Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Famous people in Mensa

When you think of Mensa, the high IQ society, you probably think of Steven Hawking or Marilyn vos Savant. There are, however, some unlikely celebrity names associated with Mensa – a group which requires that members have an IQ within the top two per cent of the population. I have compiled a list of some famous smarties, some more surprising than others. I did my best to verify in more than one source that these were in fact members of Mensa. Sharon Stone, for example, is listed as a Mensa member on many websites, however, she confirmed she is not and has never been a member, as is commonly believed. This list is in no particular order, as not all IQ’s were available.

Geena Davis

Oscar-winning actress Geena Davis may be best known for her films like Beetlejuice and Thelma and Louise, but she is also a champion of many other artistic fields. Davis played piano, flute, drums, and the organ throughout her early years and became fluent in Swedish as an exchange student in Sandviken. Though the Massachusetts native initially enrolled at New England College, Davis eventually transferred to Boston University, where she worked part-time for the Media Group. The six-foot-tall Mensa member, whose reported IQ score is 140, eventually graduated from BU with a bachelor’s degree in drama in 1979.

Quentin Tarantino

Though Quentin Tarantino didn’t graduate high school, he was able to gain admittance to Mensa with an reported IQ score of 160. Not only did the Kill Bill director reportedly teach himself how to read by the age of three, but he used his stint working at Los Angeles’ Video Archives in the mid '80s to turn a passion for movies into a bona fide career. Less than a decade after serving as a video store clerk, Tarantino released his debut film Reservoir Dogs at the 1992 Sundance Film Festival. Though he didn’t earn a degree, Tarantino’s intelligence and drive may have gotten him further than a diploma from Narbonne High School in Harbor City, California would have.

James Woods

Although James Woods is certainly very accomplished, he is NOT a member of Mensa . However, his SAT scores put mine to shame (and probably yours, too), coming in at 1580, including a perfect 800 in the verbal section. After high school he moved on to MIT, where he was planning on majoring in political science. He didn’t quite make graduation, though – after joining the school’s drama troupe and acting in and directing a number of plays, James decided to drop out of MIT just shy of graduation to jumpstart his acting career. “It was a very wrenching and painful decision for me–in my senior year at MIT, on high dean’s list and full scholarships–to decide that maybe I wanted to be an artist,” he said. “Whether I’m making 30 grand a day or union scale, I have found something that I truly love, and that is something [my father] would have admired.” He dropped out of school in 1970 and just two years later he had his first major film role in Elia Kazan’s The Visitors. He followed that up with The Way We Were the next year and hasn’t really been hurting for roles ever since, so it looks like his decision to switch careers worked out.

Sharon Stone

As a teen star of Pennsylvania’s pageant circuit, Sharon Stone was hiding something beneath her crown. Not only was she also slaving away on the grill at McDonald’s but she was also part of an accelerated study program at Saegertown High School, which worked in conjunction with Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Though she briefly attended Edinboro after graduating high school at 15, Stone soon moved to the tri-state area to pursue modeling and was signed by Ford within four days of her arrival. Her career eventually went the acting route and the Basic Instinct star, fed up with her reputation as a bubbly blonde, told reporters that she belonged to Mensa. Several years later, however, Jim Blackstone, Mensa’s national marketing director, called her out. After admitting that she wasn’t actually a member, Stone claimed that she did, however, go to a Mensa school. But Blackstone says that’s also a fallacy because no Mensa schools existed until the early 1960s and Stone was born in 1958. Nevertheless, with a reported 156 IQ, Stone could still qualify.

Oscar Wrigley

Two-and-a-half-year-old Oscar Wrigley is giving “Baby Einstein” a whole new meaning. The British toddler became the youngest boy to be accepted into the society of geniuses, scoring 160 on his IQ test. Wrigley’s score is the highest IQ the test can measure and is equal to that of Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking. According to his parents, Wrigley was talking at nine months and by 18 months he could recite the alphabet. Six months later, the toddler could count thousands of words making up his vocabulary, while most his age had mastered about 50. “Every parent likes to think their child was special but we knew there was something particularly remarkable about Oscar,” said his father Joe Wrigley told The Daily Mail. “I’m fully expecting the day to come when he turns around and tells me I’m an idiot.”

Asia Carrera

New Jersey-born Asia Carrera was a piano prodigy, having performed at Carnegie Hall twice before reaching the age of 15. The following year, she taught English at Tsuruga College in Japan, but was reportedly pressured by her parents to succeed academically herself, causing her to flee home at 17. Carrera was a member of the National Mathematics League and Spanish National Honor Society and placed in the National Geography, Language Art, and Mathematic Olympiads. She earned a full scholarship to Rutgers University, where she double majored in Business and Japanese. But Carrera never graduated after a stripping side job turned into a career as an adult film star, which reportedly made her more money and was more fun than earning her degree. Though she’s now retired, Carrera has since appeared in hundreds of pornographic pictures and described herself as the nerd of the industry. With an alleged IQ of 156, it seems like a fitting title.

Dolph Lundgren

this Swedish actor and director has an IQ of 160 putting him up there with some of the smartest people in the world. In addition to being a graduate of Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology, Dolph also has is Master’s in Chemical Engineering from the University of Sydney and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to M.I.T. – he only lasted at M.I.T. for two weeks however, as he left to pursue a career in show biz.

Scott Levy

Probably better known as WCW wrestler Raven, Levy studied criminal justice at the University of Delaware and originally wanted to be a lawyer. He has a reported IQ of 143.

Jodie Foster

Foster graduated as valedictorian from the French-speaking Lycee Francais de Los Angeles, after which she attended Yale and graduated magna cum laude with a degree in literature. Her reported IQ is 132.

Smart Celebrities that can qualify for Mensa

Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman graduated high school with a 4.0 and headed off to Harvard where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in psychology. She attended Hebrew University on a graduate level and is fluent in Hebrew, French and Japanese.

Kate Beckinsale 

Studied French, Russian and literature at Oxford University. She also won the W.H. Smith Young Writers’ competition twice with short stories and poems. Speaks German,Russian and French fluently.

Matt Damon - A consistent straight-A student through grade school and high school, Matt studied English at Harvard University.

Alicia Keys 

Graduated high school at the age of 16 and also served as Valedictorian. Gave up a scholarship to Columbia University to pursue a career in music.


With an IQ of 140, Shakira is more than just a pretty face.

More: 4 year old girl joins Mensa

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