Celebrities — they’re just like us! Except that unlike the non-famous, celebs have mountains of disposable income and ample downtime between projects to indulge their hobbies. If you had that luxury, wouldn’t you splurge on a few coveted, rare and expensive items? No surprise that plenty of Hollywood’s best-known names have assembled a wide range of esoteric and expansive collections. Here are the ones whose particularly geeky personal obsessions are the envy of us here at Blastr.
12 celebrities with cool and geeky collections
1. Quentin Tarantino - Board Games
Anyone who’s seen a Tarantino movie will quickly realize that the director has a fondness for obscure and not-so-obscure genre films, particularly from the 1970s and 1980s. What the films don’t show is that Tarantino’s love of that era extends to his big collection of board games based on movies and TV. In an interview with Rolling Stone in 1994 (around the time that Pulp Fiction hit theatres, but before the director was the cult icon he is today), Tarantino said that he originally tried to buy vintage movie and TV-themed lunch boxes, but found them overpriced. “I like the idea of collecting board games because they have a function, you can actually play and have a good time,” Tarantino said in a 1996 talk show appearance. He’s shown reporters his copy of the game Universe, a Pentominoes game that was meant to appear in 2001: A Space Odyssey (there’s even stills from the movie on the box) before it was swapped out for the more familiar game chess.
2. Mike Tyson - X-Men Action Figures
The former heavyweight boxing champion has an extensive collection of X-Men action figures. According to his autobiography, Tyson loved both the X-Men comics (he says Stan Lee sent him issues while he was in prison) and the X-Men cartoon from the 1990s. Preferring villains, he wrote that frequent antagonist Apocalypse was “my favorite cartoon character,” and even quoted Apocalypse in a 1989 post-fight interview, saying, “How dare they challenge me with their somewhat primitive skills? They’re just as good as dead.” You can see Tyson showing off his extensive collection (all out of their packaging) to Roseanne Barr in this old clip from Inside Edition.
3. Martin Scorsese - Vintage Movie Posters
The Oscar-winning director of Goodfellas and The Wolf of Wall Street has been collecting movie posters since 1968. “For me, and anyone who grew up before a certain time — sometime in the 1980s I’d say — posters were a key part of the moviegoing experience,” Scorsese wrote in the introduction to the coffee table book Starstruck: Vintage Movie Posters from Classic Hollywood. These days you probably see posters more often as “leaked” promotional images on your computer than in the actual theatre, but that doesn’t diminish their importance as pop art. You could catch some of Scorsese’s collection in an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York last year, but if you missed it, check out this peek.
4. Jerry Seinfeld - Superman Memorabilia
In most of the scenes in Jerry’s apartment on the sitcom Seinfeld, you can spot Superman in the background — usually a refrigerator magnet or a 12-inch statue on his bookshelf. And of course, in one Seinfeld episode Elaine famously met the main characters' opposites, dubbed Bizarro Jerry and Bizarro George. That’s because the real-life Seinfeld also has a passion for the superhero, although he says his own collection is fairly small. In this Reddit AMA, Seinfeld said he owned some issues of Superman from the 1960s, plus two statues with baby Kal-El’s rocket being launched from Krypton and being discovered by Ma and Pa Kent.
5. George Lucas and Steven Spielberg - Norman Rockwell Art
These two legendary filmmakers share more than their collaboration on the Indiana Jones films. Both also have a deep love of Americana — if you hadn't guessed that from Lucas's American Graffiti or Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan. And probably nothing better represents a nostalgic look back at the America's golden years than the paintings of Norman Rockwell. Both Lucas and Spielberg are avid collectors of Rockwell’s iconic artwork. More than four dozen Rockwell paintings owned by the two director/producer/auteurs were recently shown in a special exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.
6. Anthony Bourdain - Will Eisner's The Spirit
Several celebrities are major comic book fans, including Late Night host Seth Meyers and rapper Eminem. The most specific collection, however, might belong to chef and travel show host Anthony Bourdain. In this interview with Mental Floss, Bourdain says he owns every single Spirit story by Will Eisner, and that he is currently seeking out hardcover collections of Terry and the Pirates, a daily comic strip that ran from 1934 to 1973. He also touts his love of Oishinbo, a detailed, multi-volume manga about Japanese food. Bourdain himself has published two graphic novels through Vertigo called Get Jiro, about a renegade sushi chef who lives in a Los Angeles where the crime bosses are all also top chefs.
