Campus & Community

What was your first job after graduating from Harvard?

2 min read
John Lithgow

John Lithgow ’67

“After Harvard, I spent two years on a Fulbright, studying acting in England. And after that, I spent a year working for my father, acting at Princeton’s McCarter Theatre where he was the director. As I see it, my actual career finally began after those three coddled years: I cut the cord, moved to New York and entered the marketplace of eager young actors.

“My first job? Actually, there were two concurrent jobs. With no theater work coming my way, I worked part time at a radical radio station doing parodies and satirical skits, and at night I drove a cab. This was an unpromising start, but within two years I was on Broadway in my first New York show, ‘The Changing Room,’ which won me a Tony and sent me on my way.”

Tommy Lee Jones ’69

“Ten days after graduation I got a job on Broadway in ‘A Patriot for Me’ by John Osborne. I’ve worked as an actor ever since.” Jones played “a variety of Austrian soldiers” for the entire run of the play on Broadway.

Mike Lynch ’76

WCVB-TV Channel 5 sportscaster Mike Lynch had “about six jobs” after leaving Harvard. Lynch, who played football and baseball at Harvard, announced Harvard football games on now-defunct radio station WITS and worked as a basketball referee and baseball umpire. He also was a substitute teacher at Somerville High School and worked nights tending bar at Jack’s, a former Cambridge watering hole. In 1979, he landed a full-time position as a talk show host and sports reporter at WITS, and he joined Channel 5 full time in 1983. “The plan after graduation was to go to law school, but the broadcasting business was fairly intoxicating.”