Celebs Who Go Geek

Someone recently asked E!Online’s “Answer B!tch” the question “Do any celebs quit Hollywood for real jobs?” Turns out that science and academia aren’t unusual career paths for celebrities (even very minor ones) who decide that Hollywood isn’t their primary career path. You probably know that Danica McKellar, who played Winnie in The Wonder Years, turned into a hot math geek who now teaches teenage girls that math is cool (and still does some acting on the side), but here are a few more:

  • Mayim Bialik – once better known as “Blossom” – has a PhD in neuroscience and is writing a book on parenting. (Though she still does some acting as well; you might have seen her on the season finale of The Big Bang Theory.)
  • Charlie Korsmo, who I remember best as the kid in Hook, is a law professor at Brooklyn Law School and teaches torts, corporate law, and land use.
  • Brian May, lead guitarist for Queen, is an astrophysicist. And he’s currently the chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University.
  • Ilan Mitchell-Smith, known for his role in Weird Science, has a PhD in English and teaches at California State University Long Beach.

Come to think of it, this isn’t exactly a long list. Anyone know of other examples?

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20 Responses to Celebs Who Go Geek

  1. Greg Gaffin (lead singer of punk band Bad Religion) got his PhD at Cornell. He teaches life sciences and paleontology at UCLA. I believe actor James Franco is studying for an English PhD at Yale …

  2. Dexter Holland from The Offspring got his B.A. in biology and a masters in molecular biology from the University of Southern California. He was going for his PhD there when The Offspring hit the big time, so he gave academia up for rock n' roll.

  3. Peter Weller, best known as Robocop but more importantly as Buckaroo Banzai, either has or is working on a PhD in Roman Architecture and teaches at Syracuse. He was featured in a History Channel documentary on the same subject.

  4. Peter Weller (Buckaroo Bonzai, RoboCop), is a faculty member at Syracuse University, has a Masters in Roman and Renaissance art, and it working on his PhD. Hosted "Engineering and Empire".

  5. There is Red Symons from Australian Band The Skyhooks, Melborne Radio, and his long-running role on Hey Hey It's Saturday, holds a Bachelors in both Computer Science and Pure Mathematics.

  6. OK this is going way back but Hedy Lamarr help a number of patents including one for spread spectrum communications, the basis of modern cellphones.

  7. Of course, it should be noted that the "Star Wars Kid" went on to become a Lawyer specialising in corporate law, if I remember correctly.

  8. Kay Panabaker, the mind-reading teen Daphne Powell on ABC's "No Ordinary Family", graduated from high school at 13 as valedictorian, and at 17 became the youngest on record at UCLA to earn a history degree.

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