Santa Barbara
62° F
Santa Maria
59° F
San Luis Obispo
58° F
Scattered Clouds
Scattered Clouds
63° F

Five celebrities who are actually smart

By Robert Elsenpeter, Contributing writer
Published On: Sep 30 2011 01:15:26 AM CDT
Updated On: Sep 12 2013 08:53:39 AM CDT
Natalie Portman, Reuters RTXWGK0

Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Our parents and teachers drummed it into our heads from a young age: "If you want to make a lot of money, you have to go to school."

While there is truth to that for the general populace, it really seems to be the case for some celebrities.

No, you don't have to have a doctorate to play the Terminator, but for some celebs, they hedged their bets and did the right thing -- they got their education under their belts, and then went on to tackle Hollywood.

Some on our list are no brainers -- you'd expect them to have rich educational histories. But some you barely expect to be able to spell, let alone have advanced degrees.

Keep that in mind before challenging one of the following five celebs to a friendly game of Trivial Pursuit. You'd have a great story to tell, but you'd also likely lose big.

Up first? Bueller .... Bueller ...

Ben Stein speaking with raised finger

No. 5: Ben Stein

Ben Stein is so smart that he can actually spell "Bueller" without having to stop and figure out if the u goes before the e.

Stein is one smart dude. He earned a degree in economics from Columbia University, and then received a law degree from Yale. He was a lawyer, a professor, a historian, and a speech writer for Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford (Time magazine even speculated that he was the infamous Deep Throat).

Stein became a consultant to Hollywood and then came to fame with 1986's "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" as the monotone economics teacher who was trying to take attendance. From there he got his own game show ("Win Ben Stein's Money") and has gone on to become a celebrated media personality.

While we are in awe of Stein's intelligence, he's not perfect. He also predicted that the mortgage crisis would "blow over." Oops.

Next up, a dumb "Friend" who's actually smart ...

Lisa Kudrow

No. 4: Lisa Kudrow

It is a well-known fact that it is easier to act drunk when you are sober than to act sober when you are drunk. The same must hold true for intelligence.

Lisa Kudrow became famous playing dim bulb Phoebe Buffay on "Friends," but the reality is that she's smart.

Kudrow comes from a line of smart people. Her father is a doctor and her brother is a neurologist. Before she even decided to pursue a career in acting, she was training in the family business, and was conducting tons of medical research.

Kudrow earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Vassar and worked for her father for eight years, even being credited for research on cluster headaches.

Later, she went on to join the cast of "Friends" and gave the world another gift: Her rendition of "Smelly Cat."

Up next, he must break you ...

Dolph Lundgren, 2010

No. 3: Dolph Lundgren

Dolph Lundgren. Surely that must be a typo. Dolph "I must break you" Lundgren is smart? The giant, flat-topped, blond guy known for his roles in "Rocky IV" and ... uh ... well ...

Yes. Apparently Dolph is more than just an on-screen Soviet crippling machine.

The gigantic Swede boasts an IQ of 160, putting him in the club with the smartest people in the world.

Wait. Dolph LUNDgren? THE Dolph Lundgren? Yes. And there's more.

Lundgren graduated from Sweden's Royal Institute of Technology, and he also has a master's in chemical engineering from the University of Sydney. It doesn't stop there. Lundgren was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to M.I.T. Unfortunately for science (but fortunately for the entertainment world), Lundgren quit after two weeks to pursuer a career in acting.

Up next, redheaded, pale, funny and smart ...

Conan O'Brien, suit

No. 2: Conan O'Brien

Even if you didn't know better, you'd suspect that Conan O'Brien was an educated gentleman. And it's not just because he had to turn to books because there wasn't much call for lanky, pale redheads in Hollywood.

O'Brien graduated from high school as valedictorian and then parlayed that high school awesomeness into an Ivy League education at Harvard. O'Brien didn't just graduate; he was a magna cum laude graduate with a bachelor's degree in history and literature.

For anyone else, those might sound like wasted degrees (unless the History Store needs a manager), but time has shown differently.

While at Harvard he wrote for the "Harvard Lampoon" for four years, and then went to scribe for "Saturday Night Live" and "The Simpsons" before overtaking late-night television.

Our last smart celebrity is the former child star who has it all ...


No. 1: Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman has it all. She's gorgeous, a great actress and she's very smart.

In fact, she was smart enough to know that even though she found success early in acting, she needed to hedge her bets and get some education. After all, Hollywood is littered with the drugged-out shells of old child stars, and Queen Amidala wasn't about to let that happen.

