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Great College Roommates

Posted: Wednesday September 28, 2005 11:59AM; Updated: Wednesday September 28, 2005 5:39PM
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Who do you think got more girls in college? The speech and drama major or the stud QB?
Who do you think got more girls in college? The speech and drama major or the stud QB?
Otto Greule Jr./ Getty Images

By Matthew Waxman

"Good night, Charlie."

"Sleep tight, Joe."

Mentioned as a side note to the "Charlie Weis Lets Dying Boy Call First Play" story, it was reported that Weis' roommate at Notre Dame was none other than Joe Montana and that Weis used to play pranks on Montana (The finger in warm water? Joe's playbook in a Jell-O mold? The mind wanders). This is the second time recently that high profile people have been linked as college roomies. A few weeks back, it was erroneously reported that one-time FEMA director Joseph Allbaugh and recently-canned FEMA director Michael Brown were roommates at Oklahoma, though it's true that Allbaugh was the one who hired Brown.

It's no coincidence that roommates, be they Charlies and Joes or regular Joes remain linked for life. Most decisions you make in college have little effect on the rest of your life. Your grades? Unless you're going to grad school, your transcript might as well be written in invisible ink. Your freshman sweetie? What was her name again? But your college roommate, that is someone who actually makes a difference. The bonds formed through countless hours of pillow talk last a lifetime. The half-baked schemes discussed under a black-lit Bob Marley poster can change the world (one of the early founders of Microsoft and one of the founders of Apple were college roommates). And we haven't even mentioned the important lessons you learn when you're curled up on the dorm lounge couch after being sexiled.

As an ode to the roommate, The A List presents a look at the more notable pairs -- some sporty, some not sporty -- and how shacking up shaped their lives. Stanley Tucci ("Big Night") and Ving Rhames ("Pulp Fiction") shared a dorm room at the Juilliard School of Drama. Tucci was the one who dubbed Irving Rhames "Ving" and frankly, with a name like Irving, we're thinking he been more likely to be cast as the Gimp than as Marsellus Wallace. At the same school, Robin Williams roomed with Christopher Reeves and they remained lifelong friends.

At Harvard, while the Internet was still just a twinkle in Al Gore's eye, the former Vice Prez shared quarters with John Lithgow and Harvard football star Tommy Lee Jones. Erich Segal, the author of "Love Story" claims that his male lead, Oliver Barrett IV, was modeled after Gore and TLJ.

At the University of Texas, Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson met in an English class and shared a room, where they co-wrote Anderson's directorial debut, "Bottle Rocket." Anderson even wrote a paper for Wilson on Edgar Allen Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado," as part of a deal over who would get the better room. Continuing on the theme of "it's not what you know but who you know," Danny DeVito and Michael Douglas bunked at Cal and went on to collaborate in Hollywood on such flicks as "Romancing the Stone" and "The War of the Roses." The Jets Offensive Coordinator Mike Heimerdinger got his shot coaching in the NFL from Mike Shanahan, his roommate at Eastern Illinois University, when Shanahan hired Heimerdinger as the Broncos WR coach in 1995.

Big Men (and Women) on Campus, be they Van Wilder-types or athletes, naturally gravitate towards each other. In Storrs, Emeka Okafor and Ben Gordon shared an apartment, as did Huskies' Sue Bird and Swin Cash. At USC, Carson Palmer picked the defensive brain of his roommate and current Steelers safety Troy Polamalu. In his Hall of Fame induction speech Marcus Allen toasted his college roommate at USC saying, "I've been knowing him a long, long time...He is the one player that has more influence over me than anybody I've ever met." He was talking about fellow yellow jacket owner Ronnie Lott.

PGA stars Fred Couples and Blaine McCallister dreamed about donning the green jacket while at the University of Houston where they roomed and played on the golf team with Jim Nantz. We imagine it was a lot easier for Couples and McCallister to visualize strolling to the 18th at Augusta "about to become the Masters champion" with their roommate narrating the scene.

So be nice to your roommates. Don't sweat it if they eat your leftover schnitzel or drink your last brew. There's a good chance you'll need each other one day.

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