Sure Mark Wahlberg is a successful actor, having starred in big-time hits like "The Departed" and "The Fighter," but the Boston-bred star didn't earn his high school diploma until just this year.
Back in September, Wahlberg penned a column for the Huffington Post, explaining his motivations for finishing his degree.
"For almost a year, I've been taking classes and studying any chance I could get - on the set, traveling for work and at home," he wrote. "It has been both humbling and challenging, but I'm happy to report that I am officially a high school graduate, having received my diploma this summer."
And Wahlberg isn't the only big name who didn't graduate.
In fact, Walt Disney himself didn't finish high school, even writing a letter to his school principal saying how "disgusted" he was with his education there.
There are many more actors just like Wahlberg and Disney — stars who left high school and found huge success in Hollywood.Jim Carrey dropped out of school to help support his family.
He may be one of Hollywood's most famous comedians, with big-name hits like "Liar Liar" and "The Truman Show" on his résumé, but Carrey's life wasn't always such smooth sailing.
Growing up in poverty in Ontario, Canada, Carrey and his siblings worked as janitors at a local factory. When Carrey's mother fell ill, the aspiring actor dropped out of school to help care for her.
Though his family ended up taking residence in a VW bus for awhile, things picked up and the family relocated to Toronto, where Carrey began performing on the local comedy circuit.
At the age of 18, Carrey found his first credit with TV series, "The All-Night Show."
Charlie Sheen earned his high school degree this year.
Sheen attended Santa Monica High School (alongside buddies Sean Penn and Rob Lowe), but his poor grades and attendance got him expelled just a few weeks before graduation.
But the now successful "Two and a Half Men" actor made sure to earn his degree — just this year, actually.
Instead of taking classes to finish up his remaining few credits, the now 48-year-old Sheen told TMZ he got his credits because of charity work he did for the school.
Sheen said he bothered to do it because he wanted to beat "a lifelong habit of never finishing things."
Christina Applegate dropped out of high school and found success on "Married ... with Children."
Hollywood runs in Applegate's veins — her mother was an actress and her father was a record producer, so it isn't a big surprise that the "Anchorman" star decided to pursue acting at a young age, too.
Having appeared in several movies while still at an elementary-school age, Applegate briefly attended Excelsior High School in Hollywood, dropping out during her junior year.
Applegate was 15 years old when she landed a huge role as Kelly Bundy on "Married ... with Children."
John Travolta left school for an acting career in New York.
Though he played suave, high school student Danny in "Grease," the real-life high schooler John Travolta wasn't too popular with the girls — he said he spent most of his time acting and learning new dances.
"Not too many of my friends identified with what I was doing," Travolta said. "I participated in football and basketball, and did what they were doing, but not many kids understood my going to acting studios at night."
Travolta ended up dropping out of Dwight Morrow High School in New Jersey and moved to New York City to pursue acting full time.
Not surprisingly, tough guy Marlon Brando's behavior got him kicked out of Shattuck Military Academy.
One of the greatest actors in film was a high school dropout. But he didn't choose to leave — the Nebraska-born actor was kicked out.
Marlon Brando attended Libertyville High School in Illinois but his roguish behavior got him in a bit of trouble.
"I always had friends, boys as well as girls, but I was anathema to many of my teachers and the parents of many of my friends, some of whom treated me as if I were poison . . . I was a bad student, chronic truant and all-around incorrigible," Brando has said. "I was forever being sent to the principal's office to be disciplined."
His parents then sent him to Shattuck Military Academy, but after more bad behavior, Brando was expelled once and for all.
Brando moved to NYC in 1943 to study at the American Theatre Wing Professional School.
At the age of 15, Catherine Zeta-Jones dropped out of school.
Born in Wales, Catherine Zeta-Jones attended Dumbarton House School in Swansea, though she eventually dropped out at the age of 15 to pursue an acting career.
Zeta-Jones, who had experience performing on the local theatre circuit, moved to London to attend The Arts Educational School.
It was only a few years later, at 21, that Zeta-Jones landed her first feature role in the 1990 film, "Les 1001 nuits."
Cameron Diaz left school to pursue a modeling career.
Diaz attended Long Beach Polytechnic High School in California — with Snoop Dogg, no less — but at 16 she left school to model with Elite Modeling Management.
Her modeling connections brought her into the film world, and at 22, she landed her first big role in the 1994 movie "The Mask," alongside fellow high school dropout, Jim Carrey.
Nicolas Cage dropped out of his California high school.
Considering that Nicolas Cage's real last name is Coppola (yes, he's the nephew of Francis Ford Coppola!) it's to be expected that the future "Adaptation" star had interests in the film world.
Nicolas Cage dropped out of Beverly Hills High School at the age of 16 to pursue an acting career, and just one year later, landed his first television gig in "Best of Times."
Hilary Swank dropped out of high school, and thereafter earned a big television role.
Swank got a lot of flack for her role as an inspirational teacher in "Freedom Writers." Why? The award-winning Hollywood actress didn't finish high school herself.
Swank dropped out of California's South Pasadena High School to pursue acting.
"I'm not proud to say I'm a high school dropout," she said. "I'm not proud that that's something that happened, but it happened."
But at the age of 18, while her classmates were attending prom and getting ready for college, Swank was making her big film debut in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."
Tom Cruise left high school to pursue acting in New York.
Growing up, Cruise aspired to become a priest.
But after partaking in acting classes and performances throughout his childhood, he changed his career path, left high school (a Franciscan seminary) after a year, and moved to NYC to pursue acting full time.
Acclaimed director Quentin Tarantino didn't make it to high school graduation.
