How Far The Big Bang Theory Cast Really Got In School


From middle school dropouts to an actual PhD,
the cast of The Big Bang Theory has a wide range of real life educational experience. Though they’re not all super geniuses, they’ve
certainly all done well for themselves. Here’s how far some of TV’s top earners got
in school. Kaley Cuoco is no dumb blonde. She never went to college, as she was a little
too busy being a sitcom star to venture into the world of higher education. Instead, she got high school out of the way
early and then graduated to Forbes’ list of highest paid TV actresses. In a 2012 interview with Parade, Cuoco admitted
that her budding career, which started with a Barbie commercial, made her an outcast at
school. Her fellow classmates thought she believed
she was cooler than them, so she decided to withdraw and start homeschooling in fifth
grade, a decision she was ultimately happy with. By the time she was 16 years old, she had
her high school diploma. With high school out of the way, Cuoco had
time to focus on her breakout role on the ABC sitcom 8 Simple Rules. Though she never attended a traditional high
school, she did get a small piece of the typical high school experience when Ashley Tisdale
invited her to prom, although it didn’t go down how she had hoped. As she told Parade, Dr. Leonard Hofstadter got his PhD at the
ripe age of 24, but the actor who played him only made it to a single day of high school,
and it wasn’t even a full day. In a 2009 interview with Time Out Chicago,
Johnny Galecki revealed that he dropped out in the middle of eighth grade after years
of avoiding class at all costs. As he explained to Time Out, Galecki might not have the math brain of his
signature character, but he’s always had street smarts. “Knowledge is the best and safest treasure…Wow,
I’m boring myself.” At age 14, he lived completely alone in a
studio apartment in Burbank, California while working on the sitcom American Dreamer, his
first big break. His family had spent nine months in Long Beach
before moving back to Chicago, and he stayed behind to focus on his acting career. Dr. Sheldon Cooper was a full-on child prodigy. He started college when he was 11 years old
and got his first of two doctorates by the time most kids were having their first kiss. Though Jim Parsons might not have been pursuing
degrees as a teenager, he does hold one master’s degree that helped him perfect his craft. According to Parsons’ mother, her son knew
he wanted to be an actor since he was three years old. To achieve his dreams, he was hyper-focused
on his education and training, but it was his parents who pushed him to get serious
about his craft and explore a master’s degree. “Jim was a very adventurous little boy. Loved to make-believe, very friendly, loved
to play.” In an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air, Parsons
explained, “They would pose questions to me like, what
are you doing to make a real financial go of this? You know, what is your next step? What’s the whatever. Which kind of led me to grad school.” Parsons got his undergraduate degree from
the University of Houston and completed a master’s in classical theater at the University
of San Diego. He was in his late twenties during his grad
school days, which is about ten years older than Sheldon was when he got his PhD. Mayim Bialik is the one Big Bang Theory actor
who could hold her own against the character she plays. She has PhD in neuroscience, but her educational
path was unconventional. She left regular school in favor of on-set
tutoring from ages 14 to 19 because she was starring on the hit sitcom Blossom. But even then, she knew she wanted to go to
college. Bialik hightailed it to UCLA right after Blossom
ended in 1995. She earned her undergrad in neuroscience and
Hebrew and Jewish studies. During her PhD research, she studied obsessive
compulsive disorder and examined how the brain secretes certain hormones. She later used this knowledge to write a book
about the hormones involved in child-parent bonding. “I was also made the spokesperson of Texas
Instruments Calculators, so that’s what you get with a PhD in neuroscience: Big Bang Theory
and you’re the spokesperson for graphing calculators.” Though Balik might be a bona fide scientist,
she ended up quitting that life to jump back into showbiz. As it turns out, Hollywood is simply easier
for moms. As she told National Geographic, Simon Helberg didn’t get quite as far in school
as Howard Wolowitz. In fact, the actor didn’t even finish college,
although he is a pianist in real life, a skill he has put to use multiple times on The Big
Bang Theory. Before Helberg caught the acting bug, he was
pursuing a rock-and-roll lifestyle. In an interview with Conan O’Brien, the L.A.-bred
actor revealed he joined a rock band in eighth grade and would play on the Sunset Strip. “I was like Rain Man. Like, I was just like soloing, ‘NA NA NA NA
