Weird Things Celebrities Didn't Realize About Themselves

It's odd to think that celebrities would ever be totally unaware of key details about themselves given the sheer amount of information that exists about them online, not to mention the fact they often have assistants who can fill in gaps in their memory. However, as we're about to discuss, some celebrities were indeed completely unaware of information about themselves that, today, would probably just be on their Wikipedia page.

Stephen Hawking doesn't know his own I.Q.

Profiles of renowned theoretical physicist and occasional Simpsons guest star Stephen Hawking invariably describe him as one of the planet's finest minds, with some going further and suggesting that he's perhaps the smartest man alive right now, but it's a description Hawking himself has balked at in interviews, actively mocking the idea of anyone describing themselves in such a manner.

For example, in a Q&A with British host Piers Morgan, Hawking was asked for his opinion on him being described as the smartest man alive by the general public. Morgan asked the physicist point-blank if he felt such a description was apt and, if not, who he felt could carry the mantle of "smartest person alive." Hawking, after a brief moment of contemplation shot back, "I would never claim this; people who boast about their I.Q. are losers." He would later repeat this sentiment to The New York Times. However, we can forgive him for using the insult twice given how long it probably took him to type it out.

David Bowie couldn't pronounce his own name

Born David Robert Jones, David Bowie changed his name early in his career to avoid being mistaken for Monkees front man Davy Jones. According to the singer, he chose "Bowie" as a nod to legendary American frontiersman and knife enthusiast James Bowie. The problem? David Bowie had no idea that Jim Bowie actually pronounced his surname "Boo-ee" and spent much of his career pronouncing it as either "Boh-wee" or "Bow-ee."

In a 2000 interview with the BBC, the Thin White Duke revealed that he actually had no idea how the name was supposed to be pronounced, admitting he'd heard it pronounced multiple ways throughout his career and wasn't really sure.

Danny Trejo doesn't know how many movies he's been in

With a filmography longer than a giraffe's necktie, Danny Trejo has played both hero and villain in more B-movies than we can count. And we can count pretty darned high. Trejo, in fact, has had so many bit-parts in so many movies that he once revealed he isn't really sure exactly how many movies he's appeared in during his career. In one interview, Trejo explained he appeared in "a s***load of B-movies about prisons" as a younger, but equally as grizzled, man and that he was often cast solely because of his fearsome appearance and distinctive chest tattoo. When asked what his actual role in these films would be, Trejo wasn't sure, explaining that he'd usually either stand in the background looking tough or walk on screen and say a single line of dialogue before immediately being killed.

In an interview with The Guardian, Trejo expanded on this, noting that he sometimes watches old action movies not even realizing he's in them. The hard-nosed Mexican tough guy revealed he's often shocked to notice himself in the background of fight scenes or even being killed by the main character.

Michael Jackson didn't know nightclubs still played his songs

Michael Jackson is responsible for some of the biggest hits of the last half century, and it's likely his music will remain popular for longer than most of us are going to be alive. Jackson himself, however, wasn't all that confident in his music's staying power, apparently shocked by the fact that nightclubs were still playing remixes of his old songs.

In a story recounted by one of the King of Pop's former bodyguards, it's noted that Jackson quietly went to a nightclub in 2008 to enjoy a few drinks and indulge in his hobby of people-watching. While there, the DJ played a remix of one of the singer's hits, prompting him to say aloud, "Wow, I didn't know that they still played my music." At that point, Jackson's bodyguards had to explain to him that his music was still very popular and was still being played pretty much everywhere people wanted to get busy, much to the rock idol's surprise.

Roger Ebert didn't realize he had bad eyesight for years

Film criticism requires a keen eye and an ability to analyze a wide variety of film styles. For many years no eyes in the industry were keener than those of Roger Ebert. According to the man himself, though, for much of his youth he had no idea that his eyesight was so horrendously bad he could barely watch the films he'd later earn a living critiquing. Apparently Ebert just assumed the entire world was blurry all the time and never bothered to ask anyone if they also saw the world as if they were looking through a window covered in Vaseline. 

