32 Actors With an Unexpected Hidden Talent

Unicycling! Juggling! Fire-breathing...! Lion-taming...!?

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It's never not delightful when a celebrity—a person we know for a specific skill, like acting or singing—debuts a hidden talent that has nothing to do with what made them famous. This can range from a low-key hobby (Chris Evans giving us a mid-pandemic, spur-of-the-moment piano concert) to the wildest summer job you've ever heard (Christopher Walken was a lion timer over the summer as a teen—yes, you read that correctly).

While some of these are truly hidden talents in the sense that we've never seen these skills on camera, and others are only secret in the sense that you just don't know about this talent, each is deeply impressive. (And if you're interested in learning about actresses' hidden talents, we've found those too.)

Below, 32 actors with a cool hidden talent.

Jack White

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Before the White Stripes hit it big, Jack White used to upholster furniture. He continued to do it even as a musician, and "around 2008, White quietly re-opened shop, setting up a private branch of Third Man Upholstery on his property in Nashville, where he could do work that he describes as '​​probably 60 percent sculpture and 40 percent functional furniture.'"

Nick Offerman

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It's not really a secret at this point, but Nick Offerman's character on Parks and Rec (the manly, handy, woodworking Ron) is closer to Offerman's actual skills in one regard. He can woodwork, and even founded his own store that does bespoke products.

Andrew Garfield

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As a young person, Andrew Garfield did both swimming and gymnastics (and the latter was helpful for playing the titular role in Spider-Man—he's said he likes to do his own stunts). In 2017 he did a (quite impressive) backflip for charity on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Viggo Mortensen

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Actor Viggo Mortensen is multitalented: in addition to being a polyglot who speaks a bunch of languages, he's also founder of publishing house Perceval Press, which features artists and also allows him to pursue his loves of photography, poetry, painting, and music.

Jeremy Renner

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In news I'm filing under "today I learned," apparently Jeremy Renner used to be a makeup artist before he became a successful actor. This was in the early days of the 1990s; he'd worked as a fragrance model and used his esperience applying his own makeup for shows to nab a gig at the Lancôme cosmetics counter.

Colin Farrell

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Early in his career, Colin Farrell did Irish step dancing (he explained to Conan O'Brien that he learned it in school) and did get paid for a few months while doing Western line dancing for CMT—he said he made "loads of money," but it wasn't for him in the end.

Terry Crews

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Terry Crews is already a successful actor, media presence, flautist, former footballer, memoirist, and person with amazing muscles—what more could he need? Well, apparently he's also a sketch artist who draws hyper-realistic sports paintings—incredible.

Steve Martin

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This is one of those "not very hidden" talents, but Steve Martin plays both the piano and banjo—and his incredible skill with the latter is on display in his duet with Alison Brown in 2023. The former skill he's been utilizing on camera since 1970 on the Ray Stevens Show.

Steve Buscemi

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If you were a fan of Boardwalk Empire and you remember one of the few humanizing moments for Steve Buscemi's Nucky (wherein he juggles for some children) that's showing off Buscemi's real-life skill. Apparently he developed the skill as a kid because of his interest in becoming a performer.

Justin Bieber

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Apparently, Justin Bieber can solve a Rubik's Cube incredibly fast—he's been doing it on camera since early in his career and he recently showed James Cordon that he can solve one in under two minutes. I never would have imagined—it's very impressive!

Steve Carell

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Steve Carell, who showed off his ice-skating skills on The Office, was actually a pretty good hockey player as a kid. “The Bruins' great run in the early 1970s inspired me to get into hockey. I think I was 8 years old, and all my friends started playing,” he explained to ESPN. “Our team actually won a national championship. We won for the 'Squirt' level. We went to Detroit to compete against the top teams in the country and ended up winning.”

Mark Ruffalo

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As with so many celebrities, Mark Ruffalo shared his hidden talent with Graham Norton: unicycling! He learned at 12, and admitted he hadn't done it in a long time. Then he proceeded to pedal—forward and backward, on two different versions!—as if he'd been doing it for years.

Vin Diesel

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Aside from his talent as a producer (which you may not have known), Vin Diesel has another, totally random talent: he founded video game developer Tigon Studios. No surprise, it features games starring himself (lol)—although the website doesn't seem active at the moment.

Zac Efron

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Deciding to take his special random talent to—where else?—Graham Norton, Zac Efron showed us that he can pole dance! Technically, he can only hang sideways, holding himself up by his arms, but it totally still counts. He was so happy he could still do it!

Conan O'Brien

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As a child, Conan O'Brien took up tap dancing, as one of his many creative endeavors throughout his young life. If you follow the comedian at all, you'll have seen one of the videos in which he displays his skill, including this one where he tap dances on his desk.

Pierce Brosnan

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File this one under: wow, this is weird and cool and absolutely unexpected! Pierce Brosnan learned how to do fire eating and it was his first paying job. He showed off the skill on Muppets Tonight (it actually went wrong and left him with blisters, apparently). He's also a painter!

Christopher Walken

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When Christopher Walken was 16, he got a summer job as a lion tamer. “I would come into the cage and wave my whip, and [lion Sheba would] lazily get up and sit like a dog and maybe give a little roar. I like cats a lot. I’ve always liked cats. They’re great company.”

