University of Arizona
University of Arizona

Notable Alumni

The University of Arizona College of Fine Arts prepares you with the skills, techniques and creative critical thinking tools to succeed in the real world. Here is an incomplete list of our amazing arts alumni.

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Michael Biehn, actor. Roles include Sgt. Kyle Reese in “The Terminator” and Johnny Ringo in “Tombstone,” other credits include “The Abyss,” “Aliens” and “The Rock.”

Christian Paris Blue, dancer. Performed in the historic production of “Fire Shut Up in My Bones” for the Metropolitan Opera, a step sequence in the show was named “Best Dance of 2021” by the New York Times.

Irving Burgie, songwriter. Wrote the calypso classic, “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song).” Attended classes at the School of Music, after serving in an all-Black U.S. Army battalion in World War II. His songs sold over 100 million records worldwide. Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2007.

Jerry Bruckheimer, film and television producer. Films include “Top Gun,” “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Flashdance,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Bad Boys,” “National Treasure.”

Tom Chilton, video game designer. One of three designers of the “World of Warcraft,” the most-played ’massively multiplayer online,’ role-playing video game. The most-played MMO ever with over 125M players since 2004.

Joan Ganz Cooney, television writer and producer. One of the founders of Sesame Workshop; co-creator of the children’s television show, “Sesame Street.” Earned a degree in education.

Barton Cowperthwaite, actor and ballet dancer. Best known for Oren Lennox in Netflix's “Tiny Pretty Things” (2020), Dancer in FX's “Fosse/Verdon” (2019). Performed in La Traviata at the Metropolitan Opera.

Ben Crawford, singer and actor. Starred in the lead role of “The Phantom” in the Broadway production of “The Phantom of the Opera from 2018-2023. Released the CD “Electronic Pandemic” in 2021.

Ted DeGrazia, artist. Began as a student assistant to muralist Diego Rivera and rose to fame painting Southwest scenes. His painting of Indian children dancing was used on UNICEF holiday cards; it sold five million boxes.

Amy Duddleston, film and television editor. Earned two Emmy Award nominations on the HBO smash hit, “Mare of Easttown. Other credits include “American Gods,” “Dexter,” “The Last Tycoon,” and “The Umbrella Academy.”

Tori Evans, dancer and choreographer. Danced on Taylor Swift’s ERA Tour, plus, Gwen Stefani and Ricky Martin. Toured internationally with “Barbie Live! The Musical.” TV credits include six seasons on “The Masked Singer.”

Kayla Farrish, dancer and choreographer. Awarded a Bessie Performance Award for her solo “People Above the Moon” in NYLA’s “Motherboard Suite.” Named a “Break Out Star of 2021” by the New York Times.

Chris Gall, illustrator. Received over 50 major awards from the Society of Illustrators, Communication Art Magazine, The New York Art Directors and Print Magazine. Work has appeared in Time, New York Times, People.

Tyler Gillett, filmmaker. Co-directed “Scream” (2022) and “Scream VI” (2023), the latest installments of the classic film series. Both films grossed over $135M; “Scream VI” won ’Best Movie’ at the 2023 MTV Awards.

Jessica Gonzales, muralist and fine artist. Named ’Best Visual Artist’ by Tucson Weekly readers four times (2019-2022). Her murals have honored and celebrated local veterans, the Rillito River and Big Jim Griffith.

Big Jim Griffith, folklorist. Earned his Ph.D. in art history and cultural anthropology. Recipient of the 2011 NEA National Heritage Fellowship for his four decades of work devoted to the folkways along the Arizona-Mexico border. Co-founded Tucson Meet Yourself festival. Led the UArizona Southwest Folklore Center for 20 years.

Barbara Grygutis, artist. Commissioned to create over 75 large-scale works of public art throughout North America, including college campuses. The College of Fine Arts commissioned “Front Row Center” in 1999 at the University of Arizona. Her work has been exhibited at both the Smithsonian Institute and the White House.

Keitaro Harada, musical conductor. Recipient of the prestigious 2023 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award. Has served as the Music and Artistic Director of the Savannah Philharmonic.

Kyle Harris, actor, singer and dancer. Appeared on Broadway in “Sondheim on Sondheim” and starred as Tony in the Broadway National Tour of “West Side Story.” Television credits include the ABC drama, “Stitchers.”

Rick Hoffman, actor. Roles include Jerry Best in “The Bernie Mac Show” (2002–2005), Chase Chapman in “Samantha Who?” (2007–2009) and Louis Litt in the legal drama series “Suits” (2011–2019).

John Hughes, filmmaker. Wrote and produced “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “Sixteen Candles,” “Pretty in Pink,” “Weird Science,” “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” and “Home Alone.”

Kourtney Kardashian, reality television star. Appeared on “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” for 20 seasons.

Laura Kaufman, dancer. Performed with the national Broadway tour of “CATS” and “An American in Paris.” Teaches ballet at Broadway Dance Center in NYC and dances with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet.

Greg Kinnear, actor. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in “As Good as It Gets.” Also appeared in “You’ve Got Mail,” “Auto Focus,” “Robots,” and “Little Miss Sunshine.”

Aline Kominsky-Crumb, comics artist. An underground comics pioneer, who created autobiographical work, she earned lifetime achievement recognition in 2016 by Comics Alliance, one of 12 women recognized.

Scooter LaForge, painter and sculptor. Designed a line of hand-painted clothing for Patricia Field. His fashion designs have been worn by Beyoncé, Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj, Debbie Harry and Iggy Pop.

