30 Celebrities Who Had Very Surprising Jobs Before Becoming Famous

Here’s the thing: Everybody has to start somewhere. Menial jobs might not exactly be glamorous in any way shape or form, but many celebrities had to make ends meet somehow before they became rich and famous. Just like you and I, celebs had to pay the bills. And the jobs they took on were often the kinds of work that we would never associate them with. So let’s take a look at 30 celebrities who had very surprising jobs before they were famous.

Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt is nowadays famous for marrying one of the most beautiful women on the planet, and for starring in hit movies like Seven, Fight Club and The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford. But before deciding that he wanted to become a movie star, he was busy working away on a degree in journalism at the University of Missouri.

Yet when he was just two credits short of graduating, he quit and moved to LA to make his fortune. It was slow going at first, and on the road to stardom, Brad had to deliver refrigerators and dance in a chicken suit. Smooth.

Vince Vaughn

Vince Vaughn got his big break in 1996 indie flick Swingers, which simultaneously launched his and his buddy Jon Favreau’s careers. Since then, Vaughn has become known as one of the big names in modern comedy, often sharing laughs on the screen with funny men like Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Paul Rudd. He’s also dated Jennifer Aniston, proving that fame really does get you the women.

Before any of that, Vaughn worked as a lifeguard. The reason he was fired? Because he kept turning up late.

Not exactly great if you’re floundering in the pool and need your life saving.

Cheers, Vince. I thought you were cool.

Kanye West

Since becoming famous, Kim Kardashian’s musical husband has compared himself to Jesus and is one of the world’s richest performers.

Although it’s hard to believe at the moment, Kanye wasn’t always loaded, and nor was he always comparing himself to Christ. Back in high school, Kanye had to pay his bills by working at the GAP. Yet, rather than be ashamed of his background, West has referenced his time at GAP on his College Dropout album.

“Let’s go back, back to the GAP.”

Yeah, right, Kanye.


When you’ve got a name like Madonna, you surely don’t work menial jobs. Instead, you’re destined to be a star who performs to thousands of adoring fans and sells millions of records.

And just in case you were wondering, Yes, she was christened Madonna. Despite his glamorous/religious name, Madge worked as a showgirl in France before working at Dunkin’ Donuts in New York selling, um, donuts. You can imagine the looks she got when customers checked her name tag.

Johnny Depp

As well as being one of the world’s most handsome, gorgeous, divine men, Johnny Depp is also a supremely talented actor who has been entertaining us with his skills and divinity for over two decades.

But before he hit the big time, Mr. Depp worked in more humble surroundings as a modest telemarketer. His chief job? He sold pens.

Depp explains: “I was selling pens..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. First you say, ‘Congratulations. you have just become eligible to win a grandfather clock’ – or a trip to Greece or a Jacuzzi or whatever.’ ”

We can’t imagine it was that hard to such a great actor to convince folk to part with their cash …

Jay Z

Before he went platinum with his rap records, Jay Z didn’t hold down a steady, “regular” job like most others on this list. Far from selling pens or folding jeans at the GAP, Jay Z had a rather more heinous job: He was a crack dealer.

Far from hiding his past away, Jay Z has been very open about his early career and says that it made him more business savvy. “I know about budgets. I was a drug dealer. To be in a drug deal, you need to know what you can spend, what you need to re-up.”

That’s today’s lesson from Jay Z out of the way.

Victoria Beckham

Victoria Beckham is majorly famous for two things: She was a founding member of British pop group Spice Girls, and she is the husband of ex-footballer David Beckham. She is perhaps less famous for owning her own range of clothing.

But before she hit the giddy hits of pop stardom, “Posh Spice” had a part on a BBC sex education show called Body Matters. The part she played? A sperm on roller skates.

Channing Tatum

Anyone who has seen Magic Mike will probably have commented that Channing Tatum was born for the role of the male stripper.

That’s because he was born for the role of a stripper.

Before he became a serious actor, our boy Channing was prancing around stages in various states of undress. So while Magic Mike showed you a few glimpses of his flesh, you could have seen the real deal had you popped down to one of his early shows. Looks like you missed out.

(Yes, I missed out too)

Whoopi Goldman

Four facts about Whoopi Goldman:

1) She has the best name in Hollywood ever.

2) She is terrified of flying.

3) She was a morgue beautician before becoming a celebrity.

4) She was a bricklayer before becoming a morgue beautician.

You can thank us for making your day later.

Jon Bon Jovi

It’s hard to think that any rock star had a career before becoming a rock star. Like, aren’t rock stars gods or something? They’re not actually human, are they?

Unfortunately, they are. Before hitting the big time with his band, Bon Jovi, Jon Bon Jovi worked as a Christmas decoration maker.