7. Sarah Michelle Gellar - Rare Books
The star of Buffy the Vampire Slayer owns a collection of rare first editions that might make her character’s librarian mentor Rupert Giles envious. In this Reddit AMA from 2014, Gellar said she was most proud of her full set of Harry Potter novels, and her complete first editions by Arthur Rackham, a turn-of-the-century British artist who illustrated more than 40 classics like Rip Van Winkle and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. At the time, Gellar was in the process of snapping up first edition Dr. Seuss. She’s far from only celebrity book collector; others reportedly include Kelsey Grammer, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Whoopi Goldberg, and John Larroquette. Former Buffy co-star Danny Strong even said he unknowingly bought Gellar’s own Harry Potter set through a proxy when she upgraded to the illustrated version.
8. Ben Stiller - Star Trek Props
Stiller is a well-known fan of TOS Trek. “As a kid, I grew up alone — totally alone, I didn’t have any friends — but there was always Star Trek,” Stiller said (probably a little tongue-in-cheek) during a 1996 TV special celebrating the show’s 30th anniversary. When Stiller presented the award for Best Makeup during the 2010 Academy Awards (while dressed as a Na’vi from Avatar) he mentioned that he owns two pairs of prosthetic Vulcan ears worn on the show and signed by Leonard Nimoy. Stiller also reportedly owns the head of the original Gorn costume from the TOS episode “Arena.”
9. Hank Azaria - Simpsons Animation Cels
Maybe this collection isn’t so surprising, since Azaria has voiced more than 340 different characters throughout The Simpsons’s ongoing 27-year run. In a 2011 feature in Architectural Digest, Azaria revealed a wall in his California home showing off animation cels with the numerous characters for whom he’s created a unique voice. On display you can spot Apu, Chief Wiggum, and Springfield’s own obsessive collector, “Comic Book Guy.”
10. J.J. Abrams - Synthesizer Keyboards
Before Abrams was collecting directing credits on the biggest sci-fi franchises (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Trek), he was scooping up vintage synthesizer keyboards that create funky electronic sounds. You may not realize that in addition to directing and producing, Abrams also likes to write his own theme music. He’s the credited composer of the themes for Felicity, Alias, Fringe, Person of Interest, and Almost Human. As he told the New York Times in 2006, “I have a number of keyboards that are now, because of software, absolutely irrelevant. I probably will never play them, and yet I keep them.” He did, however, make an appearance on keys with Andy Samberg and Will Ferrell in a video shot for the 2009 MTV Movie Awards.
11. George R.R. Martin - Toy Knights
“Not only do I write about knights, I collect them,” writes the creator of Game of Thrones on his website. Specifically, Martin loves 54mm “toy soldier”-scale figurines, which he displays in his two-story library tower across the street from his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico. (The library also includes all the various editions and translations of his novels, a collection of history books, and impressive stained glass windows for the major houses of Westeros.) After owning some figures as a kid, he picked up the hobby again while he was first writing A Game of Thrones in 1996. Martin builds period-accurate scenes and dioramas with his historical medieval collection, but he seems happiest talking about the figures representing his own characters in this ABC News video.
12. Guillermo Del Toro - Sci Fi and Horror Ephemera
It’s difficult to pin down Del Toro’s collection to any one category, because it seems to cover everything: The Hellboy director’s California home (which he named “Bleak House,” plus a neighboring house he bought called “Bleak House 2”) is completely filled with books, graphic novels, film cels, collectible toys, original props, and eerily lifelike silicone statues of important people like H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe. “The idea for Bleak House came from creating a place that was [like] libraries — working libraries — of images and books and movies and sort-of relics of monsters and creatures and worlds that are very close to me,” Del Toro told the Los Angeles Times. (In their video he even shows off the first creature he ever made, a werewolf he assembled from scraps and toy parts at the age of 7.) His collection is so expertly curated that much of it is currently on display in a special exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.