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Jason Plautz
12 Star-Powered College Roommates
by Jason Plautz - January 13, 2009 - 8:30 AM

Plenty of college students fret about their roommates, complaining about how they smell bad or steal Pop Tarts. But be careful – that person on the lower bunk may turn out to be powerful someday. Or maybe you both will. Here’s a look at twelve pairs of famous roommates.

1) Al Gore and Tommy Lee Jones

r.TLandGore.jpgActor Tommy Lee Jones and Former Vice President Al Gore (and eventually John Lithgow) shared a room at Harvard and, like plenty of college roomies, chased skirts together, even joining a country music band to get girls. The unlikely duo also served as the inspiration for the character of Oliver in Love Story, written by fellow Harvard alum Erich Segal.

2) Tony Dungy and Flip Saunders

When rooming together at the University of Minnesota, Tony Dungy and Flip Saunders dreamed of capturing a national championship for the school, Dungy on the football field and Saunders on the basketball court. Both went on to make their mark as coaches. Dungy led the Indianapolis Colts to a Super Bowl victory, and Saunders took the Detroit Pistons to three straight Eastern Conference Finals.

3) Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson

roommates- wes and owen.jpgWes Anderson and Owen Wilson have had great success collaborating on films from Rushmore to The Royal Tenebaums. And it all started when they were roommates at University of Texas, where they co-wrote Anderson’s directoral debut Bottle Rocket. That’s not the only writing Anderson did with Wilson, though; he wrote a paper about Edgar Allen Poe for him in order to score the better bedroom in their apartment.

4) Joe Montana and Charlie Weis

roommates - weis and montana.jpgCharlie Weis may run a pretty no-nonsense football program at Notre Dame, but back when he was a student there, he was fond of playing pranks on roommate (and quarterback) Joe Montana.

5) Ving Rhames and Stanley Tucci

Actor Ving Rhames probably wouldn’t have carved out his successful career if it weren’t for roommate Stanley Tucci. While at SUNY Purchase, Tucci convinced Rhames to shorten his name from Irving. And let’s face it, that was probably a good career move; Marsellus Wallace just wouldn’t be the same played by someone named Irving.

6) Bill Clinton and Strobe Talbot

roommates - clinton and strobe.jpgWhen you’ve got two Rhodes scholars rooming together at Oxford, you know there’s bound to be some brainpower. But the pairing of future president Bill Clinton and Time editor/U.S. diplomat Strobe Talbot just seems excessive.

7) Hillary Clinton and Janet Hill

Bill Clinton may have had a high-powered roommate, but his wife’s roomie was no slouch either. At Wellesley, Hillary Clinton roomed with Janet Hill, a future attorney. But you may know Hill more for her son, NBA star Grant Hill. The ties between the families continued past college; Grant has been a public supporter of the Democratic Party and on the night he was drafted, he got a congratulatory call from then-president Bill.

8) David Lynch and Peter Wolf

roommates- wolf and lynch.jpgWhile attending the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Peter Wolf, lead vocalist for the J. Giels Band, ended up rooming with surrealist director David Lynch. The kicker, though, is that Lynch ended up kicking Wolf out of the apartment, saying that he was “too weird.” As if anything could be too weird for David Lynch.

9) Edward Gorey and Frank O’Hara

If any roommate on this list would be too weird, I would have thought it would have been creepy illustrator Edward Gorey. But apparently poet Frank O’Hara didn’t mind when the two roomed together at Harvard.

10) Christopher Reeve and Robin Williams

roommates- williams and reeves.jpgAt Julliard, roomies Robin Williams and Christopher Reeve vowed to always be friends and help each other throughout life. Both held true to the promise, as they remained close. Williams even covered some of Reeve’s medical expenses after he was paralyzed. Of course, being Robin Williams, he couldn’t stop there; after Reeve found out he couldn’t walk again, Williams visited him dressed as a doctor and pretending to be his proctologist, reportedly causing Reeve to smile for the first time since the accident.

11) Tom Izzo and Steve Mariucci

This is one of those anecdotes you just can’t make up. When they were friends in Michigan, Steve Mariucci and Tom Izzo would race up the steps of a man-made ski jump to see who would be successful. If Izzo won, he’d become head basketball coach at Notre Dame, but if Mariucci won, he’d be the school’s football coach. The two roomed together at Northern Michigan University and then went on to live their childhood dreams. Izzo became head basketball coach at Michigan State University, while Mariucci went on to coach the San Francisco ‘49ers.

12) Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae

roommates rae ignatieff.jpg

Finally, from north of the border, Canadian politicians Bob Rae and Michael Ignatieff roomed together at the University of Toronto. The two were close friends, coming from similar backgrounds, and spent a lot of time together. They remained close, even in 2006 when they ran against each other for leadership of the Liberal Party.

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