10 Biggest Hollywood High School Success Stories

High schools in the Hollywood, Los Angeles area have historically served as talent pools for the movie industry. Due primarily to its strategic location during the time when Hollywood's film industry

High schools in the Hollywood, Los Angeles area have historically served as talent pools for the movie industry. Due primarily to its strategic location during the time when Hollywood's film industry began setting its roots, Hollywood High School started the home grown talent trend. Top tier entertainers such as Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland and Lana Turner all called the school home.

As the film industry grew, and its front of camera talent began to come from all over the world, Hollywood High School's status as the industry's top minor league franchise began to wane. Starting in the 1970s, new home grown talent from the Los Angeles area public and private schools - like Beverly Hills High School and Santa Monica High School - captured the hearts and minds of the public, forever changing the way the industry tells its high school success stories.

But Hollywood High School still boasts some of the film industry's biggest success stories. According to box office numbers, the ten following actors reached the pinnacle of box office success, exceeding the billion dollar mark. A few honorable mentions not listed in this top ten include Hollywood home grown talent such as Mila Kunis (Fairfax High) and Sean Penn (Santa Monica High) among others, reached the low end of the billion dollar box office mark. Laurence Fishburne, a multi-billion dollar box office draw, and a six week attendee of Hollywood High, does not neatly fit the home grown talent category. Finally, multi-billion box office actors such as Carrie Fisher (Beverly Hills High) and Demi Moore (Fairfax High) have little to no recorded box office statistics for the past five years.

10 Joseph-Gordon Levitt


With a box office inflation-adjusted total of $1.7 billion attached to his name, Joseph-Gordon Levitt ranks as one of the younger members of the box office billion dollar club. Levitt experienced what might be called a high school dream, working steadily on the sitcom 3rd Rock From the Sun as he attended Van Nuys High School. With approximately thirty film credits already under his belt, his box office break came about largely due to his role in the hugely popular Batman movie, The Dark Knight.

9 Charlie Sheen

A member of a well known Hollywood dynasty, Charlie Sheen's career shines, albeit sometimes not so bright, on both the big and small screens. With some thirty movies to his credit, including the top grossing movie, Platoon, Sheen's long list of credits explains his high placement on the Hollywood home grow box office list. The total box office gross to his name sits at an Inflation Adjusted Box Office Total of $1,746,544,800.

8 Kristen Stewart

Due largely to the enormous success of the Twilight franchise, at twenty-five years of age, Kristen Stewart ranks as the youngest of the homegrown box office billion dollar box office club with an Adjusted Box Office Total currently sitting at the $1,967,752,400 mark. Only time will tell whether or not her early franchise success or her current search for the serious will define her box office legacy.

7 Gwyneth Paltrow


Known today primarily as a celebrity lifestyle entrepreneur, Gwyneth Paltrow's film resume and box office numbers are recorded at an inflation adjusted total of $2,336,016,400. Paltrow's box office power recently got a boost with her role recurring role in the Iron Man franchise.

6 Angelina Jolie

Hard work and a widely diverse resume consisting of a variety of films account for Angelina Jolie's success at the box office, which currently comes in at $2,518,085,400. While known early on in life for her work in actions, adventures and thrillers, Jolie's most recent venture into the cartoon and fantasy genres has proven to be her most financially lucrative career move.

5 Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo DiCaprio's titanic box office career, with a total gross figure of $3,166,594,000, builds on much more than his highest grossing movie, Titanic. As a relatively young member of the billion dollar box office club, DiCaprio already has approximately twenty-five feature films on his resume.

4 Denzel Washington

3 Nicolas Cage

With over fifty films under his belt and an inflation adjusted box office gross tipping the scales at $3,560,068,700, there's no disputing the fact that Nicolas Cage worked hard for his success. Two National Treasure films top his box office list. However, it's his body of work that accounts for the greater part of the total.

2 Robert Downey, Jr.

High school apparently had little effect on Downey's big screen success. He attended Santa Monica High School. But, following a life's journey of learning experiences, Downey has  reflected on those years saying, “I consider myself intelligent, but being a high-school dropout, I might not have pursued certain skills."

Living a very public life and experiencing periodic interruptions in his career did little to slow down Robert Downey Jr.'s march to the upper echelons of Hollywood's homegrown A-list.

1 Cameron Diaz

Cameron Diaz started out at California and Long Beach Polytechnic High School, before transitioning into the world of professional modeling. Not known as a backward looking person, one-time cheerleader Diaz rarely publicly reflects on her high school years as either a positive or negative influence on her life's choices.

Diaz's entrance into the film industry got off the ground running after her stint in modelling, due to a string of successful comedies. After a career that spans over thirty films - including her appearances in the Shrek franchise, her highest grossing films - Diaz currently ranks at the top of the Hollywood homegrown box office billion dollar club with an inflation adjusted box office total of $4,065,559,700.

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10 Biggest Hollywood High School Success Stories