Brad Pitt Worked as a Chicken Mascot Before Making it Big

Most Brad Pitt fans know he got his big break in 1991’s Thelma & Louise. Playing the hitchhiker Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon pick up led to starring roles and the blockbuster career that won him an Oscar in Feb. Before his breakthrough film, Pitt struggled like every other working actor. He even took some non acting work to pay the bills before making it big.

Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt | Matt Winkelmeyer/VF20/WireImage

Brad Pitt’s early roles

Some of Pitt’s earliest credits are non speaking roles. In the movie Hunk you can see him in a beach scene. In Less Than Zero he plays an uncredited man at a party, and a waiter in No Man’s Land. He recurred as Chris on the soap Another World and Randy on Dallas.

Geena Davis and Brad Pitt | Fotos International/Getty Images

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Speaking roles would come on episodic television like Head of the Class, 21 Jump Street and Freddy’s Nightmares, the Freddy Krueger TV series that lasted two seasons. His horror movie Cutting Class got re-released with Pitt on the cover after he began starring in mainstream movies. He also had Across the Tracks before Thelma & Louise and Johnny Suede the same year as his breakthrough, 1991.

Brad Pitt dressed as a chicken for ‘El Pollo Loco’

The El Pollo Loco where Pitt worked is permanently closed. They should have declared it a historical landmark at the corner of Sunset Blvd. and La Brea Ave. in Hollywood, California. Hollywood tour busses would drive by the fast food joint and tell the story of how Pitt once dressed as a chicken for that location. Ellen Degeneres got Pitt to tell the story himself.

“Yes, I was for the grand opening on Sunset and La Brea,” Pitt told Ellen in 2019. “Yes, I was. Man’s gotta eat. No shame. I would have to wave the sign, ‘Grand Opening.’ That is true.”

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Pitt could not remember how much the gig paid, but he remembered drivers were not kind.

“I got flipped off a lot,” Pitt said.

This odd job was less fun

In a 2007 Newsweek Oscar roundtable, Pitt told a story about another pre-fame odd job. This one actually led to more acting work. 

“I had a similar job driving strippers around for a couple months,” Pitt said. “You took whatever odd job you could that was interesting in some way, that kept you able to audition. It was a really strange introduction to L.A. but a really interesting introduction. My job was to drive them and then it was for bachelor parties and things like that.”

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Still a showman, Pitt described the details of the stripper chauffeur job. 

I’d pick ‘em up. Sometimes they’d be crawling out their back windows because their boyfriends didn’t know they were doing this. You’d drive ‘em to the gig, then you had to collect the money and catch their clothes so the guys wouldn’t steal them and play the bad Prince tapes. Then you’d work ‘em afterwards to do these things. It was not a wholesome atmosphere but truthfully, the novelty wore off very quickly. It got very, very depressing so I quit after two months even though it was really good money that I needed at the time.”

Brad Pitt, Newsweek 2007 Oscar Roundtable

That job led Brad Pitt to acting classes, though

Pitt said the last job he ever did for the stripper company, he met someone who introduced him to acting class.

“I had never met her before and she was in an acting class that she said she named another actor that I’d actually heard of who was in this acting class,” Pitt said. “Because of that, I went and checked it out. It was a man named Roy London who’s since passed away but a lovely, lovely man and really set me on the direction that put me into hits like Troy, Meet Joe Black.”