25 Celebrities That Are Smarter Than Their Image Would Lead You To Believe

Posted by , Updated on July 21, 2016


Celebrities aren’t all as dumb as they look. Yes, we know, some of them can look pretty dumb, but in many ways that is a part of the show. Think about it. Celebrities have to build a “persona.” This persona is the image of themselves that they project to the world. It may be the “bad boy” persona, the “good girl” persona, the “dumb redneck” persona, and the list goes on.

A good example would be comedians. Even when they are doing interviews or just hanging around in the spotlight, they can still hide behind their persona. The same holds true for politicians. Actually, don’t even get us started on that one. Politicians are so guilty of this that it’s not even funny. Of course, that is why you will find both actors and politicians on our list. In fact, you might find some that are both actors and politicians. The governator anybody?

So no matter what your opinion is of these celebrities. Even if you hate them with a very unfounded passion, you still cannot deny that they are most likely not the way they present themselves to the public. These are 25 celebrities that are smarter than their image would lead you to believe!

Subscribe to List25

Featured image: Flckr user: Gage Skidmore


"Hacksaw" Jim Duggan

HacksawImage: wikipedia, Source: wikipedia

Jim Duggan (whose nickname is Hacksaw) was a plant biologist before he started his wrestling career.


Ken Jeong

Ken JeonImage: wikipedia, Source: wikipedia

Famous for his role in the Hangover, Ken is a practicing physician.


Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O'NealImage: wikipedia, Source: wikipedia

Although he is often made out to fit the dumb giant mold, the way he has conducted his business affairs shows otherwise. In fact, he even received an Ed.D. (Doctor of Education).


Matt Damon

Matt DamonImage: wikipedia, Source: wikipedia

While he might not be quite the math genius he plays in Good Will Hunting, he did go to Harvard.


Sylvester Stallone

Sylvester StalloneImage: wikipedia, Source: wikipedia

The fact that he wrote the script for Rocky speaks volumes.


Sorrell Booke

Sorrell BookeImage: wikipedia, Source: wikipedia

Well known as Boss Hogg in the Dukes of Hazzard, Sorrell spoke 5 languages, had two degrees, and was a counterintelligence officer during the Korean War.


Larry the Cable Guy

Larry the Cable GuyImage: wikipedia, Source: wikipedia

Although it’s probably common knowledge by now, his “dumb redneck” persona is just a gag.


2 Chainz

2 ChainzImage: wikipedia, Source: wikipedia

He actually went to college. And that’s probably more than we need to say.


Nolan Gould

Nolan GouldImage: wikipedia, Source: wikipedia

Although he plays the intellectually challenged Luke Dunphy on ABC’s Modern Family, in real life he’s quite smart and graduated high school by the age of 13.


Brian May

Brian MayImage: wikipedia, Source: wikipedia

The lead guitarist of Queen, he has a PhD in astrophysics.


David Duchovny

David DuchovnyImage: wikipedia, Source: wikipedia

He has a Master’s in English Literature from Yale and was even pursuing a PhD when he became an actor.


Interested in more surprising celebrity info? Check out 25 Celebrities Who Risked Their Lives Serving In The Military.


Flava Flav

Flava FlavImage: wikipedia, Source: wikipedia

He taught himself piano at 5 and eventually picked up 14 more instruments. He also went to culinary school and became a chef.


Paris Hilton

Paris HiltonImage: wikipedia, Source: wikipedia

Although she basically became famous for being dumb, the way she has milked her persona definitely shows off her savoir-faire.


Keanu Reeves

Keanu ReevesImage: wikipedia, Source: wikipedia

In spite of his “woah dude” reputation, Keanu is actually very well read and spoken offscreen. Unfortunately, his Bill & Ted typecast him a bit.


Rowan Atkinson

Rowan AtkinsonImage: wikipedia, Source: wikipedia

Although you probably thought that Mr. Bean was Rowan’s actual persona, it’s not. In real life, he has a Master’s degree in electrical engineering from Oxford.


Donald Trump

Donald TrumpImage: wikipedia, Source: wikipedia

Given his uncanny ability to market himself, Donald is no dummy. If he were to truly be a bad president, it wouldn’t be due to a lack of intelligence. It would be due to an excess of intelligence in all the wrong places. The sharper the man, the more sinister the…well, you know how it goes.

Note: we are not taking a political stance. We are only noting that if Donald has flaws, they do not lie in his stupidity.


Cindy Crawford

Cindy CrawfordImage: wikipedia, Source: wikipedia

Although she received an academic scholarship to study engineering at Northwestern, Cindy dropped out to pursue modeling.


Dolph Lundgren

Dolph LundgrenSource: wikipedia

Although known for his “Schwarzenegger” style, Swedish actor Dolph has a Masters degree in chemical engineering and even turned down an offer to go to MIT.


Jim Varney

Jim VarneyImage: youtube, Source: wikipedia

The late Jim Varney was well known in commercials around the world for his role as Ernest. Suffice it to say, he was very different off screen than on.


Mike Tyson

Mike TysonSource: wikipedia

Granted that it’s anecdotal, but everyone who actually talks to him seems to change their mind about his intelligence.


George W. Bush

George BushImage: wikipedia, Source: wikipedia

Although a lot of people would have disagreed with this one in the past, there has been some tentative acknowledgement of the fact that he wasn’t quite as dumb as he seemed while in office.


Natalie Portman

Natalie PortmanImage: wikipedia, Source: wikipedia

She has scientific publications in her name from the time she went to Harvard for psychology.


Sacha Baron Cohen

Sacha Baron CohenImage: wikipedia, Source: wikipedia

Although it’s common knowledge that Ali G is just an act, Sacha the man could not be more different. For one, he actually went to college.


"Weird Al" Yankovic

"Weird Al" YankovicImage: wikipedia, Source: wikipedia

Contrary to what many people think, he isn’t actually strung out on drugs. In fact, he is often said to be one of the only celebrities that abstains from drugs and even alcohol.


Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold SchwarzeneggerImage: wikipedia, Source: wikipedia

Arnold came to America barely able to speak English, became a successful bodybuilder whose theories are still implemented today, started several successful businesses, became a movie star, then a cultural icon, and then the governor of the largest state in the union. He definitely doesn’t fit into the “dumb jock” image that many people hold of him.


If you enjoyed this list, you may also enjoy this one: 25 Celebrities Who Nearly Died And Few Know About It.

SEE ALSO: 25 Worst Earthquakes In History »

NOW WATCH: 25 Most Intelligent Animals On Earth

Subscribe to List25
Show Us Your Love
Join Over 2 Million+ List25 Fans