Many celebrities – from Taylor Swift to Tracee Ellis Ross – have been awarded honorary degrees. However, some have actually gone to work and earned a real Ph.D., medical degree, or other Ph.D.
Here are 16 celebs who deserved the right to say “It’s actually Dr.”:
dr Shaquille O’Neal earned his PhD in Education from Barry University in 2012, fulfilling a promise he made to his mother that he would finish college after leaving Louisiana State for the NBA.
dr Ken Jeong received his medical degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and did his residency in internal medicine in New Orleans, where he won the Big Easy Laff-Off. Soon after, he moved to LA to pursue comedy.
dr Mayim Bialik then took a break from acting blossom and earned her PhD in Neuroscience from UCLA. Returning to acting, she continued playing neurobiologist Amy Farrah Fowler The big Bang Theory.
In the early 1970’s, Dr. Brian May graduated from astrophysics (his dissertation was almost finished) to play guitar as a founding member of Queen, but 30 years later he “put everything…on hold for a year” and received his PhD from Imperial College in 2007.
dr George Miller tried his hand at short films towards the end of medical school and continued to work as a doctor to earn a living while writing and directing his first low-budget feature film. crazy max. He, of course, wrote and directed the successful, decade-long film crazy max Franchise.
dr Robert A. Leonard, who directed Sha Na Na and performed at Woodstock, left music when he was awarded a prestigious Fulbright scholarship that funded his doctorate in linguistics from Columbia. Since then he has been “one of the leading language detectives in the country”. He worked on JonBenét Ramsey’s murder case and testified that the ransom note he was analyzing was not written by the man who made a false confession.
dr Pedro-Juan Vázquez Bragan – aka PJ Sin Suela – graduated with a medical degree from Universidad Central del Caribe in 2015, but quickly decided to study rap instead of medicine. However, after Hurricane Maria and during the COVID-19 pandemic, he returned to medicine to help his fellow Puerto Ricans.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power actor dr Lenny Henry (aka Sir Lenny Henry) received his PhD in Media Arts from Royal Holloway, University of London in 2018. His thesis was entitled “Does the Coach Have to be Black? The Sports Film, Screenwriting and Diversity: A Practical Survey.”
Before joining the family business as a fashion designer, Dr. Miuccia Prada in Political Science from the University of Milan.
dr Graham Chapman, who was in the comedy group Monty Python, earned his MD from St. Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College. He didn’t practice medicine for long, but his educational background stood him in good stead while writing for the series doctor in the house.
Actor and comedian Dr. Ellen Cleghorne who was an icon Saturday night live Performer in the ’90s, received her PhD in Performance Studies from NYU in 2014. The program taught her to “look at something and see one thing in everything.”
dr Don S. Davis received his PhD in Theater Studies from Southern Illinois University in 1982. He was an academic and professor until 1987, when he retired to pursue acting full-time and landed notable roles Stargate SG-1 and twin peaks.
Concerned that he would never be able to support himself as a writer, Dr. Michael Crichton received his PhD from Harvard Medical School in 1969. But during his senior year, he acquired the film rights to his bestseller The Andromeda tribe were sold. He completely renounced a medical career and wrote novels like Jurassic Park and movies like western world.
dr Dan Grimaldi who played Patsy and Philly Parisi The sopranos, holds a PhD in data processing from the City University of New York. He also worked as a professor.
dr Harold Gould received his doctorate in theater from Cornell University. From 1948 to 1953 he was also a professor at the university, teaching drama, literature and language. However, in his late 30s, he dropped out of acting academy and ended up in all sorts of roles The thorn to The golden girls.
And finally when Dr. Peter Weller, who played the title character, in RoboCop, was 51, he enrolled in the summer program in Italian art at Syracuse University. He went on to earn his Masters; In 2014, he received his PhD from UCLA in Italian Renaissance Art History. He later established a scholarship fund for Syracuse students in the same program.