See more Celebrity Facts.
If you enjoyed the brain fog induced by the first Mindhole Puffers edition, just imagine how cool it’ll feel when that tiniest of blood vessel in your brain goes *pop*!
1. Claire Danes and Hugh Dancy had an indoor swing installed in their New York city apartment. Danes explained, “My parents had a swing, a trapeze and a trampoline in their apartment, I was inspired by that.”
2. Damian Lewis’ “shittiest” pre-acting job was telemarketer (car alarms), and he despises Phil Collins’ Another Day in Paradise. “I wasn’t going around looking at people’s swanky cars saying, ‘I think you could use the UP3Z-40.’ I was cold-calling them on the phone. I’d get off the subway everyday carrying my Walkman, which was the size of a brick, and I’d always hear the same song. Unfortunately, Phil Collins and the worst song he ever wrote, ‘Another Day in Paradise,’ are forever connected with me selling car alarms. Phil put me in such a bad mood I was unable to charm the customers. It drove me fucking insane.”
3. Jake Gyllenhaal got his first driving lesson (on a racetrack) from a family friend: Paul Newman.
4. George Clooney slept in a friend’s closet for a year when he first moved to LA. It took him that long to find acting work.
5. At age 11, Toni Collette faked appendicitis so well that doctors actually removed her organ. “I just wanted to fake my appendicitis and see what it would be like to be cut open. My mum had her appendix taken out when she was 11 so when I was younger she told me the story and said, ‘When the doctor comes to feel you to check how you’re going, he presses in and it doesn’t hurt. It’s when he lets go…’ So when he let go, I did all the right things. I was young, I can’t rationalise it now. I find it embarrassing.”
6. Charlize Theron was “discovered” when an agent witnessed her throwing a fit at a bank teller who wouldn’t cash her check.
7. Rebel Wilson *caught* the acting bug from a mosquito. “When I graduated school I became a youth ambassador and was stationed in South Africa for a year to spread goodwill across the continent. I got malaria and was put in intensive care, where the doctors gave me a cocktail of drugs so I wouldn’t die. I hallucinated that I was at the Oscars and won. It was so real that when I came out of hospital I said, ‘I know this is crazy, but I’m going to become an actress!’”
8. Animal lover Matthew McConaughey has helped rescue many critters, including countless pets stranded after Hurricane Katrina. But perhaps the most moving tale of his commitment involves a night the actor was driving in Sherman Oaks, CA; he spotted a group of teens dousing a cat with hairspray—getting ready to set the poor creature on fire. McConaughey jumped out of his car and grabbed the animal, went off on the kids, and took the kitty to an animal shelter.
9. In 2006, director Werner Herzog rescued Joaquin Phoenix after the actor lost control of his vehicle; the car went off an embankment and flipped, leaving him
even more dazed and confused than usual.
10. Madonna suffers from brontophobia aka astraphobia—the fear of thunderstorms.
11. Doctor Ruth Westheimer was a trained sniper in the Israeli army. “When I was in my routine training for the Israeli army as a teenager, they discovered completely by chance that I was a lethal sniper. I could hit the target smack in the center further away than anyone could believe. Not just that, even though I was tiny and not even much of an athlete, I was incredibly accurate throwing hand grenades too. Even today I can load a Sten automatic rifle in a single minute, blindfolded.”
12. Simon Cowell’s first show business gig was as a runner on The Shining. Cowell’s brother explained, “It was only a stone’s throw away from where we grew up,” he explained. “I well remember him saying he used to clean Jack Nicholson’s axe in between takes for the most famous scenes. He took great pride in it, you could see your face in it, it was so shiny. It’s a far cry from where he is now. I think the only thing he shines these days are his teeth.”
13. Daryl Hannah and her Summer Lovers co-star Hilary Shepard have created several board games together: “LIEbrary,” (similar to Balderdash, but with the first lines of books), “Call-it!” and “Famous Last Lines.”
14. Woody Harrelson’s father Charles was a hired hit man, convicted (Woody believed falsely) of killing a federal judge; Charles died in jail while serving his life sentence.
15. Leighton Meester’s mother gave birth to her while serving time in a federal prison for her part in a drug ring (marijuana smuggling); she was allowed to give birth in a hospital, spend a few months in a halfway house with the baby, and then returned to serve the rest of her time. Meester’s grandmother took care of Leighton until her mother was released.
16. Leonardo DiCaprio’s father, George is a comic book writer and distributor (Greaser Comics #1 1971, Greaser Comics #2 1972, Neurocomics 1979 [with Timothy Leary and Pete von Sholly])
17. Katey Sagal has twin sisters who both act (“Double Trouble, Picket Fences”), edit and direct, and starred in Wrigley’s long-running “Doublemint Twins” ad campaigns.
18. Diane Lane’s mother, Colleen Farrington was a Playboy Playmate of the Month (1957).
19. In addition to being a musician himself, Johnny Depp has appeared in videos for Tom Petty’s Into the Great Wide Open, Paul McCartney’s My Valentine, The Lemonheads’ It’s a Shame About Ray and Avril Lavigne’s Alice.
20. Among actors who are also painters…
and Dennis Hopper: