It’s amazing to think that most famous people were once just regular kids trying to pass the next math test and get a date to the school dance.
These Redditors shared some amazing stories of teaching celebrities before they were celebrities. Did they know these kids would be big stars some day? Keep reading to find out!
[Sources listed at the end of the article.]
Bill Murray went to my high school in Wilmette, Illinois back in the 1960s, and there is a story about him that I would like to believe is real: when he graduated, he set the record for most amount of detentions for someone who actually finished high school. When another graduate broke it, years later, Murray found out about it and took the guy out to lunch.
My 4th grade math teacher also taught LeBron James. She said he was obsessed with basketball. When asked what he was going to be when he grew up he said he was going to be in the NBA.
When she told him he needed a back up plan, he just looked into her soul and said “No, I’m going to be in the NBA.”
My mom taught Kanye West’s Music Theory class in high school. She said he insisted he would one day be a famous rapper, and that he was a decent student but sometimes a bit stubborn. Overall not that noticeable, although he did like freestyle rapping.
He and some other students threw a little baby shower for my mom while she was pregnant with my sister, which is nice.
My AP Econ teacher said her brother was in the same fraternity as Will Ferrell, and apparently whenever they had a party he would disappear for a few minutes and then start streaking.
I don’t know if this part is true, but he also said that once a professor gave him a bad grade on a test that would have caused him to re-take the class. Ferrell started streaking in class until the professor agreed to change the grade.
A friend’s mom taught the actor-comedian Patton Oswalt. Said he was mostly quiet, kept to himself and seemed like kind of a loner but when he did speak it was comedy gold.
He actually shouts out to the area he grew up in a lot of his material, but not necessarily in a good way. He rants about how much he hated growing up in our town on his first couple CDs, and he spends like half of his book Zombie, Spaceship doing the same.
Recently he did an interview where he said, I know what I said on my first two albums, but now I dont know. Theres a Facebook group about my hometown, filled with a lot of people from my high school and people I grew up with and was friends with. Reading all of their memories compared to my memories, Im starting to suspect that the problem with my hometown was me.”
It’s interesting because I wonder if all the “loners” really just hate where they are.
My mother’s best friend taught Matthew McConaughey. She said he was one of her favorite students because he was so sweet. Apparently he came to see her and talk to her class when he first started acting. Seems pretty cool.
My hair stylist was Mariah Carey’s cosmetology teacher when she attended BOCES vocational school in Greenlawn/Huntington, New York.
She said Mariah was a bit of a diva, and was not terribly interested in learning the trade of hair and makeup. She wanted to sing instead. I guess that worked out.
My Econ teacher taught Michael Phelps. He said that no one knew who Michael was before the olympics. As soon as he came back though, whenever he was in school, he was really cocky and obnoxious.
But since he rarely was in school, my teacher didn’t really have much experience with him after his freshman year.
Apparently one of my English teachers taught John Green, the novelist who wrote the teen love stories The Fault In Our Stars and Paper Towns. Of course, when we asked our teacher “What was John Green like?” he answered simply…
“Not an exceptional student in the least. He wasn’t happy with any of his scores, nor was he happy making up the credit for his Writing course. His work was mediocre at best, at the time.”
“Why wasn’t he happy?” someone asked the teacher.
“Because he failed my class and had to go to summer school.”
One of my high school teachers had Kristen Bell in her class for a few years. She said that Kristen was a very bright student, always well liked, and she had a beautiful singing voice and was the lead in the school plays.
One particular memory she had of Kristen was when she was Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz: surprisingly it wasn’t the main cast, but rather the munchkins who stole the show, because they were the varsity football team walking on their knees through the auditorium. Kristen was supposed to sing at my teacher’s wedding but had to cancel because she had just been hired for a job (which turned out to be Veronica Mars).
My uncle taught Remedial English at Overbrook High in Philadelphia for a while. He said he had one student who was really clever and would write poems in the margins of his notebooks all the time. My uncle eventually took him aside and told him he’s too smart for remedial level, and bumped him up, specifically noting his poems. The kid wound up making a rap album soon after with some of those ‘poems’ on there, and from there got his own TV show.
That kid was Will Smith.
My English teacher had John Travolta on his basketball team that he coached at the time. He said Travolta was very annoying, and he told him that he wouldn’t make it anywhere in life.
My grandma taught Bill Murray in elementary school way back in the 1960s in suburban Chicago. She said he had always been a jokester, but a nice young man.
A couple of years ago they had the 50th reunion of that class from the small Catholic grammar school and Murray was filming a movie overseas at the time. Astonishingly, he actually got the invitation that was sent to him and he flew back to attend the reunion. Upon seeing my grandma, it was like he transformed into a completely different person. He came up to her a bit nervously, and said as politely as he possibly could “Hello Mrs. ____.” And then proceeded to have a conversation with her. One of the biggest stars in the world was still intimidated by his grade school teacher, 50 years later.
