Fun facts about actuaries

Actuaries are involved in a variety of areas- from insurance to... major motion pictures? It's true. The following is a list of lesser known facts about the profession and its portrayal in today's complex world.

Actuaries on the big screen

Actuaries aren't just in the business world, they're on the silver screen. From film noir to modern comedies, actuaries are finding their place in a variety of roles. The following are just a few examples of where you can find actuaries on the big screen.

  • Double Indemnity

    Double Indemnity(1944) was possibly the first film to feature an actuary. The plot revolves around a murderer who seeks to gain advantage from a rather peculiar insurance policy. An insurance investigator played by Edward G. Robinson knows the actuarial statistics and becomes suspicious. Movie Details
  • Are You With It?

    Are You With It?(1948) is a musical comedy featuring Donald O'Connor as an actuary who is forced to join a carnival after misplacing a decimal point on a statistical table. Movie Details
  • The Apartment

    The Apartment(1960) starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine: "In 1957 we had an employee here, name of Fowler. He was very popular too. Turned out he was running a bookie joint in the actuarial department. Tying up our switchboard using our IBM machines to figure the odds. So the day before the Kentucky Derby, I called in the vice squad and we raided the 13th floor." Movie Details
  • Sweet Charity

    Sweet Charity(1969) is a film that documents the romantic life of an actuary, played by John McMartin, with Shirley MacLaine as his love interest. Movie Details
  • Tron

    Tron(1982) featured an actuarial program named Ram as one of the supporting cast of characters that was doomed to a fairly early demise in the film. Movie Details
  • Class Action

    Class Action(1991) featured Gene Hackman and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as father and daughter lawyers on opposite sides of a massive class action law suit with actuarial analysis playing a key role in the outcome. Movie Details
  • Groundhog Day

    Groundhog Day(1993) the anti-hero Phil Connors (Bill Murray) repeatedly crosses the path of an annoying insurance salesman, Ned "Needlenose" Ryerson. At one point, Ned exclaims, "I got friends who live and die by the actuarial tables!" Movie Details
  • Escape Clause

    Escape Clause(1996) Andrew McCarthy plays Richard Ramsay in an actuarial thriller.
  • Thirteen Conversations About One Thing

    Thirteen Conversations About One Thing(2001) starring Matthew McConaughey featured the lives of a lawyer, an actuary, a housecleaner, a professor and the people around them that intersect as they ponder order and happiness in the face of life's cold unpredictability. Movie Details
  • About Schmidt

    About Schmidt(2002) Jack Nicholson played an actuary in the hit movie. The movie mostly covers Schmidt's retirement from an insurance company. He does not want to retire and spends his free time still working on actuarial calculations. Movie Details
  • Along Came Polly

    Along Came Polly(2004) Reuben Feffer (Ben Stiller) is portrayed as nervous and extremely
    risk-averse; he even uses actuarial models to calculate the probability of relationships with women going well. Some film critics describe Feffer as an actuary. Movie Details
  • First Daughter

    First Daughter(2004) the guy Katie Holmes' character falls in love with says his major is actuarial science, and he wants to be an actuary because that's what his dad did. Katie Holmes responds with, "What, exactly, is actuarial science?" He replies, "It's what my dad did," without further explanation. Movie Details
  • Stranger than Fiction

    Stranger than Fiction(2006) Will Ferrell plays a lonely number-obsessed IRS tax collector who responds to whether he has any family or friends by saying "I used to be engaged to an auditor, but she left me for an actuary." Movie Details


Learn more about professional actuarial organizations and credentials

If you think that you're ready to turn risk into opportunity, check out the following Web sites for information about how you can begin pursuing your actuarial credentials.