Dr Brooke Magnanti, a cancer researcher, was already a famous author by the time she got her first academic job. She was Belle de Jour, who blogged about her experience as a highly paid prostitute in London. (A movie is in the works.) It seems she turned to prostitution when she needed money while writing up her University of Sheffield PhD. For more, see here and here. Vishal, who sent this in, wonders whether there are any similar stories from men in academia. I don’t know of any, but I did once have an MA student who supported his degree by stripping.