60 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Were Scientologists

by: Nico Lang

While writing my Tom Cruise piece, I did some research on the presence of Scientology in Hollywood and the bevy of stars that got mad love for Xenu.  Even Marlon Brando was once tempted by the powers of thetan, while getting a massage from John Travolta.  (Although that may have secretly been about something else.)  With Brando in mind, I thought I’d share 30 Scientologists past and 30 present that may surprise you, including one Scientology internet rumor so wonderful I wish it were true. I curse you for lying to me, Al Gore.

Current Members:

1. Jenna Elfman

How you know her: Greg’s wacky, new-age wife on Dharma and Greg.  She’s like the Sweetheart of Scientology, which is a thing, I guess.

2. Leah Remini

How you know her: The woman who was way too hot to be with Kevin James on The King of Queens and who sends her fans Scientology pamphlets in response to fan mail.  She also gives the worst party favors ever.

3. Greta Van Susteren

How you know her: “Personality” on Fox News who I’m told is a totally different person than Ann Coulter.

4. Elizabeth Moss

How you know her: Actress who plays Peggy on Mad Men and allegedly ruined Fred Armisen’s life with Scientology, which will eventually make for a great skit on Portlandia.

 5. Linda Blair

How you know her:  Former child actress who masturbated with a crucifix in The Exorcist and would discuss it in therapy for the rest of her life.

6. Jason Lee

How you know him: Actor who named his kid Pilot Inspektor and pined after a goateed Ben Affleck in Chasing Amy.

7. Erika Christensen

How you know her: Stalked Jesse Bradford in Swimfan.  And probably in real life, because she had two eyes and had to act with him shirtless every day.  Even Xenu gets tempted by the secular, terrestrial flesh.

8. Kirstie Alley

How you know her: From her supporting role in The Wrath of Khan, obviously.  Foreshadowing.

9. Jason Dohring

How you know him: The dude who played Tucker-Max-knock-off Logan on Veronica Mars and repeatedly broke Veronica’s heart.  But he was, like, totally misunderstood, which in serialized teen drama logic gets you a pass.

10. Laura Prepon

How you know her: That 70’s Show actress converted to the religion by her then-boyfriend Chris Masterson (sibling of co-star Danny Masterson)—which is, I guess, nicer than getting crabs from him.  Although crabs is easier to get rid of.  Just ask Katie Holmes.

11. Danny Masterson

How you know him: The guy from That 70’s Show who deserved to be with a creepily young Mila Kunis so much more than Ashton Kutcher did.

12. Christopher Masterson

How you know him: Danny Masterson’s brother and Malcolm’s older brother on Malcolm in the Middle. He’s like the evil twin of Neil Patrick Harris, which would make for an excellent porn. Just saying.

13. Bijou Phillips

How you know her: The daughter of John Phillips from The Mamas and the Papas — who acts in things sometimes to remind people she still exists.

14. Doug E. Fresh

How you know him: Seminal rapper who is not to be confused with Doug E. Doug, the actor who appeared Disney’s remake of That Darn Cat with Christina Ricci.  Although Doug E. Fresh really should have been in that instead of Doug E. Doug.  For the street cred.

15. Nancy Cartwright

How you know her:  The voice of Bart Simpson, a character she used to promote Scientology back in 2009—through making cold calls on behalf of the religion. 

16. Anne Archer

How you know her: Survivor of Michael Douglas’ philandering in Fatal Attraction, which in Hollywood is good enough to get you an Oscar nomination.

17. Peaches Geldof

How you know her: Daughter of Bob Geldof’s and a “journalist.”  She is best known from having a name that inspired a million cocktail drinks.  (Note: This is not Peaches the singer.  That would make me deeply depressed.)

18. Juliette Lewis

How you know her: Actress who was in The Other Sister with fellow Scientologist Giovanni Ribisi, a connection that makes me very uncomfortable to think about.

19. Giovanni Ribisi

How you know him: Brother of Phoebe Buffay.

20. Beck

How you know him: A loser who wants to defy the logic of your sex laws.  Actually a second-generation Scientologist, because that’s a thing.

21. Karen Black

How you know her: The lady who landed the plane in Airport and in the Family Guy send-up of Airport — a parody that was in no way twenty years too late and which I’m sure a lot of people got. Black usually photographs a lot better than this.

22. Sonny Bono

How you know him: Former love and singing partner of Cher who ran into a tree while skiing and inspired Cher’s best single. [1]

23. Edgar Winter

How you know him: Albino lead singer of The Edgar Winter Group who reminded you to take a free ride in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie.

