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12 Popular Celebrities with Exceptionally High IQs
Modern60

Reviewed By Celina Bravo, Editor

By Modern60, Editorial Team

Published On June 6, 2024

Beauty & Fashion

12 Popular Celebrities with Exceptionally High IQs

"The older you get, the more you realise how happenstance... has helped to determine your path through life."

When we talk about “highly intelligent” or “gifted,” we often picture individuals with lab coats or solving complex math problems. But let’s not forget that artistic expression also requires a great deal of intellect. Actors, in particular, engage one’s senses by portraying characters convincingly – that’s no piece of cake. No wonder celebrities with exceptionally high IQ scores have managed to captivate their audiences for decades.

James Woods

James Woods
Source: Getty Images

Known for his stellar performances in movies like Casino and Once Upon a Time in America, James Woods has left quite a mark in the minds of movie buffs. The two-time Emmy winner has an IQ of 180 (100-110 being the normal range), which falls in the category of “profoundly gifted.” In fact, we hear that Woods attended MIT on full scholarship and aspired to become an eye surgeon, but he dropped out to pursue acting. We couldn’t be more grateful for that!


With a strong theater background, Woods worked in around 36 plays before he transitioned to Broadway in the play The Penny Wars. After a successful run on Broadway, he debuted in Hollywood with All the Way Home in 1971, and the rest is history.

Some of Woods’s best works include Salvador, The Boost, Another Day in Paradise, Chaplin, and, of course, Hercules, in which he portrayed the role of the fast-talking God of the underworld, Hades. We last heard Woods in the animated movie Bling (2016), in which he lent his voice to the character Victor, the supervillain Oscar’s robot henchman.

Rowan Atkinson

Rowan Atkinson
Source: Getty Images

Mr. Bean gave us a much-needed respite from our daily lives. We have the actor Rowan Atkinson to thank for bringing life to this unforgettable character. Ironically, Atkinson, who has managed to regale us with his bumbling fool portrayals on screen, has an IQ of 178!

The actor has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Newcastle University and started pursuing his master’s from The Queen’s College, before giving it up to become a member of BBC’s coveted comedy show, Not the Nine O’Clock News.

Beginning his acting career with the popular movie franchise Johnny English, this intellectually gifted actor went on to play comic roles in several noteworthy films – Love Actually, Scooby-Doo, Rat Race, and Four Weddings and a Funeral, to name a few. Atkinson was last spotted in the 2023 musical fantasy comedy Wonka as Father Julius.

Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino
Source: People

Pulp Fiction, the ingenious crime thriller set against the backdrop of Los Angeles’ underworld, saw the light of the day thanks to director Quentin Tarantino. When we found out that Tarantino has an IQ of 160, it all made sense. Given the perfectly timed witty dialogues Tarantino has penned for each of his directorial ventures, his intellectual capabilities shouldn’t come as a surprise.


Interestingly, this two-time Academy Award winner and genius dropped out of school at age 15 and decided not to attend film school to pursue his directorial profession. Rather, he chose to educate himself in his own unique way, working at a video rental store called Video Archives.

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Some of Tarantino’s popular and acclaimed works include Reservoir Dogs, Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained, Jackie Brown, and Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood.

Matt Damon

Matt Damon
Source: US Weekly

We all remember him as the titular character from Good Will Hunting, the self-taught, unrecognized math genius. Well, it’s time to recognize the genius star behind this character, Matt Damon, who has an IQ of 160! Before he joined the movies, he was studying English at Harvard and dropped out of the course to pursue a career in acting.

While most people recognize him for his spectacular performance in Good Will Hunting, not many know that he co-wrote the movie, for which it won an Academy Award, and Damon was nominated for Best Actor. The incredible dialogues and tight screenplay throughout this movie speak volumes about this gifted actor’s intellect.

Damon is also known for delivering power-packed performances in The Talented Mr. Ripley, The Martian, Behind the Candelabra, Manchester by the Sea, The Informant!, and Invictus, among others.

