Celebrities are proving that you don’t need to spend your days hidden away in a lab to come up with some pretty useful inventions. In fact, you can be an inventor while simultaneously starring in a feature film. This list of celebrity inventors, from the practical to the completely wacky, shows that creative genius can come from just about anywhere. Read on for some truly uncanny inventions by your favorite celebs!
1. Charlie Sheen’s Cap Cure
Sometimes a person’s best ideas come from the strangest circumstances. Take, for example, what led Two And A Half Men’s Charlie Sheen to patent an invention that no one had ever thought of, but probably a few wish they had on hand. And just to think, it all came to him when he was driving in his car trying to multitask.
Sheen revealed that he invented a lip balm dispenser that had a retractable cap, rather than the common packaging that comes with a removable cap. Sheen came up with the idea when he was trying to apply Chapstick while driving and was frustrated that he was not able to do it one-handed. He pitched the design to Chapstick, but they passed on Sheen’s invention.
2. Christie Brinkley’s Letter Learner
You can’t spell supermodel without Christie Brinkley. Okay, maybe that is not true. But there’s a point to this. On top of being one of the world’s top models for years, Brinkley was also an inventor who came up with a new way to teach children the alphabet.
Learning all 26 letters of the English alphabet can be hard. But Brinkley figured out that all the letters can be broken down into 7 small parts. Those parts can then be put together in different ways to form different letters. Now, enter Brinkley’s design. Her invention let children use 7 different magnetic pieces and a magnetic board to put together letters, and ultimately learn the alphabet.
3. Jamie Lee Curtis’ Diaper Dilemma
Actress Jamie Lee Curtis has played the mother role in a few movies, from True Lies to Freaky Friday. In real life, Curtis is also the mother of two adopted children. Put it all together, and we’d say Curtis knows what it means to be a mom, both on and off screen. So she went on to create an invention made for motherhood.
Between handling a baby and all the accessories that come with childcare, it can be a real handful. So Curtis designed a diaper that has a pocket for clean-up wipes attached right to it. But we probably won’t see the seal-able diaper pocket anytime soon, as Curtis has vowed not to manufacture the invention until diapers become biodegradable.
4. Fabio’s Diet Drink
It is summer time and nothing is better than grabbing a cheesy romance novel and escaping to the beach. And depending on how cheesy you like your romance novels, there’s a strong chance that famed book cover model Fabio Lanzoni will be joining you on the beach trip. But Fabio is here to get everyone beach ready in a whole other way.
Fabio has applied for a patent for a fat burning water product that promises to help slim down its customers. The water contains L-carnitine, which is supposed to help burn stubborn fat cells. Fabio’s water, his book, and a beach is all anyone needs to be ready for the summer.
5. Paula Abdul’s Big Stand
Anyone who has ever played with one of those punching bag clowns will understand this wacky invention. The design of those toys makes it so that it’s half-sphere base allows it to be punched, and automatically snap back into an upright position. But what exactly does this have to do with Paula Abdul?
Abdul created a microphone stand that works kind of like the punching bag clown. Instead of a flat base, her microphone stand sits on top of a half-spherical base that allows singers to move around, but never fall off the stand. If anyone has trouble imagining how this one would work out, then wait until you see some of the other celebrity inventions on this list.
6. Prince’s New Keys
Prince has come up with some pretty wacky ideas. Take, for example, that time he changed his name from Prince to just a symbol with no name, causing fans to refer to him as “the artist formerly known as Prince.” But his creativity did not stop there.
Prince actually developed his own instrument, a portable keyboard that his band actually used on stage. Prince’s version of the “keytar” was dubbed the Purpleaxxe, and, in true Prince form, was purple and resembled his now famous Prince symbol. But, believe it or not, Prince’s fusion between a keyboard and a guitar is not even the most out-of-the-box musical invention on this list.
7. Eddie Van Halen’s Guitar Genius
Eddie Van Halen, of the band aptly named Van Halen, is famous for his two-handed guitar technique. The only problem? While Van Halen is definitely an animal on the guitar, he is not an octopus. So with both hands flying up and down the neck of his guitar, how is he supposed to hold it up? Luckily, Van Halen found a way.
The famed guitarist actually invented an add-on to his musical instrument. The device strapped onto his waist so it could be attached to him, hands-free, allowing him to hold the neck of his guitar with two hands without worrying that it will fall. Sounds like someone was getting a little too attached to their instrument.
8. George Lucas’ Action Invention
First and foremost, George Lucas is known for being the creator of the Star Wars franchise. And we’d say that is already a pretty impressive invention in itself. Or there’s that time that he invented the Indiana Jones series. Another impressive invention.
But Lucas was also the man behind the invention of Star Wars action figures. He actually got the patent for characters like C-3PO and Yoda, along with a few cult favorite characters like Boba Fett. So whenever anyone buys a Star Wars action figure, they have Lucas to thank … twice. And Lucas is not the only one to take inspiration from his own movies to create a new invention, there are plenty more where that came from.
