Some of the most celebrated entertainment icons of our time know the value of a good education. A select few Hollywood stars are in MENSA, and many have pursued higher educations at some of the country’s most prestigious institutions. It might be a knee-jerk reaction to think they all studied arts, drama or theater, but you would be sorely mistaken. Take a look at these celebrities who had no idea they were bound for Hollywood or professional sports when they selected their majors.
Eva Longoria Parker – Maybe her studies will come in handy if husband Tony Parker has an injury. Eva pursued a degree in kinesiology at Texas A&M at Kingsville.
Maggie Gyllenhaal – The roles she has chosen in Hollywood don’t seem like a stretch from her deep-thinking studies of literature and East religions at Columbia.
Mira Sorvino – We’ve yet to see this Academy Award winning actress have a need for her fluency in Mandarin Chinese, a part of her degree in Asian studies at Harvard.
Gene Simmons – Can you imagine the front-man of Kiss teaching your elementary school class? Well, for some children, it was a reality, after he graduated with a degree in education from Richmond College.
John Cleese – His dry humor might have gone well in the courtroom had he pursued a career in law, which he studied at Cambridge in England.
Forest Whitaker – This Academy Award winning best actor had a different kind of stage presence in mind while studying opera at the music conservatory at USC.
Jay Leno – For someone who talks so much, maybe studying speech therapy at Emerson was a good move for the former late night talk show host.
Regis Philbin – Much of what Regis learned studying sociology at Notre Dame probably comes in handy for the broad range of entertainment roles he plays today.
Will Ferrell – This funny man might have made ESPN recaps a little more entertaining if he had become a sports broadcaster as planned. Ferrell attended USC.
Hugh Hefner – The Playboy tycoon must have had a concentration in human sexuality while he studied psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Sean Penn – This two-time Academy Award winner clearly did not foresee a successful career in acting when he studied auto mechanics at Santa Monica College.
Matt Groening- The infamous creator of The Simpsons, naming the cartoon’s heads of family after his own parents, studied philosophy at Evergreen State College.
Tiger Woods – Surely his studies in economics at Stanford have proven him well in his multi-million dollar golf and endorsement career.
Michael Jordan – Likely one of the best basketball players of all time, this star was headed far from the hardwood at University of North Carolina while studying cultural geography.
Eli Manning – This NFL star received his degree in marketing at the University of Mississippi, skills he’s likely putting to good use with all of those endorsement deals.