A co-worker of mine claims to have been in a fistfight with Jon Bon Jovi when they were classmates in Sayerville High School. Apparently it was about a girl. Maybe not something to be proud of.
Not a teacher, but a former supervisor of mine went to college with Fred Rogers. She said he was exactly the same guy as he was on Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. Kinda nice to know.
My best friend’s mom taught Kurt Cobain in high school before he was famous.
He would give her demo tapes to listen to, and she’d give them back to him because (in her opinion) they were no good. She also gave Kurt money to take the city bus because he was a broke, starving artist with literally no money for the bus.
One of my high school teachers went to high school with Jason Sudeikis and apparently they still hang out. He said Jason was a generally cool dude, funny and well-liked but generally under the radar. For reference, Paul Rudd went to the same high school and is essentially the school’s golden boy while Sudeikis is liked, but much less acknowledged.
J K Rowling used to be a teaching assistant in my school (before I was there – this was when she was struggling for work and living in Edinburgh), apparently when she was asked what her interests were she would mention in passing that she was trying to write a book. She was pretty shy and mostly kept to herself.
I knew Chris Mintz, aka ‘McLovin’ from Superbad, in high school. He was just as funny and dorky as he was in Superbad. He disappeared senior year, and when I saw him in the main office I said, “Chris, where you been?” He said he was doing “something big,” and it blew me away to see him in a preview of the movie a few months later.
Also, apparently he now drives a Mercedes around that says ‘McLovin’ on the plates, which is a very Mclovin thing to do.
She wasn’t a past teacher of a celeb, but my AP Bio teacher in high school went to the same school as Denis Leary and he asked her to their senior prom and she turned him down.
He brought it up in an interview after he got famous and said that she was right for turning him down because he was very uncool in high school.
My grandmother was the secretary at Beverly Hills High School when Nicolas Cage was attending. She said he was always late and often at the principal’s office for goofing off. Apparently he dropped out of school for a bit too. She also described him as charming in a “Ferris Bueller” sort of way.
I’ve got a sort of flipped story, I guess. I was taught how to fish by Jimmy Carter in the 1990s. He was very encouraging to 8-year-old me.
My school adviser went to college with Denzel Washington and of course he was the best in acting class, very serious and polite.
Me, I attended school with Blake Lively from 7th-12th grade. She was in choir all those years and she’s actually a pretty good singer, I have nothing but nice things to say about her. Very sweet, polite, and bubbly girl, I’m really happy to see how far she’s come; she deserves it!
My mother was a teacher for 40 years before she passed away. Mainly she taught elementary school and some special classes. Well one year she was teaching 3rd grade in Terrell Texas and she had a student named Eric Bishop. He was a wild child, always running around and making the class laugh, but he was also a sweetheart and a caring person like his grandmother who raised him.
Mother had many sit downs with Eric and his grandmother and ultimately helped him not only pass 3rd grade, but also to channel his energy into appropriate times and places. Eric later became Jamie Foxx the comedian and actor. I still have the decorative bowl that he gave my mother and the letter he wrote her once he made it to Hollywood.
There was a science teacher in my high school who taught Adam Sandler. She was known for being extremely harsh, and one of his first recognized songs, “I hate Mrs. K” is all about her.
Went to high school with Megan Fox for about a year or so. I didn’t really know her, but we hung about the same people. She was pretty typical, I guess. Nose a bit up in the air, but no more so than the other girls in that somewhat ‘popular’ clique at the time (If you can even call it that. There were only like 26 of us in our grade).
We always heard stories about her mom being kind of intense and taking her all over the place for auditions, which is why she missed most of our year. I guess that payed off though.
My mom went to school with Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails. She said he was a quiet, unassuming guy, but when you actually got to know him he was a talking machine.
Elijah Wood is from my town of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. People that know him really like him. Ashton Kutcher is also from my town and comes back all the time, but I have never once seen or heard of Elijah coming back home (although it’s possible, he just stays out of the spotlight when he’s back).
What did happen though, is I was shooting a short film a few years ago and stopped inside an Ice Cream Store to ask if I could shoot in there. The owner, a middle-aged man, obliged and started talking about his experiences on set. I asked if he used to act, and he said something along the lines of “no, no, no. I just used to visit the sets sometimes. My favorite was going to New Zealand.” Immediately it clicked and I asked if he knew Elijah Wood. He smiled and told me Elijah was his son.
So I’m happy to say I directed Elijah Wood’s father in a short film. His cameo as “Ice Cream Giver” was snubbed by all the major award shows.