Famous People & Celebrities With High IQs
Hollywood actors, what do they know? They memorize some lines, emote for the camera and basically make like an automaton and act.
Well, it turns out, that notion above can’t be farther from the truth. Not least because acting—at least, good acting—entails more than just emoting for the camera and reciting some lines. It turns out that more than a few Hollywood celebrities are actually geniuses. And, we mean that quite literally, to the degree that many of their IQ scores surpass 130, which is the threshold that separates those who are merely smart and those who are geniuses.
In fact, in this listicle, we discuss some of the smartest celebrities in Hollywood. We bet you’ll be surprised who some of them are!
Colombian singer, songwriter, record producer and all-around talented individual, Shakira, who released her debut album at the age of 13 under Sony Music Colombia, is a genius. Indeed, with an IQ of 140, she even surpasses Mensa level. We bet that the word “genius” isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when people think about Shakira, not least because dancing and singing doesn’t really showcase one’s intellectual prowess in general, but there you have it—Shakira is, to a huge degree, a genius, according to her IQ level. This makes us excited to watch more of her interviews so we can ascertain whether the rumors of her high IQ are true.
Actor, producer, writer and philanthropist, Matt Damon, is unsurprisingly a genius, too. His IQ is reportedly 160, which makes him—weirdly—as intelligent as… Albert Einstein? Yeah, we’re shocked about it, too! We suppose that Damon’s character in Good Will Hunting, who was a genius in need of support, was inspired by aspects of Damon himself that were real. In any case, we aren’t surprised Damon is smart—he won an Academy Award for Best Screenplay for writing the film Good Will Hunting, after all—but we are, to a huge degree, surprised that he is Albert Einstein level smart!
Multi-awarded actress, Goldie Hawn, whose career spans more than 4 decades in Hollywood, is another celebrity whose brain is larger than average. Indeed, her IQ is, to her credit, reportedly at 140. And, we would have never guessed, considering she hasn’t infrequently played the naive and ditzy blonde bimbo on screen. Some websites say that it’s also been confirmed that Hawn is a member of Mensa, so, clearly, the engine in her head is like a V12 to our V6. In any case, this revelation got us wondering about what would have been had Hawn pursued a career in, say, Astrophysics instead.
Actor Nolan Gould, who many will know as Luke Dunphy in one of the most hilarious sitcoms ever created, Modern Family, is, in reality, very different from the fictional character he plays. See, Luke Dunphy was described by his own fictional parents to be the “dumbest child” they ever had. Nolan Gould, on the other hand, has an IQ of 150—at least if the reports about his intelligence credit score are true. Luckily for us, Gould is still young, so we will be seeing more of him in the future, and might even disconfirm the rumors about his intelligence being true, who knows!
Actor, director and screenwriter, James Franco, who is best known for his many film collaborations with the group that is referred to in Hollywood circles as the Frat Pack, is unsurprisingly a genius, too. Many might find this piece of news surprising since Franco doesn’t infrequently play characters who aren’t very smart—and are often high. His IQ is reportedly at 130, which just about broaches the genius level. At least this piece of information refutes all those naysayers who’ve argued Franco got a degree in UCLA not by hard work but by knowing the right people. Well, it turns out that none of that was true.
Model, actress and successful entrepreneur, Cindy Crawford, who was, during the 80s and 90s, one of the most popular models in the world, is said to have an IQ of 154. One would think modeling would have nothing to do with intelligence, and while that may be superficially true, Cindy Crawford proved that you can’t judge a book by its cover, because it turns out that her IQ score puts her just a few points below Albert Einstein. This means that Crawford was, much to her credit, the complete package, having been born with both beauty and brains. We’re guessing that very few supermodels, from then to now, could match her IQ score.
Singer songwriter and occasional actress, Alicia Keys, who was signed by Columbia records at the young age of 15, is reported to have an IQ of 154. To some degree, we all expected Keys to be smart, given that her songs preclude the superficiality that pop music is not infrequently inundated with. Basically, she always seemed like a deep person, inside and out. But none of us expected her to be this smart—her IQ is only a few points less than that of Albert Einstein, for crying out loud. In any case, her music—especially New York—will endure for years to come, that’s for sure.
Comedian, writer, producer and television talk show host, Conan O’Brien, who many will know as the host of the talk show, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, is reported to have an IQ of 160. It’s somewhat unsurprising, to be honest, given he’s such a witty person onscreen and off. Indeed, one would need a brain as fully-developed as O’Brien to come up with the things he comes up with, either for the show or even spontaneously during interviews. Prior to his success as a talk show host, he was already, to a huge degree, a legend behind the scenes for his comedy writing.
Actor, comedian, author and filmmaker, Steve Martin, who’s known for his absurdist comedy, and who gained prominence as a regular guest of Johnny Carson in the Tonight Show, is another comedian who’s reportedly a genius. He is said to have an IQ of 142, and we in particular aren’t surprised, given we followed this man’s career and we know he’s acquired a degree in philosophy, which he is said to have used in the development of his absurdist comedy. In fact, Martin initially considered teaching at Cal State, but decided to plow his way through the comedy world instead.