Tamika Lawrence, singer and actor. Earned Grammy Awards for her work on the “Dear Evan Hansen” and “The Greatest Showman.” Nominated for a 2022 Drama Desk Award. Starred in “Book of Mormon” and “RENT.”

Harvey Mason Jr., record and film producer. CEO of The Recording Academy. Wrote and produced songs for Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson. Produced songs for films like “Dreamgirls,” “Sing,” and “Pitch Perfect.”

Diana Maderas, artist. Named Tucson Weekly’s ’Best Visual Artist’ nine times. Known for her colorful Southwest paintings of desert landscapes and floral scenes that adorn homes, galleries, resorts and the Tucson Airport.

John Matter, dialogue editor. Earned Emmy Awards for “Outstanding Sound Editing” his work as dialogue editor on HBO’s “Lovecraft Country” (2021) and “Game of Thrones” (2019).

Linda Eastman McCartney, photographer. Discovered photography as a student in Tucson. Became the first female photographer to have work featured on the cover of Rolling Stone (1968, image of Eric Clapton).

John F. Meyer, marketing executive. Chief Creative Officer of Absolutmeyer. Worked with many leading advertising agencies for clients like Apple, Taco Bell, Levi’s, Pom Wonderful, Virgin and more.

Craig T. Nelson, actor. Earned an Emmy Award for his performance in the sitcom, “Coach” (1989-1997). Also starred in films “Poltergeist,” “Silkwood,” “The Incredibles,” and “The Proposal.”

Christina Oh, film producer. Produced the film, “Minari,” which earned six Oscar nominations in 2021. Became the first woman of color to be sole producer of a ’Best Picture’ nominee.

Sierra Teller Ornelas, television writer and showrunner. Co-creator, showrunner, writer and executive producer of the Peacock Original comedy series, “Rutherford Falls.” Also produced “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “Superstore.”

Joe Pagac, muralist and fine artist. Creates large murals depicting Arizona and Southwest landscapes incorporating diverse plants and animals of the region.

Paul Pennolino, television director. Director of “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” and “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.” Nominated for seven Emmy awards and seven Directors Guild of America awards.

Mike Plante, filmmaker and festival programmer. Serves as the Senior Programmer for Short Film at the Sundance Film Festival. Directed feature documentary “Be Like an Ant.”

Lucy Raven, artist. Founding member of Thirteen Black Cats, a moving-image research and production collective. Teaches at the Cooper Union School of Art in New York. Her work appears in numerous public collections: Museum of Modern Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate Britain, London, etc.

Adam Rex, author and illustrator. Written and illustrator more than 40 books for kids. Earned the Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature and the National Cartoonists Society Book Illustration Award.

Caroline Rhea, actress and comedian. Starred in HBO, Showtime and Bravo stand-up comedy specials. Has many TV and film credits including her voiceover work with Disney’s animated series, “Phineas and Ferb.”

Nicole Richie, television personality and fashion designer. Appeared in the reality television series, “The Simple Life” (2003-2007). Founder of the lifestyle brand, “House of Harlow.”

Linda Ronstadt, music legend. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (2014). Awarded Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (2016) and the Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (2011). Earned 11 Grammy Awards, three American Music Awards and an Emmy. Charted 38 U.S. Billboard ’Hot 100’ singles

Fritz Scholder, artist. Major influence for a generation of artists. His art deconstructed publicly held stereotypes of Native Americans. His art is in many museum collections including the National Gallery and National Museum of American Art in Washington D.C. and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Garry Shandling, actor, writer, comedian. Created and starred in “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” (1986-1990) and “The Larry Sanders Show” (1992-1998). He earned 19 Primetime Emmy Awards.

Brad Slater, agent. Senior partner and agent at WME, representing LeBron James, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Addison Rae, Michael Strahan, Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gina Rodriguez, and Eva Longoria, among others.

Cherise Smith, professor. Received Eldredge Prize from the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Inaugural Scholar of the Getty Research Institute’s African American Art History Initiative.

Brian Stauffer, illustrator. Award-winning contributing artist for The Nation, New York Times, TIME, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Esquire, GQ and others.

Janet Ann Stewart, art historian and author. Executed the El Presidio Historic District nomination for the National Register of Historic Places. UArizona Women’s Plaza of Honor recipient.

Scott Stuber, film producer. Led Netflix original films for seven years (2017-2024), overseeing the development, production and acquisition of Netflix films, including “ROMA,” “Don’t Look Up,” “Marriage Story,” “Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman,” and Academy Award® winners “All Quiet on the Western Front” and “Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio.”

Lindsay Utz, documentary film editor. Edited “American Factory,” which won the 2019 Academy Award for ’Best Documentary Film.’ Edited “Miss Americana” (Taylor Swift) and “The World’s A Little Blurry” (Billie Eilish).

Vinessa Vidotto, actor. Stars as Special Agent Cameron Vo on the CBS series, “FBI: International.” Also appeared in the TV series “Lucifer” and “Hacks.”

Kate Walsh, actor. Best known for her role as Dr. Addison Montgomery in the ABC medical drama series, “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice.”

Kristen Wiig, actor, writer and comedian. Cast member of Saturday Night Live for seven years, earning four Emmy Award nominations. Co-wrote and starred in “Bridesmaids,” earning ’Best Actress’ and ’Best Original Screenplay’ Academy Award nominations.

Robert Williams, musician. Had a 46-year career as the principal bassoonist in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. With wife, Treva Womble, a retired oboe/English hornist, run their company, Womble/Williams Double Reeds.