9. Michael Jackson’s Dancing Duds
In one of his most famous dance moves besides the moonwalk, Michael Jackson seemed to defy gravity by leaning forward with straightened legs at a nearly 45 degree angle to the ground. The move, which was first seen in his music video for Smooth Criminal, seemed impossible. And behind the scenes, Jackson had some help from an invention he created.
To assist with this dance move, Jackson created a shoe unlike anyone had seen before. The heel of the shoe could attach to a hook on the floor, anchoring his feet as he leaned forward, and creating the perfect illusion. So next time you nearly fall forward trying the dance move, know that it’s not you, it’s just your shoes!
10. Julie Newmar’s Suit Solution
Unofficially, actress Julie Newmar basically invented one of the most popular Halloween costumes of all time. Well, she did not technically invent the Catwoman costume, but she rocked it so well that generations after her have donned the tight black catsuit for decades. But officially, she also was a real inventor.
Newmar created a undergarment similar to control top tights or the popular brand Spanx. But instead of sucking a woman’s figure in, Newmar’s invention celebrated curves and accentuated the backside in particular. The underwear is able to flatten someone’s stomach, without flattening everything else. It is probably the perfect thing to wear under, let’s just say, a catsuit.
11. Andy Warhol’s Five Faces
It seems that these days everybody wants their 15 minutes of fame. But did you know that it was actually pop artist Andy Warhol who coined the iconic phrase? And that was not his only invention. In fact, he created something that allows you to count every single minute of that newfound fame, five times over.
File this one under “things no one really asked for:” Warhol created a five-faced watch. It’s basically a watch that has multiple faces on it, replacing the traditional band. The patent does not really explain his thoughts behind the design, but we going to go ahead and let the artist keep his creative inspiration close. We wouldn’t want to disrupt the process.
12. Bill Nye’s Ballet Box
Bill Nye is known for being a “science guy.” So it is not a huge surprise that Nye has taken his scientific credentials and applied them to create some new inventions. But what exactly did he create? Well, that is where the story gets a little more surprising.
Nye seems to be a fan of ballet dancing, or at least it seems so judging by his patent. The Science Guy created a new type of pointe ballet slipper. This new shoe takes into account the pressure put on a dancer’s body. Nye’s shoe has what he calls a “toe box” that provides a little extra support for ballet dancers. And if you’ve seen any dance movie where the dancer grimaces as he or she takes off their ballet slippers, we’d say this invention is definitely necessary.
13. Steven Spielberg’s Script Saver
Sometimes people come up with ideas that are totally outside their usual line of work. Sometimes, inventors come up with ideas based on what they wish they had as they try to get their work done. Award-winning director Steven Spielberg falls into the second category of inventors.
Spielberg got himself a patent for a audio editing device that lets users annotate documents, and of course scripts, from just about anywhere. Instead of having to sit down and type your comments out – because someone like Spielberg clearly does not have time for all that nonsense – a user can just add their notes verbally to any document, anytime, anywhere.
14. Neil Young’s Train Tech
Famed musician Neil Young has been rocking our radios and Rockin’ in the Free World. He’s been named one of the greatest rock and roll artists to ever live, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. But when he’s not performing rock and roll, he’s got another thing rolling.
Young is, oddly enough, a huge model train enthusiast. He’s invented a few contraptions related to model trains (7 patents to be exact) and worked with a model train development company. Some of his inventions include a programmable control system, and a model train that used electromagnetic waves. Talk about taking your passion to a whole new level!
15. Marc Jacobs’ 007 Ring
Fashion designers patent their latest clothing designs all of the time. So it is not surprise that designer Marc Jacobs has a few inventions in his repertoire. But there is one that stands out among his long list of garment patents, and this one in particular is fit for a secret agent.
Jacobs invented a ring with a few hidden compartments inside. To access them, you have to rotate and align the ring in a certain way. Inside, there are nooks for storage. But what might one store in a tiny ring? That’s what we are not quite sure about. Marc, care to explain?
16. Abraham Lincoln’s Boat Bellows
Before Former President Abraham Lincoln was leading the United States and giving his famed Gettysburg Address, he was addressing some very different problems. Prior to his presidency, he was moving hauls up and down the Mississippi River, and coming up with some pretty cool inventions.
When Lincoln’s boat was once stuck in a shallow portion of a river, he got an idea. He decided to create the design for a boat that had bellows in the bottom portion. According to his plans, sailors could fill those bellows with air to almost float the boat out of the shallow portions of the river. Lincoln’s invention was never sold, but, luckily, he went on to share even bigger, bolder ideas as president.
17. Mark Twain’s Scrappy Idea
Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, has brought us classic novels that explore the adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. But in his spare time, he was also trying to bring the world new inventions as well.
