Top 10 Famous People Who Didn't Finish High School


The Top Ten

1 Abraham Lincoln

He left school at 12 to help his family farm, and then he became THE President. - Metal_Treasure

Wow my school never said that - FerrariDude64

2 Henry Ford

He dropped out at 16 and later founded Ford Motor Company. - Metal_Treasure

3 Thomas Edison

An inventor with more than 1,000 patents in his name, including the electric light bulb, phonograph, and motion picture camera.
Edison got a late start in his schooling following an illness, and, as a result, his mind often wandered, prompting one of his teachers to call him "addled."
He dropped out after only three months of formal education. Luckily, his mother had been a schoolteacher in Canada and home-schooled him. - Metal_Treasure

Ananya is right - some inventions were officially credited to Edison (in his name) but they were not made by him. - Metal_Treasure

V 1 Comment
4 Walt Disney Walt Disney Walter Elias "Walt" Disney was an American entrepreneur, animator, voice actor and film producer. A pioneer of the American animation industry, he introduced several developments in the production of cartoons.

He dropped out of high school at 16 to join the army, but because he was too young to enlist, he joined the Red Cross with a forged birth certificate instead.
Disney was sent to France where he drove an ambulance that was covered from top to bottom with cartoons that eventually became his film characters. - Metal_Treasure

5 Al Pacino

He dropped out of high school after failing every subject except English. - Metal_Treasure

V 1 Comment
6 John D. Rockefeller, Sr.

Two months before his high school graduation, history's first recorded billionaire dropped out to take business courses. He founded the Standard Oil Company in 1870 and made his billions before the company was broken up by the government for being a monopoly.
John D. Rockefeller, Sr., spent his last 40 years giving away his riches, primarily to causes related to health and education.
Ironically, this high school dropout helped millions get a good education. - Metal_Treasure

7 Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin

He spent two years at the Boston Latin School before dropping out at age 10.
Franklin was the 15th child and youngest son in a family of 20 so he had to work for his father, and then his brother, as a printer. - Metal_Treasure

8 Richard Branson

He's a self-made billionaire businessman (net worth $4.7 Billion) who dropped out at 16.

Suffering from dyslexia, Branson was a poor student, so he quit school at 16 and moved to London, where he began his first successful entrepreneurial activity - ironically, he began publishing a youth magazine called “Student.” LOL

Later he founded Virgin Atlantic Airways, Virgin Records, Virgin Mobile, and most recently, a space tourism company to provide suborbital trips into space for anyone who can afford them. - Metal_Treasure

9 Louis Armstrong

After dropping out of the Fisk School at age 11, Armstrong joined a quartet of boys who sang in the streets for money. - Metal_Treasure

10 Bryan Adams

At 14 he worked as a dish washer to save money for a guitar. Bryan Adams started auditioning as a guitarist and he quit High school after his successful auditions.
He started touring and playing in nightclubs with bar bands. One of them didn't have a singer so they performed with the 15-year-old Adams as the singer, which was supposed to be a temporary solution. But the band actually never found another singer because after a while they stopped looking for another singer.
At 17, Adams was already a guitarist and a singer, and he also got a job in a studio. - Metal_Treasure

@Martinglez - I think you might be confusing Bryan Adams with Brian Johnson of AC/DC. - Metal_Treasure

V 1 Comment

The Contenders

11 Billie Joe Armstrong
12 Jim Carrey

He dropped out of high school at 16. - Metal_Treasure

13 Pierce Brosnan Pierce Brosnan Pierce Brendan Brosnan is an Irish actor and film producer who after leaving comprehensive school at age 16, began training in commercial illustration.

And to make ends meet he became a street performer (fire eater! ) - Metal_Treasure

14 Charles Dickens Charles Dickens Charles John Huffam Dickens (7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. more.

