When you think of your favorite celebrities, you likely don’t picture them doing “regular” jobs. However, it’s no secret that some celebs had to make some pretty un-glamorous career moves before making it big. Many of the actors and musicians you know and love today actually had to work at McDonald’s for a time.
The Golden Arches is often the place where teens get their first jobs. The job requires wearing a not-so-fashionable uniform, greeting customers at the drive-thru and making those famous McDonald’s burgers. The hours are long, the pay isn’t great and the managers can sometimes be too demanding. While flipping burgers at the popular fast food chain isn’t exactly a job to brag about, it does take care of a bill or two in most cases. A number of celebrities who had these humble career beginnings state that jobs like these gave them the work ethic and determination to make it big in Hollywood. After all, when you work long hours at a job you don’t necessarily like, it will be much easier to keep up with the hectic schedule that comes with being a star. Here are 11 celebrities who once flipped burgers at McDonald’s. Hey, you’ve gotta start somewhere.
11. Rachel McAdams
Canadian actress Rachel McAdams is known for her role in the movie Mean Girls, as well as starring opposite Ryan Gosling in the hit romantic movie The Notebook. She recently starred as Jake Gyllenhaal’s love interest in Southpaw. However, before McAdams, who graduated with a Theater degree from NYU, got her big break in Hollywood, she worked at McDonald’s for three years. McAdams admits that she wasn’t a very good employee, and accidentally broke the orange juice machine. Even so, Rachel stated that McDonald’s was a great place to work. Maybe it’s because people tend to be a little more courteous in Canada.
10. James Franco
The actor, model and producer took a job at McDonald’s working the late shift when he dropped out of college. However, James Franco was still pursuing his dream of becoming an actor when he wasn’t taking orders at the drive-thru or flipping burgers. There’s a good chance James’ family wasn’t too worried about him having aspirations of becoming a Hollywood star, since his mother, who is a writer, acted occasionally. His brother Dave is also an actor. Franco’s breakout role was as Daniel Desario on Freaks and Geeks. He later played James Dean in a TV movie and received a Golden Globe award for his performance. James Franco also starred in the Spider-Man trilogy playing Harry Osborn.
Pink, who is a native of Pennsylvania, worked at McDonald’s for a time before making it big as a singer. She also worked at a few other fast food chains before moving to Hollywood. Pink is also a spokesperson for CoverGirl, and tends to be pretty outspoken about certain social issues, which makes her fans love her even more. The edgy songstress, who is mother to a daughter named Willow, and married to Carey Hart, states that she’s not so proud of her previous employment. She states that during her time at these jobs, she was either drunk or high, but she’s turned her life around significantly since then.
Sultry singer Seal, a native of the UK, worked at McDonald’s when he was younger. He’s stated that it was the worst job he’s ever had. We’re sure many people would agree with him, even those who don’t have aspirations of becoming famous one day. Fortunately, Seal was able to leave McDonald’s and make beautiful music that makes the ladies swoon. At one time, he had the undivided attention of supermodel and businesswoman Heidi Klum. The two were married and had four children together, and Seal even adopted Klum’s daughter from a previous relationship. They have since divorced, and Seal’s still doing pretty well for himself when it comes to music, so we doubt he’ll have to go back to McDonald’s for a job any time soon.
7. Andie MacDowell
Actress and model Andie MacDowell is known for her roles in movies like Sex, Lies & Videotape, as well as Lord of The Apes and Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan. She also starred in the television series Jane By Design. However, before all the glamour and glitz that comes with being a Hollywood star, the mother of three and South Carolina native had a gig at McDonald’s. As soon as Andie was old enough to work, she got a part-time job at the fast food chain. She’s 57 now, which is probably a good indication that she learned the value of hard work, in part, from her time at McDonald’s.
6. Macy Gray
The big-haired, raspy-voiced singer paid her dues at McDonald’s as well. Gray even appeared in a commercial for McDonald’s in 2006, to talk about the great experience she had working there. In addition to being a singer with an unforgettable voice, Macy also writes many of her own songs, is a musician and does voice acting. Macy Gray, whose real name is Natalie McIntyre, is perhaps best known for her 1999 single “I Try”, and also appeared in the 2012 movie, The Paperboy. She is a native of Ohio, and started singing when she began her studies at the University of California.
5. Star Jones
TV host and attorney Star Jones is perhaps best known for her work on The View, even though she left the show years ago. Many people also remember Jones for not being completely honest about how she lost such a tremendous amount of weight; it was later revealed that she had some surgical assistance. Star Jones also married a man named Al Reynolds. Near the end of the marriage and during the divorce proceedings, there was lots of speculation surrounding Reynolds’ sexuality, which we’re assuming was publicity Star could have done without. However, before all that interesting stuff happened in her life, Jones was a fry cook at McDonald’s. This likely had a hand in preparing the American University graduate for a successful career, which requires hard work.
4. Greg Mathis
Greg Mathis, better known as Judge Mathis, is known for his brash yet honest commentary in the courtroom. He’s also been very candid about the fact that he spent time in jail and would have led a very different life if he hadn’t started making better choices. Mathis stated that when he was released from jail, he got a job at McDonald’s. It was, of course, a way for him to occupy his time and make some cash—legally. The Detroit native went on to attend Eastern Michigan University and the University of Detroit Mercy, where he got the professional training that led to a successful career.
3. Sharon Stone
Sharon Stone is 57, making her one of the most desirable cougars in Hollywood. The blond bombshell got her start as a model, but before her beautiful features were noticed by an agent, she had a job at McDonald’s. Stone is also a producer and voice actor, and studied creative writing and fine art at the University of Pennsylvania and Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. She’s also known for “that scene” in the movie Basic Instinct. You know, the one where she’s wearing that white suit. Stone was also in the movies The Quick And the Dead, Casino, The Specialist, The Mighty and The Muse.
2. Shania Twain
When talented singer Shania Twain was a teenager, the Canadian beauty worked at McDonald’s. She was 18 at the time, and moved away from home in hopes of making it big as a singer. After the release of her 1997 album Come On Over, Twain became an international superstar. The success was a long time coming for her, since she began playing the guitar at 8 and writing songs when she was just 10 years old. When Twain’s parents died in a car accident, she returned to her hometown of Timmins to take care of her siblings, but she never stopped writing songs. One of her demos made it to Nashville, which led to her being signed to Polygram Records.
1. Jay Leno
Comedian and long-time late night talk show host, Jay Leno worked at McDonald’s while living in Massachusetts. Jay went on to host The Tonight Show for 20 years, taking a short break in between while Conan O’Brien took over the gig. In addition to his hosting job, Leno has also been a voice actor, TV presenter, producer and screenwriter. Leno was born in New York, but spent much of his childhood in Andover, Massachusetts. Leno became a stand-up comedian in college. This was also the time he decided to move to Los Angeles so he could write for television. Jay Leno first appeared on The Tonight Show as a comedian in 1977. The rest, as they say, is history.