The eccentric director behind the highly regarded films "Pulp Fiction" and "Inglourious Basterds" didn't get his high school degree, dropping out of Narbonne High School in Harbor City, Calif. by the age of 16.
That doesn't mean he hated every class, though.
"History was cool and I did well there, because it was kind of like the movies," he told Entertainment Weekly.
Tarantino then worked as an usher at a local movie theater, and eventually took acting classes at the James Best Theater Company.
Ryan Gosling didn't finish high school in Ontario.
You might not believe that heartthrob Ryan Gosling actually had a tough time growing up.
In fact, the young actor's affinity for big-screen flicks and Hollywood stars got him in trouble at school.
“When I first saw 'Rambo,' that movie put a kind of spell on me and I actually thought I WAS Rambo,” said Gosling. “So much so, that one day, I took a bunch of steak knives to school and threw them around at recess time because I thought we were in the movie!”
He dropped out of high school (Lester B. Pearson High School in Ontario) when he was 17 to pursue a career in acting.
First up? The Mickey Mouse Club alongside Justin Timberlake.
Robert Downey Jr. moved to New York after dropping out of his Santa Monica school.
Downey Jr. already had a few acting credits to his name when he dropped out of Santa Monica High School in 1982.
But after moving to New York to pursue a full-time acting career, he landed bigger roles, making it onto "Saturday Night Live" at the mere age of 20.
Daniel Radcliffe's busy acting career kept him from graduating.
Harry Potter may have been a star student at Hogwarts, but Radcliffe had a much different experience at his own West London schools.
Radcliffe, who had already been taking acting classes and appearing on British television, left school behind once his schedule began to fill up with acting gigs.
Though he temporarily used on-set tutors, Radcliffe said he wasn't very good at the whole school thing.
“I was kind of useless. I found the work really, really difficult," he said.
Seth Rogen pursued a career in comedy rather than finishing his education.
At the age of 14, Rogen had already co-written a rough draft of "Superbad," and was an avid fan of stand-up comedy, so much so that he left Point Grey Secondary School in Vancouver to pursue a career in it.
"I worked really hard. It's not like I dropped out of high school and just did nothing," Rogen said. "I dropped out of high school and went and worked on a TV show. We were writing a script all throughout high school. I probably worked harder than most people who were just doing high school stuff, honestly. I did stand-up comedy all throughout high school. I think, honestly, if you have a career in mind that isn't academically oriented, then high school is probably not going to lead you to what you want to be."
Jude Law got his first acting credits shortly after leaving school.
Growing up in South London, Law dropped out of school at the age of 17 to act in a daytime soap opera, "Families."
Only a few years later Law landed a successful role in "Gattaca" and shortly after that, "The Talented Mr. Ripley."
Nicole Kidman temporarily left school to help with her mother's sickness.
Kidman was attending North Sydney Girls' High School (with Naomi Watts) when her mother's cancer diagnosis forced her to leave school at the age of 17 and get work as a massage therapist.
Unlike some other actors, Kidman returned to her studies, attending the Victorian College of the Arts and the Australian Theatre for Young People.
Though the Aussie actress was already performing throughout her teens, she landed her first big film role in "Emerald City" at the age of 21.
Al Pacino failed many of his classes, forcing him to drop out.
Al Pacino grew up in New York City, acting in underground theatre groups as a teenager and attending the High School of the Performing Arts.
After flunking most of his classes, the future "The Godfather" star dropped out at the age of 17.
Following a series of odd jobs, he joined Herbert Berghof Studio and eventually The Actors Studio — a gig that paved the way for one heck of a successful film career.
Keanu Reeves didn't have much luck with his schooling, either.
Reeves moved around a lot as a teenager, and attended four different high schools in a series of five years, including Etobicoke School of the Arts, from which he was expelled at the age of 16.
‘It was a very small school and I guess I didn’t fit in. I had conflicts and run-ins with the staff. The principal and I didn’t see eye to eye," he said. "I was one of those “Why?” kids – I asked too many questions about everything. I couldn’t stop even if it got me into trouble."
Though the future "The Matrix" star had been acting in local performances since the age of 9, he pursued acting full time after leaving high school, and made his big-screen debut at the age of 20 with "Hangin' In."
Johnny Depp had rock musician dreams when he quit high school.
At 15, Depp dropped out of his Florida high school in the hopes of becoming a rock musician. He and his band enjoyed local fame, eventually moving to Los Angeles.
Though the whole rock band thing didn't end up working out for Depp, his Los Angeles connections led him to acting auditions, and the rest is "Edward Scissorhands" and "Pirates of the Caribbean" history.
Bill Cosby failed the 10th grade and didn't return to school.
Bill Cosby attended Germantown High School in Philadelphia, and though he was active in the school's athletic program, participating in football, basketball, and track, he didn't do so well when it came to the actual classes.
After failing the 10th grade, Cosby chose to drop out, taking up work at a local repair shop and later joining the U.S. Navy.
Cosby eventually earned his high school degree, and even attended Temple University for a brief stint.
Drew Barrymore's childhood stardom got in the way of her education.
Before most kids her age had even started their schooling, a 3-year-old Drew Barrymore was already a big-screen movie actress. And by the age of 7, she was cast as Gertie in "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial."
With a series of drug and alcohol problems — she had to check into rehab at the age of 13 — not to mention a busy acting schedule, Barrymore never ended up finishing her education.
Kristen Stewart opted for home schooling.
Kristen Stewart had a steady acting career throughout much of her childhood, which forced her to drop out of school at the age of 14 and take up homeschooling.
"I had to stop going to school because I worked [in films] too much and my teachers resented me a lot," she said. "But I really love home school—independent study is for me."
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