By Riesa Pascal

It goes without saying that celebrities can be a pretty eclectic bunch of people, so it’s rare these days to hear a fact about one that can still surprise you. Fortunately, we scoured through the depths of the interweb and uncovered a series of shocking trivia about some of your favorite stars that will leave you blown away! From lion tamers to secret geniuses, here are 8 strange, but totally true, celebrity facts.

Simon Cowell 

Before he was the wise cracking judge of American Idol and even longer before he created The X Factor and Got Talent franchises, English television personality Simon Cowell once had a job working as a lowly runner on Stanley Kubrick’s set for The Shining at Elstree Studios in London. One of Cowell’s tasks included polishing set props which even included buffing Jack Nicholson’s axe for the famous “Here’s Johnny” scene.

Elvis Presley 

Finding out this strange fact had me all shook up! Although Elvis Presley is famed for his powerful voice, sinful hip shaking and perfectly coiffed jet-black hair, the American cultural icon was actually faking one of those items and luckily it wasn’t his vocals. Believe it or not, the King of Rock and Roll is surprisingly a natural blond and he wasn’t ashamed to admit it, even detailing how he would use black shoe polish to color his hair and achieve his now iconic signature look.


Greek composer Vangelis reached global fame with his beautiful score for Chariots Of Fire, a film which went on to win four Academy Awards, but did you know that this musical genius is also musically illiterate? Vangelis is unable to read a single line of sheet music, but somehow he still managed to write unforgettable scores for numerous projects including the original Blade Runner. Other musically illiterate artists include Pavarotti and even Jimi Hendrix so fortunately Vangelis is not alone!

Christopher Walken 

Today you know him as an insanely talented Academy Award-winning actor, but when he was just a teenager, Christopher Walken worked several odd jobs around his hometown. Perhaps the most bizarre of these was working as an assistant lion tamer in a circus. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Walken spoke about the odd job and reflected on his time performing tricks in the ring saying, “It was a female lion named Sheba, and she was very sweet.” 

Chris Kirkpatrick 

As a child of the 90s, I was a huge fan of both the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC so I was amazed to learn that the two bands are more closely related than I even realized! In fact, NSYNC’s existence only came about because of Chris Kirkpatrick’s failed audition for the Backstreet Boys. After trying out for the “edgy” member of the group, which ultimately went to AJ McLean, their notorious manager Lou Pearlman asked Kirkpatrick to find four other guys for a different group which is how BSB’s ‘rival’ band NSYNC was formed.

Dr. Ruth Westheimer

Described as “Grandma Freud” and the “Sister Wendy of Sexuality”, Dr. Ruth Westheimer is perhaps best known for helping to revolutionize talk about sexuality on radio and television. Before she was advocating for speaking openly about sexual issues, however, she was actually a trained sniper with an excellent shot in the Israeli army. That’s right, not only can Dr. Ruth help spice up your love life… she can also bring an end to your life from 400 yards away!

Harrison Ford 

You can’t have the Star Wars franchise without Han Solo and any Star Wars fan will tell you that only Harrison Ford could’ve pulled off such an iconic role, but did you know that his casting almost didn’t happen? In fact, he only landed the famed role by sheer luck of being in the right place at the right time. As the story goes, Ford was working as a carpenter, installing a door for Francis Ford Coppola when George Lucas stopped by and was convinced to let Ford read some lines for the movie. The rest, as they say, was history!

Nolan Gould

If you’re anything like me, then you are likely a fan of the popular American sitcom Modern Family. The hilarious series offers a comedic look into the life of the fictional Dunphy family told from the perspective of an unseen documentary filmmaker. Although actor Nolan Gould plays the dumbest Dunphy sibling on the show, he is actually a real life genius once the cameras are off! Not only is he a member of Mensa with an IQ of 150, he also graduated from high school at the age of 13.