By Stephanie Small, November 2013
Celebrities are more than just pretty faces – some of them are dang smart, too. From musicians and athletes to world-renowned actors, here’s a list of brainy stars who’ve proven their intelligence and dedication to learning by earning graduate degrees:
Shaquille O’Neal: Known perhaps as much for his brain as for his brawn, this baller earned an online MBA from the University of Phoenix and a doctorate from Barry University. We know he’s probably not in it for the cash, so we can assume Shaq’s pursuit of education is driven by a love of learning.
Brian May: Wrote the epic and powerful song “We Are the Champions,” he built his own guitar and used a sixpence as a pick, and he’s got an impressive mane of curls. But perhaps even more impressive is the fact that the guitarist and sometime songwriter of Queen holds a Ph.D. in astrophysics from Imperial College London. He’s currently the Chancellor of a UK university. Don’t you feel like an underachiever now?!
Bryan Keith (Dexter) Holland: The singer, guitarist and songwriter for Offspring was pursuing a doctorate in molecular biology at University of Southern California when music called. Another fun (and random) fact about this California Boy: he owns the condiment brand Gringo Bandito Hot Sauce.
James Franco: The puppy-eyed actor has made headlines for his academic pursuits, including an MFA in writing from Columbia University. The former McDonald’s employee and cologne thief (yes, it’s true) is presently pursuing a Ph.D. in English at Yale University.
Mayim Bialik: That’s Doctor Bialik to you! The former Blossom star has a doctoral degree in neuroscience. Convenient, as she currently plays a neuroscientist on The Big Bang Theory. As an undergrad, she attended UCLA, despite having been accepted to both Harvard and Yale.
Ken Jeong: Born in Detroit, this funnyman graduated from high school at age 16. He was drawn to comedy but at his parents’ urging pursued medical school. Dr. Jeong graduated with an M.D. from UNC-Chapel Hill, but luckily for us, he eventually decided that comedy was his calling.
Bill Cosby: Beloved TV dad of the 1980s and Jell-O hawker Cosby holds a Ph.D. in education from UMass Amherst. When he was young, his family struggled financially. To help them out, his first job, at age 9, was shining shoes. After high school, he joined the Navy.
Ron Jeremy: This might be the most random fact you’ve heard all week. Ron Jeremy, famous adult film star, holds a master’s degree in special education. There’s a bad joke there somewhere, but we aren’t going to be the ones to make it.
About the Author: Stephanie Small has a B.A. in English from Yale University and an MSW from the Smith College School of Social Work