Not many entertainment activities can claim to have a nearly 500-year history, but bingo is certainly a notable exception to the rule.

Bingo can be traced back to an Italian lottery game launched during the 16th century, but it took another 200 years before it migrated elsewhere.

The French aristocracy famously played Le Lotto, highlighting the game’s appeal regardless of where people stand on the social ladder.

It subsequently found its way to the United States and the United Kingdom, where it became the ‘go-to’ entertainment activity for working-class people in the 20th century.

However, changes in consumer habits during the late 1990s sparked a decline in bingo’s popularity, with people turning towards more upmarket entertainment pursuits.

Commercial bingo clubs were hit hard, with many of them forced to close their doors forever as interest in bingo waned.

However, the arrival of the internet proved to be a Godsend, with the creation of no deposit bingo UK websites sparking a massive revival in the game’s fortunes.

Now firmly re-established as a popular entertainment pastime, bingo is a game that has even made an impact in celebrity circles.

Read on as we look at some of our favorite connections between bingo and famous people. 

Catherine Zeta-Jones

It is fair to say that bingo has played a major role in Zeta-Jone’s life, with the Welsh-born actress benefiting massively from the hugely popular game.

During her childhood, her working-class parents, David and Pat, won £100,000 in a bingo competition, which they used to pay for Zeta-Jones’ dance and ballet lessons.

The win clearly made an impact on Zeta-Jones, who demonstrated her passion for the game by holding bingo parties for her family every Christmas.

She made the cards and the balls with numbers on them, organized the prizes, and hosted the games over the festive period.

It was a tradition she continued into adulthood, with the actress introducing husband Michael Douglas to a game he thought was utterly bizarre.

Zeta-Jones’ love for bingo highlighted that she remained true to her working-class roots, despite hitting the big time in Hollywood.

Russell Crowe

Crowe sprang to attention on the international stage in 2000 when he played Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius in the epic historical film Gladiator.

The role was a long way removed from his early years on stage, with the temperamental star working as the director of entertainment at a Butlins-style resort on Pakatoa Island.

Crowe worked under the stage name Russ Le Roq, performing songs and calling out bingo numbers to holidaymakers on the camp.

However, things did not end well, with Crowe sacked from the role for being rude and calling out inappropriate bingo rhymes.

Crowe has never revealed what he said to get himself sacked, but we imagine it will not have been pleasant given his fiery personality.

The setback failed to knock his confidence and Crowe has since gone on to establish himself as one of the most successful actors in the 21st century.

Matthew McConaughey hosts bingo game for Texas residents - Image via Reuters
Matthew McConaughey hosts bingo game for Texas residents – Image via Reuters

Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey provided one of the most heart-warming stories of 2020 when he served as a bingo caller for an assisted living community.

The actor hosted an event via Zoom for residents at The Enclave in Round Rock, Texas, bringing plenty of joy to the people there.

The residents had previously asked McConaughey to join them for a game during the previous year, but his work commitments prevented him from doing so.

However, a break in filming schedules allowed him to take up the offer alongside his mother, wife, and children.

McConaughey also held a question and answer session during and after the game, with residents asking him about his life and future plans.

The Lincoln Lawyer star has always come across as a class act and his involvement in the bingo session highlighted this point to perfection.

Courtney Cox

Best known for her role as Monica Geller in the long-running sitcom Friends, it comes as no surprise to find that Cox loves bingo.

Cox’s character in the show was famed for being overly competitive, and she is believed to be the same in real life.

The American actress has been spotted playing bingo in her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, while she often hosts games for her friends at home.

Ricki Lake, Paris Hilton, and numerous other celebrities have enjoyed bingo sessions with Cox, further demonstrating the game’s popularity.

Cox also took part in an “E- Bingo” Charity Benefit for Epidermolysis Bullosa at the Comedy Store in Hollywood, California, in 2006.

The Big Bang Theory actress Kaley Cuoco was also in attendance at an event that raised thousands of dollars for a worthwhile cause.

Cristiano Ronaldo

The Juventus and Portugal forward might seem like an unlikely candidate to play bingo, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Ronaldo did not frequent his local bingo hall but played the game at home after being given a DVD version as a Christmas present.

The soccer star admitted that that bingo gave him as much pleasure as playing console games and that he loved the thrill of waiting for his numbers to come up.

He was unable to persuade any of his United teammates to join in the bingo fun, with the rest of the players sticking to their Xboxes and PlayStations.

Ronaldo used the DVD to help him improve his English skills when he signed for Manchester United and the move clearly paid off.

The 36-year-old is now fluent in English, although we can safely say we have never heard him utter the phrases ‘two little ducks’ or ‘clickety-click’!