Imagination is a necessity if you want to be an inventor. You need to have an inquisitive mind and be able to identify gaps in a specific market and find places where there is room for innovation and improvement. Some of the greatest inventions of all time are just tweaks to an existing product but others are completely new and offer something never seen before. Imagine how rich the person who invented the wheel would be if they had a patent on it? Unfortunately for them, there were no patents in 3500 B.C. when the first wheel was invented and used as a potter’s wheel. Finally 300 years later someone figured out how to use them for chariots, and there is your example of tweaking an existing product.
Now when it comes to our beloved celebrity superstars, we already know they are extremely talented or they wouldn’t be celebrities. When one of these celebs comes up with an ingenious invention it brings them to a whole new level of talented. Their creativity and imagination shine through on these very unique and sometimes mind-bogglingly futuristic inventions. One of the celebrities on this list is credited with inventing what is today known as Wifi and Cell Phone technology, and it’s a woman to boot. How about an apparatus for propelling someone around underwater or the bucket seat for your car? Read on to see the list of these amazing celebrities who gave us some of the most ingenious inventions of all time.
15 “King Of Pop” Michael Jackson’s “Anti-Gravity” Magic Shoes
The amazing King of Pop with his great musical talent and trademark dance moves are why Michael Jackson will always be recognized as one of the biggest pop icons of all time. Thriller is one of the best selling albums of all time worldwide so it is only expected that it’s creator is a genius, and genius he was.
Michael created the 45-degree gravity-defying lean that was introduced in his Smooth Criminal video. The video version relied on special effects, but Jackson wanted to perform it live and hence the magic shoes came into being. Patented in 1992 the master dancer co-invented a pair of shoes that would attach to the floor by the heel that would lock into a retractable peg that was built into the stage. The late King of Pop was famous for so many things, from the moonwalk to owning Bubbles the chimpanzee, and pulling off one of the most dazzling illusions ever, the 45-degree lean.
14 Charlie Sheen’s Chapstick Dispensing Apparatus
Wow, how many of those little tiny plastic Chapstick caps must Charlie have lost to come up with this idea? Former Two and a Half Men star Charlie Sheen came up with a chapstick dispensing apparatus that has a slidable, non-detachable cap. Wow, all I can say is Winning! He filed a patent for his invention in 2001.
He appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live and debuted the blueprints for his prototype. Charlie told the audience, "I actually took this to Chapstick and they said, ‘Look, if you can make this for seven cents, we’ll buy them – but I couldn’t get it down to below seven-and-a-quarter and so they passed." He patented it anyway and brings it out at parties, so it probably gets more exposure than it would on the store shelves.
13 Jamie Lee Curtis “Dipe 'N Wipe” Infant Garment
59-year-old Jamie Lee Curtis has spent a lot of time caring for children in both her on-screen and actual lives. This means the many hours she spent changing diapers left her with her imagination to create a bigger and better diaper option. Usually, diapers and wipes are sold separately which makes it more difficult to manage supplies of each. Anyone who has a baby knows the hassle of keeping all the baby supplies together, like bottles, binkies, diapers and wipes. The key is consolidation, and how beneficial would it be if parents had something that provided diapers and wipes in one unit?
Jamie Lee’s suped-up diaper is a disposable infant garment with a built-in pocket that is moisture proof and contains wipes that can be removed and used quite easily. Her patent expired in 2007 because she refused to allow her diaper to be marketed until diaper companies made biodegradable ones.
12 Steve “The King Of Cool” McQueen & The Bucket Seat
Ok, so here is the deal - even though Jeopardy uses this question “Inventor of the bucket seat” and the contestant answers, “Who is Steve McQueen”, and they get rewarded for answering correctly, it is not really 100% correct. Steve McQueen’s patent for the bucket seat is not the first created bucket seat, but a tweaked out version of one.
We know that in the 50’s bucket seats were very prevalent in England and this was shortly after WWII. They arrived in the USA around 1962 popping up in Chevy’s. Steve McQueen designed his bucket seat in 1969 and was granted his patent in 1970, so it really was a design patent. Not only was he an actor, but a part-time race car driver. He wanted a bucket seat that better held the driver in place, and after a friend of his was injured in an accident, he came up with the design. Today the patent is expired.
