7 celebrities with wicked high IQs
From Natalie Portman to Dolph Lundgren, these actors show their mighty mental acumen off screen.
Sure, memorizing lines can be hard. But some in Hollywood go way beyond to stretch their mental muscles. Some of these cerebral celebs are (technically) as smart as Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking. (Although neither scientist took an official test, it's believed that both had an IQ of around 160.)
Scroll down below to see some of the surprising famous folks who made the list...
Natalie Portman / 140
The Israel-born Portman is known for being studious. As a teenager, she skipped the premiere of her "Star Wars" film so she could study for her high school final exams. As a student, Portman co-authored two research papers that were published in scientific journals. It's no wonder she got into Harvard, where she graduated in 2003 with a degree in psychology. (She would later go back and give the commencement address at her alma mater.) Portman returned to Israel and took graduate courses at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, home to the archives of another genius, Einstein.
"I don't care if [college] ruins my career," Portman said at the time. "I'd rather be smart than a movie star."
Dolph Lundgren / 160
Dolph Lundgren, seen here in 2019, dropped out of MIT shortly after he started dating supermodel Grace Jones. (Photo: Markus Wissmann / Shutterstock)
Remember the Soviet villain in the 1985 "Rocky IV" movie? That role was immortalized by Swedish-born action star Dolph Lundgren. He parlayed that breakthrough performance into countless action movies – including in "The Expendables" franchise from Israeli producer Avi Lerner. He graduated high school with straight A's, and received various academic scholarships to universities in the United States. He got an undergraduate degree from the Royal Institute of Technology and received a master's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Sydney. He later received a Fullbright scholarship to MIT and moved to Boston. Sadly for the world of science, he left after two weeks of classes to pursue acting.
"I had some allergies when I was younger," Lundgren told NPR in 2014. "I wasn't very good at sports. So my kind of way to feel like I was somebody was to answer all the questions the teacher asked."
Sharon Stone / 148
Sharon Stone said she was inspired by Hillary Clinton to return to school in 2016. (Photo: Paolo Bona / Shutterstock)
The Pennsylvania native was academically gifted from the get-go. She entered second grade when she was only 5 years old. She was accepted into college at the age of 15 with a scholarship from the writing department. The "Basic Instinct" star quit school to pursue modeling and acting. After receiving an honorary degree from Edinboro University in 2007, she would eventually return in 2016 for an actual degree at the age of 60.
"These things I’ve learned – they serve me," Stone told the graduating class at her alma mater. "I’m proud to come from here. And it’s my experience that you can come here and be anything you want to be."
Ashton Kutcher / 160
Guy Oseary (left) and Ashton Kutcher (right) onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2013. (Photo: Brian Ach / Getty Images)
The star of "That '70s Show" has said that he wanted to study biochemical engineering to find a cure for his twin brother Michael, who had a heart transplant and suffers from cerebral palsy. He eventually dropped out of the University of Iowa for a career in Hollywood. But his natural talents were never far behind. In addition to acting and producing, Kutcher has wisely invested in dozens of high-tech startups – including the home design site Houzz. (The video of him surprising his mom with a home remodel is priceless.) With his business partner Guy Oseary, the famous Israeli talent manager behind Madonna and U2, Kutcher launched a venture capital firm that has a portfolio worth $250 million.
“If we can create efficiencies in that which is mundane, then we accelerate our paths to happiness," Kutcher told The Daily Telegraph in 2013. "The companies that will ultimately do well are the companies that chase happiness. If you find a way to help people find love, or health or friendship, the dollar will chase that."
Danica McKellar / 154
Danica McKellar has revived her acting career by appearing in numerous recent romantic films on the Hallmark Channel. (Photo: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock)
Many of us grew up with a crush on Winnie Cooper, the classic girl-next-door character from "The Wonder Years," but she was relatively absent from Hollywood after that iconic television series ended. Instead, the American actress has been busy with other pursuits – namely, mathematics. As an undergraduate at UCLA, McKellar co-wrote a science paper that resulted in the invention of a new math theory. It's now known as the "Chayes–McKellar–Winn theorem." After graduating from UCLA summa cum laude, she authored six nonfiction books about math, including "Girls Get Curves: Geometry Takes Shape" and "Hot X: Algebra Exposed."
In a 2007 interview, McKellar said that she writes math books "to show girls that math is accessible and relevant, and even a little glamorous" and as a counterpoint to "damaging social messages telling young girls that math and science aren't for them."
John Legend / 135
John Legend is one of only 15 people in the world to have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony – collectively referred to as an EGOT. But did you know that the mega music producer and crooner turned down an offer to attend Harvard? He also received scholarships from Georgetown University and Morehouse College, but ended up enrolling in the University of Pennsylvania, where he focused his studies on African-American literature.
"If you’re committed to loving in public, it requires you opening your eyes to injustice, to see the world through the eyes of another," Legend told the 2014 graduating class during the commencement address at the University of Pennsylvania. "This is not a passive activity. You have to read. You have to travel to other neighborhoods, other parts of the world. You may have to get your hands dirty. You have to allow people to love you, and you have to love them back."
Mayim Bialik / 150
Sure, you may know her from "Blossom" or "The Big Bang Theory," but Bialik is just as famous for her work off the screen as well. She took a break from acting between her two hit sitcoms to earn a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA in 2007. The mother of two speaks five languages and has authored two bestselling science books. (On a recent trip to Israel, Bialik hid autographed copies of the book around the Mediterranean country.)
"Young girls may think of being a woman who’s the lone scientist in the lab, and that’s not appealing as a lifestyle," she told Parade magazine in 2017. "We need to present creative sets of options so girls can see that being a scientist also means working in the field, with animals or in the environment."
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