15 Celebs Who Were Painfully Rejected Before Becoming Famous

When soon-to-be-celebrities make it big, their long road to get to celebrity status can sometimes be overlooked. When a celebrity becomes famous, it can seem like it happened over night, but that’s not usually the case. Like the rest of us, most celebrities have to work hard to get where they’re at today. Most of them go through countless rejections and setbacks before finally realizing their wildest dreams. Listed below are fifteen celebrities who went through some painful rejections before making it - big time. These celebrities lost job after job, and in some cases, were even told to find another career. However, instead of giving up on their dreams, the celebrities listed below persevered. Today, the people listed below are regarded as some of the most well respected actors, actresses, businessmen and businesswomen, of our time. So if you’re ever feeling like you can’t succeed in following your dreams, just think back to this list of fifteen celebrities who persisted through everything.

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15 Hugh Jackman


Although this isn't exactly a case of getting a rejection from a high-profile acting job, it’s still pretty entertaining. One of Hugh Jackman’s first jobs was working as a cashier at 7-Eleven. You would think this would be a seemingly easy job to keep, but not for Jackman. Apparently, Jackman was fired after just 6 weeks for talking too much to the customers. Luckily, Jackman found his calling elsewhere.

14 Jerry Seinfeld 

One of a comedian’s worst fears is getting booed offstage. Unfortunately for Jerry Seinfeld, that’s exactly what happened to him the very first time he went up to perform at a comedy club. Luckily, the funny-man didn't give up on his career so easily. The next night, the soon-to-be-star went on stage and wowed the audience with a successful set.

13 Kerry Washington 


Before Kerry Washington made it big on the widely popular television show Scandal, she was cast in two TV pilots. Luckily for Washington, the two pilots got picked up by the network. Unluckily for Washington, her character was replaced by a different actress in both cases.

12 Stephen King


It’s hard to believe it now, but Stephen King was once a struggling writer. In 1973, the now-famous author accepted an advance for his first novel, Carrie. However, after a grand total of 30 rejections of his now popular novel, King decided to give up on his literary dreams of ever getting the novel published. Luckily, King’s wife urged him to resubmit the manuscript and the rest, as they say, is history.

11 J.K Rowling 

10 Anna Wintour 


9 Elvis Presley 


Even though Elvis Presley is now considered to be the King Of Rock ‘n’ Roll, things weren't always going so great for the musician. After a performance at the Grand Ole Opry, the manager of the concert hall told Presley that he was better off sticking to his old job of driving trucks. Luckily, Presley decided to ignore the manager’s advice and follow his dreams instead.

8 Walt Disney 


Before Walt Disney became one of the most famous names of all time, Walt was fired by a newspaper editor because, believe it or not, he lacked imagination. But that wasn’t the end of Walt’s hardships. In 1921, Walt formed his own animation company in Kansas, but was forced to dissolve it due to financial hardships. Then in 1927, Walt tried to introduce MGM studios to Mickey Mouse but was told that the now beloved Mouse would terrify women. Obviously, Walt ended up doing very well for himself after all his trials and tribulations.

7 Oliver Stone 


Although Oliver Stone is a widely successful director now, things weren't always going so smoothly. When he was younger, Stone decided to drop out of Yale to write his first novel, which was rejected by publishers. When his novel finally was published, critics panned it. After the failure of his novel, Stone moved to Vietnam to teach English. Later, Stone enlisted in the army and earned two purple hearts. This would later serve as an inspiration for his films.

6 Lucille Ball 


Before becoming a part of one of the most successful TV series of all time, Lucille Ball was having difficulty finding her way in show business. In the 1940’s, Ball was largely regarded as a failed actress and was even nicknamed, “Queen of the Bs.” Obviously, the entertainment business got it dead wrong. Lucille Ball would go on to win four Emmys and a Lifetime Achievement Award.

5 Michael Jordan 

4 Marilyn Monroe 

3 The Beatles 


When The Beatles were just starting out in he music industry, their recording label decided to drop them. The Beatles had already recorded a number of songs with the group when the record label said that they weren't very fond of their sound and that, “they have no future in show business.”

2 Steven Spielberg 


It’s hard to believe, but Steven Spielberg got rejected from the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television, a grand total of three times. Eventually, Spielberg decided to go to film school somewhere else, even though he dropped out before finishing his degree to become a director. Thirty-five years later, the famous director finally went back to school to get his BA.

1 Oprah Winfrey 

One of Oprah Winfrey’s first jobs on television was on Baltimore’s WJZ-TV, as the co-anchor for the 6 o’clock weekday news. However, after the show received consistently low ratings, Winfrey was fired from the show and told that she was, “unfit for TV.”

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