Conan O’Brien

Conan O’Brien
Source: Getty Images

Conan O’Brien has been one of America’s favorite comedians and late night talk show hosts. But you may be surprised to know that this Primetime Emmy Award winner has an IQ of 160.


O’Brien’s genius was established during his education at Harvard, where he majored in history and literature. While there, he served as the president of The Harvard Lampoon and wrote the sketch comedy series, Not Necessarily the News. He was also a writer for the immensely popular NBC sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live from 1988 to 1991.

Sylvester Stallone

Sylvester Stallone
Source: Getty

Back in the 1970s, all of America found itself rooting for the underdog, Rocky Balboa. The movie Rocky catapulted Sylvester Stallone straight to the clique of A-listers. But Stallone’s intellect is as strong as his physique, with the action star having an IQ of 160.

Not many know that the actor’s early years were rather rough, with forceps used during his birth damaging a facial nerve and leaving him with a droopy eyelid and impaired speech. By the time he was 13, Stallone had been expelled from as many as 14 schools and was bullied as a child, but that didn’t stop him from attending the American College of Switzerland and later the University of Miami.

While Stallone debuted in The Party at Kitty and Stud’s, he went on to get inspired by a match between boxing legend Muhammad Ali and a lesser-known boxer, Chuck Wepner. He used this as the backdrop for the groundbreaking Rocky, the highest-grossing movie of 1976. He single-handedly translated the match into a legendary action movie. Sheer brilliance!

Cliffhanger, Cop Land, First Blood, Rambo, and The Expendables are some of the movies in which the actor’s massive capabilities shone.

Dolph Lundgren

Dolph Lundgren
Source: Instagram/dolphlundgren/

Dolph Lundgren, the man with chiseled looks and rippling muscles, the heartthrob of the late 80s and 90s, has an IQ of a whopping 160. 

Known for his remarkable roles in action-hero movies, Dolph Lundgren hailed from an academically inclined background, with his mother being a language teacher and father an engineer and economist for the Swedish Government.

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Lundgren had demonstrated his ingenuity much before entering Tinseltown. For starters, he served in the military, emerging as a Japanese Karate champion. Later, he won a scholarship and earned a master’s degree in chemical engineering at the prestigious University of Sydney.

But right then, he decided to move to NYC and pursue acting, a decision we all thank him for. His performance in Rocky IV (1985) earned him the recognition he was seeking, and the rest is history. He also starred in many movies like Showdown in Little Tokyo, Masters of the Universe, Blackjack, Universal Soldier – the list goes on.

Aisha Tyler

Aisha Tyler
Source: Getty Images

Some know her as the voice of superspy Lana Kane in the Emmy-winning animated TV series Archer, while others have adored her brief but memorable role as Ross’s smart and geeky girlfriend, Charlie Wheeler, on Friends. Yet others know her as the director of the offbeat drama movie Axis (2017), which went on to premiere at the Sarasota Film Festival.

Many perhaps don’t know that this immensely talented actor and director has an IQ of 154, making her a “highly gifted” individual. Hailing from San Francisco, Aisha Tyler completed her graduation from Dartmouth College with a degree in Government and Environmental Policy.

Tyler went on to co-host The Talk, the show that won her a Daytime Emmy. She has also appeared in many TV series and talk shows. While her directorial endeavors aren’t too many, almost all of them are noteworthy, from Axis to episodes in Roswell, New Mexico, The Walking Dead: World Beyond, Criminal Minds, and Evil.

As a powerhouse of talent, she has also authored two books so far – Swerve: Reckless Observations of a Postmodern Girl, and Self-Inflicted Wounds: Heartwarming Tales of Epic Humiliation, both of which reflect her razor-sharp wit and writing flair.

Sharon Stone

Sharon Stone
Source: Instagram/sharonstone/

We all know Sharon Stone as the brilliant actor in movies like Casino, The Mighty, The Muse, and Basic Instinct. But, you’d be amazed to know that she was once advised to become a lawyer, given her intellectual capabilities.

With an IQ of 154, Stone is multifaceted. Born and raised in Meadville, Stone, a brilliant student, graduated with a degree in creative writing and fine arts from Edinboro University in Pennsylvania.

