Most of us will change careers several times, but not all of us are great at everyone of them. There are so many celebrities or famous people that have touched our lives in many ways, and some of these famous people are so good, they could have had fabulous careers at something else entirely. Destiny just made them more famous in one then in the other. Image and perception is everything, but with these famous people perception goes out the window.
Sometimes we see a gorgeous actress or actor and think that they are dumb as nails. They may surprise us all. Sometimes the funny man we perceive as a joker, can come up with a miracle that can save our lives. Of course this list also contains the obscure and hilarious, outlining some rather weird career choices and inventions people had to make when starting out their careers. One thing is certain, you could never imagine what some of these famous people came up with and necessity is truly the mother of all inventions, and also the mother of all career choices. As strange as this may seem, pride in one’s own country and pride in yourself probably inspired the most surprising inventions and career choices of all. When looking at the list, the picture on the left is typically what the person is known for and the picture on the right indicated what they could have been known for.
15. Julia Child: Chef And Spy
Okay, so the picture on the right is not Julia Child, but Julia was still a tall (6’3”) and thin bada** woman who did anything to play a role in WWII, and she did. She even went so far as to cook some weird biological concoction for the Army.
Deemed too tall for many government agencies, in 1943 she was eventually hired by the OSS, what is now called the CIA. Her first role was as a research assistant to the agency’s leader, William Donovan. A year later she worked at the Emergency Sea Rescue Equipment Section, which developed ways for downed pilots to survive when their planes were shot down. There she cooked up a different type of mixture, helping develop a chemical shark repellent used by the pilots so that they would survive a crash landing in the ocean.
From 1944-1945, she became the head of the OSS Registry in Ceylon and China, where she was responsible for all sorts of top secret documents. The OSS did classify her as a senior civilian intelligence officer, despite not actually spying on other countries. It was in Ceylon where she met her future husband Paul Child. In 1948 they moved to France where Julia, so enamored with French cooking, spent her time trying to master the art. Eventually in 1961, at the age of 49, she launched her first book that catapulted her into stardom.
14. Dr. Seuss: Children’s Book Author And Writer Of War Propaganda
The man that taught children about green eggs and ham, and who created hundreds of characters that we all still love today, was actually a political cartoonist. Prior to WWII, Dr. Seuss (Theodore Seuss Geisel) wrote 4 children’s books, none of which were the classics we remember today. But when the war began he turned to political cartoons for a living. The man born to German parents wrote over 400 political cartoons for the left leaning newspaper in New York City called PM, denouncing his former countryman Hitler, along with Mussolini. He later published his cartoons in a book called Dr. Seuss Goes to War.
He went so far as to denounce Japanese Americans and anyone who opposed US Entry into the war as traitors, while at the same time denouncing those Americans who displayed racist tendencies towards Jews and Blacks because he felt these name callers hurt the US war effort. In 1942 he turned his attention full-throttle into the war and started drawing posters for the Treasury Department and the War Production Board.
In 1943 he joined the Army full time and headed the creation of war propaganda films designed to aid the efforts overseas and to gain support for the war at home. Finally in 1950, at the age of 46, he returned to writing children’s books and became the man we know today.
13. Zeppo Marx: Comedian, Engineer And Inventor Of The Cardiac Pulse Rate Monitor
The youngest of the five Marx brothers, the wacky comedians who dominated the genre back in the earliest days of film, always played the serious man to his brother’s clownish antics. Admittedly the role suited him, and after five films he acted on his personality leaving Hollywood and developing two careers simultaneously; Theatrical agent and Engineer. His major accomplishment can be seen in every hospital, on your iPhone and on your watch; The Cardiac Pulse Rate Monitor. That flatline sound and the synchronous beeping that signals the difference between life and death, all came from this one funny man.
12. Roger Ebert: Film Critic And The Master Of Bouncing Body Parts
The first movie critic to win a Pulitzer back in 1975, still had to earn a living before he made it big. Film critics don’t normally make that much money, so to supplement his income Roger wrote Screenplays. One would expect that a harsh and detail oriented critic, syndicated in over 200 newspapers around the world, would concentrate on something worthy of his own critiques. Apparently not, as he chose to write adult oriented films with stars like Candy Samples and Kitten Natividad. His first film, Up was a comedy meant to inspire the funny bone among other things. He was hand picked by famed Adult director Russ Meyer. At the time, Roger downplayed the movie he wrote, nevertheless continuing to write a few more of Russ Meyer’s films before hitting the big time himself.
11. Sir Isaac Newton: Inventor Of Everything Including The Cat And Doggie Door
The father of physics, and the greatest physicist to ever live is known for so many things. There is the myth of the apple falling on his head thus discovering gravity. There is also the fact that he owns three of a handful of scientific laws known to mankind. To clarify, in science a law is an absolute truth, a theory is the closest guess we can come up with. Even Einstein didn’t create any laws. Newton created three.
