management. Dropped out of high school.
Steffi Graf, tennis star. Turned professional in her teens when she ran out of players good enough to challenge her. Never attended college.
Kelsey Grammar, actor. Attended Juilliard for two years but was kicked out for poor attendance. Went on to acting success in Cheers, Frasier, and Back to You television shows.
Jacques-Antoine Granjon, multi-millionaire founder of Vente-Privee flash sale site. Failed his entrance exam to the Sciences Polytechniques in France. Started his career buying non-selling fashion clothing and selling it via discount outlets.
Cary Grant, Oscar-winning actor. High school dropout. Left home at the age of 16 to become an acrobat and later an actor.
W.T. Grant, multimillionaire founder of W.T. Grant department store chain. High school dropout.
Pat Gray, radio talk show host. He originally got a job in radio as a teenager in order to save money for college, but when it was time to go to college, he realized he was already doing something he loved and was making a living at it. So he stayed with it.
Horace Greeley, newspaper editor and publisher, U.S. congressman, presidential candidate, co-founder of the Republican Party. Dropped out of high school.
David Green, billionaire founder of Hobby Lobby, religious philanthropist. Did not attend college. Started the Hobby Lobby chain with a $600 loan.
Mart Green, multimillionaire founder of Mardel retail stores, CEO of Bearing Fruit Communications (aka EthnoGraphic Media), CEO and executive producer for Every Tribe Entertainment, chairman of the board of Oral Roberts University. Dropped out of college after one year. Founded Mardel at the age of 19.
Philip Green, billionaire retail mogul, Topshop. Dropped out of high school to apprentice with a shoe importer.
Ashley Greene, actress. After graduating from high school, she immediately moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career as an actress. Has not attended college.
Bob Guccione, Penthouse publisher. Did not attend college.
Carla Gugino, actress, model. By the age of 16, she was legally emancipated from her parents and was working as an actress and model in Hollywood. She did not attend collge.
Arlo Guthrie, singer, songwriter. Dropped out of Rocky Mountain College.
Steve Guttenberg, actor. Left home in New York for California two days after graduating from high school. Never attended college.
Drop out of school before your mind rots from our mediocre educational system. — Frank Zappa, musician, liner notes from the Freak Out album
Copyright 2012 by John Kremer
Open Horizons, P O Box 2887, Taos NM 87571; 575-751-3398.