Any famous people you were astonished to learn had a Ph. D ?

Are there any well known folks you’re aware of who hold a Ph. D.? Preferably folks not known for being brainy. Someone most people would be VERY surprised to learn had done advanced graduate studies.

Well, not a Ph.D., but the same idea–I was shocked to learn this fellow was as precociously brilliant as he was:

Weird Al Yankovic was the straight-A valedictorian of his high school graduating class–at age 16.

He went to California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo and got a degree in architecture (!) which he’s obviously not needed to use.

Greg Graffin, lead singer and founder of the punk band Bad Religion. Although he has not yet published his thesis, he is a doctoral candidate in biology at Cornell. The band also sponsored a contest in 1998 which resulted in a $4,000 research grant for a U. Mich. biology grad student.

Dolph Lundgren has a MSc. in Chemical Engineering, his chosen profession before becoming an actor.

Should this be in GQ??

Brian May of Queen got a BSc honours degree in Physics and Maths at Imperial College, London (a very prestigious university). He also started a PhD in astronomy, but never completed his thesis.

Graham Chapman, of Monty Python fame, did not have a Phd. He was an M.D., but chose the nobler field of sketch comedy.

I believe John Cleese has a law degree.

Put this in Cafe Society and you’ll get a ton of repsponses…

Dr. Laura actually has, much to the chagrin of educated people everywhere, a doctorate. In physiology.

I distinctly remember not believing it when I first learned that Bill Cosby has a Ph.D. In education, I believe, but I’m not sure.

I just checked, and it is a doctorate in education, which I believe is an Ed.D., not a Ph.D. Whoops.

Off to MPSIMS.

I’m ofthe understanding, however, that Bill Cosby’s degree is honorary. His wife Camille, meanwhile, does have an unquestionably earned M.Ed.

Yes, that was what I originally thought as well. This paragraph from cleared it up for me, though:

So while his doctoral program may have been somewhat unconventional, it appears that he does hold a full-fledged degree.

Tom Magliozzi got his PhD from Boston University, and his brother, Ray, has a bachelor’s from MIT. Who knew? They’re mechanics, for God’s sakes!


Carrol O’Connor has one or maybe just a masters.

Also I believe the guy that played Artimis in the original Wild Wild West TV series was a PhD.

My father, who was ranked next to last in his high school graduating class, eventually earned a PhD in theology and published his dissertation.

It was my understanding that he was actually a licensed physician, although he didn’t make his living practising medicine.

Dexter Holland, the lead singer of the band The Offspring, is one credit shy of getting his Ph.D in microbiology at USC, I believe.

Shoot! I forget.–Also, on the subject of Monty Python, Terry Jones is a renowned Chaucer expert. He’s written a book called “Chaucer’s night” and is speaking at a Chaucer conference in Colorado that my English teacher is attending this summer.

Those Monty Python dudes are pretty smart, yo.

Graham Chapman was indeed a licensed physician on the General Medical Register, able to prescribe drugs, etc, as described in his rather fine autobiography, “A Liar’s Autobiography”. Although I don’t believe he ever practiced medicine in a paid capacity once he had completed his training.

A number of British politicians have the title Dr. Lord Owen is a medical doctor, rather than a PhD. Brian Mawhinney, Conservative N Ireland Secretary, had a PhD in the biological effects of radiation. There are claims the Rev Dr Ian Paisley’s doctorate is less than kosher.

Greg Graffin, lead singer of Bad Religion, has a PhD in astrophysics, I believe.

I can’t believe I forgot about Tommy, MsRobyn. I was probably more surprised about that one than Cos and Dr. LaLa put together! :smiley:


It was an honourary degree awarded to him by none other than Bob Jones University , that bastion of education (providing your W.A.S.P. ).

Its as kosher as a nine bob note.