NA NA,’ and I was looking down like, ‘Deedledeedela,’ and I’d look up and, you know, they would
be like an orgy on the stage, with them.” During high school, he studied jazz, where
he brushed up on his piano skills before switching gears and going to college for acting. He went on to attend NYU’s prestigious Tisch
School of the Arts, although he never finished. Regardless, he found the experience valuable. In a Golden Globes interview, he said, Kunal Nayyar might not be a PhD astrophysicist
like Raj Koothrappali, but he is very well-studied. He has a multicultural educational background,
having attended high school in India and then coming to the United States after graduating. “And I wasn’t scared as much as I was excited,
to be honest. I was 18, you know what I mean? I was going to a new country.” Nayyar originally pursued a traditional career
path during his undergrad years at the University of Portland, where he majored in business,
and took acting classes in his free time. If acting didn’t work out, he’d always have
a solid degree to fall back on. Fortunately, he never actually needed a plan
B. His acting hobby turned into a full-on career when he won the Mark Twain Award for
comic brilliance and a fellowship at the Sundance Theater Lab. After completing his bachelor’s degree, he
pursued an MFA in acting at Temple. Melissa Rauch has more in common with Cheesecake
Factory waitress-turned-PhD Bernadette that you’d think, but it’s not a shared degree. Rauch is a born-and-bred Jersey girl, which
means she spent a decent chunk of her formative years at the mall. Though she hasn’t explicitly stated an affinity
for overpriced flatbreads and cheese-based desserts, she did measure her success in Wetzel’s
Pretzels rather than dollar bills. As she revealed to, when she had some
initial success on TV, the guy at her hometown Wetzel’s would give her a free pretzel. But alas, after the show she was on got cancelled,
she had to go back to paying for her pretzels. Thankfully, Rauch had a college education
to fall back on. It started with her typical suburban Jersey
childhood, which she spent going to the shore, taking dance lessons, and attending Brookdale
Community College’s arts camp. When she graduated from Marlboro High School,
she went to Marymount Manhattan for acting, where she also developed her writing chops. This led her to co-create her one-woman comedy
show, The Miss Education of Jenna Bush. Then she moved to L.A., and the acting jobs
started trickling in. Staten Island has brought the world many treasures,
including Kevin Sussman, who embodied The Big Bang Theory’s lovable sad sack comic shop
owner Stuart Bloom. Like Stuart, who went to the prestigious Rhode
Island School of Design, Sussman also attended an arts college. He graduated from New Dorp High School and
then did a year of classes in his home borough at the College of Staten Island. From there, he transferred to the American
Academy of Dramatic Arts, a prestigious acting school in Manhattan. After earning his bachelor’s degree, Sussman’s
acting success wasn’t immediate. He had an apprenticeship with an actress,
and then he joined the workforce as a computer consultant. So he worked in tech during the day and filmed
TV commercials when he could. But as soon as his day job started interfering
with his auditions, he made the full-time plunge into acting. John Ross Bowie, who played physicist Barry
Kripke, almost wasn’t an actor. He originally pursued anything but, with stints
as a high school teacher, a copywriter, and the bassist for the ’90s punk band Egghead. It took him years to admit his real passion
and take the plunge. As he told The Spectrum, Bowie earned an English degree from Ithaca
College, where he worked at the campus radio station. In 1998, he enrolled in acting classes at
the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York, and joined a sketch comedy troupe that
performed around the country. That led to TV commercials and a small role
in the 2000 flick Road Trip. He ultimately managed to lock down a steady
career in TV, with a starring role on the ABC sitcom Speechless in addition to his recurring
part on Big Bang. Rati Gupta only recently started seeing major
Hollywood success after her Big Bang Theory debut as Anu in 2018. In a 2014 interview with Glamour, she spoke
about the difficulty of breaking into TV during pilot season: Gupta does have a decent educational background
to fall back on, though it looks like the whole acting thing is finally working out
for her. Before heading to Hollywood, she was on a
pre-med path at Northwestern University and double majored in psychology and dance. Ultimately, she decided to pursue a dance
career instead of going to medical school. She moved to Los Angeles, where she became
a coveted hip-hop dancer, appearing in videos for the likes of Lupe Fiasco and Flo Rida,
and the rest is history. Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Nicki Swift videos about your
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