11 George Lucas & His Toy Action Figures
George Lucas is the King Midas of the movie-making industry but he isn’t just a filmmaker. He also substantially increased his net worth by merchandising toy figures from his beloved films. His company, Lucasfilm, holds many design patents for toy figures from his epic Star Wars series.
In 2011 there were no “Star Wars” movies in the theaters yet it was reported that merchandise sales earned him a whopping $3 BILLION (that’s a B ). George Lucas was right to hop on the action figure bandwagon with his most notable Star Wars characters, like Yoda and C-3PO. Lucas has been quoted as saying, “All the money is in the action figures.” hence the source of his immense wealth. Gary Kurtz, former producer of the first two “Star Wars” films said, “The toy business began to drive the [Lucasfilm] empire. It’s a shame. They make three times as much on toys as they do on films. It’s natural to make decisions that protect the toy business, but that’s not the best thing for making quality films.”
10 Catwoman Julie Newmar’s Pantyhose
The 1960’s TV series Batman featured Julie Newmar in the recurring role as the first-ever Catwoman. The California native was more than an actress though. She was a dancer, writer, Tony Award winner, real estate mogul and last but not least, an inventor.
Julie Newmar is the sole inventor of one of the most interestingly titled patents: Pantyhose With Shaping Band for Cheeky Derriere Relief. In 1975 Newmar designed the pantyhose to flatten a women’s tummy without smashing down the derriere. She told People Magazine in 1977, "They make your derriere look like an apple instead of a ham sandwich”, and if anyone knows a thing or two about how to make their tummy flat and derriere like an apple in tight-fitting clothing it’s Catwoman. The now 84-year-old also holds another patent and it is for a brassiere that has hidden straps.
9 Christie Brinkley’s Educational Toy
Growing up as a surfer girl in LA, Christie Brinkley moved to Paris in the 70’s and that is where and when she was discovered. Known for rocking the cover of Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues three times in a row and marrying rock star Billy Joel, Brinkley hit is big in the supermodel world. But there is a lot more to Christie than just a pretty face. She has got an active and creative mind and has patents to protect several of her inventions.
One of Christie’s invention is considered an educational toy so that is what the title of the patent appropriately calls it. In the patent description, Brinkley’s invention claims to teach children letter construction and recognition from a series of shapes. The toy has 14 pieces that are all magnetic and can be put together in different combinations to make all 26 letters of the alphabet.
8 Harry Connick Jr.’s System And Method For Coordinating Music Display Among Players In An Orchestra
Well, that is a mouthful of a patent title for sure, but I guess it is pretty self-explanatory. Being a vocalist and jazz musician with ten #1 US jazz albums and seven top 20 US albums, it's no surprise this best selling artist is the creator of this invention to help the music industry.
We all know that sheet music is printed on paper and sometimes pages may come up missing during a performance and that can be a bit of an issue for a musician if they don't realize it. Also, the pages can blow away if the concert is being held outdoors and that was the real kicker for Connick. He got a patent for a computerized system that digitally displays the sheet music. What’s even better is that the conductor can control it through interfacing.
7 Penn Jillette’s Hot Tub For The Ladies
Penn, the magician and comedy duo’s more talkative half of Penn & Teller is known for his brash and bold ways. He has no issues sharing his thoughts and feelings about anything with the audience or for that matter, anyone who will listen to him.
So as it turns out, Blondie’s Debbie Harry and Penn were in a hot tub together having a conversation (glad I wasn’t a fly on that wall) when Penn says he was inspired by her for his invention. It’s a Hydro-Therapeutic Stimulator called the Jill-Jet and it directs water at a woman’s undercarriage. Well, I’m sure you get the idea but if not and we must spell it out, the patent’s description is "a spa that includes a dedicated stream of fluid that is directed to specific sensitive areas...to promote...therapeutic relaxation." Seriously Penn?
6 James Cameron’s “Underwater Dolly”
Known for directing and writing his way to fame, James Cameron has enriched our lives with iconic movies like The Terminator, Aliens, Terminator 2, True Lies and of course the box office breaking Titanic. In 1989, this multi-talented fine filmmaker was granted a patent with the title, “apparatus for propelling a user in an underwater environment” which he and his brother Michael created to film the movie The Abyss.