Actor, producer and entrepreneur, Ashton Kutcher, who gained worldwide recognition playing Michael Kelso in the highly successful comedy sitcom, That 70s Show, is reportedly a genius with an IQ of 160. Shocking, we know! The character he is most famous for, Michael Kelso, is an absolute dunce. Plus, he has frequently played the dumb guy in many of his films, including a film that’s simply titled Dude Where’s My Car? With a title like that, you just know you’re not targeting audiences who fall at the higher end of the intelligence bell curve. But, yeah, all credit goes to Kelso for being way smarter than the fictional characters he portrays.
It is of absolutely no surprise that Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, is a genius. His IQ is reportedly 160, and if anything, we’re surprised it isn’t any higher, considering he’s the man who made computers accessible to every household. Did we mention that he’s also worth more than $100 billion dollars? Nobody can acquire that kind of money without having some semblance of a galactic brain—well, unless it was inherited, which in Gates’ case it wasn’t. To his credit, he is currently using his big brain to pursue various philanthropic efforts, which is, by our lights, what all big brains should be used for.
Multi-awarded actress, Claire Danes, who in 2012 was named one of the most influential people in the world by Time Magazine, is another celebrity who’s been blessed with both good looks and brains. Her IQ is reportedly 140, and we seem to be unsurprised by this, presumably having been conditioned to see Danes as ultra-intelligent. Most of her roles, after all, are that of intelligent people. Danes even played a super-smart person in the highly successful television series Homeland. In fact when has she ever played the ditzy blonde? Perhaps never. In any case, life must be hard for those like Danes, who are so used to flooring people with both their good looks and intelligence wherever they go.
Singer, songwriter, rapper and actress, Kesha Sebert—more popularly known as just Kesha—was propelled to success after the release of her album Animal and Rainbow, which rose to the charts in short notice. Apparently, however, she’s not just a talented musician, but is also a genius with an IQ of 140. I mean, consider for a moment that only 1% of IQ test takers are able to score this high and you’ll realize just how much credit is owed to Kesha for her intelligence. Although she calls herself a songwriter, we can fully imagine another alternate universe where Kesha is actually a rocket scientist.
Actor, director and filmmaker, Quentin Tarantino, who is known for having created such iconic films as Pulp Fiction and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, is one of the most unique and eccentric filmmakers in Hollywood. Indeed, his films aren’t just the box office hits that they are, they’re also the type that make you think, use your brain, and change your perspective about the issues on which they are focused. Because of the degree of mastery this man has for filmmaking, it wasn’t a surprise for us to learn that Tarantino is a genius with an IQ of 160.
Actor, producer, director and novelist, David Duchovny, who many will know as the guy who plays Fox Mulder in the highly successful science fiction series The X-Files, reportedly graduated from Princeton University with a degree in English Literature. If that doesn’t convince you the man is a super intelligence, then consider for a moment the fact that his IQ is 147, which makes him 15 points over qualified for Mensa, the largest and oldest high IQ society in the world. It looks like Duchovny was the perfect guy to play Mulder, since both of them are inimitable geniuses.
Multi-awarded actress and filmmaker, Natalie Portman, who began her career in Hollywood at the age of 12, and who has become a prolific actress ever since, is reportedly another genius with an IQ of 140. It is no wonder she got accepted into Harvard where she earned her degree in psychology. Indeed, Portman once famously said for an interview that she’d “rather be smart than a movie star,” which is all the evidence one needs to be convinced of Portman’s principled priorities. In any case, she’s another celebrity who won life’s lottery by being born with both beauty and brains.
Singer, songwriter and actress, Madonna, who’s been referred to as the Queen of Pop on account of both her longevity in the music industry and her innumerable hits, is reportedly a genius with an IQ of 140. The article we read about this says that it was self-reported, so we don’t know how to feel about it. Indeed, if we were to “self-report” our own IQ scores, then we’d add a few points to it, too. But, of course, it could be true—indeed, it’s not entirely unbelievable given that Madonna does to a huge degree come across as intelligent and self-aware during her interviews.
Actress, comedian, writer and producer, Lisa Kudrow, who everyone knows as the actress who played Phoebe Buffay in the highly successful television sitcom Friends, is reported to have an IQ of 160. Which is nothing short of shocking, since the character she’s most known for (Phoebe Buffay) is supposed to be a complete dunce! But, much to her credit, it turns out she’s probably the smartest cast member on Friends, to everyone’s shock and surprise. Indeed, if Kudrow didn’t pursue a career in comedy, she could have been just as successful as a brain surgeon, a rocket scientist or a theoretical physicist.