Although many people probably never knew this job even existed, Jon was busy making his little decorations before he even thought about living on a prayer.

We wonder if he still makes his own xmas decorations. It would be so cute if he did!

Matt Le Blanc

Matt Le Blanc is most famous for playing everyone’s favourite dimwit, Joey from Friends. In fact, Joey was probably everyone’s famous character.

Strangely enough, Matt Le Blanc had a career prior to hitting the big time with Friends, despite looking as though he had arrived on set straight from high school.

Even stranger, Matt’s first career was as a carpenter. Somehow we find it hard to picture the floppy haired hunk chopping up pieces of wood. All we can picture are Diet Coke ad’s from the nineties.

Ashton Kutcher

Ashton Kutcher first found stardom with late nineties stoner comedy Dude, Where’s My Car? Since then, he’s starred in a whole host of rom-com’s, and been married to Demi Moore. Now dating Mila Kunis, he replaced Charlie Sheen in hit U.S. sitcom Two And A Half Men.

But things weren’t always great for Ashton, and there was a time when he couldn’t date any of the hottest women on the planet. While studying for a biomedical engineering degree at college, he paid his bills and expenses by working in a factory. He didn’t pack the boxes, though – instead, he was responsible for sweeping up the cereal dust.

He also sold his blood for more cash.

Thank the Lord he became famous, hey?

Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie may be one of the most beautiful women on the planet, but looks are certainly not a shoo-in for fame. Even though her famous father Jon Voight was one of the biggest movie stars of the sixties and seventies, acting was not at the forefront of Jolie’s mind, and she started her career with course work in mortuary science. Not long after that, the Wanted star began appearing in music videos until she landed a few roles in the movies.

A few of them were nude roles.

Yes, we will wait while you try and track those clips down.

George Clooney

George Clooney’s fame didn’t exactly happen swiftly. He was 34 by the time the world fell in love with this heartthrob on the popular U.S. medical drama ER. He was ready and willing to make up for lost time, though, and has since achieved worldwide fame and love. He has two Academy Awards to his name, as well as three Golden Globes.

Before any of that, though, George wanted to play for the Cincinatti Reds baseball team. He was rejected and went to college to try broadcast journalism. Finding that it wasn’t for him, he dropped out and became a shoe salesman and a tobacco farm hand.

The long road to fame and fortune, hey?

Harrison Ford

It’s hard to think that Indiana Jones and Hans Solo ever had a regular job. In fact, it’s downright disheartening.

But Harrison Ford had to do something before he battled interplanetary adversaries, and the first thing he did was work at a Boy Scout adventure camp in order to make ends meet. He also worked as a sports commentator at his high school, before landing a chic job as a carpenter building custom furniture.

At least his clients were famous: He built furniture for Richard Dreyfuss.

Early claim to fame and all that.

Jim Carrey

Rubber-faced Jim Carrey is one of the world’s most treasured comedy actors. If you ask anybody what their favourite comedy is, there is a high chance they’ll name drop a Jim Carrey film. That’s just how popular the man is.

Before he hit the big time in the movies, Carrey was working as a stand-up comedian who largely did impressions, contorting his face to the extremes. Before his act caught on, he would open for top-rated comedians, such as Rodney Dangerfield. Before that, he worked as a janitor at a factory.

Christopher Walken

Senior Walken has one of the coolest, most impersonated voices in Hollywood history ever. He’s also starred in some pretty neat movies, including The Deer Hunter and, um, Wedding Crashers.

He wasn’t always rocking up with the who’s who of Hollywood, though. Before he got his big acting break in the sixties, Walken was earning his crust at a small circus where he performed tricks with a female lion called Sheba.

Nicole Kidman

Nicole Kidman’s breakthrough roles are often claimed to be Dead Calm and Bangkok Hilton, but it was her role as a sultry Cat Woman in Batman Forever that really thrust her into the limelight. Women were jealous of her figure, while men had never been so hot under the collar when watching a man prance around the screen in a bat cape.

The Australian actress has since gone on to become one of the world’s most revered actresses. With a handful of Academy Awards to her name, as well as a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, she can pick and choose whichever roles she wants.

But her road to stardom was a little rocky: Her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was just 17, leading her to drop out of school and help the family’s finances out by getting work as a massage therapist.

Hugh Jackman

Sometimes, it really does break your heart to write about what one of your favourite men on the planet ever had to do before they go their break. Hugh Jackman, arguably one of the most beautiful men to have ever walked God’s earth, had to demean himself by working as party clown, charging a measly $50 per show.

After that, he worked as a gym teacher, which is definitely a lot nicer.

Jennifer Aniston

I know what you want me to say. You want me to say that Jennifer Aniston actually worked as a barista at a coffee shop before landing her role as Rachel on Friends, who ALSO worked as a barista at a coffee shop. Yes, it would be totes amaze balls.

