It might seem like any Average Joe is capable of acting like someone else. And it’s true that Hollywood is filled with some folks who have questionable intelligence. But, on the contrary, many of the better actors and Hollywood personalities that you see are infinitely more intelligent than you might guess. In fact, these celebrities have IQs which go far beyond what anyone might have expected. (For reference, and “average” IQ sits between 85 and 115.)
Here they are, ranking from “lowest” to highest IQ scores:
James Franco, IQ 130
With an IQ coming in at around 130, no one should be surprised that James Franco is a bit obsessed with higher education. While he was filming Spiderman 3, Franco went back to UCLA for English with a concentration in Creative Writing. He took about three times the typical course load (62 credits) at a time in order to finish quickly. After graduating from UCLA in 2008, Franco moved to New York to pursue graduate degrees at THREE grad schools: Columbia University (MFA in Writing) and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts (Filmmaking) and Brooklyn College (Fiction Writing). He’s now a PhD student at Yale University. He has also been known to teach a course at NYU on modifying poetry into film. James is a man of many talents: actor, painter, director, filmmaker, writer, poet, and all around generally brilliant guy.
Ken Jeong, IQ 130+
Funny man, Ken Jeong, is often thought of as his role, Mr. Chow, in the series of “The Hangover” movies. In fact, you can call him Dr. Ken Jeong because he’s a licensed obstetrician! Undergrad at Duke University and med school at UNC Chapel Hill, Jeong went on to complete his medical residency in New Orleans. This was no surprise to his high school classmates, however, as he graduated at the age of only 16. His IQ is estimated to be at least 130 but is likely higher.
Kate Beckinsale, IQ 132
A college “dropout”—from Oxford, no less!—Kate Beckinsale was studying Modern Languages through her third year in university. So even though she didn’t graduate, she is fluent in four languages: English, French, Russian, and German. As a very young child, Beckinsale was noticed by her teachers, with school reports citing her at an 11-year-old reading level by age 6. In her teens, the actress won the W.H. Smith Young Writer’s competition, twice, for short stories and poems that she has written.
Jodie Foster, IQ 132
Teaching herself to read before she was three years old, Alicia Jodie Foster is a critically acclaimed actress who went to Yale to study Upper Level French. She did this all while balancing a childhood acting career. Foster earned a bachelor’s degree in Literature and earned an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts in 1997. But not to be considered just a brainy dud, Foster was chosen in 1995 to be #45 of Empire Magazines 100 Sexiest Stars in film history.
Nicole Kidman, IQ 132
With parents in the education field, it’s no surprise that Nicole Kidman is intelligent. Studying performing arts, mime, and drama, Kidman went to Victoria College of Arts in Melbourne. She also spent time with the Phillip Street Theatre in Sydney and the Australian Theatre for Young People. Kidman is also a talented musician, playing piano for fun as well as on-screen in her “Cold Mountain” role. In her free time, Kidman enjoys writing short stories and would one day like to have them published.
Tommy Lee Jones, IQ 135
A successful career despite the fact that he’s never even taken an acting class, Tommy Lee Jones graduated from St. Mark’s School of Texas in Dallas and then moved on to gain a B.A. in English from Harvard, graduating magna cum laude. Not just brainy but brawny, Jones was an offensive guard for varsity football at Harvard in 1968, a year that the team was undefeated. While at Harvard, Jones also developed a love for acting and played in several of the school’s theatre productions. Jones went on from Harvard to begin his career on Broadway, but ended up working on a soap opera. His career escalated to films and he won an Oscar for his performance in “The Fugitive” in 1993.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, IQ 135
Obsessed with physical fitness from a young age, Arnold Schwarzenegger has brains behind that brawn. At the age of 21, Schwarzenegger finally got the chance to move the United States as he had dreamed of doing since he was a young boy. He learned to speak English at California’s Santa Monica College and then graduated from University of Wisconsin-Superior where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in International Marketing and Business Administration. Later becoming Governor of California, Schwarzenegger has put his education to good use.
Emma Watson, IQ 138
Best known for her portrayal of Harry Potter’s friend, Hermione Granger, Emma Watson was raised by her parents, Jacqueline Luesby and Chris Watson, both lawyers. A straight-A student in school at Dragon School in Oxford, Watson went on to attend Brown University where she studied English Literature. She also did a stint studying at Worcester College, Oxford. Watson went on to become a UN Goodwill Ambassador for Women where she helped start the HeforShe campaign to promote equality among genders.
Ke$ha, IQ 140
No one expected this girl to make the list! Maybe it’s her rainbow colored hair or the fact that she was a high school dropout, but Ke$ha had an almost score of 1500 on her SATs which would give her a really solid backup plan in case her music career didn’t work out. Fortunately, she’s not only smart but she’s talented too. Americans love her apparently dumbed-down songs which use vocabulary such as “electro trashy pop magic”. It does make one wonder why, if she’s so smart, her vocabulary is still so full of four-letter words?!
Shakira, IQ 140
Seriously, another blonde pop star? There’s brains behind that talent, at least in the case of Shakira. Not only does she have perfect pitch, Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll (her birth name), learned to read and write at the age of three, graduated from high school at the age of 15, and released her first album with songs she had written between the ages of 8 and 13. Columbian Shakira is now an advocate for education as a human right. She’s a Unicef goodwill ambassador and has visited United Nations to promote governments to pay more attention to early childhood mental development. Although she never went to college full time, Shakira did attend UCLA one summer where she took a Western Civilization course, dressed in a boyish disguise, and called herself by her middle name.
Madonna, IQ 140
Smart enough to know how to work a crowd, Madonna was the original smart blonde pop star. In high school in Michigan, Madonna earned straight A’s, was a cheerleader, and was given a scholarship to the University of Michigan to study drama and modern dance. In 1978 she dropped out of college and moved to NYC to pursue dance, working at a donut shop to earn money. Madonna has sold hundreds of millions of albums, and is also recognized on Mensa’s international genius list (anyone scoring over 139 IQ qualifies).