30 Famous People Who Were Kicked Out of School
Success in school doesn't necessarily equate to success later in life. There are plenty of businesses where other factors take precedence over high school diplomas or college degrees, but perhaps none more visible than show business. Indeed, many of the world's most beloved celebrities have spotty educational histories — even to the point of getting kicked out of school — and the same holds true even for a few of its most prominent entrepreneurs and thinkers.
Salma Hayek was born in Veracruz, Mexico, but she was sent to attend the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Louisiana at age 12. She later recalled pulling minor pranks on classmates and sleeping fully dressed atop her premade bed to avoid having to get ready in the mornings. Eventually, she left after one of the nuns warned her, "'You should go now before we kick you out.'"
Before he became a smooth-talking, hard-edged icon of Old Hollywood, Humphrey Bogart was a wealthy yet sullen child with little interest in school or classmates, who mocked his pampered appearance and lack of athleticism. He was sent to Phillips Academy in 1917 but got expelled after one year — allegedly for throwing the headmaster into an on-campus pond — and subsequently enlisted in the Navy.
Ted Kennedy, who served in the U.S. Senate for over 40 years before his death in 2009, followed in the footsteps of his esteemed father and older brothers by attending Harvard University. To remain eligible for athletics despite his lacking grades, Kennedy hired a classmate to take a Spanish exam in his stead, but was caught and expelled almost immediately — an offense he unsuccessfully tried to keep under wraps during his initial Senate run in 1962.
"Wedding Crashers" and "Cars" star Owen Wilson has supplemented his acting with acclaimed screenwriting efforts — often collaborating with director Wes Anderson — but that doesn't mean he was a good student growing up. He was expelled as a 10th grader from St. Mark's Prep School in Dallas for stealing a geometry teacher's textbook to obtain test answers, and then sent by his parents to the New Mexico Military Institute.
Keanu Reeves attended four high schools in five years, thanks to the frequent moves he made with his mother throughout his early life. Reeves was even expelled from Toronto's Etobicoke School of the Arts despite his acting talents, and explained the reasons thusly: "I was one of those 'Why?' kids — I asked too many questions about everything."
As strange as it sounds, "Pulp Fiction" star Samuel L. Jackson was once arrested for holding Martin Luther King Jr.'s father hostage. In 1969, he and a group of other radical students at the predominantly black Morehouse College held King and the rest of the board of trustees hostage, demanding curriculum changes and more blacks on the college's governing board. Morehouse acquiesced, but Jackson was still suspended from the college for two years before obtaining his degree.
Architect and former world president of Mensa, Richard Buckminster Fuller is best known today for inventing the geodesic dome as well as the technological principle of ephemeralization. Despite his noted intellectual capabilities, he was expelled from Harvard University not once but twice for bad behavior — first, for partying with a vaudeville troupe, then for simple "irresponsibility and lack of interest."
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