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22 "Dumb" Celebrities Who Are Actually Much Smarter Than You Realize

Kesha used to sneak into college lectures as a teen and got a near-perfect score on her SATs.

There are plenty of celebrities out there who you might think of as dumb, vapid, or just plain goofy. Maybe it's because of a certain character they played, or the type of work they do, or the public image they project to the world. But guess what? Behind the scenes, a lot of those folks are actually very smart.


Well, this week, a viral Reddit thread asked users: "Which actor or celebrity is smarter than we usually give them credit for?"


Here are some of the top-voted responses:

1. "Lisa Kudrow. She plays a lot of dummies, but has a degree in biology from Vassar and worked as a medical researcher for a few years before getting into acting."

Axelle / FilmMagic

2. "Nolan Gould, the actor who played the really dumb kid on Modern Family, graduated from high school when he was 13."

Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

3. "Dolly Parton. When asked if 'dumb blonde' jokes offended her, she replied, 'No. I know I'm not dumb, I also know I'm not blonde.' Gotta love Dolly."

David Becker / Getty Images

4. "Kesha. She had an almost perfect score on the SATs and was accepted to Barnard, but she dropped out to pursue music."

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

5. "Ina Garten. She’s known for her cooking and over-the-top Hamptons lifestyle, but she was a budget analyst under Presidents Ford and Carter."

Nbc / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images

6. "Shakira can speak five languages fluently (Spanish, English, Portuguese, Italian, and Arabic) and also translates all of her music herself."

Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic

7. "Rebel Wilson is a lawyer."

Mike Marsland / Mike Marsland / WireImage / Via Getty Images

8. "Charlie Day is a really smart guy. He usually plays characters not too dissimilar from Charlie Kelly on It's Always Sunny. But IRL he's a multi-instrumentalist, writer, producer, and just an all-around intelligent guy."

Jerod Harris / WireImage / Via Getty Images

9. "Rowan Atkinson. He has an MS in electrical engineering and was working on his PhD before he decided to turn fully into entertainment. He definitely had a backup plan for if show business failed."

Angela Weiss / AFP via Getty Images

10. "Ken Jeong is a medical doctor. Can you imagine being one of his patients?"

Noel Vasquez / Getty Images

11. "Flava Flav is actually very musically talented. When someone asked Chuck D why they had him in Public Enemy because all he did was say, 'Yeaaah booooyyy,' Chuck replied that Flava was the only one who could play an instrument. In fact, he could play about nine different ones and was actually quite gifted."

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12. "Betty White. According to interviews with her costars, she's actually very smart. Nothing at all like some of the characters she's played."

D Dipasupil / FilmMagic

13. "Cindy Crawford, the modeling icon who now hawks a furniture line. Graduated as class valedictorian from DeKalb High School and pursued a degree in chemical engineering at Northwestern University on an academic scholarship."

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14. "Chris Pine. He got an English degree from Berkeley and it shows. He's extremely well-spoken and eloquent in interviews. He and Zachary Quinto used to have a competition between themselves over who could implement more SAT vocab into their interview answers."

Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic

15. "I host a podcast with Paris Hilton, I'm being serious, and she's actually remarkably intelligent. The voice is an act that she perfected to pretend to be dumb (her voice is actually much deeper), then got The Simple Life, which was the world's first hit docu-follow series, and now makes millions of dollars selling literally everything. She's a marketing genius."

Mike Coppola / Getty Images for American Heart Association

16. "Ryan Reynolds. He is well on his way to becoming a billionaire in the next decade through his business ventures."

Steven Ferdman / Getty Images

17. "Ben Affleck. He went to Occidental College, which is where Obama went, for a bit. Another fun fact is that he got kicked out of a Vegas casino for counting cards."

Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

18. "Ashton Kutcher studied bio-med to help find a cure for his twin brother's heart condition. He dropped out after getting a modeling contract. He is a very smart businessman and entrepreneur. He is valued at a few hundred million."

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

19. "Apparently Sofia Vergara was about to become a dentist, and the only reason why she stopped was to become an actor."

Steve Granitz / WireImage / Via Getty Images

20. "Will Smith turned down a scholarship to MIT to become a rapper."

Axelle / FilmMagic

21. "Unpopular opinon, but the Kardashians. They literally built a ginormous business empire and one of the best-known brands in the world out of one lawyer's 15 minutes of fame. You don't have to like them, but there is no way a group of dumb-dumbs could reach this level of success."

Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

22. "Jennifer Coolidge! She usually gets typecast as a busty bimbo, but she's actually pretty much the opposite."

Cindy Ord / FilmMagic

You can read the full thread of responses on Reddit.

Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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