10 Famous Stars Who Were High School Dropouts

College is the gateway to success for a lot of people. Unless you’re a celebrity – in which case – you can avoid that whole school thing and go straight to the raking-in-the-money phase of life.

Here are ten celebrities that did well for themselves despite never earning a college degree and dropping out of high school:

1. John Travolta
Travolta went to Dwight Morrow High School but he left to pursue acting at age 17 in 1971.

His first run-in with success was on the ABC series, Welcome Back, Kotter, and later he went on to become a national heartthrob for his roles in Saturday Night Fever and Grease.

He experienced a career revival in the 90’s thanks to his role in Pulp Fiction and for which he got an Academy Award nomination.

2. Charlie Sheen
Charlie attended Santa Monica High School and made films with now-also famous classmates Rob Lowe and Sean Penn. However, a few weeks before his graduation he was kicked out of school for failing grades and truancy.

In the early part of his career, Sheen was in a slew of successful films like Wall Street and Platoon. However, he’s best known these days for his role in Two and a Half Men and #winning.

3. Demi Moore
Demi went to Fairfax High School but left when she was 16 in her junior year to sign with Elite Modeling. Then, she went to Europe to start her pin-up career. After meeting her European neighbor who was into drama, Moore took acting classes.

She went on to see both commercial and critical success starring in films like About Last Night and Ghost.

4. Mark Walhberg
As a youngster, Wahlberg got into trouble repeatedly with the law. He also never graduated high school but later earned his GED at the age of 42.

His career has spanned both the music, modeling, television, and film industries.

5. Jim Carrey
After Carrey’s father lost his job and their small family was plunged into poverty – living out of a van. Carrey dropped out of school at age 15 to work as a janitor to help his family.

After bombing his first comedy show, he took time to polish his act. Then, he hit his stride – landing multiple stand-up gigs. And in 1994, he reached true success as the lead in Ace Venture: Pet Detective.

6. Leonardo DiCaprio
DiCaprio’s parents separated when he was just a year old and he lived mostly with his mother. He went to Seeds Elementary School and then later attended John Marshall High School. However, he dropped out his junior year.

Leo appeared in several commercials as a child before bringing in bit roles in TV series and a recurring part on Growing Pains. His first big hit was his role in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.

7. Johnny Depp
The eccentric actor got a guitar at the age of 12. From then on, Depp played on in different garage bands. After his parents got divorced, Depp dropped out of high school. He tried to return to the school two weeks later but the principal of the school actually encouraged him to pursue his dream.

He’s gone on to achieve both critical and commercial success.

8. Marilyn Monroe
Monroe had an unstable early life that involved multiple homes and foster care. She dropped out of school in her sophomore year at 15 years old. At 16, she married her boyfriend when her foster family was planning a move to Virginia (and in the process,  abandoning her.)

She took up a job at an airplane factory where she was photographed by Yank Magazine to show hometown pride to give moral  the troops. The photographer told Monroe to pursue a modeling career. Modeling quickly transitioned into acting and the rest is history.

9. Al Pacino
Pacino dropped out of school at 17 due to poor grades. He first was met with more failures than successes but when Francis Ford Coppola saw him in a role, he decided to cast him as the lead in The Godfather, skyrocketing him to success.

He has gone on to garner 41 acting nominations and 34 awards.

10. Emma Stone
Stone was in the theater industry from a very young age, appearing in productions like Alice in Wonderland and The Princess and the Pea in her home of Scottsdale, Arizona. When she was 15, she moved with her mother to LA to pursue an acting career.

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Juicy: 10 Famous Stars Who Were High School Dropouts
10 Famous Stars Who Were High School Dropouts
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