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UC alumni among stage and screen heartthrobs


UC's original heartthrob

Hugh O'Brian, att. '42-43

Actor who appeared in 104 TV shows and sang on the Ed Sullivan, Dinah Shore and Jackie Gleason variety shows. Best known as Wyatt Earp (1955-61), O'Brian once staged and directed a company of "Guys and Dolls" that toured Vietnam, Thailand and Japan for the troops. Born as Hugh Charles Krampe, the actor was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1992. He left UC to join the Marine Corps. Finally married at age 81.  (Read more.)

Gone, but not forgotten

Tennessee Ernie Ford, att. CCM '39-40 (1919–91)

Grammy-winning singer, composer and TV series host. Known as Ernest Ford as a student, he received an Emmy nomination in '55 for Most Outstanding New Personality, was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1990. He appeared on more than 100 TV programs and recorded 18 soundtrack titles. His biggest hit "Sixteen Tons" has been credited for kicking off the Rock and Roll era of the 1950s. (Read more.)

Still going strong

Lee Roy Reams, CCM ’64, MA (CCM) ’82, HonDoc ’98

Broadway actor, dancer, choreographer and director. Once hailed by the New York Times as "Broadway's song and dance man nonpareil," Reams received both Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations for Best Featured Actor in a Musical in '81 for his role as  Bill Lawlor in "42nd Street." He's worked steadily ever since. (See UC Magazine's giant photo gallery on Reams.)

More than just a voice

Dorian Harewood, CCM '72

Actor and singer with more than 170 film credits in all, many of them animated films in which viewers only hear his talented voice. He has not only been a California Raisin, but the voice of Coach Johnson, a recurring character in Disney's animated series “Handy Manny.” His big break came in 1979, when he appeared in all five episodes of the miniseries "Roots: The Next Generation," playing the leading character Simon Haley, father of Alex Haley. (Read more about his work.)

Athletic actor

Rodney Van Johnson, Ed '85

An actor who appeared as T.C. Russell, a high school coach, on the NBS soap opera "Passions" (1999-2007) and as Trey Stark on the CBS soap opera "The Young and the Restless" (1998-99). In 2013-14, he also did a stint on a reality TV show "Raising Whitley," a real life soap opera on the Oprah Winfrey Channel. In 2002, UC inducted him into its Track and Field Athletic Hall of Fame, in honor of the many scshool records he broke, as well as his success in qualifying for the Olympic trials. As a new Bearcat, Van Johnson had vowed to break the school's high-jump record, which he did on his very first meet, clearing 6'18". He later set a new record of 7'3". He also set school records in 100-meter dash, 4x100-meter relay and 4x400-meter relay. He still holds the record in both the high jump and the 100-meter dash. (Read more about Van Johnson.)

Multi-talented stage and screen actor

Aaron Lazar, MFA (CCM) '00

A featured actor on Broadway, in the movies and on TV. Right after graduation, Lazar first broke onto Broadway in “Phantom of the Opera.” In 2006, he landed the role of Enjolras in the revival of "Les Miserables," for which he received a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical. Around 2008, he began picking up TV roles. He now has a recurring role on the "Onion News Network." And in 2013, his movie career launched him into “J. Edgar” and in “"The Wolf of Wall Street" in 2013. (Read more.) (Watch his video.)

See UC's alumnae sweethearts of stage and screen, too.

— posted on Valentine's Day 2014