It might seem like great actors and singers are talented enough for one lifetime. After all, they’re already successful stars, so what else do they need to be good at, right? However, many celebrities are actually talented in unexpected ways. In addition to being actors or singers, some of Hollywood’s elite are also established artists, sports enthusiasts – and even a real-life Indiana Jones. It almost seems unfair that these already-successful stars are also gifted in other ways as well, doesn’t it? Here are eleven celebrities that are talented in ways other than what they are most famous for.
Steve Martin: Grammy-award winning banjo player
A renowned actor and comedian, Steve Martin is also an esteemed banjo player. He started playing the instrument when he was 17, and he often used it in his stand up comedy career in the 1970s. In 2001, he played banjo on Earl Scruggs’ remake of “Foggy Mountain Breakdown,” which won the Grammy for Best Country Instrumental Performance. He released his first all-music album in 2009, which won the Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album in 2010. He has made several appearances to play the banjo, including appearing on The Grand Ole Opry in 2009.
Susan Sarandon: Ping-Pong enthusiast and owner of SPiN
Actress Susan Sarandon may be known for starring in romantic comedies, but she’s also a huge fan of Ping-Pong. Sarandon is such an avid ping pong player and fan that she opened up SPiN New York, a Ping-Pong venue that has been such a success that it has expanded to 3 other cities. She has extended her love of this game to her professional work as an actress: she stars in an upcoming movie called “Ping Pong Summer,” which is set in 1985 and tells the story of a 13-year-old boy who loves the game. In the movie, he meets Sarandon’s character, who is, naturally, a ping pong champion.
Bruce Willis: Plays the harmonica
Bruce Willis is known for his roles in Blockbuster movies such as “Pulp Fiction” and “The Sixth Sense”, but he had also made a name for himself as a harmonica player before he became an actor. Earlier in life, he played with an R&B group called Loose Goose. He continued to play the harmonica for fun, even when his acting career took off, a skill that came in handy in 2013 when he hosted “Saturday Night Live” and played the harmonica during his opening monologue.
Tony Bennett: Painter
Although he is an iconic singer, Bennett is also a well-respected painter. His paintings, which he signs his his full name, Anthony Benedetto, are critically-acclaimed and have been exhibited around the world. He was even commissioned by the UN to do a painting, and his work has been featured in esteemed venues around the world. One of his paintings is in a permanent collection in the National Arts club in New York, and another at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. If you want to own a piece of Bennett’s visual work, you’ll have to shell out the big bucks: his paintings sell for tens of thousands of dollars.
Matthew Perry: Tennis player
As a kid, “Friends” star Matthew Perry loved tennis and was so good at the sport that he played on the junior tennis circuit. Perry was highly-ranked for many years, including the third-ranked junior doubles player in Canada at one point. When he lost an important tournament in the 1980s, he became less interested in the sport and began to focus more on acting, eventually moving to Los Angeles to pursue his newfound hobby.
Christina Hendricks: Plays the accordion
The “Mad Men” actress plays the accordion and even got the chance to perform the instrument on the show in its 3rd season. “Mad Men” originally wanted Hendricks to play the piano in an episode, but when they found out she could play the accordion, a performance on the unique instrument was written into the show. Hendricks has said that she learned because she liked that the accordion represents French culture. Apparently the instrument is somewhat popular in Hollywood: another primetime star, Lucy Liu, is also an accordion player. Liu used to play on the set of “Ally McBeal ” with her co-star, Greg Germann.
Harrison Ford: Helicopter and airplane pilot
Best known as Indiana Jones and Han Solo, Harrison Ford may be an action-adventure movie star but it’s possible to say he is also an action hero of sorts in real life as well. The talented actor is a certified helicopter and airplane pilot. Perhaps he has even been inspired by his on-screen personas: he has become a real-life rescue hero of sorts, as he has helped at least two stranded hikers near his ranch in Wyoming in the past. He also flies his own private jet and recently flew himself to London ahead of filming the next “Star Wars” movie.
Jason Lee: Professional skateboarder
Actor and comedian Jason Lee, known for his role on the television show “My Name is Earl” as well as work in several movies including “The Incredibles”, was actually a professional skateboarder in the 1980s and 90s. He co-founded Stereo Skateboards in 1992. He was also featured in the video “Blind Skateboards.” Along with Tony Hawk, he co-founded a charity event in 2012 to help create skate parks for youth. He also lent his voice to some skateboarding video games including Tony Hawk’s Project 8. He left his skateboarding career in the mid-1990s in order to pursue acting full time, but remains a presence in skateboarding circles.
Viggo Mortensen: painter and musician
Danish-American actor Viggo Mortensen is a respected actor, known for his roles in On the Road, “Lord of the Rings” and many others, but he is also a well-renowned painter. His work, which is generally abstract, has been shown in galleries around the world. The extremely talented (and clearly artistic) Mortensen is also an avid photographer and a guitarist; he was even featured in the Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King soundtrack.
Taylor Lautner: Martial Arts
Although Lautner might be best known for his leading role in “Twilight”, as a kid he was accomplished in the area of martial arts. He began studying martial arts at age 6. After he attended a national tournament in Kentucky, he began training with a renowned instructor in Los Angeles. At only 8 years old, the actor represented the U.S. in the World Karate Association, winning 3 gold metals, and the American Sports Karate Association ranked Lautner number one in his category. Gradually, he began to turn away from martial arts and began pursuing an acting career as a teenager in the early 2000s.
Colin Farrell: Country western line dancer
Irish actor Colin Farrell may seem like an unlikely candidate to be a country line dancing enthusiast, but he actually was an expert country western line dancer at one time. He used to work as a line dancing instructor in a nightclub in Limerick, Ireland called Docs. This was in the 1990s when country western music was enjoying immense popularity in Ireland. This tidbit about his past has not escaped Hollywood: Jimmy Fallon once showed old images of the actor decked out in his country western getup on the late night show.
Geena Davis: Archery
TV and movie actress Geena Davis is such a good archer that she vied for a semifinals berth in the U.S. Olympic archery team for the Sydney 2000 summer Olympics. Although she did not end up qualifying for the Olympic team, she proved her skills to the world. Since then, she has occasionally broken out her archery skills on camera, including in a video for the comedy website Funny or Die.
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