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The arrival of Harvard alum Ryan Pierce on The West Wing is nothing unusual; primetime is already crawling with Harvard graduates. Whether working in an army hospital in Korea or getting reprimanded for their short skirts, TV’s fictional Harvard alumni share a single common trait: they make one extremely telegenic facebook.
Name: Dr. John Becker (“Becker”; played by Ted Danson)School: Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), Harvard Medical School (HMS)
Honors: Graduated college summa cum laude
Most Inspirational: Left a cushy research position at HMS to open a medical practice for low-income Bronx residents.
Almost Like Dad: Danson’s real-life dad has a PhD from Harvard.
Name: Dr. Frasier Crane (“Cheers,” “Frasier”; Kelsey Grammer)School: FAS, HMS Activities: Crew, squash“Minor”: Music
Year of Graduation: 1974 (undergrad), 1978 (HMS)
Memorable Quote: “You don’t understand! You see, it’s not the same as Dad being wrong, or your being wrong. I have a degree from Harvard! Whenever I’m wrong . . . the world makes a little less sense.”
Name: Ally McBeal (“Ally McBeal”; Calista Flockhart)School: Harvard Law School (HLS)
Activities: Going out with Billy (Gil Bellows), the childhood love she followed to law school
Using Those Connections: After Ally leaves her law firm in the pilot episode, she’s hired by HLS classmate Richard Fish (Greg Germann). Her roommate, Renee (Lisa Nicole Carson), is also an HLS alum.
Name: Miranda Hobbes (“Sex and the City”; Cynthia Nixon)School: HLS
Year of Graduation: early 90s
Carrie concerning Miranda’s Classmate: “Amanda Vaughn. Went to Harvard Law with Miranda. Perfect G.P.A., doting husband, breasts higher than the Chrysler Building. Needless to say, she was at the top of our ‘Most Hated’ list.”
Name: Andie McPhee (“Dawson’s Creek”; Meredith Monroe)School: FAS Projected Year of Harvard Graduation: 2006 Capeside High Activities: Chairwoman of the Honor Council; assistant director of “Barefoot in the Park”; Yearbook staff (The Capeside Tricorn) Capeside High Honors: Class Valedictorian Quote: Overheard on a junior year visit to “Cambridge College”: “These students enjoy the distinction of attending America’s finest college. Founded in 1626 [sic], it was named after a British colonist who ended up donating his entire collection of books. And the original faculty teaching here in the colonial wilderness could hardly have imagined that—that over the next three centuries it would become known throughout the world as a premiere center for teaching and research.”
Name: Paul Pfeiffer (“The Wonder Years”; Josh Saviano)School: FAS Activities: Studied law, according to childhood friend Kevin Arnold. Years after starting college, he was “still allergic to everything.” Year of Graduation: 1978 If Only Real Life Were So Kind: After “The Wonder Years” ended, Josh Saviano, the actor who played Paul, graduated from Yale in 1998 and is now a paralegal at a New York City law firm.
Name: Miles Silverberg (“Murphy Brown”; Grant Shaud)School: FAS Year of Graduation: 1988 Academic and Professional History: Producing “FYI”, the fictional TV newsmagazine at the center of “Murphy Brown”, is Miles’ first job after Harvard, where he had studied Murphy’s reporting style as an undergrad.
In Real Life: According to a September 1992 issue of People, Shaud “barely graduated” from the University of Richmond.
Name: Maj. Charles Emerson Winchester III (“M*A*S*H”; David Ogden Stiers)School: HMS Activities: Polo, crew Honors: First in his class Graduation Year: 1943
Fitting the Stereotype: Assigned to the rowdy 4077th unit in Korea (he calls it “a fetid and festering sewer”), this well-heeled Bostonian loves wine and classical music, votes Republican, has an enormous ego and turns up his nose at all things lowbrow.
RECENT TV REJECTS
Name: Paris Eustace Geller (“Gilmore Girls”; Liza Weil)School: Yale University (Calhoun College) Projected Year of Yale Graduation: 2007 Chilton Activities: Editor-in-Chief of The Franklin; Student Body President Chilton Honors: Class Salutatorian Harvard Memories: A Harvard legacy many times over, Paris is not accepted to fair Harvard and instead (surprise, surprise) winds up as Rory’s roommate at Yale. Memorable Quote: “I didn’t get into Harvard. I had sex, but I didn’t get into Harvard. If you had asked me last year which I thought was more likely, it would not have been not getting into Harvard!”
Name: Rory Gilmore (“Gilmore Girls”; Alexis Bledel)School: Yale University (Calhoun College) Projected Year of Yale Graduation: 2007 Chilton Activities: Reporter for The Franklin; Student Body Vice President
Chilton Honors: Class Valedictorian Harvard Memories: After being gung-ho Harvard since birth, Rory ultimately decides to stay closer to home and attend Yale. Putz!Rory’s mother on Yale: “Sweetie, have you ever been to New Haven? . . .Take a look at the coffee pot tomorrow before I clean it: that’s New Haven.”
(Compiled by Nell A. Hanlon, Michael M. Grynbaum, Marcus L. Wang, Benjamin J. Soskin and Nathan K. Burstein)
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