STEPHEN Hawking pioneered modern cosmology while battling a terminal illness.
But it was his dry wit that propelled him to rock star status.
He himself said: “Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny” and judging by these hilarious moments, it’s fair to say he lived by those words.
HE RAN OVER PRINCE CHARLES’ FEET — ON PURPOSE
In the 2013 book Stephen Hawking: An Unfettered Mind, biographer Kitty Ferguson revealed that the famous professor had a penchant for subtly weaponising his wheelchair — and to no less a person than Prince Charles.
The incident reportedly happened in 1976, at an event to celebrate the prince’s induction to the Royal Society, Britain’s independent scientific academy.
“The prince was intrigued by Hawking’s wheelchair, and Hawking, twirling it around to demonstrate its capabilities, carelessly ran over Prince Charles’s toes,” Ferguson wrote. “One of Hawking’s regrets in life was not having an opportunity to run over Margaret Thatcher’s toes.”
MORE: STEPHEN HAWKING DIES AGED 76
SMACKED DOWN POPE JOHN PAUL II
Hawking revealed in a lecture that Pope John Paul II wasn’t a big fan of his work, saying he discouraged people from attending his cosmology conference at the Vatican because of his beliefs the universe began through the ‘work of God’.
In his typical tongue-and-cheek tone, Hawking later joked at a lecture in Hong Kong saying he was lucky the Pope didn’t realise he had already presented the paper at the Vatican with his studies on how the universe was created.
“I didn’t fancy the thought of being handed over to the Inquisition like Galileo,” Hawking quipped.
John Paul died in 2005 and Hawking did not say when the Vatican meeting was held.
OFFERED ‘GOOD NEWS’ TO GRIEVING ONE DIRECTION FANS
After the British boy band lost their fifth member Zayn Malik in 2015, the hearts of teenage girls around the world broke, so Hawking swooped in with some promising advice.
Hawking told teen fans they should use the opportunity to pay close attention to physics because it could provide proof of an alternative universe in which Malik was still in the band.
“One day there may well be proof of multiple universes … and in that universe Zayn is still in One Direction,” he said.
RALLIED A-LIST ACTORS TO AUDITION FOR HIS ‘NEW VOICE’
After having used the same computerised voice for three decades, Hawking went on a quest to search for a fresh sound.
He held ‘auditions’ for a group of A-list actors, including Liam Neeson, Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson, to seize the “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to be his new voice, in a hilarious clip to raise awareness for Red Nose Day.
The Hollywood stars all failed, mainly for their lack of scientific knowledge.
“Stephen, it’s me, surely it has to be me,” Neeson argues in his audition.
Unimpressed with his line-up, Hawking ultimately sidesteps the auditions and picks one of cinema’s most instantly recognisable voices, Michael Caine.
RICHARD BRANSON HELPED HIM GO TO SPACE
In late 2006, Hawking publicly declared his next dream was to venture into space.
At the time of his statement, he joked: “Maybe Richard Branson will help me.”
A year later, the billionaire entrepreneur actually did make Hawking’s dream a reality, covering all the costs for him to go on a flight on Branson’s Virgin Galactic spaceship.
The feat made the physicist the first ever quadriplegic to float in zero gravity.
SAW FUNNY SIDE OF REALITY STARS CONTROVERSIALLY MOCKING HIM
In the 2016 series of the UK’s I’m A Celebrity: Get Me Out Of Here! presenters made headlines when they mocked Hawking’s robotic voice.
The ‘distasteful’ gaff showed hosts Ant and Dec in a sketch talking about their ‘friend’ Hawking, as they attempted to fake call him, which triggered an electronic voiceover.
The social media world erupted saying it was tacky and disrespectful, but it appears Hawking wasn’t among them.
Dec went on to clear the air, telling British media: “We got an email from Stephen Hawking after that. He said he enjoyed the sketch that we did in the studio. So that was a highlight.”