Craig Reynolds, CEO of the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Craig Reynolds, CEO of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, left, and Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Accounting | The Profession

Eight famous people who are accountants

From Bob Newhart to John Grisham to the inventor of bubble gum (really!), here are some famous folks who once toyed with (and in some cases, even pursued) a career as an accountant

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Julia Sweeney

Julia Sweeney (Photo courtesy Creative Commons / Travis Puderbaugh)

Julia Sweeney: A Saturday Night Live cast member in the early 1990s, Julia Sweeney is recognizable from her work there and in films like The Coneheads and Pulp Fiction. Sweeney also studied economics at the University of Washington and worked as an accountant for Columbia Pictures and United Artists.

Bob Newhart

Bob Newhart (Photo courtesy Creative Commons / Alan Light)

Bob Newhart: Comedy icon Bob Newhart worked as an accountant at the United States Gypsum Corporation. He has said that his motto “That’s close enough” reveals that he wasn’t well-suited to accountancy as a profession.

Lee Van Cleef

Lee Van Cleef (Photo courtesy Arturo Gonzalez Producciones Cinematograficas / Constantin F / Ronald Grant Archive  / Alamy Stock Photo)

Lee Van Cleef: A journeyman actor best known for his roles in classic Spaghetti Westerns such as The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, and For a Few Dollars More, Lee Van Cleef served in the U.S. Navy as a minesweeper, and also worked as an accountant.

Kenny G

Kenny G (Photo courtesy Creative Commons / Micah Sittig)

Kenny G: Saxophone superstar Kenny G (born Kenneth Bruce Gorelick) is well-known for his musical talent. Less well-known is the fact that he holds a degree in accounting from the University of Washington, where he graduated magna cum laude.


Peter Falk (Photo courtesy NBC Studios)

Peter Falk: Peter Falk had a long career in television and film, but the late actor is best known for his role as the rumpled detective in Columbo. Before finding acting, Falk qualified to be a certified public accountant and worked as an efficiency expert for the Budget Bureau of the State of Connecticut.

Chck Liddell

Chuck Liddell (Photo courtesy Public Domain / US Marine Corps.)

Chuck Liddell: Credited with helping bring mixed martial arts (MMA) to a mass audience, Chuck Liddell is also a trained accountant. He earned a BA in Business and Accounting from California Polytechnic University in 1995.


John Grisham (Photo courtesy Creative Commons / C. Harrison)

John Grisham: Prolific novelist John Grisham earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Mississippi State University in 1977. He planned to become a tax lawyer, but later practiced civil litigation, the basis for many of his best-selling novels.


The Inventor of Bubble Gum, Walter Diemer: You probably haven’t heard of Walter Diemer before (we sure hadn’t), but this accountant for a company called Fleer experimented with gum bases, and accidentally invented a type of gum that could stretch and not break. His formulation is the basis of the bubble gum we know today. He sold it for one penny under the name “Double Bubble,” which you may have sampled.


Navdeep Bains

Navdeep Bains: A member of Canadian Parliament, Navdeep Bains is the current Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. He earned an MBA from the University of Windsor and holds an FCPA, FCMA designation from CPA Ontario.

Alexandre Bilodeau

Alexandre Bilodeau (Photo courtesy Creative Commons / Duncan Rawlinson)

Alexandre Bilodeau: A Canadian hero of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Alexandre Bilodeau won a gold medal in men’s moguls on home soil. He added a second gold medal to his resume by defending his title four years later in Sochi. Bilodeau studied accounting at Concordia University and currently works for KPMG.

Craig Reynolds

Craig Reynolds (Photo courtesy Craig Huszar)

Craig Reynolds: Diehard fans of the Saskatchewan Roughriders may be interested to know that Craig Reynolds, CEO of their favourite CFL team, is an accountant by trade.