Meryl Streep, who is often ranked among the best actors and actresses in the history of Hollywood, reportedly has an IQ of 142. Amazingly, her IQ score is almost just as much as the awards she’s won throughout her career. And her IQ score even over-qualifies her for Mensa, which is not too surprising given that she’s always seemed like the sharpest knife in the drawer, in film or during her many interviews. In any case, if the ability to win acting awards is evidence for intelligence, then Streep, to her credit, has already proven beyond reasonable doubt that she’s a genius.
Comedian, actor and producer, Ken Jeong, who many will be surprised is actually also a licensed physician, has been reported to have an IQ of 130 or higher. We absolutely didn’t know he was that intelligent. But if he is, like he’s been reported to be, a licensed physician, then he’s clearly acquired some smarts from somewhere. Getting a degree in medicine, after all, is the height of difficulty. It’s a curious thing, however, that Jeong decidedly pursued a career in comedy despite having expended all that effort to become a doctor. Maybe he really—really—liked making people laugh.
Comedian, actress and talk show host, Aisha Tyler, who many will remember as Dr. Tara Lewis, the forensic psychologist with a degree from Dartmouth, in the television series Criminal Minds, and who is currently the host of the show Whose Line is it Anyway?, is reportedly a genius with an IQ of 156. It is definitely no surprise that she’s intelligent considering the speed with which her mind is able to come up with laughable one-liners as an improvisational comedian, but we never would have guessed that her IQ was a mere 4 points below that of Albert Einstein. We know we use Einstein a lot as a point of comparison, but that is because he is the quintessential template for intelligence.
English actress and activist, Emma Watson, who rose to prominence after playing Hermione Granger in the highly successful Harry Potter film series, is one actress who seems to have only ever accepted roles that were of intelligent characters. As Hermione Granger, she was often the smartest kid inside any room. Well, this might have something to do with the fact that Watson actually has an IQ of 138, making her a certified genius. Indeed, if one doesn’t believe Watson is as smart as we’re saying she is, then maybe the fact that she’s earned a Linguistic Degree in Brown University will convince you.
Actor and comedian, Rowan Atkinson, who is a legend in comedy, and who many will know as Mr. Bean, is reportedly another genius comedian with a high IQ. What’s his IQ, you ask? Well, you might be surprised to know that it is 178, which makes him perhaps the smartest celebrity on this list. To his credit, he plays Mr. Bean, the inimitable buffoon, quite masterfully, despite secretly being a genius. To be honest, the Mr. Bean character will be by anyone’s estimate one of the most difficult characters to play, and Atkinson is really a crazy genius in our minds for having successfully pulled it off.
Multi-awarded actress and producer, Nicole Kidman, who was often in the past ranked as one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood, is another blonde bombshell with an incredibly high IQ. She’s been reported to have an IQ score of 138, officially putting her at genius level. We’re guessing smartness somehow runs in Kidman’s genes, since her father reportedly has a degree in both psychology and biology. In any case, at least Kidman is currently putting all her brain power into good use as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF and the United Nations, drawing everyone’s attention to disadvantaged children.
Actress, producer and model, Sharon Stone, is another blonde actress who just might turn the stereotype of the ditzy blonde bimbo on its head. Indeed, there are more than a few actresses in this listicle who are both blonde and intelligent, so could it be that we’ve managed to get the stereotype inverted all along? In any case, back to Sharon Stone: yes, she’s intelligent. her IQ is 148, after all, if reports about her intelligence are to be believed. We can’t say she’s played dumb characters, however, since they were always, to some degree, smart and scheming.
Of course Mayim Bialik is a super intelligence. She plays one in The Big Bang Theory after all. But are the reports about her IQ being between 150 to 160 true, we wonder? Because that would make her more than just a super intelligence. That would put her on Albert Einstein’s level—you know, the guy who came up with the theory of relativity! In any case, rumor has it—and by that we mean we read it on Wikipedia—that Bialik has a degree in neuroscience, which she earned from UCLA, so maybe the rumors about her incredibly high IQ score is likewise true.
Writer, lawyer and actor, Ben Stein, who many will know for having the droniest, most monotonous and uninteresting voice in Hollywood—or, in the world, actually—is actually a genius. Now our comments about the man’s voice aren’t intended as a slight. Indeed, most of his roles in television or in film are that of characters whose voices are meant to bore the hell out of audiences. His voice is actually what he’s known for, for good or for ill. In any case, it’s been reported that his IQ is 150, which is awesome for him, because that means he will at least, on occasion, be smart enough to emphasize other things about himself other than his voice.
If you’re young, then you’ve probably never heard of this man. But trust us, he was a moderately successful actor in the 80s and early 90s. At least according to our research. He typically played the bad guy, and was in fact the last evil boss, so to speak, in one of the Rocky films. Whatever the case may be, we’re surprised to learn that Lundgren, who’s this obscure semi-famous actor from the childhood of a much older generation, is actually a genius. In fact his IQ is reportedly 160, and he also reportedly has a chemical engineering degree from the Royal Institute of Technology of Sweden. I guess you can say we’re surprised.