24. Ethan Suplee

How you know him: Earl’s dim-witted sidekick in My Name is Earl and the intermittently goth sidekick of Ashton Kutcher in The Butterfly Effect.

25. Chaka Khan

How you know her: Wonderfully stage-named singer known as the “Queen of Funk.” Khan has skirted admitting she’s a Scientologist, while still repeatedly bringing up the religion in interviews.

26. Priscilla Presley

How you know her: Former wife of Elvis Presley and one-woman economic stimulus for the plastic surgery industry.

27. Lisa Marie Presley

How you know her: Daughter of Priscilla and Elvis Presley who married Michael Jackson that one time and has to have the most wild stories imaginable.  Let’s do coffee anytime, Lisa.  I can shave those secrets right out of your hair.

28. Catherine Bell

How you know her: Actress in JAG, which may be one of the most asking-for-puns titles in TV history.

29. Lynsey Bartilson

How you know her:  Person whose only major role was as the daughter in Fox’s Grounded for Life, which was, at it’s peak, the 87th most-watched show on TV. In it’s fourth season, it finished in 187th.  On the WB.  Meaning you don’t.  (Clearly Scientology advances all careers.)

30. Will Smith

How you know him: Actor who is in a lot of sequels instead of the new Quentin Tarantino movie like he should be.  Will Smith has never confirmed his membership in Scientology, despite making numerous multi-million-dollar donations to the church over the years.  Because I always give my money to religions I don’t believe in. Instead, Smith claims that he just hangs out with a lot of Scientologists, which is kind of like when guys will put their penis in your mouth but claim they aren’t gay, just hangin’ like a bro.  Inside your face.

Former Members:

1. Patrick Swayze

How you know him: Ghost who gave you dirty dreams after Dirty Dancing.

2. J.D. Salinger

How you know him:  Famously reclusive author who may have been in hiding only to stay away from Scientology, just like Katie Holmes.

3. Sharon Stone

How you know her: Basic Instinct actress who insists on showing the world her vagina and is possibly too “out there” for Scientology.

4. Mikhail Barishnikyov

How you know him: World-famous ballet dancer who was way too good for Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City.  As a former adherent, he no longer possesses thetans but still absolutely possesses dat ass.

5. Candice Bergen

How you know her: Mortal enemy of Dan Quayle, that Vice President who didn’t know how to spell “potato.”

6. Leonard Cohen

How you know him: Music’s favorite misogynist and depresser of all human beings who sang the classic tunes “Hallelujah” and “Famous Blue Raincoat.” He has never had sex with a woman he couldn’t be melancholic about later.

7. William S. Burroughs

How you know him: Enjoyer of Naked Lunches and of being totally out of his mind, which is unsurprising to anyone who has read any of his novels.

8. Christopher Reeve

How you know him: Now-deceased Superman who no one is allowed to make jokes about, lest God and Meryl Streep smite you directly.

9. Darby Crash

How you know him:  Lead singer of The Germs who died thirty years before he could stop Shane West from playing him in a movie.

10. Brandy Norwood

How you know her: Kobe Bryant classmate, Moesha actress and stealth fashionista who spawned the greatest Tumblr account of all time.  Brandy claims she “just took classes” and is no longer a member.  We’ll take your word for it, boo.

11. Jeffrey Tambor

How you know him:  AS GEORGE MOTHEREFFING BLUTH.  There are literally too many good jokes here to pick just one.  Escaped from Scientology as of 2008, meaning that he may have been a Scientologist during the entire filming of Arrested Development.

12. Demi Moore

How you know her: Actress who got cheated on by Ashton Kutcher, which is further proof that That 70’s Show ruins peoples’ lives.  (Also, Kutcher seems to be connected to a lot of people on this list. Is he the Kevin Bacon of Scientology?)

13. Shirley MacLaine

How you know her: America’s favorite slightly-touched-in-the-head grandma, who explained to the world in Steel Magnolias that she “isn’t crazy; she’s just been in a very bad mood for 40 years.” Shirley MacLaine is related to Warren Beatty, so that’s understandable.

14. Gordon Lightfoot

How you know him:  Singer who wrecked the Edmund Fitzgerald and won’t stop apologizing for it on classic rock stations.  It’s been over 30 years, Gordon.  We’re over it.

15. The Incredible String Band

How you know them: You actually might not, unless you happen to be really into psychedelic British folk music from the 1960’s and 70’s.  If you are, call me.

16. Gloria Swanson

How you know her:  Sunset Boulevard actress ready for her close up, thetans and a million drag impersonations.  One of the earliest celebrities to consider Dianetics.