But Portman didn't settle for just attending part-time classes at Los Angeles Community College. After graduating high school with a 4.0, she headed off to Harvard, where she received a bachelor's degree in psychology. She did graduate studies at Hebrew University and is fluent in Hebrew, French and Japanese.

She even managed to continue working while pursuing all that education.

It's good to know she has something to fall back on if this whole "acting" thing doesn't pan out for her.

Distributed by Internet Broadcasting. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


The views expressed are not those of this company or its affiliated companies. Please note by clicking on "Post" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms Of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. 
blog comments powered by Disqus
  • fatal_accident_investigation

    Extensive Investigation into Triple Fatal Accident

    An extensive investigation is underway to determine the cause of death in a triple fatal rollover accident Monday morning in Santa Barbara.

  • Santa Barbara County Sheriff s candidates forum

    Santa Barbara County Sheriff Candidates Face-Off

    Santa Barbara County Sheriff candidates squared-off at a candidates forum Wednesday night.

  • State Street Benches Gone

    Benches Removed in Two Block Area of Downtown Santa Barbara

    Benches have been removed in a two block area of State Street between Haley and Ortega Streets in downtown Santa Barbara.  The city says they are being cleaned and repaired.

  • Ordinary Citizens Receive Awards for Acts of Heroism

    Ordinary Citizens Receive Awards For Acts of Heroism

    The Santa Barbara Police Department recognized some ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things. An awards ceremony was held Wednesday to recognize the acts of heroism.

    Each year officers nominate those in our community who they feel are deserving of the "Extra Step Awards" These awards recognize acts of heroism that include saving lives and aiding officers in fighting crime.

    A total of 8 people received the prestigious annual award sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Santa Barbara. They include:

    Daniel Green
    Mr. Green, Head of Security Operations at the Wildcat Lounge, assisted SBPD officers on multiple occasions in 2013 dealing with combative subjects and with alcohol-related, narcotics, and DUI investigations.  He was nominated by Officer Ethan Ragsdale.

    Thomas Eck
    Mr. Eck, the Santa Barbara High School Track Coach, prevented a felony fugitive from stealing a van and potentially driving through a crowd of student athletes and spectators leaving a track meet at Santa Barbara City College.  He was nominated by Officer Carl Kamin.

    William Barbaree & Nicholas McGilvray
    Mr. Barbaree and Mr. McGilvray performed lifesaving first aid, prior to the arrival of emergency personnel, to James Atwood and Ellen Atwood, two motorcyclists that had been struck by a drunk driver.  They were nominated by Officer Heather Clark.

    Devin Shaw, Eva Pagaling & Steffanie Colgate
    Mr. Shaw, Ms. Pagaling, and Ms. Colgate witnessed the hit-and-run collision that resulted in the death of Mallory Dies.  They pursued the suspect, tried to persuade him to return to the scene of the collision, called 9-1-1, and directed officers to the suspect's location resulting in his apprehension.  They were nominated by Officer Jaycee Hunter.

    Scott Houston
    Mr. Houston came to the aid of an officer struggling in the street with a bank robbery suspect, helping to detain the suspect until additional officers arrived on-scene.  He was nominated by Officer Richard Washington.

  • Triple Fatal Auto Accident on Highway

    3 Dead In Early Morning Accident, Driver Arrested For DUI

    The 101 southbound through Santa Barbara reopened just before 12:30 Monday afternoon as authorities investigate what they say was a deadly two car DUI accident.

  • Grover Beach Grand Theft

    Grover Beach Grand Theft

    Surveillance video shows man walk up to front door of home, and take two packages that did not belong to him.

  • sbhs_robotics_computer_science_1

    School Board Approves Computer Science Academy

    A new academy at Santa Barbara High School will give students a leg up on a high-tech career.

  • girl_child_coughing_sick_whooping_cough

    Contagious Diseases Making a Comeback in California

    Deadly diseases that were a thing of the past are making a comeback in California.

  • Lupita Nyong'o

    REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

    People's 'World's Most Beautiful' list 2014

    People magazine recently named Lupita Nyong'o its "World's Most Beautiful" for 2014. See which other ladies earned a coveted spot on the annual list.

  • Who's the Boss blurb image

    Sony Pictures Television

    Where are 'Who's the Boss?' stars now?

    With Tony Danza marking his 63rd birthday on Monday, join us for a look at what he and the rest of the cast of "Who's the Boss?" are up to today.