The crosstown rivalry between USC and UCLA will never die; it’s the Gaza Strip of college face-offs. While there might never be an answer to which school reigns supreme, there is no doubt that the University of Southern California knows how to breed Hollywood’s next generation of movers and shakers.

Every year since 1973, at least one USC alumnus has been nominated for an Academy Award, and the same is true of the Emmys since 1975. Hollywood has dubbed that commanding presence “The USC Mafia” and these are just a few of the members.


Judd Apatow: He resurrected the ’80s teen sex romp, made family values funny and turned Seth Rogen into a leading man. His new film, Funny People, starring his former roommate, Adam Sandler, and his wife, Leslie Mann, opens July 31 and has already earned him comparisons to James L. Brooks.

John Carpenter: Godfather of the slasher horror flick thanks to his opus, Halloween (1978).

Joe Francis: He made millions by asking girls to go wild.

David S. Goyer: Writer of the Blade series, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Comic book stores have shrines to him.

Brian Grazer and Ron Howard: Before pissing off the Catholic Church with The Da Vinci Code franchise, this Oscar and Emmy-winning duo and their company, Imagine Entertainment, oversaw and created such projects as Apollo 13, 8 Mile, “24” and “Arrested Development.” Money, clout and accolades follow them wherever they go.

Taylor Hackford: Award-winning director of Ray and An Officer and a Gentleman.

Conrad Hall: Award-winning cinematographer of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, American Beauty and Road to Perdition.

Doug Liman: Director of Swingers, the best Bourne film (The Bourne Identity) and the man who brought Brangelina together in Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

George Lucas: Sure, the Star Wars prequels sucked and Indy 4 inspired the phrase “Nuke the Fridge” (meaning to destroy a franchise), but as bad as they were, that’s how amazing Lucas’ early work is. From American Graffiti to The Last Crusade (we’ll give him a pass on Howard the Duck), Lucas is responsible for some of the greatest cinematic achievements of the ’70s and ’80s, not to mention THX or ILM.

Jason Reitman: Son of Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman, who created a name for himself with Juno and Thank You For Smoking.

Josh Schwartz: What would the world be without frothy teen soaps like “The O.C.,” which he created at 26, earning him the distinction of the youngest person ever to oversee a network TV show, and “Gossip Girl”? You know you love it. xoxo

Bryan Singer: Made two awesome X-Men movies and The Usual Suspects before killing the potential of a Superman franchise.

John Singleton: His directorial debut, 1991’s Boyz n the Hood, earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay and Director. At 23, he was both the youngest person and the only African American ever nominated in the directing category.

Robert Zemeckis: Visionary award-winning director, writer and producer of Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Forrest Gump.

Laura Ziskin: She spun Spidey’s web, creating a franchise, which has already earned $2.5 billion (yes, with a B) worldwide and has two more sequels in the works.


Sophia Bush:
Bush dropped out of USC in her third year after being cast on "One Tree Hill."

Jenna Dewan: Dewan danced with Justin Timberlake, Ricky Martin and Janet Jackson before it was time to Step Up with her future fiancé, Channing Tatum.

Ryan Eggold: Just three years after graduation, Eggold is already a CW regular as teacher Ryan Matthews on “90210.” Next season, his role expands to their “Melrose Place” reboot as well.

Will Ferrell: “More Cowbell.” “It’s just so good when it touches your lips.” “We’re going streaking!” “Why don’t you go back to your home on whore island?” Ahhh, the memories. From his days on “SNL” to Talladega Nights, Ferrell is one of the funniest people in Hollywood, a fact you can vote for on his Web site, His new film Land of the Lost, is out now.

America Ferrera: She won an Emmy by proving “Ugly” is the new beautiful.

Ted McGinley: ’80s television wouldn’t have been with same without “Married…with Children”’s Jefferson D’Arcy, husband of Marcy D’Arcy.

Timothy Olyphant: Swam competitively while studying theater at USC. Those skills must’ve come in handy when he jumped ship on now-cancelled “Samantha Who?” and climbed aboard FX’s “Damages.”

John Ritter: No one can touch the comedy gold that was Jack Tripper.

Kyra Sedgwick: Her successful and critically lauded series, “The Closer,” returned for its fifth season on TNT this week.

Tom Selleck: No one has ever made Hawaiian shirts, short shorts and a porn ’stache look cooler.

John Wayne: The ultimate cowboy, this acting legend started out studying pre-law and playing on the football team before making his mark in Hollywood.

Forest Whitaker: Academy award-winning actor who began his studies in the music conservatory as an operatic tenor before transitioning to the theater school.