8 Celebrities You Didn't Know Were Geeks
As any nerd can tell you, being smarter than everyone else has a price. Poor social skills, being grossly over or under weight, being terrible at sports. Skin problems, probably bad eyesight ... you get the idea.
Yet, there is a whole class of nerds who break that universal rule, who somehow wind up smarter than us, yet also, are so good at being tough or being hot that they've got legions of adoring fans. Maybe they're just lucky, or maybe they turned their backs on God and sought solace in the infernal embrace of a giving demonic patron. The fact is, it is not fair that these people exist and we suggest you take it up with your local clergy.
We're talking about people like ...
When Golden Globe winner Natalie Portman was 10 years old, a representative of Revlon found her at a pizza parlor and asked her if she wanted to model. Portman turned her down and said that, all things considered, she would much rather act.
Portman was a straight A student in high school, although it was a public school and we can tell you first hand that most of what they teach involves premarital sex and how to keep your gun properly oiled. While playing the Queen Amidala in The Phantom Menace, she skipped the premiere to study for her final exams. This, by the way, got her into Harvard (If you ask us, it's really a toss-up between the Ivy League and non-alcoholic sparkling cider at the kids' table with baby Anakin.).
Portman was a research assistant in a psychology lab and put in some time working for the youngest law professor in the history of Harvard, Alan Dershowitz. You may remember him as a member of O.J. Simpson's legal "dream team," permanently earning himself another place in history as somebody you never want to get in an argument with about anything, ever. He even gave her a shout out in his book The Case for Israel.
By the time she got her bachelor's, she had studied four languages in addition to Hebrew, the language of her birth, had been published in professional science journals twice, killed a butt load of aliens, and generally made us look like big human-shaped piles of poo. Seriously, when we were 10 years old, we wanted to be doctors or space cowboys or, at the very least, fire fighters. The closest we've gotten so far is one of those little shiny red fireman helmets.
Recently Natalie returned to the ground she covered with Dershowitz when she starred as anarchist apprentice Evey Hammond in the terrorist fable V for Vendetta. This got her invited to Columbia to speak to a class on terrorism and antiterrorism and, more importantly, bridging the raw, seemingly eternal divide between comic book and Star Wars geeks.
The Offspring lead singer Dexter Holland
Bryan "Dexter" Holland is the kind of dude who, if he can't get into a rock show, grabs a buddy and starts The Offspring. Half a decade later, he was signed with Epitaph Records to join NOFX and Rancid, with whom his band is partly credited for bringing punk rock back into the angst-dripping hearts of suburban kids who really don't have much to complain about except the emptiness of their idle middle-class lives. To go down that road, however, he had to give up a pretty straight-arrow career path of over-achieving drudgery that probably would have given him some of his best moody material--and a sick minivan to go with it.
Dexter, as it turns out, grew up in the high-rent suburbs West Garden Grove, California.
He went to Pacifica High School and, instead of setting fires and declaring anarchy, went ahead and graduated as valedictorian instead. He went on to the University of Southern California, became a pre-med student and eventually got his Master's Degree in molecular biology. He was actually on the way to a Ph.D. before dropping out to follow his dream of throwing glistening globs of his own biological molecules all over screaming audiences night after night.
5 & 6 Underworld's Kate Beckinsale and Kevin Grevioux
Let's talk about Kate Beckinsale first. Well, there's the posh and personable accent. Then, there's the "shaped out of clay and given breath by a prayer to the gods and a slowly expanding pillar of light" body. Also, there's that face. Oh, and this:
So how does one prepare to star in a campy Matrix-with-werewolves franchise? Why, by becoming a literary prodigy and mastering several languages, obviously. Beckinsale wrote award-winning short stories and poems (taking home the national W.H. Smith Literary Award twice in a row). That love for the written language took her to Oxford University, where Beckinsale mastered French, German and Russian and had her nose buried in French and Russian texts caked with several lifetimes' worth of "who the hell gives a damn about Baratynsky" dust. She was on her way to being the world's sexiest librarian in the world's emptiest library before she finally dropped out to eventually star in a movie about a war between vampires and werewolves.
Meanwhile, the biggest, baddest werewolf in the film was this guy ...
Kevin Grevioux, who played Raze. This dude, seemingly born to play horror movie monsters, served as a research assistant at the world famous National Institutes of Health and got his degree in microbiology from Howard University. While pursuing his master's in genetic engineering, Grevioux discovered he was more interested in film and moved to Los Angeles. The role of Raze was perfect for Grevioux because, well, he wrote the movie.
We'd like to have been a fly on the wall during that shoot, with Beckinsale quoting Russian poetry and Grevioux tossing out cancer cures in their spare time. Then, they get interrupted so they can go play werewolves and vampires.
Neither Vin nor Diesel is his real name (it's Mark Vincent), but it was a given that creatures like this do not have names so much as titles. He's lately known more for the movie The Pacifier (original working name, Oh My God, what am I watching? Oh, right, poop.), and not known, thankfully, for his "comedic" turn in Find Me Guilty. But, one can hardly mention Vin Diesel's name without remembering severed carotid's and snapped necks.