So what do we congratulate him for? None of these, that is way too boring. When Sir Isaac Newton was working, he was always being bothered by his pet cats, as cats just like to do. In a moment of wisdom few of us achieve, he decided to modify his door, letting his cats go in and out as they please. That one little gizmo has brought peace to many a pet owner. The man thought of everything.
10. Micheal Jackson: Musician And Inventor
What in the world can we mean by suggesting that Micheal Jackson was an inventor? The man was fodder for every tabloid and the butt of all jokes one could possibly think of. But the King of Pop was a genius in so many respects. His signature moves that helped sell gazillions of records, the moon walk and the 45 degree lean in Smooth Criminal were all accomplished using patents that he invented. Turns out the man patented Gravity Defying Shoes. It’s a shoe that changes the dancers center of gravity, allowing the dancer to shift forward more than the laws of physics would allow, thus creating an anti-gravity illusion. He used this in concerts all of the time. Turns out, the stage had anchors that the dancers would attach themselves to with his special pair of shoes.
9. Chevy Chase: Comedian And Almost A Famous Musician
Chevy Chase was one of the biggest comedy draws through the eighties and early nineties. His three National Lampoons movies with memorable lines like Look Kids It’s Big Ben live on in infamy. During his hey day, he could be seen frolicking with super models.
In the 70s things were not so good for him. He had to go to war, but decided that neither war nor school were good for him so he got out of both. To dodge the draft, he informed the Army of his homosexual tendencies. Of course this was false, but Chevy didn’t care, yet the Army did. So what does one do when you are not fighting the war? He played drums for a band called The Leather Canary. He then left the group calling them a bad jazz band. The remaining members of Leather Canary changed their name to Steely Dan and went on to sell 40 million records. Imagine that; the man was so lucky that no matter what decision he made, he still retired a multi-millionaire.
8. Paul Winchell: Voice Actor, Comedian, Ventriloquist And Inventor
Paul Winchell was a ventriloquist and comedian from the 50s and 60s whose most famous impersonation was Tigger (Winnie The Pooh), whom he voiced until his retirement in 1999. He also voiced Gargamel from The Smurfs. Some people may have seen him on his few guest appearances on various television shows.
Winchell loved to dabble in medicine and all sorts of other stuff, inventing fun things like an invisible garter, battery heated gloves and a flame-less cigarette lighter. What he should always be remembered for is the invention of the first artificial heart. He was the first to patent it along with his partner, Dr. Henry Heimlich, famous for the you know what maneuver. The man made kids laugh, and when those same kids reach old age he may have also saved their lives as well.
7. Danica McKellar: Child Actress, Math Genius And Author
The on and off girlfriend of Kevin Arnold on The Wonder Years, was once voted by readers of Stuff magazine as the 90s star they would most like to see in lingerie. The resulting pictures are better then any fantasy one could dream of. But seriously she is qualified to be a math teacher in real life, as she received a Bachelors degree in mathematics from UCLA with honors, while simultaneously filming her TV Show.
Never truly becoming a teacher, she used her prowess to become a best selling author of mathematics books, geared to teens, mostly girls. Three of her four books have become New York Times Best Sellers. Look at the catchy titles and maybe you can see why they sold so well; Girls Get Curves: Geometry Takes Shape, Hot X: Algebra Exposed, Kiss My Math: Showing Pre-Algebra Who’s Boss, Math Doesn’t Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail.
6. William Marston: Comic Book Writer And Inventor Of The Lie Detector
William Marston and his wife Elizabeth, created the comic book superhero Wonder Woman in 1941, just a couple years before his death. The superhero of course, carries the Lasso of Truth, a type of rope or whip which makes people caught in it, to confess the truth. A few decades earlier, while studying psychology at Harvard, Marston invented a real life lie detector.
Modern polygraphs still use his patent for monitoring and measuring a person’s blood pressure while attached to it. Marston lent his technology to John Augustus Larson, who used this tech to invent the polygraph we use today. John Augustus Larson hired Marston to market the new polygraph. Some speculate that Marston created the Lasso of Truth to promote and sell the lie detector created by his colleague.
5. Ted Turner: Broadcaster And Competitive Sailor
Television as we know it today is the way it is because of one man, Ted Turner. Before him there were three television stations and PBS. If you wanted to watch TV at 3:00am your choices were infomercials and static. Then along came this business magnate who invented the first 24 hour television stations, CNN and The Cartoon Network. Viewers haven’t looked back since as he paved the way for a multitude of options. All of this was created because Ted Turner had a rivalry with his dad.
Growing up Ted wanted to be a competitive sailor, but his dad, Ed Turner, wouldn’t let him. His father wanted him to take over the family business, a billboard advertising firm. His father directed Ted’s every move. Ted wanted to go to the U.S. Naval Academy, his father would only pay for an Ivy League School. Ted wanted to major in English, his father paid for Economics. Then Ted got a summer job at a yacht-club where he could race for free. His dad forced him to give up his dream and work as an account executive for the company.
