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7 Celebrities Who Had Badass Careers You Didn't Know About

#3.
James Lipton Did the ThunderCats Theme

What He's Known For:

The Actors' Studio is a members-only club for actors (in case you had a hard time telling). Playwrights and directors can join also, but unless they're Mel Brooks, who cares?

In 1994, someone over at Bravo got the brilliant idea to open up the Studio for public viewing. Performing arts students would come and listen to James Lipton--a sonorously voiced gentleman resembling a cross between Rip Torn, and Pavaratti--interview members. We're not sure who decided that putting a virtually unknown fat, bearded man on stage with the hottest actors of the day was a good idea, but man did that shit work.


"I want this man to interview the likes of Angelina Jolie, Dave Chappelle and Johnny Depp."
"Brilliant! Pass the cocaine."

Lipton has hosted the show, Inside the Actors Studio, for all 16 years of its existence, (maybe you've seen Will Ferrel's in-no-way-accurate-but-still-hilarious impression). He's appeared on Family Guy, The Simpsons and Arrested Development. And he hasn't even touched a dime of his vast chicken noodle soup fortune.

What He Should Be Known For:

Lipton's producer cred could fill in here nicely: He's produced 12 Bob Hope specials and is even responsible for the first televised Presidential Inauguration (Jimmy Carter's). But that stuff is child's play in comparison to his short-lived time as a composer. What music did he piece together that could outshine his productions, his hosting and his acting?

That's right: the fucking ThunderCats theme.

Every Saturday that you rocked out to that music while waving around your little plastic Sword of Omens, you've been rocking out to this dapper gentleman:


Did we say "dapper"? Because we meant "fly."

When you've interviewed (and conversely, have been interviewed by) Dave Chappelle, had a guest spot on Arrested Development and composed the theme music to ThunderCats, that's pretty much an immediate inclusion into the Cracked Hall of Fame--right next to elderly male stripper Bernie Barker and Teddy Roosevelt.

#2.
Ian Fleming Wrote Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

What He's Known For:

We'll just be frank: He's the guy behind everyone's favorite spy, James Bond.

As previously detailed, Fleming drew on his own badass background and created the suave, sexy, martini-drinking rogue we've all seen on the silver screen. Fourteen books chronicled 00's adventures, all of which have been taken in by Hollywood.


It wasn't always for the best, mind you.

So if Ian Fleming isn't on this list for being a total badass during World War II, then what?

What He Should Be Known For:

If we told you that Ian Fleming was responsible for a film that featured singing, dancing, a love story and borderline pedophilia, would you believe us? Of course not, because Fleming wasn't into that kind of shit.

And you'd be totally wrong. Sort of.

Fleming penned Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Originally intended for his son, the book reached mass publication--eventually falling into the laps of the fat cats at MGM. But the film and Fleming's product didn't really hold much in common other than the name. Fleming's version contained everything you'd expect from a creation of his: a badass car, gangsters, explosions. The film was so different from the original work that Disney commissioned a separate novelization of their product.

So before you go getting all freaked out by the Childcatcher the next time you watch the film, keep in mind that Roald Dahl--noted children's writer and the guy who helped write the screenplay--put that sleazeball in the film.


Thanks, Roald!

#1.
Tigger Invented the Artificial Heart

What He's Known For:

You probably wouldn't recognize Paul Winchell if you saw him on the street. Mainly because he's dead and if you saw him on the street you should be more concerned with finding an object to stab into his brainstem rather than playing "place the face."

But if this was 2004 or before, and you were talking on the phone with him, you'd recognize his voice instantly:

Yep, Winchell was Tigger. He voiced the questionably high cartoon tiger when the character first started speaking onscreen, until he retired in 1999. His voice work for the character even garnered him a Grammy award for Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too! (the popular follow-up to Winchell's solo work, Tiggas With Attitude).

Winchell voiced other famous characters as well, such as Gargamel from The Smurfs and the awesomely named Dick Dastardly from just about every Hanna-Barbera cartoon you've ever seen. If you still can't place his voice, you may have also recognized him as the voice of that bastard owl in the Tootsie Roll Pop commercial.


Why are we in the inner circle of hell and where are my clothes, Professor Owl?

What He Should Be Known For:

Aside from wanting to have a place in our hearts forever, Winchell was also interested in medicine and inventing shit. Among his patents were a flameless cigarette lighter, battery-heated gloves and an invisible garter.


Pictured: Genius.

The most famous design he had, however, wasn't for recreational purposes but for being alive purposes: The man designed the first artificial heart. With the help of Dr. Henry Heimlich--of "thank you for giving men a reason to grope women while masking it as a life-saving technique" fame--the two invented the device, and were the very first to acquire a patent for it. A Dr. Jarvik came out with a heart shortly thereafter but, of course, Winchell already had the patent. Jarvik denies that his design was influenced in any way by the voice actor's patent, but Dr. Heimlich maintains that both hearts are exactly the same, thus making Jarvik's claim utterly "ridicarus," as Tigger might say, or "bullshit," as Winchell might.


"Artificial-heart-patenting is what Winchell's do best."

Be sure to check out Fitzgerald's friend Thad over at CallMeThad

Do you have something funny to say about a random topic? You could be on the front page of Cracked.com tomorrow. Go here and find out how to create a Topic Page.

To find out what RoboCop is up to these days, check out The 7 Most WTF Post-Fame Celebrity Careers. Or find out about some other inventors who yoinked their famous creations, in 5 Famous Inventors (Who Stole Their Big Idea).

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