After struggling as a part-time counter girl at McDonald’s, she landed a successful modeling career in print ads and TV commercials. She worked her way through several lesser-known movies as an actor and finally got recognized in Total Recall (1990) and Basic Instinct (1992) for her captivating roles.

But it was only as the beautiful chip-hustler and Sam Rothstein’s (De Niro) wife in Casino (1995) that the Nobel Peace Summit Award Laureate got her major breakthrough, followed by resounding successes like The Muse, The Mighty, and Gloria. More recently, Stone reignited her passion for painting and had her art exhibited. Her brilliant abstract work mostly revolves around themes like social and environmental issues and personal reflections.

Cindy Crawford

Cindy Crawford
Source: Instagram/cindycrawford/

Known for her ravishing looks and incredibly strong personality, Cindy Crawford has worked as a model for brands in the likes of Calvin Klein, Versace, Maybelline, and Revlon. But with an IQ of 154, the model is also intellectually gifted.

Crawford shone in her student life, completing her schooling as a valedictorian. She then went on to study chemical engineering at Northwestern University on a scholarship. Here, she signed her first modeling contract and utilized this money to supplement her scholarship, eventually choosing to give up her studies to pursue a modeling career.

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She first appeared in the opening credits of Michael J. Fox’s movie The Secret of My Success, and the rest of her success story is just a marvel. The launch of her own production company to exclusively manage her career, her diverse modeling assignments for various brands and initiatives, and her fitness video trilogy reflect the business acumen and intellect behind the phenomenon that’s Cindy Crawford.

Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck
Source: Getty Images

Two BAFTAs, and three Golden Globes, Ben Affleck has multiple accolades to his credit. And why not, because the actor, after all, has an IQ of 152, falling into the “highly gifted” category.

As a child, Affleck wanted to be a theater actor and was Matt Damon’s close friend. His claims to fame as a talented child were his appearances in the independent film The Dark End of the Street, a family friend’s directorial venture, and the PBS children’s series, The Voyage of the Mimi (1984) and The Second Voyage of the Mimi (1988).

Despite recording poor attendance in college, Affleck’s intellect led him to score high on his SAT. He went on to study at the University of Vermont briefly, before he pursued Middle Eastern affairs at Occidental College for a little over a year. After this, he co-wrote and starred in the astounding success of Good Will Hunting. The movie was Matt Damon’s brainchild, and he had written the script for it way back at Harvard, asking Affleck to enact the scenes.

After this, the two-time Academy Award winner went on to star in a string of blockbusters – Armageddon, Shakespeare in Love, Pearl Harbor, The Sum of All Fears, Changing Lanes, and Daredevil, to name a few.

Lisa Kudrow

Lisa Kudrow
Source: Instagram/lisakudrow/

If there’s one character in Friends who’s as flaky as she’s smart, it’s Phoebe Buffay. Portraying this character flawlessly on television was none other than Lisa Kudrow, who has an IQ of 152.


Born and raised in Los Angeles, Kudrow wanted to follow in the footsteps of her father, a doctor specializing in headaches. So, she completed her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie. Post that, she assisted her father for eight years and earned a research credit for his study on the comparative likelihood of left-handed individuals with cluster headaches.

Working her way up through TV sitcoms like Cheers, Bob, and Frasier, she went on to play Ursula Buffay, an eccentric waitress, in Mad About You. This role paved the way for her groundbreaking role as Phoebe Buffay in Friends, where she also reprised her role as Ursula, characterized as Phoebe’s estranged twin sister.

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The Editorial Team at Modern60 is a group of highly skilled professionals with diverse backgrounds in journalism, content creation, editing, and digital media. They bring a wealth of experience and expertise to ensure that every piece of content meets our strict editorial guidelines and quality standards. The team is dedicated to delivering accurate, well-researched, and engaging content across various subjects, including health, wellness, lifestyle, and current events. With their commitment to upholding the highest standards of journalism and content creation, the Modern60 Editorial Team is the driving force behind our mission to empower and inspire our readers.

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