Finally his dad sold the company and committed suicide in 1963. The 24 year old Ted Turner managed to defy his father’s wishes one more time, stopped the sale of the company and turned it into a giant. On top of that Ted Turner fulfilled his dream of sailing and won the most prestigious event in that sport, the America’s Cup in 1977. This is one stubborn man and we all thank him for it.
4. Tony Blair: British Prime Minister, Rock Star And Concert Promoter
We know Tony Blair as the longest-serving prime minister (1997-2007) in the history of the United Kingdom’s left leaning Labour Party. We could have known him as the world’s biggest concert promoter, though. Somehow, the kid on the right turned into the man that held the stuffiest job in the most up-tight parliament in the world.
Starting out, the future politician wanted to sound and look like his idol, Mick Jagger. As a teenager he moved to London to follow his dream and become a musician. He soon realized he had a talent as a music promoter and started earning a decent living doing this. He took on smaller bands as clients, finding them gigs, fetching them food and whatever it took to get them on stage. It worked for awhile.
In 1972, Blair got bigger dreams trying to book a 400 seat auditorium in London. He managed to get the band Free to perform. They were a relatively big band in their time. But the manager of the band wanted loads of money up front to perform, which Blair didn’t have. So, Blair went with a lesser known act called Fruitbat McTang. Sixty people came to that show and his career as a concert promoter was finished.
3. Ronnie Wood: Guitarist And Successful Painter
The legendary guitarist has been performing for the self-proclaimed “Greatest Rock’N Roll Band” ever, The Rolling Stones for what seems like an eternity. It turns out that not only does the man work in a band that sings about debauchery, and partying and all sorts of things like that, but he also paints these same things and is able to sell his paintings for 7 figures. He still paints on the side at the age of 69. He had this talent as a child where his drawings were featured in the BBC series Sketch Club. He actually won a contest on the show inspiring him to go to school as an artist and painter at Ealing Art College. The same school also trained other great musicians of the day like Freddie Mercury of Queen and Pete Townshend of The Who.
2. Hedy Lamarr: Hollywood Actress Who Created Technology Used In Wi-fi
This Hollywood starlet from the 30s and 40s made perhaps one of the biggest inventions that affect our lives today. She designed a type of spread spectrum communication technology for the U.S. government during WWII. The goal was to assist the Army in launching its torpedoes in a manner that evades German interference. However, her design was so advanced for its time, it could not be built. Today we use her invention everywhere including wi-fi. How cool is that? Of course she had some help, Composer George Antheil was the co-inventor. The inspiration for this invention came from a musical instrument, the player piano.
This is the awesome part; an actress and a composer invented wi-fi. Not Einstein or any other genius of that time. She didn’t even have the educational background for it. But during WWII so many people enlisted to help the war effort that all sorts of cool things were invented from people who should have had no business being involved in the first place. In all fairness, Hedy dabbled with inventions before, including the creation of an improved traffic stoplight and a tablet that would dissolve in water to create a carbonated drink. The drink did not sell too well. The Army initially wanted to use her fame as a fundraising tool. Luckily for all of us they quickly changed their minds.
Her rise to stardom is exceptional. As an 18 year old in her native Austria she got a part in a movie called Ecstasy, which became notorious for showing the actress experiencing an orgasm with brief up-close nude scenes, in which she is seen swimming and running through the woods. Her husband at the time was Friedrich Mandl, the third richest man in the country. He did not approve of her film and basically locked her up in their castle home as a result. Both her and her husband were of Jewish descent, but for some reason her husband frequently threw parties that were attended by Adolf Hitler himself. In 1937 she finally escaped the madness and moved to Paris, where as the Ecstasy lady, she was soon discovered and shipped to Hollywood. In the 40s alone she appeared in 18 films, worked for the army and gave birth to two children.
1. Fidel Castro: Major League Baseball Pitcher
Many dictators and world leaders have eccentric hobbies. Saddam Hussein for instance, supposedly wrote romance novels. But Fidel Castro’s love of baseball was not a hobby. He almost made it to the big leagues and is considered to be the greatest pitcher ever from Cuba. That is no joke. He was considered better then any Cuban now or in the past 60 years, to play by North American Journalists of the time, let alone Cubans.
Fidel Castro was an exceptional pitcher. His bread and butter pitch, the fastball, was said to be better than anything from his day. He was also a star outfielder prompting North American Broadcasting legend Vince Scully, to proclaim that he was like a Gazelle. Another journalist from the US, Studs Terkel, remarked that he had an arm like Roberto Clemente, and he could run out a ground ball like the Mick.
Supposedly, rumors, myths or whatever they may be, circulated around 1950 that several major league baseball teams offered him contracts. These stories are unconfirmed. Fidel did stay in Cuba to play baseball, where as a pitcher, he won 347 games and struck out 3807 players over 22 years. He would be one of the top 10 greatest pitchers in North American baseball history with those stats. In the 1950s many writers and executives in baseball felt that the Cuban league was on par with Major League Baseball and Fidel Castro was the best of them all. In 1959 he switched caps and overthrew the government.
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