Multifacial, a movie he produced for $3,000 (and which, surprisingly, is not porn) gained the attention of Steven Spielberg, who cast him in Saving Private Ryan. This started off Vin Diesel's film career in a long string of roles being surly, growling one-liners, looking intimidating without even trying, and racking up a body count (huge) and number of Oscars (zero) to rival Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime.
And, the whole time, he was playing Dungeons and Dragons. Has been for over 20 years. Seriously, somewhere on his body is a tattoo of his player character's name. Now, that's hardcore gamester.
His geek flag flew higher when he opened up his own gaming development house, Tigon Studios, just because he was tired of people making crappy games based on movies. The very fabric of existence was rent asunder when, to the shocked and frightened gasps of a reviewing public, it turned out The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, the first video game based on a movie since Goldeneye was not just better than the movie, but better than just about every other game that came out that year. It's average review score was 90 percent, according to MetaCritic.
Porn star Asia Carrera
Retired porn star Asia Carrera, real name Jessica Steinhauser, is a bit of a legend in the porn industry. With 36-26-36 measurements, she performed in a jaw-dropping 400 hundred films in her career and exchanged an unthinkable amount of bodily fluids. She's also mother of two.
She calls herself "the nerd of porn," and we assumed it was some kind of in-joke, until we saw her credentials. Here is somebody who studied piano as a child and by the age of 14 was playing in Carnegie Hall.
At 16, she went to Japan and taught English classes. She was a state spelling champ, in the National Mathematics League, a Spanish National Honor Society member, placing in National Geography, Language and Math Olympiads, and is a member of Mensa. That got her a free ride to Rutgers, where she double-majored in business and Japanese. This naturally inspired her to change her first name to Asia and become an entrepreneur in America's fastest growing business.
Either that, or her self-professed hatred of her parents' pressure on her to succeed academically made her lash out by riding random guys reverse cowgirl on camera. Whatever works.
When she and her brother get in the room together, she admits a tendency to "geek out," and would rather volley IMs back and forth than hold an actual conversation. The sex lives of some of our staff members are, to be honest, quite similar, so we can relate. Her geek hallmark, however, is her love of LAN parties and Unreal Tournament (handle: megab*tchgoddess).
Now that she's no longer taking shots to the face while sprawled out on pool tables, you can expect her to dish it just as hard and fast online. Keep an eye out for her self-made skins, or download them yourself:
Queen guitarist Brian May
In case your musical knowledge doesn't pre-date the '90s, Brian May played lead guitar, wrote for and was the sometimes lead singer of Queen. He put the words "We Will Rock You" (surprisingly), "Who Wants to Live Forever" (ironically), and "Fat-Bottomed Girls" (not so surprisingly) in Freddie Mercury's mouth. Sometimes Freddie shrugged and said, "Ah, bloody 'ell, I broke my last bottle of Goldschlager with 'at 'igh C, so's 'ow about I shut my gob and let you 'ave a go at it?" and sang back up to him.
In the early '70s, he also had a Bachelor of Sciences degree with honors from the Imperial College of London and was in the middle of his doctorate studying how light reflects off of dust floating in space and the movement of that dust within the solar system. While we at Cracked are sure that Brian May's heart was pounding with excitement when he first signed up for the classes, we admit that you probably had to be there to give a rat's ass.
May also apparently grew tired of it, because at that point he took 30 years off from his doctorate to become a millionaire, one of the best guitar players in the world and a member of one of the greatest rock bands in history.
When he wasn't busy rocking faces, May fiddled around with astrophysics, co-authoring two scientific papers and the book Bang! - The Complete History of the Universe with Christ Lintott and Patrick Moore. He also has been a regular guest on the latter's show The Sky at Night for years). Finally, after he was satisfied that he had squeezed all the rocking he could into one lifetime, he went back and got his doctorate in the fall of '07.
Then, he was appointed Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University, meaning we now have a man who can look upon both Albert Einstein and Eddie Van Halen and ask why they didn't get more done.
Mr. Lundgren was an almost-superstar back in the '80s, having played comic hero The Punisher (1989 version) and even He-Man (1987). But, his greatest acting accomplishments is beating Apollo Creed into something resembling grape jelly and inspiring the greatest Rocky montage of all time.
As it turns out, this towering blond monster who casually told Sylvester Stallone, "I will break you," could have, in fact, probably calculated the amount of effort (in force pounds per square inch and Joules expenditure) needed to do just that in his head.
The man reportedly has an IQ of 160. He graduated from the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, got his master's in chemical engineering, then was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to MIT. After just two weeks of that, his superhuman intellect allowed him to calculate that a life spent inventing life-saving chemicals would mathematically contain less awesome than one movie spent playing He-Man.
Hey, did we mention that he speaks five languages (French, Swedish, German, English and Italian)? Or, that he's a Pentathlon Team Leader and a former Ranger? And a third-degree black belt?
So, really, to play a superhuman machine of destruction in Rocky IV, he still had to tone it down quite a bit. Hell, this man had to tone it down to play He-Man.
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