7 Celebs Who Were Shockingly Different From Their Reputation
We like to think that we know our favorite celebrities -- and with the amount of idle thoughts and bowel movement updates they blast out on social media these days, it's hard not to. As we've pointed out, however, some famous people are radically different from the images we hold dear in our hearts and/or nether regions. There are beloved celebrities whose hidden depths you'd never truly know ... unless you read this article, of course.
Robin Williams Was A Prolific Joke Thief
Settle down, we'll explain.
Robin Williams was as funny as he was hairy, which is to say extremely. It's unfortunate, then, that during his days as a stand-up comedian, he was renowned by his fellows for stealing their material and passing it off as his own at other clubs -- or worse, regurgitating it during one of his early television appearances, rendering it useless for all time.
He was, to put it plainly, not very popular with other comics. Some would walk off the stage in the middle of a performance if they saw him enter the room, and one LA venue even developed a special warning system to alert comedians that they were in danger of losing their material to one especially hirsute audience member.
The thing is, Williams wasn't pulling a Mencia or a Schumer. He had original jokes in his brain, but his rapid-fire delivery and improvisational style would cause him to blurt out whatever came to mind -- including stuff that came to other people's minds first. This is not a rare phenomenon, either, at least judging by the number of comedians who are genuinely scared at the prospect of being sabotaged by their own brains. Marc Maron, for instance, calls this his "biggest fear."
As for Williams, he never denied or pretended that he didn't sleepwalk-steal jokes, and would happily cough up cold hard cash by way of apology to anyone he lifted from, with the amounts reportedly ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 (that must've been a fancy joke). By the end of his time, he was so famous for paying back his victims that, in a total reversal, comedians would flock to any club in which he was seen, in the hopes of accidentally incepting an entire set into his head and earning themselves a major payday.
Richard Pryor Boned Marlon Brando
Richard Pryor was one of the most badass comedians of the day. His routines covered every subject imaginable, from racism to sex to drugs to how being in movies with Gene Wilder got him laid constantly. You might get the impression that Pryor was a ladies' man, and you'd be right. He was, however, also a dudes' man. Yep, Pryor was one of the proudest, wildest bisexuals of the day -- a day in which, we need not remind you, being anything other than the straightest straight ever would send people into a panicked frenzy.
In a recent interview, Pryor's wife confirmed that her hubby couldn't get enough dick, including that of -- as first claimed by Quincy Jones -- Marlon Brando.
This wasn't a secret shame either, because surprise, Pryor wasn't a shrinking violet. He was as "out" as he could be among his friends, and would regularly write about his sexual adventures in his diary. As his wife wrote, he "saw himself as a sexualized creature, who wasn't afraid of exploration and experimentation." In all fairness, it was the 1970s, and if you weren't arranging your genitals in new and exciting configurations, were you really living?
Amy Winehouse's Death Was More Eating Disorder Than Drugs
Amy Winehouse has a reputation among music buffs for being a tragically romantic figure -- a talented young woman who couldn't exorcise her booze and drug demons, and eventually succumbed and became a member of the afterlife's rowdiest super band, the "27 Club."
It's a compelling story, but the truth is far less "sexy" than that. While drugs and drink were involved in her 2011 death (her blood alcohol level was five times the legal driving limit), no one wants to talk about her other affliction, the one that arguably made all of this possible: her bulimia. She picked up the binge eating/purging habit from her friends as a teenager, and it weakened her body over time. If you watch footage from her earliest years, for instance, her appearance is closer to that of an average-sized woman (albeit one with a voice like a Valkyrie) than the gaunt figure on all the magazine covers.
Unlike the drugs or drinks, this addiction went unnoticed ... and when the signs were noticed (her yo-yo'ing weight, her "puffy face"), the media quickly explained them as side effects of her rock n' roll lifestyle. "She barfs a lot" doesn't move as many newspapers as "She's a wild party monster."
Her particular cocktail of addictions isn't that uncommon, though. According to one group, "nearly 50 percent of individuals with an eating disorder are also abusing drugs and/or alcohol a rate five times greater than what is seen in the general population." Why? Because those things are also great at suppressing appetites -- exactly the sort of thing that you want if your brain is constantly yelling at you to stay thin.
Dolly Parton Is America's Secret Saint
Dolly Parton is famous for two things, and we don't mean "9 To 5" and "Jolene." Despite writing some of the best songs of the 20th century -- seriously, fight us -- to a lot of folks, she's still predominantly known as a vacuous blonde attached to two zeppelin-sized mammaries.
And that's a damn shame, because she's basically the patron saint of childhood literacy. Through her own charitable initiative, the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, she gives out free books (one per month) to any pre-kindergarten child whose parents apply. She was inspired to do this after learning that her father, despite being the "smartest man" she'd ever known, had grown up without learning to read or write. It's a good way to promote childhood literacy and keep her Google search suggestions safe for all ages.
Parton started the initiative in 1996, and since then, it's expanded to the UK and Australia, handing out its 100 millionth book in 2018. If only a tiny percentage of those kids develop a serious interest in literature, that's still a whole army of future Hemingways.
And that's not even her only ambitious philanthropic project. Alongside establishing a foundation in 1986 to provide Tennessee high school students with college scholarships, she also pledged $1,000 per month for six months to thousands of Tennesseans who lost their homes to wildfires in 2016. That's on top of devoting significant funds to helping AIDS victims, treating cancer, saving the bald eagle, etc. -- essentially every cause that makes you say "Aw, someone should do something" before you click away to laugh at a meme.
Tom Clancy Was A Former Insurance Salesman Who Was Never In The Army
Tom Clancy was an amazing writer. Not only was he able to cram so much patriotism into every page that his books explode on July 4th, but he also packed them with technical details, tiny minutiae, and whatever passes for Easter eggs amongst military types. We can picture him typing his books in full army getup, surrounded by medals, mementos from covert missions across the globe, and a Russian skull or two.
In reality, Clancy was a big ol' nerd. A civilian one. Before finding acclaim in the notoriously difficult-to-market-to demographic of dads stuck at the airport, he was an insurance salesman whose prior involvement with the military extended to trying and failing to join the Army ROTC (he was rejected due to his nearsightedness). After moving into the insurance biz and still nursing a major case of military fanboyism, he decided to write some dumb book about submarine warfare -- a book that he fleshed out with research culled from technical manuals, declassified reports, and expert interviews, all stitched together like an elaborate fan theory.
In fact, this was how he wrote all of his books: the hard way. Even after finding success with The Hunt For Red October and being invited to actual military installations, he still relied mainly on his reading habits (that is, pure nerdery) to help him world-build. The military was so convinced that someone was leaking him information that when he had lunch with the secretary of the Navy in 1985, he was asked who had "cleared" Hunt for publication, adding that if Clancy was Navy, he'd already have been court-martialed.
It's said that the secretary was joking, but this was the era of the Cold War, so a polite laugh from Clancy could've seen him shot for espionage.
Queen Victoria Had An Awe-Inspiring Sexual Appetite
The words "Queen Victoria" bring forth images of some frumpy, grumpy old lady covered in lace and mourning the fact that someone somewhere is sporting an uncovered ankle. Hell, the most prudish age in history was named after her, right? As it turns out, the Victorians loved porking, and that included Victoria herself. She was less refined brandy and silk, more a shot of tequila and a leather catsuit.
Most of what we know about Queen Victoria's feeling and desires comes from reading her diaries and letters, and oh boy did she like talking about how Prince Albert was just, like, a total dreamboat. No matter whether he was shaving, applying her stockings, coming from the rain "in his white cashmere britches, with nothing on underneath," or giving her the royal business during their wedding night:
She also noted that they "did not sleep much," and made sure to stress the fact that they spent the night "in one bed" (emphasis hers). It's commonly thought by historians that Victoria was insatiable, to the extent that she ravaged poor Albert. At one point, she even had him install a mechanism that allowed them to lock their door from bed, so they wouldn't be interrupted by their predictably numerous children. For his part, Albert couldn't stop bragging to random dignitaries about how smashing his wife's breasts were -- and oh right, he had a dick piercing named after him. That's gotta count for something.
The royal horndogs were also in the habit of exchanging extravagant boobtastic paintings such as William Edward Frost's "The Disarming Of Cupid" and Franz Xaver Winterhalter's "Florinda" -- the latter of which depicts a group of semi-nude female companions bathing. Oh, and to finish off, there's this painting that Victoria commissioned for Prince Albert as a special birthday gift, which we're going to go ahead and call the first sext.
Marilyn Monroe Was A Size 12 ... But Only By 1950s Standards
Marilyn Monroe is one of the most influential figures in history, from the way that she redefined glamor and beauty, to the way in which she empowered women to post passive-aggressive (bullshit) quotes on social media, to the fact that she spent her entire career screaming to the world that it was OK to be a size 12 and not some skin-thin model.
Too bad she wasn't a size 12. Not by today's standards, anyway.
It's true that Monroe -- with her hourglass measurements and all -- was a size 12, and that she was once referred to as "too plump, but in a beautiful way" by some bitchy-ass company head. The problem with reducing her figure down to a clothing size, however, is that clothing sizes have changed a lot since the '50s. In her day, sizes started at 8 and went all the way to 38. But in the 1980s, clothing manufacturers realized that this made no fucking sense and reclassified the system so that sizes started at 0. She was a 12 in that regard, but only because it was impossible by the sizing standards of the day to be her "true" size, a 6/8. Hell, when one writer tried a custom-made dress of Monroe's, she found that the waist measured a paltry 28.5 inches. To an actual size 12 person, that counts as a torture device.
Monroe, it should also be mentioned, was also pretty motivated to stay as thin as possible because, and we don't know if you know this, the past was awful to women. If she wanted to stay employed, she had to remain thin, and so alongside dieting, she also had a strict training regimen, which included weights. So no, Monroe wasn't "heavy," but she could still probably crush your ass.
We know it's June but it's Dolly Parton's Christmas movies never really go out of season.
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