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The 20 Best California High Schools If You Wanna Be Famous

The 20 Best California High Schools If You Want to Be Famous

Our drivers ed students in California have aspirations way beyond getting their driver license. For some, the dream is to star on the silver screen. For others, it’s to become a singer or form a band. 

But how do they get to that point? Certainly not by magic.

We wondered if the secret to success had something to do with which high school students attended, so we looked at high schools across California to determine which had the greatest number of famous graduates. We figured, if you go to one of these high schools, then you have slightly higher odds that you’ll become famous one day. Logical, right? So here they are: the best 20 California high school if you want to be famous.

Is your school on the list?

1. Santa Monica High School

Known for its music program, Santa Monica High School graduated several well-known entertainers, including two-time Academy Award winner Sean Penn and television host Carson Daly. Other notable alumni include Rob Lowe, Charlie Sheen, Emilio Estevez and Robert Downey Jr.

Sean-penn
photo credit: Beao/Wikipedia.org

2. Harvard-Westlake School, Los Angeles

A college preparatory school for grades 7-12, Harvard-Westlake is the alma mater of several successful actors. Alumni include Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Segel, Lily Collins, Tori Spelling and Candice Bergen. Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner is also an alumnus.

photo credit: Georges Biard/Wikipedia.org
photo credit: Georges Biard/Wikipedia.org

3. Crossroads School for the Arts & Sciences, Santa Monica

A private school established in 1971, Crossroads boasts famous graduates like actress Kate Hudson and Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel. Other former students include Jack Black, Zooey Deschanel, Zosia Mamet, Michael Bay and Whitney Port.

photo credit: Bart Ryker/Wikipedia.org
photo credit: Bart Ryker/Wikipedia.org

4. Fairfax High School, Los Angeles

This Los Angeles high school was once home to some pretty prominent people. Former Fairfax students include the members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Victoria’s Secret model Chanel Iman, actresses Mila Kunis and Demi Moore, and record producer Phil Spector.

ChanelIman
photo credit: Bryan Bedder/Wikipedia.org

5. Los Angeles County High School for the Arts

Because LACHSA offers majors in theater, music, dance, visual arts and film, it’s no surprise that so many of its graduates go into the entertainment industry. Among the school’s famous alumni are singer Josh Groban, SNL star Taran Killam and American Horror Story actor Finn Wittrock. Graduates also include Michael Fitzpatrick, lead vocalist of Fitz and the Tantrums, as well as the Haim sisters of the eponymous band. 

photo credit: Dominick D/Wikipedia.org
photo credit: Dominick D/Wikipedia.org

6. Beverly Hills High School

Among Beverly Hills High School’s famous graduates are Betty White, Nicolas Cage and Lenny Kravitz. Nora Ephron, known for writing romantic comedies like When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, also attended the school.

photo credit: David Shankbone/Wikipedia.org
photo credit: David Shankbone/Wikipedia.org

7. Hollywood High School, Los Angeles

Several Hollywood elite walked through this high school’s halls, among them Sarah Jessica Parker, Carol Burnett and Mickey Rooney. Singer-actress Judy Garland also attended Hollywood, but graduated from another high school.

photo credit: David Shankbone/Wikipedia.org
photo credit: David Shankbone/Wikipedia.org

8. Notre Dame High School, Los Angeles

This co-ed Catholic school has a pretty impressive list of former attendees, among them Kirsten Dunst, Rachel Bilson and Michelle Trachtenburg. Rami Malek, star of Mr. Robot, and Katharine McPhee, the 2006 runner-up of American Idol, also graduated from Notre Dame High School.

photo credit: Sleepindaroof/Wikipedia.org
photo credit: Sleepindaroof/Wikipedia.org

9. Alexander Hamilton High School, Los Angeles

Located in Castle Heights, Alexander Hamilton is the former high school of Emmy-nominated actress Lizzy Caplan and professional boxer Laila Ali. Other past students include Nikki Reed, Shia LaBeouf, Emile Hirsch and Kyla Pratt.