Their invention was invaluable because it allowed the camera operator to better position themselves to capture the best underwater scene possible. The brothers were also smart enough to have the patent not just limited to underwater filming, but allowing it to be used for other underwater events for utilitarian or recreational purposes. When someone needs underwater travel and enhanced maneuverability is required, this device will fill the bill. Hopefully, Cameron is working on his next undersea documentary - Atlantis!
5 Neil Young’s Controller For A Model Train Toy Set
Canadian singer, songwriter, Neil Young has quite the fascinating life. He moved to Los Angeles in the 60’s to embark on his music career and joined Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1969. The now 72-year-old has an amazing repertoire of things he has accomplished in his great lifetime. Besides being one of the greatest singer, songwriters of all time, he is a producer, director, musician, screenwriter, and last but not least, inventor.
Even before Neil picked up his first six-string he was playing with model trains. His passion for trains only grew as he did and it never waned. Young has a son who has cerebral palsy and he shares his love of trains with him. To help his son work the trains, Neil designed and patented a controller for a model toy train set that, “supports multiple power sources and wireless action”.
4 Gallagher’s Electronic Slot Machine
Fruit-smashing master, Gallagher, is far more than just a crazy-haired comedian spraying the audience with his version of a watermelon smoothie. He studied particle physics so he is crazy science smart which explains why he is an inventor as well. Gallagher figured that kids of today are hard-core video addicts and would never accept the slot machines of today when their old enough to go the casinos. Hence his invention of the next-generation electronic slot machine.
The rationale behind Gallagher’s invention was simply put by him: “slot machine technology does not cater to the video game-playing generation. Simply replicating the limitations of the old mechanical slot machines is unacceptable and uninteresting.” His slot is like any other slot where you put the money in and hope more comes out, but captivating animations will be the difference. I guess if you have to lose it will let you down a bit more gently.
3 Hedy Lamarr Gave Us Cell Phones and Wi-Fi
Without a doubt, one of the biggest stars in Hollywood back in the golden age was Hedy Lamarr. She was "the Angelina Jolie of her day" and starred in films alongside greats like Judy Garland, Bob Hope and Clark Gable. She was the first one to do an ‘adult’ scene in a movie and sadly she is best remembered for that, but there was so much more to her.
One of the most brilliant inventions ever was given to us by Hedy Lamarr and it happened in the 1940’s. She invented a ‘torpedo guidance system’ that would amazingly become the basis of our all wireless communications systems today. Sadly, it took decades for her to finally be recognized for her invention. Hopefully, her enduring legacy won’t be based her looks, but instead on her brains. If you get a chance, check out her very worthy story: Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr story.
2 Bill Nye The Science Guy’s Ballet Pointe Shoe
Known for hosting the TV show “Bill Nye the Science Guy”, he was the one who made learning about science a cool thing to do. The funny bow-tie wearing teacher always had an exciting scientific experiment lined up for his show and was always ready to educate us on it. One day while he was at the Pacific Northwest Ballet filming a show about muscles and bones he noticed something horrific - bloody shoes.
He asked the dancers about their bloody shoes and they told him that it was a very normal occurrence for them because the ballet shoes were just painful. Bill decided to create a better shoe that would reduce the pain for them while still allowing them to dance ‘en pointe’ or on their tippy toes. Maybe Bill needs a new TV show, “Bill Nye, Inventor Guy”.
1 Marlon Brando’s Drumhead Tensioning Device And Method
Marlon Brando was an iconic actor best known for his roles in such films as The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, A Streetcar Named Desire and the list goes on and on. Not only was he a very accomplished actor, but he was an inventor as well and holds multiple patents in his name. Many fans of the Academy Award winner know that Brando loved to play and was trained on the conga drums. Playing them was one of his eccentric pursuits later in his life along with many other things.
With help from Poncho Sanchez, a Latin jazz percussionist, he developed a tuning system for the conga drums. Tightening and tuning drums takes a lot of effort because there are six separate rods that require tightening once the drumhead loosens. Brando created a way that was simple, inexpensive, accurate and reliable. He also invented shoes to wear in the pool that gave the user traction for a better workout.