Show Me: What have MU’s notable been up to?
From show business to sports to journalism and more, former Tigers represent MU across the country.
Oct. 06, 2015
Since graduating, notable former MU students have pursued careers in a variety of fields including acting, coaching and various forms of journalism.
Now-famed actor Brad Pitt enrolled at MU in 1982. He was actively involved in the campus community through his membership in the Homecoming Steering Committee and Sigma Chi, according to Mizzou’s Most Notable Alumni page.
Pitt set out for Los Angeles to begin his acting career just two credits away from earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in advertising.
“I just knew there were a lot more points of view out there. I wanted to see them,” Brad Pitt said in an Esquire article titled “Brad Pitt: A Life So Large.” “I wanted to hear them. I always liked film as a teaching tool — a way of getting exposed to ideas that had never been presented to me. It just wasn't on the list of career options where I grew up. Then it occurred to me, literally two weeks before graduation: If the opportunity isn't here, I'll go to it. So simple. But it had never occurred to me. I'll just go to it."
Freshman Alex Brookshire supported Pitt’s decision.
“Obviously, he wanted to follow his dreams, and he learned that while he was here,” Brookshire said. “That’s what college is, trying to figure out what you want to do.”
Pitt made his television acting debut on the soap opera “Another World.”
Pitt has appeared in approximately 75 films, some of his most notable being “Thelma and Louise,” “Fight Club,” “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” “World War Z” and “Fury.”
Former MU baseball and basketball player Norm Stewart is most prominently known for his 32-year career as the MU head basketball coach from 1967 to 1999. He is the only person inducted into the University of Missouri Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame as a student-athlete and coach.
After winning his battle with colon cancer during the 1989-90 season, Stewart founded Coaches vs. Cancer, an organization designed to raised money for research on the disease.
“I think it’s great that he’s giving back to the community,” junior Lucy Givens said. “As someone who promotes health as he did as a basketball coach, I think it’s important that he is now promoting a different side of that.”
Givens’ dad graduated from MU in 1980, when Norm Stewart was the coach.
“My dad never played basketball or met him, but he’s told me a lot about him,” Givens said. “He was an important figure for that time.”
Kate Capshaw, the female lead in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” broke onto the scene when she appeared in the soap opera, “The Edge of the Night.”
Capshaw graduated from MU in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in education. Capshaw was a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority.
Upon graduating, she became a special education teacher at Rock Bridge High School in Columbia. However, she left Missouri for New York in order to pursue acting where she began her career on the soap opera.
She is currently married to Steven Spielberg and is also noted for the films “Dreamscape,” “Black Rain” and “The Love Letter.”
Michael Kim was an athlete before transitioning into a career in the sports industry. He played football and baseball in high school and played baseball for Westminster College prior to attending MU, according to the Mizzou’s Most Notable Alumni page.
Kim, a graduate of the master’s program at the School of Journalism, has worked his way through the ranks of sports reporting.
He began his career at NewsChannel 8 in Springfield, Virginia, and has since earned an Emmy Award for “Local Heroes,” a sports reporting series that was also awarded the "Best Sports Series" by the Society of Professional Journalists.
Kim has worked as the lead presenter for ESPN America’s SportsCenter, has contributed to ESPN’s “Mike and Mike in the Morning” and “First Take,” and is currently working as a host for 120 Sports.
From reporting the assassination of John F. Kennedy for the Dallas Times Herald in 1963 to covering the Senate Watergate hearings for “PBS NewsHour” in 1973, Jim Lehrer has gained recognition as an Emmy-winning journalist.
Since graduating from MU in 1956, Lehrer has pursued careers in news and broadcast journalism, has become a debate moderator for U.S. presidential elections, and has written memoirs, plays and several novels including “The Special Prisoner,” “The Franklin Affair” and “The Last Debate: A Novel of Politics and Journalism.”
“In regards to both Michael Kim and Jim Lehrer, I think each of their respective accomplishments are inspiring,” junior strategic communications major Eddie Kamber said. “They are a testament to the skills Mizzou is capable of instilling in their graduates.”
Jon Hamm is a 1993 graduate who began his college education at the University of Texas, but transferred to MU in order to be closer to his hometown of St. Louis after his father’s death and his involvement in a fraternity hazing incident, according to the Associated Press.
Hamm graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English, but had unknowingly began his career many years prior. He made his acting debut as a first grader in his elementary school’s rendition of “Winnie the Pooh,” according to People magazine.
During his time at MU, Hamm responded to a theater company’s ad for actors and was subsequently cast in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night's Dream.”
After graduating from MU, Hamm returned to his preparatory school, John Burroughs School in St. Louis to teach eighth-grade drama for two years. There, he taught Ellie Kemper who is now known for her role as Erin Hannon in the NBC series “The Office” from 2005 until 2013.
He has since moved to Los Angeles to pursue his acting career and has received 16 Emmy nominations. Hamm recently won “Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series” for his role as Don Draper in the AMC series, “Mad Men.” This role has also helped him earn a Golden Globe Award for “Best Actor in a Drama Series” in 2008.
Hamm is additionally noted for his roles in several television series and films including “Space Cowboys,” “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” “30 Rock” and “The A-Team.”