Celebs Who Have Brains To Go With Their Good Looks

Ashley Hunte
A large bookshelf with a ladder resting by it.
Unsplash | Henry Be

Celebrities are famous for a reason. Like, beyond their looks, usually. They're pretty talented; after all, a chance at fame generally comes with some pretty stiff competition.

Some celebs, like the ones in this list, have talents that go beyond their line of work. In fact, plenty of famous people have worked toward degrees before (and sometimes during) their time in the spotlight.

John Legend.

John Legend's stage name is pretty apt; the guy really is a living legend. Having his pick of schools between Georgetown University, Morehouse College, and Harvard University, Legend decided to pursue higher education at the University of Pennsylvania.

He graduated magna cum laude with an English degree.

Beyond his academic prowess, Legend's musical skills are proof of his genius. In fact, he's one of just 16 people to have at least one Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony win under his belt.

Matt Damon.

A young Matt Damon holding a set of keys while saying "I don't need therapy."

Before his acting career took off, Matt Damon was a student at Harvard University. But because he got the opportunity to star in the 1993 film Geronimo: An American Legend, he never ended up completing his degree.

While at Harvard, though, he wrote an early treatment for a screenplay.

A shot of Matt Damon at the Oscars.
Giphy | The Academy Awards

That screenplay ended up becoming Good Will Hunting (1997), which won the Academy Award for best screenplay. It's pretty amazing that such a memorable film started out as a college assignment!

Colin Firth.

Colin Firth in Pride and Prejudice.

Colin Firth isn't just an actor, he's a writer too. He's published works that have helped various groups, such as autistic children and global Indigenous groups.

Plus, due to his contributions in a political neuroscientific study conducted by University of London researchers, he's a scientific ambassador for the field, too!

Jake Gyllenhaal.

Gyllenhaal attended (though, because of his acting career, never graduated from) Columbia University, which just so happens to be where his sister, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and mother, Naomi Foner, attended. As it turns out, the whole family is pretty smart.

John Krasinksi

Before becoming a big shot actor and director, behind projects like Jack Ryan and A Quiet Place, before getting his big break on a little show called The Office, John Krasinski was a student at Brown University.

But he always had his sights set on show business.

He graduated as a playwright with a thesis study called "Contents Under Pressure." Fun fact: it's actually still available to read on the university's digital repository. I have to say, not bad at all.

David Duchovny.

The X-Files actor wasn't just playing a smart guy on TV, he happens to be one in real life. Not only did Duchovny get an English Literature degree from Princeton, but he also got an English literature master's from Yale.

He was also going in for a PhD that remains unfinished.

In addition to the acting, he's put his English degrees to good use and published four books, the most recent one being released in 2021. On top of all that, he's released music, too.

Edward Norton.

Back in the '90s, Norton attended Yale, where he graduated with a history degree. He also picked up a lot of Japanese, which came in handy when he went to Japan to work for his grandfather's company.

Jamie Foxx.

Jamie Foxx is a man of many talents. Not only is he an accomplished actor, having starred in films like Dream Girls and Baby Driver, but he's also a singer and piano player, and has a Grammy under his belt for the song "Blame It" with T-Pain.

And let's not forget about his Oscar winning performance as Ray Charles.

What's more, he attended the United States International University on a scholarship, studying music and performance arts composition. Apparently, he was good at sports like football and basketball, too.

Tom Hiddleston.

The world first started taking notice of Hiddleston when he landed the role of the charismatic and clever Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And as it turns out, he's pretty clever in real life too, having a degree from the University of Cambridge, and he speaks four languages: Spanish, French, and Greek, in addition to English.

Wentworth Miller.

Michael from Prison Break saying, "I'm Michael, by the way."
Giphy | Prison Break

Probably best known for Prison Break, Miller is also a Princeton graduate, having studied English literature. He wrote a 116-page long thesis called "Doubling and the Identity Construct in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's 'The Yellow Wallpaper,' Jean Rhys's 'Wide Sargasso Sea, and Charlotte Bronte's 'Jane Eyre."

Cole Sprouse.

Maybe you remember him as Ross's son in Friends. Maybe you remember him as Cody Martin in The Suite Life of Zack & Cody. But one thing that you might not know that the former child star (alongside twin brother Dylan) is an NYU graduate.

He got his degree in the humanities, with a focus on archeology.

The Riverdale star actually worked in the field for a time, participating in field studies and excavations. Of course, as you probably know, he ended up returning to acting.

Chris Pine.

Chris Pine clapping emotionally while in the audience for an awards show.
Giphy | Vulture.com

One of Hollywood's most beloved Chrises, Chris Pine has starred in all sorts of films, from The Princess Diaries 2, to Star Trek (2009), to the animated film Rise of the Guardians. And he's also a Berkeley graduate.

He has an English literature degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Chris Pine saying, "I'm not giving up on them."
Giphy | Disney

He also did an exchange at the University of Leeds in England for a year. And after getting his degree, Pine studied at the American Conservatory Theater.

George Clooney.

George Clooney in the audience of an awards show.
Giphy | The Academy Awards

Clooney attended both Northern Kentucky University and the University of Cincinnati, studying journalism at each. But he never graduated, putting his education on hold to try his hand at acting. Needless to say, that decision worked out for him.