Celebrity Smarty-Pants: 10 Famous People with High IQs

Oftentimes, when we are glorifying our favorite stars on-screen we forget that their lives do not stop and end as our source of entertainment. There are plenty of high-profile people who stand for an abundance of philanthropic causes, they run booming businesses, they have passions and interests beyond what we know them for. Their intelligence also goes far beyond the skill needed to remember a script or a lyric. These guys and girls have a wealth of beauty and brains.

When we think of most celebrities, we often assume they dropped out of school and never finished in order to pursue their path to fame. Some of them did. However, many stars have college degrees, speak multiple languages, and could very well run the nation with their great ideas. What’s more, some of them have intelligence quotient (IQ) scores that are at the genius level!

All IQ scores fall into a pattern known as the Bell Curve in which most scores are clustered around the average or mean and they begin to thin out as they decrease and increase. On average, the mean IQ score is 100 and most individuals fall somewhere close to that number. So, basically the higher a score gets above 100, the smarter you are and scores above 140 represent the genius level. Check out these famous people who not only blow us away with their raw talent but are super gifted in the brains department, too!

10 Nicole Kidman

Perhaps it’s no surprise that this willowy beauty has plenty of brains. Of Australian descent, the actress was born in Honolulu, Hawaii due to her parents having moved there for a research project. The apple certainly didn’t fall far from the tree—Kidman’s dad was a biochemist! While her career isn’t in biochemistry, Kidman has achieved great feats that surpass simply being the ex-wife of Tom Cruise and current wife of Keith Urban.  She began her acting career at an early age and was likewise educated on the craft during childhood. Boasting an IQ well above the average at 132, Kidman studied at the Victorian College of the Arts and then the Australian Theatre for Young People. Besides being an Oscar winner for Best Actress, she is also a philanthropist as goodwill ambassador for UNICEF and goodwill ambassador of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) where she has raised awareness for violence against women.

9 Kevin Spacey

The sublime House of Cards powerhouse reportedly has an exceptional IQ of 137 which is no small wonder when you take into consideration that he was valedictorian of his high school. Furthermore, the revolutionary actor was also professionally trained at Julliard prior to dropping out after two years to fortuitously begin his acting career on Broadway. After making his theatrical debut in Henrik Ibsen’s "Ghosts", Spacey has gone on to give outstanding performances in roles ranging from 1995’s The Usual Suspects to 2008’s 21. In addition to his obligations in Hollywood, for over a decade the actor has been the artistic director for The Old Vic Theatre Company in London. In all, he demonstrates his intellectual and artistic genius through his many hats as actor, director, producer, and writer.

8 Natalie Portman

You wouldn’t normally expect to see the name of a Harvard University graduate lit up in cinematic lights. Natalie Portman has accomplished just that, and more. Perhaps, her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Harvard in 2003 prepped her to perform in the deeply disturbing, psychological thriller Black Swan which earned her an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Best Actress. Born Natalie Herschlag to a doctor and an artist in Israel, she reportedly has an astounding IQ of 140, speaks both Hebrew and English fluently while also being conversant in Spanish, Japanese, German, and French. When asked about her decision to put her acting career on hold to study, Portman responded, “I’d rather be smart than a movie star”. Well, it looks like she has it both ways.

7 Madonna

Having sold over three hundred million records worldwide, the quintessential Material Girl certainly had something more working for her besides looks and a voice. This bleach-blonde crooner with the trademark gap supposedly has an IQ of a whopping 140 courtesy of the straight A’s she earned at Rochester Adams High School in Rochester, Michigan.

She studied dance at the University of Michigan before dropping out and relocating to the Big Apple to pursue her passion full-time. Madonna's resume boasts twelve albums, a Material Girl clothing line, multiple fragrance productions, and other ventures, making it obvious that she’s got business acumen as well.

6 Hillary Clinton

Also, claiming a spot with an IQ at the near genius level of 140 is the former US First Lady, Senator, Presidential candidate, and Secretary of State Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton. She certainly received her fair share of schooling with degrees from both Wellesley College and Yale Law School in addition to one year of post-graduate work at the Yale Child Study Center.

This Chicago native who has made history several times over had big dreams even as a young Girl Scout. She once wrote to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) inquiring about becoming an astronaut and was peeved that they did not accept females into their program.

5 Steve Martin

While most know white-haired actor Steve Martin for his hilarious roles in films like Father of the Bride and Pink Panther, surprisingly, his career pursuits span far greater than what’s seen on film. The actor studied philosophy at California State University at Long Beach and briefly entertained the idea of being a philosophy instructor before embarking on a career in stand-up comedy. Yet, his years of digging deeply did provide ample content for his jokes for years to come. Martin is a member of MENSA, the elite high intelligence honor society, with an IQ of 142. Along with his many achievements in comedy and acting, he is a playwright, an author, and a world-class banjo player.

4 Sharon Stone

Another Hollywood star with an unbelievably high IQ score of 154 is actress Sharon Stone. Maybe it was her humble beginnings as the daughter of a factory worker that inspired the blue-eyed Stone to reach great heights because the future actress won a scholarship to Edinboro University of Pennsylvania at the tender age of 15. There she studied creative writing and fine arts and, as tenacious whiz kid, could have continued on down a number of paths. Luckily, she became a Pennsylvania pageant queen which led to modeling which eventually led to acting and a star was born. While we respect that this star, who also speaks Italian, is much more than her outward beauty, we are grateful to have witnessed her incredible performances in Total Recall and Basic Instinct.

3 Quentin Tarantino

Although a high school dropout who apparently only ever took a liking to history in grade school, Tarantino reportedly boasts an IQ of 160 which puts him on the same playing field with some of the smartest people in the world. He took acting classes for some time but found that his true passion fell in the area of writing and directing. Holding fast to his roots as a small, imaginative boy who frightened his mother with creative yet gruesome stories at a young age, Tarantino is responsible for cult classic Pulp Fiction which is considered by fans and critics alike to be one of the greatest films ever made. Along with many other high-grossing films, aren’t we glad his head is filled with all those incredible storylines?

2 Bill Gates

This guy makes the list and surely does not surprise us that he wields an IQ score of 160, seeing that he is responsible for innovations that have revolutionized modern computing. Like many other famous prodigies, Gates dropped out of school at Harvard University to advance Microsoft, the company he started in 1975 with Paul Allen, a childhood friend. The company grew to become the largest software manufacturing company in the world and its success helped Gates to become the youngest self-made billionaire at age 31 and the richest smarty-pants on the list (or any list, for that matter).

1 James Woods

Yet another terribly brilliant college dropout tops the list with a reported IQ of 184 which is higher than Albert Einstein’s 160. Woods was apparently taking a course in linear algebra at UCLA while still enrolled in high school, making it not all that surprising that he got bored with conventional education and dropped out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology  (MIT) where he majored in political science to pursue acting. Known for groundbreaking roles in Ghost of Mississippi and Any Given Sunday, he continues to use his genius-level intelligence to influence and enhance the diverse range of characters that he portrays on TV and the silver screen.

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