Patrick Dempsey

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When he was in shop class, Patrick Dempsey learned how to juggle and is still able to do five balls at once. Also, no big deal, but he's a race car driver. If you know anything about his role in Ferrari, you already know that, but apparently he also placed fourth in the GTE-Am class at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2013.

Snoop Dogg

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In addition to his cooking skills (look at any video where he hangs out with pal Martha Stewart), Snoop Dogg also helps coach a youth football league. That story is told in Coach Snoop on Netflix, if you're curious: the league helps at-risk kids (and he was inspired by his own youth). Aww!

Tom Holland

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Did you know that Tom Holland actually got his start in a hip hop class? He was discovered by a choreographer and, after two years(!) of training in ballet, tap, and acrobatics, began performing in Billy Elliot The Musical. While he was doing that, he also learned gymnastics!

Keanu Reeves

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Keanu Reeves is a skater! “I played a lot of ice hockey as a kid,” Reeves laughingly told the Toronto Star and explained that he would play pickup hockey “basically every day” even after moving to Los Angeles to pursue his acting dreams. At one point as a kid, he even wanted to go to the Olympics.

Harry Styles

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Wayyyyy back in the day when he was on X Factor, a baby-faced Harry Styles showed off that he could do juggling! If you're not a superfan and you don't already know, he's got a few other talents: he used to work in a bakery, and has written songs for artists like Ariana Grande

Elliott Page

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Way back in the day (i.e., 2013), Elliot Page shared with Conan O'Brien that he could juggle—two-handed and one-handed, and for longer than expected! He explained that he grew up on sets and joked that it was the skill he developed as a lonely child.

Bruce Willis

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Few people know that Bruce Willis has released several albums as a singer, and has been part of a band (The Accelerators), but even fewer people know that he has played the harmonica. Apparently, years ago, he showed off singing and harmonica to an impressed crowd!

Johnny Cash

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Did you know? Johnny Cash served in the Air Force for four years and specifically West Germany. He was a morse code operator, intercepting Soviet Army transmissions. According to his daughter, he was the first person to learn of Joseph Stalin's death.

Chris Evans

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Chris Evans has been playing the piano since he was young, and can apparently "fake it" on the drums and play the guitar. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he treated his fans to some impromptu concerts on his Instagram Stories. "Learning one of my favorites by Fabrizio Paterlini," he added.

The Rock

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If you liked the film Moana (and who doesn't?), you already know Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson can sing. But did you know he can also play the ukulele? During his Journey 2 The Mysterious Island press tour he played and sang "What a Wonderful World," just as his character does in the film!

Bob Barker

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The media personality and host of The Price Is Right, Bob Barker was apparently a black belt in karate. He demonstrated some skills in Happy Gilmore, and according to Uproxx, he bristled at the idea he might lose the fight as originally written. “'I trained with Chuck [Norris],' Barker told Sandler. 'We trained every night. He helps me with my punches and my kicks, but I have to win this fight.'”

Jake Gyllenhaal

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Jake Gyllenhaal can sing! That might not be a surprise to you if you watched him host Saturday Night Live in 2024 (he sang Boyz II Men’s “End Of The Road,” hilariously), but if you look hard enough on the internet, there are plenty of examples of his abilities.

Idris Elba

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Idris Elba has been DJing since he was a kid, which means he's been doing it for decades by this point. He even DJed at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding! "It was my gift to my friends," he told Jimmy Kimmel, adding that he even got to play some uncensored Dr. Dre.

Bob Dylan

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In 2013, Bob Dylan displayed a metal-work sculpture exhibition for the very first time even though he's been welding since the '70s. He often creates gates out of used metal, saying, "Gates appeal to me because of the negative space they allow...They can shut you out or shut you in. And in some ways there is no difference."

Tom Cruise

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At this point, the question really is: can Tom Cruise do everything? Aside from a funny Donald Duck impression, his only other "hidden" talent is fencing: it doesn't appear that he's ever done it for a role, but Will Smith once explained that Cruise loves the hobby so much he got Smith and David Beckham interested in it too.

Katherine J. Igoe
Contributing Editor

Katherine’s a contributing syndications editor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle. In her role, she writes stories that are syndicated by MSN and other outlets. She’s been a full-time freelancer for over a decade and has had roles with Cosmopolitan (where she covered lifestyle, culture, and fashion SEO content) and Bustle (where she was their movies and culture writer). She has bylines in New York TimesParentsInStyle, Refinery29, and elsewhere. Her work has also been syndicated by ELLEHarper’s BazaarSeventeenGood Housekeeping, and Women’s Health, among others. In addition to her stories reaching millions of readers, content she's written and edited has qualified for a Bell Ringer Award and received a Communicator Award. 

Katherine has a BA in English and art history from the University of Notre Dame and an MA in art business from the Sotheby's Institute of Art (with a focus on marketing/communications). She covers a wide breadth of topics: she's written about how to find the very best petite jeanshow sustainable travel has found its footing on Instagram, and what it's like to be a professional advice-giver in the modern world. Her personal essays have run the gamut from learning to dress as a queer woman to navigating food allergies as a mom. She also has deep knowledge of SEO/EATT, affiliate revenue, commerce, and social media; she regularly edits the work of other writers. She speaks at writing-related events and podcasts about freelancing and journalism, mentors students and other new writers, and consults on coursework. Currently, Katherine lives in Boston with her husband and two kids, and you can follow her on Instagram. If you're wondering about her last name, it’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.