Celebrity brainiacs

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In my Aug. 14 entry, "What would Winner Cooper do?" I discussed the book Math Doesn't Suck by Danica McKellar, who most of us remember from her days playing Winnie Cooper on TV's "The Wonder Years."

McKellar took time out from acting to pursue a college education, in turn excelling as a mathematician and then writing a book to help young girls grasp difficult math concepts more easily and in plain English.

Last week, USA Today ran an interview with McKellar about her book and included a sidebar on other actors ...

... who've made academics a priority in their lives. Here are a few:

Masi Oka, 32, of TV's "Heroes," earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science and math from Brown in 1997 and co-developed a computer program to generate water effects used for ‘‘A Perfect Storm ’’ and ‘‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest’’ for George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic.

‘‘Friends’’ star Lisa Kudrow, 44, earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Vassar in 1985.

Queen guitarist Brian May, 60, abandoned graduate study in astrophysics in the early 1970s to live the rock 'n' roll life. Earlier this month he finally submitted his doctoral thesis to examiners at Imperial College, London.

Natalie Portman earned a degree in psychology from Harvard University in 2003. The star also reportedly speaks three languages besides English and her native tongue, Hebrew.

Here are a few I can think of off the top of my head that USA Today left out:

Jodie Foster graduated magna cum laude from Yale University.

Brooke Shields received a degree in French literature from Princeton.

Mayim Bialik (TV's "Blossom"), like McKellar went the science route at UCLA, earning a degree in neuroscience, Hebrew and Jewish studies. She is currently completing a Ph.D. in neuroscience.

James Woods studied political science at MIT, but dropped out just before graduation to pursue acting.

David Duchovny received a Master's degree in English literature from Yale.

Can anyone think of any more?? If so, drop me a line; we'll post it here.

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2 Comments

Michael Philip Jagger dropped out of the London School of Economics to be a rock star.

Laura Linney graduated from Brown in 1986.
Harrison Ford spent a year at Ripon College in Ripon, WI before dropping out.
Clark Gable was a high school dropout.
Boris Karloff studied to become a diplomat at London University (graduated before becoming an actor)

Vincent Price dropped out of Yale.

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