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11 Famous Actors You Didn't Know Are Geniuses

Did you know a surprising number of actors are actually true geniuses? The normal range for an IQ test is between 70 and 130, but there are many in Hollywood who have scored beyond that. Here’s a list of eleven celebrities who are actually card-carrying mental giants.

11. Sharon Stone
I.Q. 154
She’s best known as an Academy and Golden Globe award-nominated actress, notably playing the beautiful femme fatale in the movie Basic Instinct, but her mental skills are even more impressive. She won a scholarship to attend Edinboro University at only 15, where she studied creative writing and fine arts. She dropped out to become a model, but went back to earn an honorary degree.

10. Sylvester Stallone
I.Q. 160
He’s known for his brawn as the muscle-bound heroes Rambo and Rocky Balboa. But he doesn't get much credit as the writer of his titular first hit movie. Multiple sources say he’s been tested at 160 I.Q., so while he’s not splitting atoms, the fact he’s managed to keep a successful career into his sixties shows he’s no musclehead.

9. Quentin Tarantino
I.Q. 160
Tarantino is an acclaimed writer and director of movies such as Reservoir Dogs and Django Unchained. He also has a 160 I.Q., the same as famed physicist Stephen Hawking. Unfortunately, we’ll never know what kind of academic heights he could have reached, because he dropped out in ninth grade to pursue a movie career. It’s too bad he didn’t pay more attention in school, because he’s a notoriously bad speller.

8. Natalie Portman
I.Q. 140
She's known best as the beautiful Padme Amidala from Star Wars, but she has the brains to back it up. She was an honor roll student since elementary school, is fluent in five languages, earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Harvard, and pursued graduate studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

7. Mayim Bialik
I.Q. 149
As a kid, she played the title character on NBC's Blossom, and plays genius scientist Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory. But in real life, she really is a scientist whose brilliant mind earned her a Ph.D. in neuroscience.

4. Geena Davis
I.Q. 140
She’s an award-winning actress in movies like Thelma and Louise and A League of Their Own. She's also a genius member of Mensa. She's a musician who plays the piano, flute, and pipe organ. Davis was also an exchange student in Sweden, and earned a bachelor's degree in drama from Boston University. She also mastered archery to the point where she went to the Olympic Games in 1999, just two years after she first took up the sport.

3. Jodie Foster
I.Q. 132
At three years old, she was an actor in various commercials, but by then she'd also taught herself to read. While she dazzled audiences as a troubled prostitute in Taxi Driver and an FBI agent in The Silence of the Lambs, she became fluent in French and attended Yale University.

2. Steve Martin
I.Q. 142
Martin is known for his absurdist comedy and roles in movies like The Jerk and Roxanne, but he’s also a member of Mensa. He majored in philosophy at California State University, and planned to become a college professor before his career in comedy took off. He’s written plays, movies, pieces for the New Yorker, and a novella Shopgirl which was turned into a movie. He’s also a musician who plays the piano and banjo.

1. Dolph Lundgren
I.Q. 160
Dolph Lundgren is known for his body in movies like Rocky III and The Punisher, but also has the brains to back it up. Lundgren attended multiple universities around the world, including the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, the University of Sydney where he earned a master’s degree in chemical engineering, and he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to MIT.


What other famous celebrities do you know are geniuses? What actors were you surprised to see?

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  1. This is interesting! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Stallone and Lundgren? That makes me feel like a dunce now. I have one of Steve Martin's banjo songs on my mp3 player.

  3. James Woods went to MIT and has an IQ of 180.
    Too bad Sonny from the Godfather was a hot head!

  4. Knew most of those, but Lundgren?
    I'm smarter than Jodie Foster - that's good to know.

  5. Interesting list. I only had heard of a few of them.

  6. I guess it should be no surprise that geniuses would excel in H'wood. It's a tough town and to make it, you have to not only have talent, but some major business savvy. It's the difference between just being someone who does movies and someone who builds a long, successful career, as Sylvester Stallone has. Plus, he got his start with Rocky--he wrote the screenplay and won the Oscar for it, right? I think people forgot that during that time when he was just putting out one mindless action movie after the next. (Also business savvy--those movies made TONS of money in their time!)

  7. Stallone surprises me, actually, anyone who claims to have an IQ over 150 as an adult meets with some incredulity from me. That's pretty rare, and while I believe actors (like writers) tend to be above average, we're talking well into the genius range there. I did a few posts on IQ a few years ago on my own blog (and I assume that makes me an expert), and unless they've been normalized, they tend to show people are a little higher than what they really are.

  8. Having knowledge is one thing.....applying it wisely, is another :)

  9. all smart all talented... well all smart.

  10. Nisse SöderströmJuly 22, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    Dolph often comes and speaks at RIOT. He spoke at my intro days and the lecture was both interesting and funny. He talked a lot about his movie career naturally, but also how he has used his degree in his work.

  11. I knew Sly was a big Edger Alan Poe fan, so he should be well read.

  12. I knew about Lundgren and a few others but had no idea about Martin and Davis.

  13. wilson blauheuerMay 17, 2015 at 10:31 PM

    is it really possibly to have a 160 IQ and not be able to spell at a 12th grade level? I don't believe it is possible. I have seen his scripts and the spelling is remarkably bad. I was spelling better by the time I started high school.


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