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.
R.F. “Rawley” Taplett, founder of R.F. Taplett Fruit & Cold Storage Company, multi-millionaire investor. Had only a high school diploma.
Quentin Tarantino, movie director, producer, and screenwriter. A high school dropout.
Benedikt Taschen, publisher of Taschen Books. At 18, he opened his first comic store. At 19, he founded Taschen Books, publisher of fine art books. As he noted, he saw no point in going to a university.
Channing Tatum, actor. Dropped out of Glenville State College at the age of 18 (after one semester). Became an actor after stints as a male dancer, construction worker, perfume spritzer, and model.
Alfred Taubman, billionaire chairman of Sotheby, real estate investor, mall operator. Dropped out of the University of Michigan. Made his first fortune investing in shopping malls. Pledged a donation of $56 million to the University of Michigan in 2012.
Jack Crawford Taylor, billionaire founder of Enterprise Rent-a-Car. Dropped out of Washington University to serve as a fighter pilot in the Navy during World War II. Sold cars after the war before starting a car leasing company.
Noel Taylor, costume designer (stage and movies). Dropped out of school at the age of 16 to work in the theater, first as an actor.
Zachary Taylor, U.S. president, general. Little formal schooling. Home schooled. Of the 43 people who served as president of the United States, 8 never went to college.
Timmy Teepell, chief of staff for Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal. A product of home schooling, he never attended college.
Justin Theroux, actor. Has joked about getting kicked out of school.
Kelly Thiebaud, model and actress. Her mother made her finish high school, but she never attended college. As she noted about
staying in high school, "At the time I hated it. There's so much opportunity out there! But I'm thankful for it now, because the experience helped me stay grounded."
Danny Thomas, actor, producer, humanitarian. Dropped out of high school.
Dave Thomas, billionaire founder of Wendy's. As a youngster his family moved around a lot. While working as a busboy at the age of 15, he refused to move once again with the family. Instead, he dropped out of high school and went to work full time in a restaurant (moving in with the family that owned the restaurant).
Billy Bob Thornton, actor. After taking some classes at Henderson State University in Arkansas, he dropped out and headed for New York City to become a rock star. Four years later, he headed to Los Angeles to become an actor.
Uma Thurman, actress. Left boarding school at the age of 15 and moved to New York City to become an actress. Has not attended college.
Kip Tindell, founder of the Container Store. Dropped out of the University of Texas. As he noted, I crammed a four-year program into about eight years.
Ashley Tisdale, singer and actress. Has not yet attended college.
Leo Tolstoy, count, novelist (War and Peace, Anna Karenina). Dropped out after three years at the university.
Marisa Tomei, Oscar-winning actress. Transferred from Boston University after one year to attend New York University, but dropped out within a year to continue her career as an actress.
George Tomsco, rock musician, Fireballs. Dropped out of New Mexico Tech to become a rock star.
Adam and Matthew Toren, founders of YoungEntrepreneur.com. As they noted on their website, Entrepreneurs at an early age, Matthew and I had already started six (toot toot) businesses by the time we graduated high school. We were both offered college scholarships, but turned them down – it was clear to us that college was not in our future. Within a week of graduating high school, we bought a bar/café/billiards location, which we overhauled, re-branded and turned into a hot spot; and on the 12-month we sold it for a great profit.
Lynsi Torres, billionaire owner of In-N-Out Burger (inherited). Did not attend college.
Nick Tosches, novelist and biographer. Never attended college. As he noted in an interview in Esquire magazine: I wanted to just get a job so I could have enough money for my own apartment and be able to get drunk.
Nina Totenberg, radio show host. Dropped out of Boston University.
Doris Eaton Travis, a Ziegfield Follies girl, actress, singer. Started at the Follies the day she finished eighth grade. Earned her high school diploma at the age of 77. Finally graduated from college at the age of 88.
John Travolta, actor. His parents allowed him to drop out of Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood, New Jersey for one year to pursue a theatrical career. He never returned.
Derek Trucks, singer and musician. Attended high school on the road while playing for the Allman Brothers Band. Never attended college.
Harry Truman, U.S. president. Never went to college.
Isaac Tshuva, billionaire builder, industrialist, and hotelier. At the age of 12, he started working as a laborer to support his family while attending school at night. After three years in the army, he skipped college to begin working in construction.
Harriet Tubman, abolitionist, former slave, humanitarian, spy, nurse, suffragist. Did not attend college. A big promoter of education even though she was illiterate.
Frederick Tudor, the Ice King. Dropped out of school at the age of 13. After loafing for a few years, he retired to his family's country estate to fish, farm, and hunt. Eventually, he began shipping ice from his Massachusetts pond to tropical countries for use in cooling drinks and making ice cream.
Ted Turner, billionaire founder of CNN and TBS, owner of Atlanta Braves, philanthropist, America's largest landowner with 1.8 million acres. Was asked to leave Brown University during his fourth year. Got suspended twice, once for having a girl in his room and he doesn't remember the second reason. “I'm down to a little more than a billion. You can get by on that if you really economize and don't buy a lot of planes and yachts and stuff.”
Fred Tuttle, dairy farmer, actor. Dropped out of school in the 10th grade and spent most of his life as a farmer. Became a celebrity as a 77-year-old actor in the movie Man with a Plan.
Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens), printer, riverboat pilot, prospector, newspaper reporter, humorist, bestselling novelist. Left school a year after his father's death, never went beyond the fifth grade. Nonetheless, he still wrote the first great American novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Leeann Tweeden, model and TV correspondent. After graduating from high school at the age of 16, she won a model-search contest and moved to Hollywood to pursue a modeling and TV career.
Jamie Tworkowski, surfer and founder of To Write Love on Her Arms. College drop-out. Also dropped out of high school but eventually went back to finish. "It wasn't my choice to walk away from school. I was hanging around with guys older than me, and I'd skip school to play with them. I kept missing more and more school, and I got busted for it finally. But I went back. I felt like I'd be a real stooge if I didn't at least finish high school."
Mike Tyson, heavyweight champion boxer; the first boxer to hold the WBA, WBC, and IBF heavyweight titles at the same time. Made his professional boxing debut at the age of 18. 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 2013 by book promotion expert John Kremer
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