Unfortunately, it isn’t the case. Aniston actually used to work as a telemarketer while going to various acting auditions. Eventually, she bagged the role of Rachel and the rest is history (including Vince Vaughn, who is in her history somewhere).

Paul Hogan

Most people know Paul Hogan for playing the starring role in hit Australian movie Crocodile Dundee and Crocodile Dundee 2.

If you can name anything else Hogan has done (without looking it up), you get a Gold Star.

Well, actually, Hogan – or just plain “Hoges” – worked as a painter in Australia before hitting the big time with The Paul Hogan Show. He didn’t paint art works in the vein of Van Gogh, though; instead, he painted the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Amazing.

Rod Stewart

It’s hard to believe that Rod Stewart is now 70. The “Sailing” and “Maggie May” singer has one of the most distinct voices in pop, and is still recording and touring to this day.

Before his raspy vocal chords were used to great effect in late sixties band The Faces, Rod tried his luck as a footballer. Once that failed, he became a gravedigger of all things to pay the bills. Not exactly glamorous, but first jobs never really are.

The reason he took the grave digging gig? He thought it would cure this nightmares about death.

Sylvester Stallone

It took quite some time for Sly Stallone to get his big break in Hollywood. Few producers and directors were willing to take a gamble on him by giving him a lead role in a movie that he craved. They were even more unsure when he came to them with the script for Rocky, and demanded that he had total control of the story. But the studio heads gambled and it paid off.

While he was playing bit part roles in movies no one’s ever seen, Stallone also had a proper job; he worked at Central Park Zoo, clearing out the lion cages. Classy.

Orlando Bloom

Mr Bloom is most famous for playing the handsome Legolas in the trilogy of Lord of the Ring movies directed by Peter Jackson. His star has since risen, and he’s become known as one of the nicest guys in the industry. He’s also dated some real beauties, and picked up a few good roles here and there.

Before fortune smiled down upon him and ordered a casting director to give him the role of Legolas, Orlando worked a few odd jobs. Prepared to get his hands dirty early on, he took a job as a Clay Trapper when he was just thirteen. And in case you don’t know what a Clay Trapper is, they’re basically responsible for loading and firing the clay discs that shooters use as targets.

So now you know what a Clay Trapper is.

Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne is most famous for being the lead singer of Black Sabbath.

His secondary claims to fame include shouting a lot and looking generally out-of-it on a reality TV show, as well as biting the head off a living bat (allegedly).

So it probably comes as no surprise to learn that the legendary Prince of Darkness used to work in a Birmingham slaughterhouse before achieving notoriety with his doom rock band.

Tim Allen

If we asked you what Tim Allen and Jay Z had in common, you’d probably find it hard to come up with anything other than the fact that they’re both famous.

Yes, they are. But they also both had rather similar jobs; see, they both worked as drug dealers before hitting the big time.

It’s very hard to believe that Allen, who is most famous for playing Santa Claus in the Santa Claus movies, could have been a drug dealer. But back in the seventies, he was the man to go to if you wanted some cocaine in Michigan. He was so well known that cops trapped him in a sting operation. Threatened with life imprisonment, he snitched on other dealers in exchange for just 2-3 years.

And then he changed his ways and became Santa Claus.

Sean Connery

It might be hard for anyone to believe that a James Bond could have been anything other than a double agent who dates the most glamorous women on the planet.

It might be even harder to believe that a James Bond could have been a milkman of all things.

But Sean Connery, who played played 007 from 1962 until 1971, came from a working class background where it was demanded of him that he secure a proper job straight after leaving school. After becoming disillusioned with life as a milkman, Connery joined the Royal Navy and got two tattoos.

Danny DeVito

It seems as though funny man Danny DeVito has been around forever. Although he looked old in hit seventies U.S. sitcom Taxi, the man is still going strong, as he continues to act, direct and get divorced.

And way before Taxi, the Pulp Fiction executive producer had a job as a barber. We don’t know about you, but we’d love to get our hair cut by this guy!

Although we’d like to see some samples first.

Hey, hair is important.

Robin Williams

Prior to his sad passing, Robin Williams was one of Hollywood’s most popular stars. Capable of being hugely funny, warm and serious, he was a man of many talents who loved sharing them with the world, and his two most popular roles in Aladdin and Mrs. Doubtfire have sealed his immortality.

And anyone who has ever seen him act will probably be unsurprised to learn that Mr. Williams worked as a street mime before landing the role of alien Mork in U.S. sitcom Mork & Mindy.

Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood is probably going to live forever. The actor turned director is now so old that he probably can’t even remember his previous job as a swimming pools installer.

That’s right; if you needed a swimming pool installed back in the fifties, Eastwood was your man.

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