17. Ricky Martin

How you know him: Former liver of la vida loca and banger of shes who is gay now and was probably gay while flirting with Scientology. Just gonna put that out there for no particular reason.

18. Rock Hudson

How you know him:  Serial dater of Doris Day in classic films, which is enough to make anyone gay.

19. Kate Capshaw

How you know her: Woman who screamed a lot in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.  She also boinks Steven Spielberg a lot.

20. Brad Pitt

How you know him:  You are alive and pay attention to anything.

21. Olivia D’Abo

How you know her: Actress from Kicking and Screaming, The Wonder Years and Star Trek: The Next Generation.  She also doesn’t respond to any of my love letters.

22. Oliver Stone

How you know him:  Once-relevant director determined to make you rethink liking JFK, Born on the Fourth of July, Platoon and Natural Born Killers.  May have escaped Xenu but couldn’t escape Alexander.

23. Van Morrison

How you know him: Soft-rock troubadour who remembers when you used to sing “Sh-la-la-la-la-la-la.”

24. Soleil Moon Frye

How you know her: Actress who played Punky Brewster and strangely was not named by Frank Zappa.

25. Emilio Estevez

How you know him: The most well-adjusted member of the Estevez clan—whose brother’s antics help to make him look more and more normal with each passing day.  Also, Estevez duct-taped Anthony Michael Hall’s friend’s butt cheeks together in The Breakfast Club but then felt bad about it.

26. Nicole Kidman

How you know her: Second person to escape a Tom Cruise marriage and live to not be able to tell the tale—per the threat of lawsuits.

27. Jerry Seinfeld

How you know him: Comedian who can’t figure out airline peanuts and, apparently, couldn’t figure out what the deal is with Scientology either.  He left after taking some classes over 30 years ago and jokes that it’s not even the “craziest thing” on his resume.  (See instead: Bee Movie.)

28. Paul Haggis

How you know him: Oscar-winning director who beat out the gay cowboys for Best Picture by having Sandra Bullock fall down the stairs and learn about racism. Haggis is an outspoken opponent of Scientology since leaving the church in 2009 for supporting Proposition 8, saying that the decision was “a stain on the integrity of our organization and a stain on us personally. Our public association with that hate-filled legislation shames us.”  Gay cowboys, I think ya’ll are even.

29. Gloria Gaynor

How you know her: Disco legend who is a different person than Donna Summer and is not dead.

30. Charles Manson

How you know him:  Took Scientology classes and then murdered a bunch of people, after deciding that Scienology was “too crazy” for him.  Process that.

Bonus: Rob Thomas

How you know him: The lead singer of Matchbox Twenty, who sadly is not actually a Scientologist. However, he was for a couple weeks, at least as far as the internet was concerned. A rumor surfaced that he was having a Scientology-spawned extra-martial affair with Tom Cruise, and Thomas responded to the gossip by saying that a) he was more offended that people thought he was a Scientologist than gay and b) he’s more a Brad Pitt kind of guy. Such a classy response makes me really wish I liked Matchbox Twenty more.


[1] Included here because he didn’t leave Scientology before he died.

Nico Lang is the Co-Creator and Co-Editor of In Our Words and a graduate student in DePaul University’s Media & Cinema Studies program. Lang is a Change Coordinator for LGBT Change, the Co-Founder of Chicago’s Queer Intercollegiate Alliance and a columnist for HEAVEMedia. At HEAVE, Nico writes a column on film called Found Footage and talks about nerd stuff on a weekly podcast called Pod People. Elsewhere in podcasting, Lang hosts Broad Shoulders, a monthly podcast for Chicago’s Live Lit community. Nico is also a contributor at Thought Catalog and the Huffington Post and has been featured in the Washington PostChicago TribuneLA Times, The New Gay, The Guardian and on their mother’s refrigerator. Follow Nico on Twitter @Nico_Lang or on the Facebook.

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5 responses to “60 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Were Scientologists

  1. I will never forgive you for the split second you made me think that Neil Patrick Harris was a scientologist.

  2. Pingback: Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection·

  3. The list was fine, some shockers and some ‘I’m not surprised’.
    My only concern is your mislabeling of Leonard Cohen as a misogynist, this is an absurd and libelous claim, listen to his lyrics, he clearly adores women and is not abashed about human sexuality in the slightest.
    If his music appealed to teenagers or intelligent young people, it would have to have tipper gores’ vapid little warning stickers on it, it’s so clearly erotic and moving.

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