Top 10 Famous People Who Didn't Finish High School

The Top Ten

1 Abraham Lincoln Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln led the United States its bloodiest war and its greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis.

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

Wow my school never said that

I'm mighty impressed

2 Henry Ford Henry Ford was an American industrialist, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, and the sponsor of the development of the assembly line technique of mass production.

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

3 Thomas Edison Thomas Alva Edison was an American inventor and businessman, who has been described as America's greatest inventor.

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.

4 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.

5 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.

6 Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin was an American polymath and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, humorist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat.

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.

7 Al Pacino Alfredo James "Al" Pacino is an American actor and filmmaker. Pacino has had a career spanning more than five decades, during which time he has received numerous accolades and honors.

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

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.

9 Louis Armstrong Louis Armstrong, nicknamed Satchmo or Pops, was an American trumpeter, composer and singer who was one of the most influential figures in jazz.

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

10 Billie Joe Armstrong Billie Joe Armstrong is an American musician, singer, songwriter and actor who is best known as the lead vocalist, primary songwriter, and guitarist of the punk rock band Green Day, which he co-founded with Mike Dirnt.

The Contenders

11 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! )

12 Jim Carrey James Eugene "Jim" Carrey is a Canadian American actor, comedian, impressionist, screenwriter, and producer. He is well known for comedic roles in films such as Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask , Dumb and Dumber, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, The Cable Guy, Liar Liar, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, ...read more.

He dropped out of high school at 16.

13 Bryan Adams Bryan Guy Adams is a Canadian singer, songwriter, record producer, guitarist, photographer, philanthropist and activist.

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.

14 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.
15 Simon Cowell Simon Phillip Cowell is an English reality television judge, entrepreneur, philanthropist, film, record, and television producer.

T.V. producer, music judge - American Idol, The X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent.

16 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 ...read more.

He failed 9th grade 3 times

17 Princess Diana

She dropped out of school at 16.

18 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. ...read more.

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

19 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.

20 Christina Aguilera

She never finished high school.

21 Cristiano Ronaldo Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro is a Portuguese professional footballer who plays as a forward for Italian club Juventus and the Portugal national team.
22 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. 

Actress, High school dropout.

23 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 Michelle Diaz is a retired American actress, producer, author, and fashion model. She rose to stardom with roles in The Mask, My Best Friend's Wedding, and There's Something About Mary, and is also known for voicing the character of Princess Fiona in the Shrek series.

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

25 Avril Lavigne Avril Ramona Lavigne is a Canadian–French singer-songwriter and actress. By the age of 15, she had appeared on stage with Shania Twain; by 16, she had signed a two-album recording contract with Arista Records worth more than $2 million.
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