We have all heard about the tough path to break into the entertainment industry. Trying to be an actress or a movie star or a musician can be very exhausting.
It happens so much that it is almost a cliche. The small town girl or guy moves to LA from their little podunk, small towns to make it to Hollywood. They end up working as a waitress or doing other odd jobs. It has been the subject of many movies and TV shows. For example, the scenario on Glee for the last couple of seasons where the group of students that had graduated from high school were living in New York. They worked as singing servers at a cheesy diner in the city. There were several performance scenes in the diner. Some comedy actors start up as stand-up comedians touring and playing small gigs. Musicians play small gigs at hole-in-the-wall clubs.
Then there are those people who become famous for no reason like the infamous family, the Kardashians. Some musicians and actors were also reality TV show personalities. For instance, shows like “American Idol” and “The Voice” have produced famous musicians and performers. YouTube brought us the abomination that is Justin Bieber. Famous authors start out posting small stories in magazines. Today, we have thousands of people starting their own blogs and becoming internet famous.
There are many paths one can take to make it big especially now with the power of the internet. But many of our legitimate actors and musicians all started the old-school way. They all had to maintain a real job to pay their bills while going out on auditions. Well, today I’m presenting to you the 15 oddest and/or most interesting stories of your favorite celebrities before they made it big.
15. Rod Stewart – Grave Digger
Famous musician Rod Stewart dropped out of school at 15 and pursued a few out of the norm jobs. He worked as a silk screen printer and a grave digger. He also tried out for the Brentford Football club, but he never actually played there. The legendary performer also tried to be the lead singer of the Kinks when they were starting out, but he found he didn’t get along with his bandmates, and he left to join the group Faces. His publicist made that story up when Stewart was first trying to gain popularity. In 1998, he bought a mansion in England previously owned by Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones.
14. Charlize Theron – Town Square Singer
Charlize Theron was actually a street performer as a child. She would sing in the town square of her home in South Africa. She also tended livestock at her parents’ working farm. She was educated in ballet and performed The Nutcracker and Swan Lake, but there wasn’t really many dancing jobs in South Africa. She moved to Europe and then to the United States. She got a job at the Joffrey Ballet in New York, but knee injuries ended her dancing career. At the age of 16, she began modelling. She started acting not long after that.
13. Tim Allen – 2 Year Bid In Prison For Dealing
Tim Allen played the dad from Home Improvement!, was the voice of Buzz Lightyear, and starred in The Santa Clause. But before we grew to love this actor, he was a drug dealer before he became famous. Yes, that wholesome looking guy used to deal with drugs! My mind was definitely blown by this! In 1978, he was arrested with a POUND of cocaine. He served two years in jail. Upon his release, he vowed to live a cleaner lifestyle. On a dare from a friend, he started doing standup comedy in Detroit. He did several comedy specials, including Comedy’s Dirtiest Dozen in 1988. Looks like everything worked well for him in the end.
12. Brad Pitt – Drove Strippers In A Limo
Brad Pitt was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma. He attended the University of Michigan and studied journalism with a focus on advertising. He acted in a few fraternity shows while in school. He left school two credits short of his degree to move to LA and pursue his acting career.
Before becoming successful as an actor, he had many odd jobs: driving strippers around in limousines, moving refrigerators, and dressing in a giant chicken suit while working for El Pollo Loco, a fast food restaurant. Some of his first acting jobs were on a couple of soap operas: Another World and Dallas.
11. Johnny Depp – Telemarketing And Pens
Johnny Depp was born in Kentucky and raised mostly in Florida. As a teenager, he played in several garage bands. When he was newly married to his first wife Lori Ann Allison (Lori A. Depp), he worked as a ballpoint pen salesman. He was a telemarketer which he described it as “You’re calling people who don’t want you to call them. You put on your best fake voice and try and sell them a gross or two of ballpoint pens with their name printed on them.” If I ever heard his sexy voice selling me pens, I would’ve bought them! He went on a visit to Los Angeles where he met with actor Nicolas Cage, who turned him on to acting. This led to his film debut in the original Nightmare on Elm Street. He rose to fame on the 80’s TV show 21 Jump Street.
10. James Lipton – Used To Be A Pimp And A Lawyer
James Lipton is now an actor, director, writer, etc. He created the show Inside The Actor’s Studio. As a reaction to his father’s beatnik style, he became a lawyer. He took up acting as a side gig to help pay his way through law school. He moved to New York City and spent twelve years in performance arts school.
Before all of this he was a pimp. He had a whole “bordello” of women under his control in the 1950’s. He worked on several soap operas, such as Guiding Light, in the 50’s when he moved to LA to pursue his acting career.
9. Ashton Kutcher – Worked At General Mills
You may think of him as a dork after watching him as Kelso on That 70’s Show, but Ashton Kutcher studied bio mechanical engineering at the University of Iowa. He worked at a General Mills factory sweeping up dust from the floor. He also sold his own blood for cash. He dropped out of school to pursue his modeling career. When he was married to Demi Moore, he started a foundation to eliminate child sex slavery all over the word. He is also the founder of Katalyst, a social media network.
