The Avengers sphere has launched the careers of some of Hollywood’s biggest stars since the Marvel Cinematic Universe kicked off with Iron Man in 2008. Since then, this multi-billion-dollar franchise has become a staple within the pop cultural zeitgeist
These actors and actresses vary widely from high school dropouts to alumni of prestigious institutions.
So, how far did the cast of Avengers go in school. let’s catch up on the educational backgrounds of our favorite stars.According to late Marvel co-creator Stan Lee, Robert Downey Jr. was “born to be” Tony Stark/Iron Man. he made his on-screen debut at the age of 5 in Robert Downey Sr.’s movie Pound. his parents moved around a lot for work during this time and he learned the craft along the way. While receiving an education in various cities, Downey notably studied classical ballet at the Perry House in London and trained in acting, he dropped out of Santa Monica High School and went on to focus on his acting career.
Captain America found success without a degree: Chris Evans — who portrayed the first Avenger, Steve Rogers/Captain America — always knew he wanted to be an actor. According to The New York Times, he spent his youth performing in school plays in his Massachusetts hometown, where he was voted “Most Theatrical” likely due to his Shakespearean performances school. After graduating high school in the late ’90s, the aspiring actor moved directly to New York City to pursue his professional career.
Mark Ruffalo gained international recognition for his portrayal of physicist Bruce Banner, a.k.a. The Hulk. However, he got his start as a wrestling star with a secret passion for acting in school in Virginia Beach, Va., where he struggled with undiagnosed dyslexia, ADHD, and depression.
With his parents’ support, the aspiring actor skipped the college applications and quietly pursued his career in San Diego, Calif., but later admitted to New York Magazine, “I lied to all my friends and told them I was going to UCSD … ’cause I felt it was unrealistic to be an actor.”
Chris Hemsworth received his secondary education and launched his career in the soap opera circuit, after training in acting and reportedly mastering an American accent at the Screenwise Film & TV school for Actors in Sydney.
Ahead of filming the first Thor movie, Hemsworth was aware that he was one of the only cast members who didn’t have a prestigious educational background, but never viewed this as a disadvantage.
Speaking to Film Festival Traveler, Chris Hemsworth said whether it’s a soap or whether it’s classic theater … just work hard and be open to exploring different ideas and taking risks and going with the spontaneity of it all.”
Scarlett Johansson — the MCU’s very own Russian spy, Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow — already had several movies under her belt by the time she was 19
the actress began her career when she was a child. Amid commercial auditions, dance lessons, and work in theater and film, she studied acting at the prestigious Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute for Kids and the Professional Children’s School. “Acting has been a passion of mine,” Johansson told the Independent in 2005
Jeremy Renner already had about three dozen credits to his name — and two Oscar nominations to boot — before landing the role of archer Clint Barton, a.k.a. Hawkeye. However, this bona fide movie star’s initial venture into acting was a total fluke. While studying computer science and criminology at Modesto Junior College in his California hometown in the early ’90s, he took a drama course and immediately caught the acting bug.
The British star was first drawn to acting at the age of 13 while boarding at the prestigious Eton College in London amid his parents’ divorce. Calling the experience “really distressing,” Hiddleston told The Mirror, “Acting presented a way of expelling those feelings in a safe place.” He majored in Classics at the University of Cambridge, before studying acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. While his privileged training has remained a hot topic throughout his career, Hiddleston has often spoken out against unequal access and opportunity within the acting profession.
According to The New York Times, Olsen majored in theater at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and took classes at the Atlantic Theater Company, while scoring roles in various indie films. “I think it’s important to finish something you start,” she told The Irish Times in 2017, having graduated with her bachelor’s degree four years earlier. “I loved that so much. I didn’t want to graduate high school and go straight into movies. I wanted to study theatre and come out with a degree.”
Long before portraying the King of Wakanda, a.k.a. T’Challa/Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman had his sights set on writing and directing while earning his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Directing at Howard University in Washington, D.C. After attending a summer program at Oxford, Boseman studied at the Digital Film Academy and taught drama at New York City’s Schomburg Center, before moving to Los Angeles to become an actor.
Perhaps best known for portraying teen Peter Parker/Spider-Man in the MCU, Tom Holland’s been working professionally in the industry since he was 12 years old. Having gotten his start as the title character in Billy Elliot in London, he attended secondary school at Wimbledon College, where he was unfortunately bullied for being a dancer.
“There is quite a bit of pressure on me at school … to perform well,” Holland told The Scotsman in 2012, “but I guess everyone has to go through that.”
Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch was already a tongue twister of a household name long before landing the role of Dr. Stephen Strange in 2016. The actor was initially set on becoming a lawyer and had once received an arts scholarship. However, as his drama teacher told The Guardian in 2010, Cumberbatch was “the best schoolboy actor [he’d] ever worked with,” and he instead pursued a drama degree at Manchester University.
6-year-old Larson became the youngest person to attend the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, Calif., before graduating high school at the age of 15. However, she never lost her thirst for knowledge. Back in 2013. The Guardian described the movie star as “a keen autodidact,” noting that she was taking several online courses through Coursera and iTunes U, learning French, Greek mythology, and poetry.