Update:I originally listed James Woods as a member of Mensa, and although multiple sources corroborated this fact, the Mensa Director of Operations contacted Alex to say that they have no evidence of it. They've tried to contact Woods to see what the deal is, but neither Woods nor his publicist have responded. So there you have it! And now we have proof that Neatorama has some very intelligent readers (we already knew that, though). We all know them - the celebrities who are certainly pretty to look at but would probably be better off keeping their mouths shut lest they expose their stupidity. But they aren't all that way - here are four famous people who are so smart they belong to Mensa, an international intelligence society that only admits people who score in the top two percentile of their approved intelligence tests (the Stanford-Binet is one, the Cattell is another). Translation: they're really dang smart.
Some of you might be familiar with porn star Asia Carrera and some of you might not be. You don't have to identify yourselves. But just because she's in the pornography industry doesn't mean she's not smart. As a kid, she got grounded every time she got a "B" in school. Her grades and SAT scores were so high that she got a full ride to Rutgers, but turned to stripping to make some cash during school. She soon found her way into porn and became a big hit in the industry, but I bet you not many other big porn stars learned HTML so they could design and program their own website. Asia did. Her IQ, she says, has tested at 154 and 156.
Julie Peterson was the Playboy Playmate of the Month in February 1987, but she's done a lot since then as well. For starters, she's now Dr. Julie Peterson and has her own chiropractic practice now. For four years, she had a syndicated radio show for CNN called "Health Watch" that she produced, wrote and recorded. She's an active member of The Society for Neuroscience. And, obviously, she's a member of Mensa. But we might have guessed at her intelligence by her Playboy profile - her favorite books include Shibumi, Maia, Ramtha, and East of Eden. To compare, Anna Nicole Smith's favorite authors were "The people who write my favorite soaps." I know, I know, that's not a very fair comparison.
It's not enough that she's gorgeous and a successful actress - Geena Davis is also an accomplished athlete and, yes, a Mensan. She's fluent in Swedish and her I.Q. has been reported at about 140, which is on par with George Washington. OK, we obviously don't know Washington's I.Q. for a fact, but a study was conducted in the 1920s that estimated the intelligence quotient of a bunch of leaders and scholars from the past. And when you think about it, isn't being the lead actress in Earth Girls Are Easy just as brilliant as developing and leading the United States? (I kid.)
Yep, Tess Trueheart is super smart. Glenne is another member of the multiple languages club - she's fluent in French and Spanish. She's probably pretty well versed in American Sign Language as well, because she studied it intensely for her role in Mr. Holland's Opus. Also, this has nothing to do with her intelligence (or does it?), but she was married to John Malkovich for six years in the '80s. I don't know about you, but I never would have made that connection.
Despite popular belief, Sharon Stone is not a member of Mensa. After she started to get a reputation as a bubbly blonde, Sharon told reporters that she was so smart that she belonged to the society that only admits people who score in the top two percent of their intelligence test. She maintained the story until 2002, when Jim Blackstone, Mensa's national marketing director, called her out. After admitting that she wasn't actually a member, she claimed that she did, however, go to a Mensa school. Blackstone says that couldn't be true either, because no Mensa schools have existed since the early 1960s - Stone was born in 1958. That's not to say that she wouldn't qualify for Mensa, Blackstone pointed out - she reportedly has an I.Q. of 156 (higher than Abraham Lincoln's supposed score).
Although James Woods is certainly very accomplished, he is NOT a member of Mensa (see the disclaimer at the beginning of the article). 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. We're hoping to hear his response to the Mensa issue!