8. Angelina Jolie – Studied Mortuary Science
Angelina Jolie wasn’t always the major name she is today. After her grandfather died when she was young, she took courses in mortuary science. She did not finish but did receive her certificate. She started appearing in music videos at the age of 16 which is also when she first started in film. She appeared in some smaller films in the 90’s such as Hackers (which is actually really good if you are a nerd). Her biggest break was in the 1999 movie, The Bone Collector, where she played a police officer working on a murder. It actually is fairly accurate in its portrayal of forensic investigation procedure.
The high profile actress has since adopted and had children with her also high profile actor husband Brad Pitt. Along with being a wife and mom, Jolie is recognized for doing a lot of humanitarian work in Africa.
7. Harrison Ford – Did Some Sports Commentary
Harrison Ford worked as a Boy Scout camp counselor for kids trying to get the reptile badge before he was known as Indiana Jones and Han Solo. He worked as a sports commentator for his high school football team. He also built custom furniture for the likes of Richard Dreyfuss and Joan Didion. He broke into movies in the 60’s in Ironside and the Virginian.
In the next decade he became Han Solo in the original Star Wars trilogy and in the 80’s he became Indiana Jones. He is also a private pilot of fixed-wing aircrafts and helicopters. He owns an 800 acre ranch in Wyoming. He has flown on rescue missions with the local authorities. He once saved a lost hiker from dehydration.
6. Halle Berry – Pageants
Halle Berry started working in the children’s section at Higbee’s Department Store during college while she was studying broadcast journalism. She represented her home state of Ohio in a few beauty pageants. She won the Miss Teen All-American Pageant in 1985. The next year, she won the Miss U.S.A. Pageant.
The adored actress then moved to New York to pursue a career in acting. However, she had trouble finding work there for a while and was living on the streets for a period. She got her break in the show Living Dolls in 1989. She became known for her tenacity and her poise as a Hollywood figure.
5. Sean Connery – Milk Man
Sean Connery held many crazy jobs before stardom. He was a milkman for a while. He joined the Royal Navy for a tour. After discharge, he worked as a truck driver, a lifeguard, and a coffin polisher. He even served as an artist model for the Edinburgh College of Art. He had to choose between acting and playing football.
As we can see, the star chose acting and says it was his most intelligent move. His first film role was in a 1957 film No Road Back. In the early 60’s, he got his BIG break playing the now iconic character, James Bond. He has been in many other big movies including Murder On The Orient Express, Highlander, Macbeth, and many others.
4. Walt Disney – Sold Snacks And Magazines For Railroad Company
Before he became one of the most successful entrepreneurs, Walt Disney worked jobs like you and me have while growing up. He had a paper route as a child. He worked for the railroad for a while selling snacks and magazines to passengers. The businessman was rejected by the Army during World War II, so he joined the Red Cross and drove an ambulance in France toward the end of the war. He won a scholarship to the Kansas City Art Institute where he met fellow animator, Ub Iwerks. In the early 1920’s, they set up a company and made some animated shorts for the Newman Theater chain.
3. Tom Cruise – Catholic Seminary
Tom Cruise had a paper route. This next one will BLOW YOUR MIND and maybe give you a laugh. He went to Catholic seminary! The now Scientologist went to seminary! He abandoned the seminary and became an actor as a teenager. He made his film debut with a small role in Endless Love in 1981. Within five years he was in some of the biggest movies of the decade: Top Gun, Rain Man, Born on the Fourth of July, and others. He had some pretty big roles in the 90’s and 2000’s as well. He starred in Interview With The Vampire. The actor is known for many roles and movies but perhaps the biggest role he is most recognized for is for the Mission Impossible series.
2. Morgan Freeman – Danced at the ’64 World Fair
Morgan Freeman also delivered papers as a kid. He joined the Air Force, but never became the fighter pilot he wanted to be. He had a once in a lifetime gig of dancing at the 1964 World Fair. In the 60’s and 70’s, he mostly played roles on stage.
When the famous actor started out on television, it was in the children’s show The Electric Company. It was the predecessor to Sesame Street. You can now recognize him by his amazing speaking voice. His voice is so good, he has even played God in Bruce Almighty and Evan Almighty.
1. Bryan Cranston
Bryan Cranston, now well-known for his amazing portrayal of the drug dealer Walter White on Breaking Bad, worked on his grandparents’ poultry farm as a youngster. He studied police science in college, and originally had aspirations of a law enforcement career. In his younger days, he also drove around the country by motorcycle with a friend. He was also the goofy dad on the sitcom Malcolm In The Middle. But, he has won more awards and gotten more famous from Breaking Bad. The New York Times magazine named him one of the top eight actors who turn “television into art.”