While we know these four actors for their roles in beloved Christmas films, once upon a time they were simply ordinary college students taking classes and pondering their future. Here’s a look at their good old days on campus:
Dutiful but restless son George Bailey wasn’t eager to take on the family business in the classic film It’s a Wonderful Life. In real life, however, Stewart readily followed in his dad’s footsteps and attended Princeton University. Though reported that he had a rather miserable time with Spanish and Shakespeare and was told point blank by a math teacher to revise his aspirations of becoming a civil engineer, Stewart ended up studying architecture and graduated with honors. His extracurricular pursuits during his time as a Tiger included glee club, theater, drawing cartoons for a campus magazine, and serving as head cheerleader!
While Elf’s Buddy grew up at the North Pole and later headed to New York to meet his biological father, Ferrell was a high school football star who went on to receive a degree in sports information from the University of Southern California. A member of Delta Tau during his college days, little did Ferrell know that he’d return to fraternity life many years later as a 30-something recapturing his youth in Old School. The actor’s own interest in higher education, however, extends way beyond hijinks – he’s on the executive board of Cancer for College, an organization that provides scholarships and mentoring to low-income, high-achieving cancer survivors.
Though he plays inept but good-hearted dad Clark Griswold in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Chase’s own background shows he has plenty of smarts. The actor graduated as valedictorian of his high school class and received a bachelor’s degree in English from Bard College. And while his mother was a concert pianist, Chase demonstrated a different musical talent. During college, he played drums with The Leather Canary. Band members Donald Fagan and Walter Becker later formed the group Steely Dan. In 2009, Chase “returned” to college as a student on the popular TV show “Community.”
Fans of the long-running series “Home Improvement” probably can already guess where this star of The Santa Clause trilogy went to school. Allen’s character often sported Western Michigan University sweatshirts in honor of his alma mater, and WMU’s president even once made a guest appearance on the show. A communications major, Allen spent many hours at the campus radio station. His comedy career, however, didn’t start until well after graduation when a friend dared him to take the stage at a club. Little did Allen know that more than a decade later he’d play the comedic role of Scott Calvin, a dad who must take over as Santa after accidentally killing the jolly old man, in three of the highest-grossing Christmas films of all time.