While it might not always seem like it, to make it in Hollywood you need a little bit more than extremely good looks. While some celebrities have managed to skate by on their looks alone, there are many others who are secretly geniuses – believe it or not! Some of these celebs have attended high-ranking universities and graduated with some pretty serious degrees. Stick around for #10, you won’t believe what they’ve managed to accomplish.
33. Alicia Keys
At the top of our list is the amazingly talented singer/songwriter, Alicia Keys. Alicia Keys has a long history of excelling in all things, starting off by being the valedictorian of her high school class when she was only 16. She later went on to attend Columbia University, however, she later dropped out to pursue her music career, which seems to have been a very good choice.
Next we have an amazing actress who is perfect at making things just a little bit ‘awkward.’
32. Ashley Rickards
Image: TV Line
Ashley Rickards is an actress known for her portray as Jenna Hamilton in the MTV comedy-drama series Awkward. However, this pretty actress has a few tricks up her sleeves and one of them is that she happens to be super smart! Yes, in fact, Ashley graduated from high school when she was only 15 and with honors. Talk about a real life smarty pants!
Singer Shakira is not only gorgeous, but she’s also a certified genius with an IQ of 140. Believe it or not but she also speaks three different languages fluently: Spanish, English, and Portuguese. She’s also able to hold conversations in French, Italian, Catalan, and Arabic. Talk about being a master of languages!
Next we have a gorgeous young star who made her debut in the Harry Potter films.
30. Emma Watson
Here we have the gorgeous Emma Watson, known for her many roles including Hermione in the Harry Potter film series and Belle in the newest version of Beauty and the Beast. Besides being a phenomenal actress, the young lady also attended school at Brown University and graduated with an English literature degree. She then went on to attend Oxford University, as well. These days she’s also been appointed as a UN ambassador.
Next, we have a gorgeous actress who has even been so bold as to shave her head bald for a role.
29. Natalie Portman
Neat-Lee Hershlag, better known by her stage name, Natalie Portman, was born in Israel and but lived in New York from the age of 3. She is the first person born in the 1980s to have won the Academy Award for Best Actress but that’s not the only major accomplishment she’s achieved. Natalie also attended Harvard, where she graduated with an A.B. in the study of psychology. She also speaks six different languages and has had scientific studies of hers published.
Next, we have a hilarious actress known for her critically acclaimed role in Parks and Recreation.
28. Rashida Jones
Image: TV Guide
Daughter of famous American record producer, Quincy Jones, Rashida Jones has made sure to step out of her father’s shadow and really make a name for herself. At The Buckley School in California, Rashida was dubbed ‘the most likely to succeed’ and then went on to attend Harvard University.
Our next actor is quite famous for his role in a club that you never talk about!
27. Edward Norton
Image: Locarno Festival
Edward Norton started off attending Yale University to study history but deferred for some time after he got a pretty bad back injury. During this time he decided to dabble in acting and he’s been acting ever since. He didn’t stop, however, after his acting career kicked off and instead he decided to challenge himself even more. Now he’s fluent in Japanese, has studied martial arts and has even worked as an analyst for a nonprofit entrepreneurial organization.
26. James Franco
Look at that smile, isn’t he dreamy? While James Franco may be a dreamboat, he’s also accomplished so much more than just his acting career. Although he wasn’t the best student in high school, he decided to take his education more seriously and eventually graduated from UCLA. He then went onto taking filmmaking courses at NYU, Brooklyn College, and Columbia University. And the cherry on top of it all? He even had a Ph.D. from Yale.
Our next big screen heartthrob was a huge hit with his thriller films about a man who loses his memory and gains some pretty amazing talents afterward.
25. Matt Damon
Image: Harvard Gazette
Matt Damon is a very well-known actor in Hollywood and his screenplay Good Will Hunting plummeted him to stardom. Damon originally attended Harvard, but ended up dropping out of school when he realized that he wanted to pursue his career in acting. He is now not only an actor but a producer, screenwriter, and philanthropist as well. Harvard even awarded him the Harvard Arts Medal.
24. Hugh Jackman
Image: TV Guide
Hugh Jackman is so much more than a movie hunk with exceptional acting skills. It seems that when he was living in Australia he obtained a degree in both journalism and communication. Talk about having the whole package!
Next, we have an astounding woman who has been dubbed “the best actress of her generation.”
23. Meryl Streep
When you go to see a film that Meryl Streep is in, you know that you’ll be instantly pulled in. Streep is a sensational actress and has won 3 Academy Awards. These days she’s dabbled in producing. She’s also attended the Yale School of Drama where her natural skills have only blossomed further.
You’ll recognize our next actor as the goofy and iconic character on the hit Fox sitcom depicting life in the 70s.
22. Ashton Kutcher
While Ashton Kutcher’s character, Michael Kelso, was a bit of a dope, Kutcher couldn’t be more different from his role. The actor was accepted into two different colleges in the Engineering field. However, Kutcher decided to turn down the opportunity and instead pursued acting.
Our next actor was an icon bodybuilder/actor who starred as a cyborg assassin in a hit thriller film – he also later became involved in politics!
21. Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger seemed to have lived a dozen lives since he’s made it on everyone’s radar. First, he started off as a professional bodybuilder, then he moved onto acting where he gained a lot of fame and then he became involved in politics and became the Governor of California in 2003.
Remember Friends? You’ll be blown away by what this one Friends actress was doing before she was on the show.
20. Lisa Kudrow
Who could ever forget Lisa Kudrow’s role as the zany and out there character, Phoebe, on Friends? However, in real life, Lisa isn’t an airhead like her character would make her out to be. In fact, before pursuing her acting career Lisa was assisting her father in clinical research on headaches. After she published her findings in a study and headed off to grad school, Lisa discovered that she wanted to be an actress and the rest is history.
19. Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino is known for his nonlinear storylines and highly satirical works. Despite being a genius at the art of film, Tarantino was never a great student in school. However, it seems that he has an IQ that is over 160. It seems that he’s put his brain towards creating some of the most classic films ever such as Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill.
18. Anne Hathaway
Actress Anne Hathaway had her breakthrough in the acting world with her role as Mia Thermopolis in the Disney comedy The Princess Diaries. Outside of acting, Anne has studied as an English major and has also engaged in a Women’s Studies courses before she began acting.
17. Steve Martin
Image: Quiet Revolution
Steve Martin is a well-known actor and comedian who has had people smiling for years. However, did you know that that he spent an entire year attempting to get into the educational and intelligent group MENSA. He eventually got accepted and wrote about the experience in The New Yorker. He’s also written several books and screenplays and majored in philosophy when he attended the California State University.
Our next actor played a chilling and heartless politically involved character on a hit Netflix series.
16. Kevin Spacey
Actor Kevin Spacey has had some pretty notable roles, including his role as a depressed suburban father in American Beauty that earned him an Academy Award. But did you know that Spacey attended the Juilliard School in New York City where he learned quite a bit of his acting skills from.
15. Jake Gyllenhaal
Image: The New York Times
For those of you that may not know, Jake Gyllenhaal actually attended Columbia University. His sister Maggie also attended, however, she was the only one to actually graduate. Despite not finishing at Columbia, Jake was often regarded as a highly intelligent and well-rounded student.
Our next actress has been in some of the most ground-breaking films and had her major breakthrough in a Martin Scorsese film.
14. Jodie Foster
Jodie Foster is an unbelievable actress and has been in films such as Taxi Driver and Silence of the Lambs. She’s also managed to attend Yale and study upper-level French. She took a break from acting after the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan due to the attempted assassin’s obsession with her. During her schooling she managed to earn an honorary Doctor with a Fine Arts degree.
13. Colin Firth
Colin Firth is a fantastic actor but did you know that he’s also co-written a paper on the field of human brain research? We can almost bet that you didn’t (although maybe some die-hard fans might have known). His research on the subject got him published in the Current Biology journal.
If you’ve ever seen Basic Instinct then you’ll instantly recognize this next actress that had one of the most remembered seductive scenes in Hollywood history.
12. Sharon Stone
Sharon Stone has had some pretty notable film roles such as her part in Basic Instinct, where she famously leg-crossed in one of the most seductive scenes ever. However, the beauty has had a lot more to offer as well. She was offered a college scholarship at just fifteen where she studied fine arts and creative writing while at the university.
11. Jennifer Connelly
Image: Beauty Greats Blog
Jennifer Connelly began modeling and acting from a young age, however, that didn’t limit her options for her education. Connelly not only attended Yale, but she also attended Stanford. At Yale, she studied English and at Stanford, she studied Drama. She also knows two other languages other than English.
Next, we have an actor whose fame went through the roof when he portrayed a sarcastic and snarky doctor on a hit TV series.
10. Hugh Laurie
Known for his role as Dr. House, Hugh Laurie’s arrogant nature may be well warranted when you find out about his background. Laurie attended Eton College and then a bunch of other prestigious schools in the UK where he studied anthropology and archaeology.
9. Julia Stiles
You may remember Julia Stiles from her memorable role as the angsty Kat Stratford, alongside Heath Ledger. She decided to attend Columbia University in 2000, after the release of the film, where she studied English and obtained a Bachelor’s degree.
Next, we have an actor who played the best version of the typical “nice guy” on The Office.
8. John Krasinski
Image: A&E’s Biography
You may know John as the super nice guy Jim from The Office, but would you believe it if we told you that he actually attended Brown University. For his donor’s thesis he actually ended up writing a play – whoa! Studying theatre did him well as he happens to be quite the funny actor.
7. Ashley Judd
Ashley Judd is both a well-known actress and a political activist. With her fame and public administration master’s degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Judd has used her voice to further political causes that help better the world.
Next we have an X-Files star who has accomplished quite a lot in his life.
6. David Duchovny
David Duchovny is well-known for his role in X-Files and Californication. Outside of his lucrative acting career, Duchovny also attended two Ivy League schools and graduated from Princeton with a B.A. in English literature. He also eventually went to Yale to get his masters but decided that being an actor was a better choice!
5. Kate Beckinsale
Image: W Magazine
Kate Beckinsale is an absolute stunner, however, she’s got some brains to follow up. She actually made her film debut in Much Ado About Nothing while still attending school at the University of Oxford. She also speaks four languages fluently and studied Russian Literature and French at Oxford.
4. Jordana Brewster
Before she was a hit in the Fast and Furious films, Jordana Brewster was just a self-proclaimed geek who was studying English at Yale University. She often wishes that she had been more social during her college years and joined a sorority!
You’ll definitely recognize our next actor from a hilarious movie about four guys who go to Vegas and lose one of their pals during a crazy night of fun!
3. Ken Jeong
Image: The Korea Times
The hilarious Ken Jeong has been seen in films such as The Hangover and Knocked Up. But Jeong wasn’t always an actor. He’s actually a licensed obstetrician and studied medicine in school. Guess his role in Knocked Up really makes sense now!
2. Lily Cole
Lily Cole is a gorgeous model and actress but did you know that she was also a straight A student at the university? She attended Cambridge University where she got all A’s as a full-time student, studying the History of Art.
Finally, we have a Dutch actress that has played a crucial role in the X-Men film series.
1. Famke Janssen
Known for her role in the X-Men films and Liam Neeson’s wife in Taken, Famke is so much more than an actress. The actress has spent time studying abroad at Amsterdam and at Columbia University where she studied literature and writing.