It’s easy to think of celebrities as people with so much money and so few brains. As it turns out, some of those celebrities have advanced degrees that will make you eat your words.
You probably had no idea that these celebrities had so much smarts between their ears.
Ken Jeong? That’s Doctor Ken Jeong to you
Ken Jeong earned his introduction to celebrity status by portraying a crass Asian in The Hangover. He solidified that reputation with his outrageous role on the brilliant, but cancelled, Community. Well, guess what? Jeong isn’t just a potty mouth who likes to take his shirt off and strut his man-boobs. He’s also a doctor.
No, not like one of those doctors who read a lot of literature and taught you about Freud’s perversions when you were an undergrad. He’s a legitimate MD. He doesn’t currently practice (have you compared the salaries between doctors and movie stars?), but he occasionally runs into situations that require his medical expertise. Can you imagine how weird it would be to have him ask you serious medical questions while you’re freaking out?
Mayim Bialik: Someone had to support Joey
If you’re old enough to remember Mayim Bialik’s role on “Blossom,” then you’re also old enough to need the skills she acquired earning her PhD in neuroscience from UCLA. There’s just one problem. Bialik isn’t seeing patients. Instead, she plays the character Amy Fowler, a physicist, on “The Big Band Theory.”
Rowan Atkinson makes your brain hurt
Rowan Atkinson, better known as Mr. Bean, is one of the most annoying comedians to escape from Britain. That’s saying something in itself. Atkinson also has a degree from Oxford University in Electrical Engineering.
Those skills probably came in pretty handy when, while traveling in Kenya, he singlehandedly managed to keep a plane in the air after the pilot fainted. And no, that time there weren’t any Mr. Bean hijinks.
Shaq knows the biz
Shaquille O’Neal might have made the mistake of appearing in the super-flop Kazaam, but he’s actually a very smart fellow. In fact, some of his friends refer to him as “The Big Aristotle.” Shaq likes philosophical discussions almost as he likes destroying backboards.
Not content to just be smart, Shaq put his brains to work to earn a Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. Someone has to know what to do with all of that money.
David Duchovny reads and reads and reads
David Duchovny has played several excellent roles. No one could forget Agent Mulder in “X-Files.” His character in Evolution was even more ludicrous. If you kept up with his career, you saw him take a turn for the serious in “Californication.”
The weird thing about “Californication” is that Duchovny could have actually been that wayward writer. In between his screen successes, Duchovny enrolled in Yale’s graduate program and earned a master’s in English literature.
Is he as smart as Mulder? Well, that’s hard to tell. But Duchovny did play a pot-focused botanist in the move Goats. That has to show some higher intelligence, right?
Peter Weller looks to the past
Peter Weller had a brilliant career in Hollywood playing rolls in Robocop and Buckaroo Nanzai. At some point, though, a man wants to push his boundaries. In 2004, Weller got his master’s degree from Syracuse University in Roman and Renaissance art. That’s not quite the same as a Robocop movie, but it shows his diverse interests.
Currently, Weller is working on his Ph.D. Sometimes actors use money from successful franchises to pursue higher goals. Still… come on… another Robocop!
Ron Jeremy: Yes, that guy
We all know Ron Jeremy, right? The Hedgehog? The not-so-attractive man who somehow weaseled his way into uncountable adult films? Yeah, that guy has a master’s degree from Queens College. This isn’t even the kind of thing that ends up on BiteSize New Hollywood News. Take a long pause right now and think about what you’ve done with your life.
Jeremy eventually entered “mainstream” movies like Boondock Saints and Orgazmo, but he’ll always be the leading role in most of the pornographic films you snuck as a child. And you wonder why you pay your therapist so much money every month.
Art Garfunkel is a math whiz
Art Garfunkel has a voice that can make any song divine. But did you know he was searching for the ultimate divinity of pure mathematics before he struck it big as a musician?
Garfunkel eared first earned a history degree at Columbia before moving on to the master’s program in mathematics. Of course, that Paul Simon guy had to come along and distract him from his Ph.D. with some of folk’s most beautiful songs.
Brian May is a freaking astrophysicist
You know Brian May, right? The lead guitarist of Queen. One of the best lead guitarist to ever form a melody. Yeah, that Brian May. He’s done much more than help write ditties like Fat Bottomed Girls and We Will Rock You. He also has an PhD in astrophysics. This isn’t an honorary degree for breaking known sound vibrations, either.
He’s actually the chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University. Wrap your head around that as you stop your feet and clap your hands.
Ashley Judd knows what’s up
Don’t blame yourself for picturing Ashley Judd as the typical starlet with nothing in her mind but half-formed lines for her next blockbuster. The truth is that Judd is one smart woman. Thanks to her movie career, it took her forever to finish her undergraduate degree at the University of Kentucky (hooting frat boys probably didn’t help).
After she finished, though, she enrolled in the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. She even earned her master’s in public administration in 2010. For a time, Judd thought about combating Mitch McConnell for his seat in Congress. Her chances looked good, but she decided to focus on her family. That doesn’t mean her political career is over, though!
What other celebrities have advanced educations that you found surprising? There are plenty. It turns out that motivated people often pursue more than one passion at a time.