He left school at 12 and began working ten-hour days in a boot-blacking factory because his father was imprisoned for debt. - Metal_Treasure

15 Princess Diana

She dropped out of school at 16. - Metal_Treasure

16 Eminem Eminem Eminem, born Marshall Bruce Mathers III, is an American rapper, actor and music producer born on October 17, 1972 in St. Joseph, Missouri. Eminem has sold over 300 million records making him the bestselling hip-hop artist of all time. In addition to his solo career, he is a member of D12 and (with Royce more.
17 Keanu Reeves

He never obtained a high school diploma but he tried hard.
Within five years, Reeves attended four high schools, including the Etobicoke School of the Arts (Canada), from which he was expelled. Reeves stated he was expelled because "I was just a little too rambunctious and shot my mouth off once too often. I was not generally the most well-oiled machine in the school."
He later attended Avondale Secondary Alternative School, which allowed him to obtain an education while working as an actor, but he dropped out again and did not obtain a high school diploma. - Metal_Treasure

18 Johnny Depp Johnny Depp John Christopher "Johnny" Depp II is an American actor, producer, and musician. He has won the Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actor. His role in a movie is often rather big. His character is often on the "loopy side" and his character being in a darker state of mind, etc.
19 Simon Cowell Simon Cowell Simon Phillip Cowell is an English reality television judge, entrepreneur, philanthropist, film, record, and television producer. V 1 Comment
20 Lionel Messi Lionel Messi Lionel Andrés "Leo" Messi is an Argentine professional footballer who plays as a forward for Spanish club Barcelona. He is also known as one of the greatest football players of all time. He was born in Rosario, Argentina on June 24th, 1987.
21 Christina Aguilera

She never finished high school. - Metal_Treasure

22 Christina Applegate Christina Applegate Christina Applegate is an American actress and dancer who was a child actress, playing the role of Kelly Bundy on the Fox sitcom Married... with Children.  V 1 Comment
23 Coco Chanel Coco Chanel Gabrielle Bonheur "Coco" Chanel was a French fashion designer of women's clothes and founder of the Chanel brand.
24 Cameron Diaz Cameron Diaz

She quit at 16 because she got a modeling contract. Interestingly, in her debut movie "The Mask", there was another dropout - Jim Carrey. - Metal_Treasure

25 Nicolas Cage Nicolas Cage Nicolas Kim Coppola, known professionally as Nicolas Cage, is an American actor and producer. He is well known for his roles in Raising Arizona, Moonstruck, Vampire's Kiss, Wild at Heart, Honeymoon in Vegas, Red Rock West, Leaving Las Vegas, The Rock, Con Air, Face/Off, City of Angels, 8MM, Bringing more.

Born Nicolas Kim Coppola (yeah, he is the nephew of director Francis Ford Coppola) and the son of a professor of literature. He dropped out of Beverly Hills High School to join the family business - movie making. - Metal_Treasure

26 Tobias Sammet Tobias Sammet Tobias Sammet is a German metal musician, best known as the vocalist and primary songwriter of the power metal band Edguy, as well as the founder, main singer and bassist of the metal opera Avantasia.

He is definitely one of the most talented and smartest metal singers. Tobi wanted to become a journalist but he left his Grammar School because at 14 he formed his band Edguy. He said his leaving was "inglorious".
"I wasn't anymore Tobi who wanted to learn in order to become a journalist sometime, but very soon I was the singer of a heavy metal band, who had to live, at any price, all the cliches, at least I told myself so. From a good pupil at grammar school I turned into the class clown and troublemaker very fast, and I had to leave school because of rapidly declining grades."
Fortunately Tobi became a very successful musician and he said that "My plan to be a professional musician, which I hatched in a certain phase of pubescent ignorance, seems to have worked out...thank God." - Metal_Treasure

27 Avril Lavigne Avril Lavigne
28 Bill Gates Bill Gates William Henry "Bill" Gates III is an American business magnate, entrepreneur, philanthropist, investor, and programmer.

Became the worlds richest man, inspiring

29 Cristiano Ronaldo Cristiano Ronaldo Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, GOIH is a Portuguese professional footballer who plays for Spanish club Real Madrid and the Portugal national team.
BAdd New Item

Recommended Lists