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5 Surprisingly Well-Educated Movie Stars

Feb 25, 2011

Sometimes actors have to pretend to be really intelligent, and other times they carry on as though there's not much going on upstairs. In reality actors, like many other professionals, exhibit a wide range of formal education. Here's a few that really took to book learning.

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By Eric Garneau

1. Emma Watson

Watson's best known for her role as Hermione Granger in the incredibly-popular Harry Potter film series. Not content to rest on those laurels, she's currently enrolled at Brown University, major undeclared. Potential future paths for Watson include a bachelor's degree in history and saving Hogwarts School from He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

2. Natalie Portman

Portman, whose career runs the gamut from the Star Wars prequels to 2010's acclaimed Black Swan, earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Harvard in 2003. While there, she worked as a research assistant for famed professor and attorney Alan Dershowitz. Portman has famously remarked that she'd 'rather be smart than be a movie star,' but it seems as though she can do both. In 2006, to coincide with the release of her movie V for Vendetta, Portman acted as a guest lecturer for a Columbia university course on terrorism.

3. Danica McKellar

Once Winnie Cooper on the sitcom The Wonder Years, McKellar didn't take long to transition into studenthood. She graduated from UCLA with a bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1998, just five years after her hit show ended. McKellar has currently found fame a second time as an author of math books aimed at teenage girls, who might normally frown on the subject. As of January 2011 McKellar has published three such books.

math girl

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4. Mayim Bialik

TV's Blossom currently enjoys a role on the sitcom The Big Bang Theory, in which most of the cast must pretend to be genius physics professors. Bialik, though, may not have to reach too far for this role, though. In 2007 she earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA, and that's after attaining dual undergraduate degrees in Hebrew and Jewish studies and neuroscience from the university in 2000. Perhaps with Bialik on the cast, Big Bang won't need to employ science consultants anymore.

5. James Franco

James Franco may not know when to stop. Despite attaining major fame through movies like the Spider-Man franchise, Milk and 127 Hours, as well as roles on TV shows like Freaks and Geeks, he's undertaken more education than perhaps any other actor in Hollywood. Currently, Franco possesses a bachelor's degree in English from UCLA and an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University, in addition to having studied film at NYU. In 2010 Franco enrolled in Yale's Ph.D. program to earn a doctorate in English. If you don't go to Yale but love James, don't worry: you can still probably see him in about 30 movies next year.

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