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9 Celebrities Who Started Out as Teachers

August 19, 2015

School is starting for kids, but it is out forever for these teachers who found fame and fortune.

Celebrities Who Started Out as TeachersSting

Sting wrote the Police song “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” in part about Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, but was also inspired by an uncomfortable crush a student had on him when he taught at St. Paul’s, a school in Cramlington, England. (They called him Mr. Sumner, not Sting, by the way.)

Sheryl Crow

In the late 1980s, Sheryl Crow was the music teacher at Kellison Elementary School in Fenton, Missouri. She wrote commercial jingles on the side, and then landed a gig as a backup singer for Michael Jackson.

Bill O’Reilly

Before he broke into TV news in the early 1970s, Bill O’Reilly taught English and history at Monsignor Edward Pace High School outside of Miami for two years. (He writes popular history books now, so that was good practice.)

Andy Griffith

Andy Griffith taught English at Goldsboro High School in his native North Carolina. (One of his students was Carl Kassell of NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.)

Gene Simmons

Prior to forming KISS, Gene Simmons (under his real name Chaim Witz) taught at PS 75, an elementary school in the Spanish Harlem section of New York City.

Dan Brown

Dan Brown has sold millions of copies of his novels The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons. In the early 1990s, he taught English and Spanish at Beverly Hills Prep, and then a number of other private schools before he quit teaching in 1996 to write full time.

Laurence Tureaud

Pity the fools: Laurence Tureaud taught physical education in the 1970s before he adopted the stage name Mr. T.

Jon Hamm

After graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Mad Men star Jon Hamm taught acting to eighth graders at a Missouri middle school. (Among his students: his future The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt co-star Ellie Kemper.)


Teller, the silent half of comedy-magic duo Penn and Teller was once a high school Latin teacher. (He presumably spoke to them.)

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