Author: Nicole Biton


Yesterday, Cornell’s Convocation Committee announced that actor and filmmaker James Franco would speak to graduating seniors at the convocation ceremony in May. Known for his roles in Spiderman, Pineapple Express and 127 Hours, Franco has earned his name as a respected and versatile actor (and, to anyone with eyes, a dreamboat). Cornellians, needless to say, are excited about the decision.


But Franco is more than just an actor. In fact, over his career he’s acquired a resume that would intimidate even the most overachieving Cornellian. He’s also made a name for himself through his various hobbies and quirks, and has remained candid about his past and private life. Here are 9 James Franco facts we bet you didn’t already know:


1. Franco was initially a college dropout.


After graduating high school, Franco enrolled at UCLA where he planned to study English. He dropped out after his freshman year to become an actor, but later re-enrolled and graduated in 2008 with a degree in English with a creative writing concentration. And people say English degrees are useless…


2. He worked at McDonald’s to support himself while he pursued a career as an actor.


Can you imagine rolling up to the drive-thru window to James Franco handing you your Big Mac with fries? *swoon*


3. He now has multiple degrees.


In addition to his degree from UCLA, Franco has an MFA from Columbia and is currently enrolled as a PhD student at Yale. While he pursued these degrees, he was simultaneously enrolled in NYU Tisch, Brooklyn College and Rhode Island School for Design. Feel unaccomplished yet?


4. His favorite word is “scotch”.


Franco revealed this during his interview for Inside the Actor’s Studio, explaining that he “likes the way it sounds”.


5. In high school, he was part of a gang that stole and resold designer colognes.


I guess he really is a jack of all trades.


6. He’s taught courses in Film and English at multiple universities.


These include UCLA, NYU, USC and CalArts.


7. He’s a published author.


In 2010, he released a collection of short stories called Palo Alto and I bet you’re already on your way to see if the Cornell Store has a copy.


8. He’s low-key a painter.


Having always used painting as a creative outlet, Franco has since featured his paintings in galleries and sold them to other celebrities. He even painted the canvases featured in his home in his 2013 film This is the End.


9. He was Bar Mitzvah’ed last year.


Franco was raised Jewish, but it wasn’t until last year that he decided to have a traditional Bar Mitzvah at the age of 37. Long-time friend and fellow Seth Rogen hosted a star-studded party in Franco’s honor for Hilarity for Charity to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association. Still a little confused as to how he had time to study for his Torah portion while pursuing his PhD, but mazal tov!