It turns out that Twain was not just into writing books, he was also a fan of scrapbooking. After being sick of hand-gluing all of his memories into the pages of scrapbooks, he invented a self-adhesive alternative. The scrapbook’s pages were basically the same material as an envelope. All a scrap booker had to do was wet a part of the page, and their memories would stick right on.
18. Marlon Brando’s Own Drumbeat
Marlon Brando has been called one of the greatest actors of his time, and possibly ever. From his roles in The Godfather to Apocalypse Now, Brando proved himself as a gifted thespian. But behind the scenes, he was also a gifted bongo player. And in the (sort of) words of Don Vito Corleone, Brando was about to offer the drumming world an offer it couldn’t refuse.
Many people know about tuning up a guitar, but what many people do not know is that drums also lose their tensions and need to be tuned. The whole process can be super time-consuming. So Brando patented his own automatic drum tuner. But he wasn’t the only celebrity inventor marching to his own drum beat.
19. Hedy Lamarr’s Show-Stopping Signal
Hedy Lamarr is a true example of having both brains and beauty, as the bright young actress was an even brighter inventor. And many may not realize that they have her to thank when they are searching the Internet, or even reading this article.
Lamarr was the brains behind creating a technology meant to block torpedoes during World War II. The signal she created could not be jammed, and was later used to develop the technologies used in WiFi, GPS and Bluetooth. So next time someone streams a Hedy Lamarr movie, know that she not only acted in it, she made it possible to get it over the Internet.
20. James Cameron’s Deep Diving Dolly
Between Ghosts of the Abyss and Titanic, it seems director James Cameron has a thing for water. But here’s the problem: filming under water can be a huge pain. It not only costs a ton of money, but even the best equipment is lacking when it comes to capturing that perfect under water shot. So Cameron decided to fix that problem with his invention.
Cameron’s invention is basically an underwater dolly, where a camera man can use a propeller-like device to film scenes while submerged. There is a camera at the front of the dolly, and the propellers at the side make it easier for a film crew to get the perfect shot. We’re wondering why no one used this to find Rose’s necklace.
21. Harry Houdini’s Diving Design
Everyone knows Harry Houdini as the illusionist and stunt performer, with his death-defying acts leaving audiences breathless. From escaping performances where he was buried alive to finding his way out of a straitjacket under water, it seemed that there was nothing Houdini couldn’t do, including inventing.
So it might come as no surprise that when Houdini wanted to invent something new, it had an escape artist edge to it. Houdini created a diving suit that was easily removable under water. He wanted divers who found themselves in dire situations to become escape artists of their own, and save their own lives.
22. Francis Ford Coppola’s Scratchy Shirt
A much beloved film director, Francis Ford Coppola is well versed in the world of Hollywood stardom. And in an atmosphere where many deals are struck with an “I scratch your back, you scratch mine,” mentality, it seems some of that mindset made its way into Coppola’s inventions.
Maybe this is why Coppola invented a shirt that is apparently meant to be used for back scratching. His patent shows a shirt with a turtle shell design, with each square in the shell labeled with a number. Coppola explained that the shirt was meant to identify different spots on a person’s back by number, for things such as, say, scratching a friend’s back.
23. Richard Dreyfuss’ Sound Sheet
From his roles in Jaws, Stand By Me, American Graffiti and Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, it seems that actor Richard Dreyfuss can take on just about anything. But think again, because from his patent, it seems that Dreyfuss has just a little bit of trouble learning how to read sheet music.
But luckily for Dreyfuss and musically challenged people like him, the actor invented a whole new way to read music. His new system focuses on visual learners. Instead of the regular sheet music, he decided to use visual representations of music notes that look a little like blobs. How’s that for hitting the right note?
24. Steve McQueen’s Seat Solution
Academy Award nominated actor Steve McQueen was once dubbed “The King of Cool.” And while he did not exactly invent the concept of what is “cool,” the once highest paid actor did invent something else that was, well, pretty cool.
McQueen reportedly at one point entertained the idea of becoming a professional racer, and was passionate about race car driving (you can see some of his abilities in movies like The Great Escape and Bullitt). That passion led him to invent his own bucket seat, meant specifically for race cars. He filed his own patent, and added yet another impressive accolade onto his resume.
25. Gary Burghoff’s Restroom Renovation
Stars are just like us! They go out to restaurants, they hang out with friends, and, apparently, they are just as grossed out by public restrooms as everyone else. Who even knew they used public restrooms? Anyway, apparently Gary Burghoff of M*A*S*H fame has, and his invention reflects his disgust.
This might explain why Burghoff created a toilet seat handle, which gives users the ability to lift and lower the seat without having to get their own hands dirty. The invention is perfect for germaphobes, and for just about anyone who recognizes that changing the position of a toilet seat just isn’t ideal.
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