This all changed at summer camp. Ebert, as a joke, put on a friend's glasses. As he would later note on his website, the moment the glasses were on his face, "the entire world shifted into focus for the first time in my life." Soon after, Ebert's parents bought him some glasses so he could see properly.

Patrick Stewart had no idea he looked like Professor X

Despite being perhaps most famous for portraying Professor Charles Xavier in the live-action X-Men movies, Patrick Stewart had never read a comic book prior to being cast and was unaware of who the X-Men were or his uncanny resemblance to main character Professor X. Fans noticed, though, and when rumblings of a live-action X-Men movie surfaced, Stewart was naturally the first choice in the minds of many to play the venerable mutant leader.

According to a Rolling Stone profile that discusses how Stewart came to be cast, the actor's first experience with the X-Men came when a producer randomly held up a comic book with Professor X on the front of it. Stewart was stunned, exclaiming, "What am I doing on a comic book?" before it was explained that fans had been lobbying to get him to play the character for years due to the striking similarities.

David Prowse had no clue he was Luke's father

David Prowse is best known as the man who physically portrayed Darth Vader in the original trilogy. Initially unaware that he was going to be dubbed over by James Earl Jones, Prowse read from a copy of the script just like everyone else for much of A New Hope, After realizing nothing he said mattered because it'd all be dubbed over by Mufasa anyway, Prowse started just making stuff up in The Empire Strikes Back, reportedly swearing and replacing the word asteroids with the word "hemorrhoids" just because.

Additionally, it's also reported that even the script Prowse did have was much sparser than the one he'd read from previously and was deliberately filled with false information. Because of this, Prowse was unaware that Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker's father, with the line he delivered on set being "Obi-Wan killed your father." Prowse didn't actually find out this key piece of information until the film's premiere, and he has expressed annoyance about being left in the dark about such a critical plot point.

Steven Tyler didn't recognize an Aerosmith song he had sung

Steven Tyler, like most rock stars, spent a considerable amount of his career doing all of the drugs – so many drugs in fact that Tyler's knowledge of Aerosmith's back catalog was decidedly lacking to the point he once didn't recognize a song he'd sung.

The story goes that while the band was at a gathering at a Boston DJ's home in 1984, Tyler heard the song "You See Me Crying," which said DJ was spinning on his record player. After grooving along for a little bit, Tyler asked Aerosmith band mate Joe Perry if the band could cover it, only to have Perry turn around and tell him, "It's us f***head."

Nelson Mandela didn't know why he was called Nelson Mandela

Born Rolihlahla Mandela, Nelson Mandela (as he's better known in the West) was given an English forename by a teacher on his first day of school. A common custom in South Africa at the time due to native English speakers having trouble pronouncing traditional African names. In his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom, Mandela explained that his teacher, Miss Mdingane, chose the name Nelson for reasons she never explained to him.

Mandela would later note that he had assumed the name had something to do famed British naval commander Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson. However, Mandela would himself admit that this was just "a guess" on his part, and the true reason the name was chosen will likely never be known.

George Michael was baffled about why 'Careless Whisper' was so popular

Prior to his untimely death on Christmas Day in 2016, George Michael had long expressed frustration at the fact one of his biggest hits, "Careless Whisper," was a song he wrote at age 17 that he had no real emotional attachment to.

In interviews as well as his own autobiography, Michael explained that he was both baffled and confused by the song's popularity and why it seemed to resonate with people when he didn't care for it himself. In a 2009 interview, Michael waxed poetic about the possible reasons people enjoyed the song so much: "Is it because so many people have cheated on their partners? Is that why they connect with it? I have no idea, but it's ironic that this song — which has come to define me in some way — should have been written right at the beginning of my career when I was still so young."