Celebrities with Graduate Degrees
Celebrities get the paychecks, the glory, the good stuff in the award-show gift bags and all the attention they want from the paparazzi. You may love them or hate them, but you're usually not surprised by their antics. What may shock you, however, is that many celebs aren't just pretty faces and beach bodies or high rollers with more money than most developing nations. Some actually have brains. Check out these seven celebrities who have graduate degrees in their back pockets.
Not just a muscle head
If you don't remember 6' 5" Swedish powerhouse Dolph Lundgren as Ivan Drago in "Rocky IV", you probably weren't born when the film came out in 1985. Fair enough, but you should recognize him side by side with Sylvester Stallone again in the recent top box office testosterone-seeped hit "The Expendables."
Before Lundgren was tempted into acting and kicking tail on-screen, he was months away from starting his doctorate degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston on a Fulbright scholarship. Surprised? Lundgren graduated at the top of his class with a master's degree in chemical engineering at the age of 25. Though Lundgren considered himself successful once he achieved Fulbright scholar status, the academic world didn't leave him as satisfied as show business.
Bigger than even Lundgren at 7' 1", veteran professional NBA baller Shaquille "Shaq" O'Neal wears a not-surprising size 23 shoe. But you might not know that O'Neal has career ambitions that extend beyond basketball and don't include his rap, acting and product endorsement successes. O'Neal has hustled to get the education and experience he needs to be a sheriff and eventually a chief of police, and them topped it off with an M.B.A.
Not knowing for doing things on a small scale, O'Neal is currently working toward his doctorate degree at Barry University in Florida. Good thing he went for education rather than pursuing an acting career -- he was nominated for a Razzie Award for worst actor for his work in the 1997 film Steel.
All aboard the Pineapple Express to Yale
You may know him as one of Julia Roberts' love interests in Eat Pray Love or as the lovable drug dealer Saul Silver in Pineapple Express, but what you may not know about the quirky James Franco is that he is a graduate of Columbia University's MFA writing program. He's also been accepted into the English PhD. program at Yale, where he's expected to start this fall. Talk about life imitating art: Later this year he'll be on the big screen playing iconic Beat poet and writer Allen Ginsberg. Coincidence? Or method acting at its finest?
Also known for his size, adult film actor Ron Jeremy was ranked the number one porn star of all time by AVN Magazine. Jeremy has starred in over 1,700 films, has directed 250 films and has had films and television shows made about his x-rated career success.
Before Jeremy was a porn king, he was a school teacher. In addition to two bachelor's degrees in theater and education, respectively, Ron Jeremy has a master's degree in special education from Queens College in New York. Jeremy refers to his education background -- not his other well-known talents -- as his "ace in the hole."
From the Oval Office to obscurity
Not to be outdone by the top porn star of all time, Monica Lewinsky also has her master's degree. She earned her graduate degree in social psychology from the prestigious London School of Economics in 2006. Almost 12 years to the day that this former White House intern flashed her thong to then-President Bill Clinton, Lewinsky has disappeared from the public eye. Lewinsky's less-than-professional contributions to social psychology may be evidenced by a recent University of Kentucky study of sexual definitions that points to the Lewinsky-Clinton scandal as the reason why only 20 percent of college students think oral sex qualifies as sex.
Not just another pretty face
Christy Turlington was part of the 1990s supermodel craze when no last names were necessary. Everybody knew when they heard Christy, Naomi, Linda and Cindy exactly who was being talked about. Turlington's life took a 180-degree turn when she received her master's degree in public health from Columbia University, after becoming involved as a health advocate to other countries.
Turlington finds her work in public health much more rewarding than modeling and is quoted by the Telegraph.co.uk as admitting, "With every passing year I feel more fulfilled." Not bad considering that her modeling co-hort Naomi Campbell has been arrested numerous times for assault, most notably for throwing a blinged-out cell phone at her housekeeper and leaving a gash that required stitches.
Kristin Chenoweth earned a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance as Sally Brown in "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown." She also wowed television audiences this past spring with her cameo appearances on "Glee."
Though this actress has been applauded for her many performances on the stage and in television and film, Chenoweth is classically trained with a master's degree in opera performance from Oklahoma City University. About her mentor and teacher, Florence Birdwell, Chenoweth said in a documentary, "She everything, she's my mentor. She's the person who taught me not only how to sing technically but really a lot about life, too."
Because of their successes, it can be easy to forget that many celebrities are as educated as they are talented. These seven celebrities' enthusiasm and commitment to their education -- either before or after their celebrity lives -- makes it easy to see that they are a bit more interesting than you might have given them credit for.
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