George Clooney Used To Sell Women’s Shoes Before Becoming a Hollywood Superstar

George Clooney is one of the most respected actors in the movie business today, but it took him a while to get there. Several years passed before he found success as an actor, and he had to work numerous odd jobs before he landed steady roles. 

During that time he had a bunch of random gigs, but one that stands out the most is his job as a women’s shoe salesman. Thanks to his time in retail, he has a bunch of stories about dealing with women and their feet. 

George Clooney took a while to find success acting 

George Clooney
George Clooney speaks during “HFPA Philanthropy: Empowering the Next Generation” | Getty Images/Getty Images for Hollywood Foreign Press Association

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Although Clooney has a net worth of approximately $500 million today, things were tough during his first few years in Hollywood. 

“The truth of the matter is, the first two years I was broke,” Clooney told Howard Stern. “I was sleeping on the floor or closet and I didn’t have a car, I rode a bicycle all around Hollywood for auditions.”

He worked several odd jobs to get by 

Clooney took numerous odd jobs to feed himself early on, but things changed once he got more consistent roles.

“I did construction work and a lot of other jobs to get by,” Clooney said. “But once I started working, I was making enough money that I didn’t have to take another job. 

Quitting wasn’t an option for George Clooney

Despite the difficulty of the situation, Clooney never considered giving up. He looked at his career as a marathon, not a sprint.

“I always felt like, ‘I’m a journeyman actor, I’m just going to keep plugging away, and hopefully, I’ll get some good roles as I go.’ I didn’t think I was going to get—it was late. I was 35 when it hit, so…”

A big reason for his determination was his notion that he had no other options. 

“You don’t feel like, ‘I should give it up,’ because obviously, what, I was going to give it up, go back to sell ladies shoes?” 

George Clooney used to sell women’s shoes

One of Clooney’s most interesting odd jobs was being a women’s shoe salesman. Talking to Stern, he recalled dealing with many women who would lie about the size of their foot. 

“Being in selling women’s shoes, is shocking,” Clooney said. “First of all, all women lie about the size of their foot. I don’t know why. They’ll be like, ‘This is a seven,’ and you go, ‘This is a 10.’ You’re trying to jam this 10 into a seven.”

He also recalled seeing many women walk into the store with four toes on their feet, which was common at the time. 

“And there was this whole generation of women, this is like 1979, 1980, and I was working in this department store,” Clooney said. “And there’s a whole generation of women who probably were born, like in 1910 or something, that got their fourth toe cut off so they could fit into the pumps.”

He’s grateful for the tough times 

Clooney stresses that his prior career experiences make him grateful for any role he takes, no matter what it may be. 

“When I’m sandpapering my bat nipples off, I’m still going, ‘I’m good, man,’” Clooney said.