Far from a model student during his enrollment at Libertyville High School in Illinois, Academy Award-winning actor Marlon Brando probably didn’t help his cause when he rode a motorcycle through the hall. The stunt led to an immediate expulsion, but since he’d been held back a year for a variety of reasons, Brando didn’t have any regrets.
While for many aspiring artists being lucky enough to gain admittance to the famed New York City High School of Performing Arts is a dream come true, for Al Pacino that simply wasn’t the case. He hated the classes, which is probably why he failed every one except English before deciding at age 17 to drop out and take his chances as a struggling actor. Obviously, things worked out just fine.
Before he was the mastermind behind a mass-media corporation, Walt Disney was a disgruntled young man, who at age 16 penned a letter to his principal denouncing high school. Ever the patriotic youth, Disney tried to join the Navy shortly thereafter, but was rejected due to his age. However, his will to serve the world could not be denied, and he eventually forged some documents and was able to enlist in the Red Cross Ambulance Corps.
One of the greatest sex symbols of all time, Marilyn Monroe spent her years early years as Norma Jeane Baker, enrolled as a student at Van Nuys High School in California. After transferring to University High School in West Los Angeles, she dropped out at age 16 and entered into an arranged marriage with 21-year-old Jim Dougherty. Luckily for us, it didn’t last.
It’s hard to believe that an actor as brilliant as Robert Downey, Jr., didn’t graduate from high school, but it’s true. In fact, Downey was so obsessed with following his dream of becoming a stage actor that at age 16 he walked out of Santa Monica High School and decided to head back to his native New York to make it happen. While there’s no denying the benefits of a proper education, it’s hard to question the Iron Man actor’s choice to follow his heart.
One of the most respected actor/producer/comedians in the entertainment business, Cosby never graduated from high school. However, his decision to walk away from his algebra and history books didn’t lead to instant stardom. After quitting school in the 10th grade, he worked as a shoe repairman and a muffler mechanic before joining the Navy, where his superior IQ earned him a spot as a physical therapist.
Unlike most of the other famous faces on this list, it’s easy to understand why Drew didn’t get an opportunity to finish school. Hollywood came calling at an extremely young age, when the seven-year-old was cast in her godfather Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster hit E.T. Of course life wasn’t all roses for Drew after she hit it big, as she battled alcohol and drug addiction and a string of really bad B-movies before making her triumphant return to the spotlight in the 1996 hit movie Scream.
Before he became the biggest “winner” of the modern era, Charlie was a baseball standout and student set to graduate from Santa Monica High School when he was expelled just weeks before graduation due to poor attendance and worse grades. The outcome didn’t seem to have much of a negative impact on the star, who went on to appear in such hit films as Major League and Hot Shots! and on TV’s Two and a Half Men.
Elton’s gift for composing musical masterpieces was recognized from an early age, when he was awarded a piano scholarship at age 11 to London’s Royal Academy of Music. Unfortunately, his time there wasn’t what he had hoped it would be, as he reportedly grew tired of having to play nothing but classical pieces. As a result it wasn’t before long the the song man decided to exit the stage of the Academy in favor of playing rock ’n’ roll at several London pubs.
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In the back-to-school spirit, we're taking a look back at celebrities who maybe weren't so much into the school spirit, and had their eyes set on stardom instead. Some big-time names top the list like Marilyn Monroe and more. Check out the gallery above from Do You Remember for the rest of the names!