Hollywood Stars Who Are Very Smart
Pexels/Stanley Morales

While some actors are known for their impressive performances and others have won numerous awards, not many are aware that these celebrities also excelled academically.

AceShowbiz - Many entertainers started their careers early in their lives. While being consistent in their pursuits of becoming actors often brought them on the path of success, juggling work with education can be difficult to some people.

For this unsurprising reason, many celebrities dropped out of school or decided not to pursue higher education to focus on their Hollywood careers. However, a few others surprisingly managed to excel academically or complete advanced degrees. To appreciate their intelligence, here are twelve Hollywood stars who are actually very smart.

1. Lupita Nyong'o

Lupita Nyong'o

Lupita Nyong'o is serious about her passion in acting. The actress, who has won an Academy Award and a Daytime Emmy Award with nominations for a Tony Award and a Golden Award, graduated from Yale with a master's in acting shortly before winning her Oscar. While at the university, she was awarded the Herschel Williams Prize for "acting students with outstanding ability" during the 2011-12 academic year, according to the Bulletin of Yale University.

2. Geena Davis

Geena Davis
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Geena Davis failed to graduate from Boston University, where she studied acting, but that doesn't mean she's not smart. The 68-year-old Academy Award and Golden Globe Award winner is a well-known member of Mensa with an IQ score "within the upper two percent of the general population," according to Mensa's official website. Putting her intelligence to good use, Geena received an honorary Doctorate from Bates College in 2009 for research on gender studies in the media.

3. Nolan Gould

Nolan Gould
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Nolan Gould may not yet boast an impressive list of acting credits like the above mentioned actors, but he certainly stands out among his peers. The "Modern Family" actor took the GED to graduate high school by the time he was 13, skipping four grades, despite having worked as a main cast member of the ABC sitcom since he was 11. During a 2012 interview with Ellen DeGeneres, he said he has an IQ of 150 and is a Mensa member.

4. Eva Longoria

Eva Longoria

Before she started acting, producing, directing and launching numerous business ventures, Eva Longoria earned her bachelor's in kinesiology from Texas A&M University-Kingsville. The 1998 Miss Corpus Christi USA winner later moved to Los Angeles to pursue her acting career, but she went back to school and graduated with a master's in Chicano studies from California State University, Northridge in 2013.

5. Danica McKellar

Danica McKellar
Cover Images/JOHN NACION

Having started her acting career in her teens, Danica McKellar never abandoned education. In fact, she studied at the University of California, Los Angeles where she was a member of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority and earned a Bachelor of Science degree summa cum laude in Mathematics in 1998. Since then, the actress, who is best known for playing Winnie Cooper on "The Wonder Years", has written seven non-fiction books on mathematics.

6. Ashley Judd

Ashley Judd
Cover Images/Janet Mayer

Growing up in a family of performing artists, Ashley Judd still acknowledged the importance of education. In 2007, she graduated from the University of Kentucky with a French major and minors in anthropology, art history, theater and women's studies. Three years later, she undertook postgraduate study, earning a mid-career MPA degree from Harvard Kennedy School in 2010. In 2016, the Golden Globe nominee was pursuing a doctorate from UC Berkeley's public policy program, but she took a leave of absence due to migraines.

7. Angela Bassett

Angela Bassett
Cover Images/Michael Simon

While describing herself as an "A" and "B" student for most part, Angela Bassett got both her bachelor's and master's degrees from Yale. She was warned by her aunt not to "waste" her "Yale education on theater," so she picked another major and graduated with bachelor's degree in African American studies, but continued her education and got a master's from the Yale School of Drama.

8. Rowan Atkinson

Rowan Atkinson
Cover Images/John Rainford

Rowan Atkinson may be frustratingly silly Mr. Bean and chaotic secret serviceman Johnny English on screen, but in real life he has a Master's Degree in Electrical Engineering from Oxford. The English actor, who first came to prominence with his acclaimed performance on BBC's sketch comedy show "Not the Nine O'clock News", briefly embarked on a PhD study before devoting his full attention to acting.

9. Ken Jeong

Ken Jeong
Cover Images/Faye`s Vision/INSTA

Before he helps relieve stress with his comedy chops, Ken Jeong has perhaps saved numerous patients from medical illness. The "Community" alum is a licensed physician who studied pre-med at Duke University and got his M.D. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While many aspiring actors would take part-time jobs to make ends meet, the 54-year-old would split his time between treating patients and taking comedy gigs during his early days.

10. Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino
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Dropping out of high school and landing a job at a porn theater may not be the most typical behaviors of a genius, but Quentin Tarantino is believed to have been blessed with excellent brain. He is estimated to have an IQ of 160 that puts him squarely in the 99.996% isle, right next to legendary theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking. While school was never his thing, he proved that intelligence is beyond education with his brilliant works such as "Pulp Fiction" and "Django Unchained".

11. Dolph Lundgren

Dolph Lundgren

Known for his tough-guy roles in "Rocky IV" and "The Expendables" among other action-oriented films, Dolph Lundgren doesn't always use his body to navigate life. After graduating from high school with straight A's, the Sweden-born actor earned various academic scholarships, studying chemical engineering at Washington State University 1976-1977 and Clemson University before he went back to his native country. He then graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering from Stockholm's Royal Institute of Technology and earned a master's degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Sydney.

12. Mayim Bialik

Mayim Bialik
Cover Images/Faye's Vision

Mayim Bialik's "The Big Bang Theory" role is as close to her real life as possible. The actress, who played neuroscientist Amy Farrah Fowler on the beloved NBC sitcom, is also a neuroscientist in real life. She finished her PhD in neuroscience in 2007, specializing in obsessive-compulsive disorder in adolescents with Prader-Willi syndrome, and has written several books, including co-authoring two books with pediatrician Jay Gordon.

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