From Mensa to Master’s, Smart Celebrities You Didn’t Know Were Brainiacs!


Really smart celebrities exist? Of course they do! Many people think celebrities achieve their goals by good lucks or athletic ability, but that’s not always the case! It may shock you to learn that some actors who are best known for playing dumb characters actually have a Master’s or PhD!

How many of these brainiac celebrities surprise you?

20. Ben Stein


The man best known for his ultra-dry joke delivery and calls for “Bueller” is well respected as a comedian. He even hosted his own game show! But Ben Stein is more than just a humorist – he is a Yale graduate and an economics professor.

19. Ashley Judd


This actress may be best known for kicking ass onscreen, but she’s more than just an action star. Judd earned a master’s degree in public administration at Harvard. Talk about a backup plan!

18. David Duchovny


Before he was hunting down aliens and sewer monsters on the X-Files, David Duchovny was pursuing a PhD in English.

17. Viggo Mortensen


Aragorn, at the time of Fellowship of the Ring, was 87 years old, but he probably didn’t speak as many languages as the actor who played him! Mortensen speaks English, French, Danish, Italian, Norwegian, Arabic and Catalan. Wow!

16. Natalie Portman


Queen Amadala herself rivals Viggo in the languages department. She speaks English, Hewbrew, German, Japanese, French and Spanish.

15. Alicia Keys


Before her music career took off, Alicia Keys could have easily pursued some serious academia. She graduated high school valedictorian at the age of 16!

14. Jennifer Lawrence


Like Alicia Keys, Jennifer Lawrence graduated high school early. Two years early, in fact! She had a GPA of 3.9 as well.

13. James Franco


We’re not sure if James Franco sleeps. He has an MFA from Columbia, a master’s at NYU in filmmaking and he is pursuing a PhD in English from Yale.

12. Questlove


Questlove, whose real name is Ahmir Thompson, is more than just a musician, he’s also an adjunct instructor at NYU. You can see him every night on The Tonight Show!

11. Kal Penn


Kal Penn went on from playing a pothead in Harold and Kumar to working in politics. He has also taught two courses at the University of Pennsylvania.