photo credit: Tabercil/Wikipedia.org
photo credit: Tabercil/Wikipedia.org

10. Van Nuys High School, Los Angeles

Before she was one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, Marilyn Monroe was known as Norma Jeane Mortensen, just another student at Van Nuys High School. Other celebrities to attend the Los Angeles institution include Robert Redford, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and and Paula Abdul.

marilyn-monroe

11. Long Beach Polytechnic High School

Polytechnic has produced numerous notable graduates over the years, including Billie Jean King and Cameron Diaz. Snoop Dogg also attended the school during the same years as Diaz, and once said about his former classmate, “She was fly and she was hip.”

photo credit: David Shankbone/Wikipedia.org
photo credit: David Shankbone/Wikipedia.org

12. Palisades Charter High School, Los Angeles

Palisades’ famous alumni range from DJ-rapper Redfoo to Star Wars director J.J. Abrams. In fact, Abrams even based a Stars Wars character on his Pali High English teacher. Actors Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jeff Bridges also attended the school, but left before graduating.

photo credit: Stemtoc/Wikipedia.org
photo credit: Stemtoc/Wikipedia.org

13. Palo Alto High School

Nearby the Stanford University campus, Palo Alto High School is the alma mater of several notable alumni, including James Franco, Dave Franco and Joan Baez. All four members of the rock band the Donnas also met at Palo Alto High School.

James-Franco
photo credit: MyCanon/Wikipedia.org

14. Berkeley High School

Berkeley High School is not only home to several famous graduates, but also graduates who were friends in high school and then went on to work together professionally. In fact, the comedy trio The Lonely Island, composed of Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone, was once a group of friends roaming Berkeley High’s halls. Other famous graduates of Berkeley High include model-actress Rebecca Romijn and rapper G-Eazy.

photo credit: David Shankbone/Wikipedia.org
photo credit: David Shankbone/Wikipedia.org

15. Campbell Hall School, Los Angeles

This k-12 Episcopal day school has graduated many notable alumni, among them Dakota and Elle Fanning, Mary-Kate and Ashely Olsen, and Modern Family actress Ariel Winter.

photo credit: David Shankbone/Wikipedia.org
photo credit: David Shankbone/Wikipedia.org

16. Marymount High School, Los Angeles

This Catholic all-girls school has produced numerous famous graduates, including Law & Order: SUV actress Mariska Hargitay and reality stars Kim and Kourtney Kardashian. 

kim-kardashian
photo credit: Glenn Francis/Wikipedia.org

17. El Camino Real Charter High School, Los Angeles

Located in the Woodland Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, El Camino Charter High School has seen its share of well-known graduates, including Ugly Betty actress America Ferrera, Superbad actor Christopher Mintz-Plasse and actress Sara Paxton, known for roles in Return to Halloweentown and Summerland

America-Ferrera

18. Ruth Asawa San Francisco School for the Arts

This public arts high school, which requires an audition to gain admission, has graduated talented performers like comedian Margaret Cho, actor Sam Rockwell, hip-hop producer Fatboi and multihyphenate Aisha Tyler.

Aisha_Tyler
photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikipedia.org

19. Malibu High School

Established just 25 years ago, Malibu High already has an impressive list of notable alumni, including models Gigi and Bella Hadid, singer-songwriter Colbie Caillat and musician Taylor Goldsmith of the band Dawes. 

Gigi-Hadid
photo credit: Storkk/Wikipedia.org

20. North Hollywood High School, Los Angeles

Among North Hollywood High’s more well-known students are Beverly Hills, 90210 actor Brian Austin Green, writer Susan Sontag, and Big Bang Theory actress and real-life neuroscientist Mayim Bialik. Cuba Gooding Jr. also briefly attended the school.

photo credit: Misnanita/Wikipdia.org
photo credit: Misnanita/Wikipdia.org