These Celebrities Had Shocking Jobs Before Becoming Famous

Getting a foot in the door in Hollywood is no easy task. Before they were glamorous A-listers, many celebrities were just trying to pay their rent. In fact, while attempting to support themselves many stars had shocking jobs. One action hero’s pre-Hollywood career will certainly make you clutch your pearls (page 10).

1. Christopher Walken


Christopher Walken| Kevin Winter/Getty Images

  • Assistant lion tamer in a circus 

Christopher Walken may be known for films like The Deer Hunter and Hairspray, but the Academy Award winner’s backstory is more interesting. Before Hollywood, Walken worked in a circus as an assistant lion tamer. The acting legend told Vanity Fair he had a lion named Sheba who was “like a dog, really.” Apparently, he had her so well trained that Sheba would roll over and sit on command.

Next: A model wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty

2. Cindy Crawford

Cindy Crawford

Supermodel Cindy Crawford | Jason Merritt/Getty Images

  • Corn shucker on an Illinois farm

Known for her stunning looks and runway walk, Cindy Crawford took the fashion world by storm. However, Crawford revealed that back in her hometown of DeKalb, Illinois, she shucked corn. The businesswoman tweeted that removing the peel and leaves from raw corn was “hot, dirty work.”

Next: An actor’s under the table deals 

3. Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp in 2013

Johnny Depp | Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images

  • A telemarketer who sold ballpoint pens

Long before his debut in 21 Jump Street, Johnny Depp sold ballpoint pens. Apparently, the telemarketer job wasn’t exactly honest. Depp had to promise people things like trips to Tahiti if they bought a certain number of pens, but that wasn’t exactly true. Eventually, the Pirates of the Carribean actor felt so bad he quit the job, but he told Interview magazine he does credit the position for giving him some acting tips.

Next: A fashion mogul’s costume-clad role

4. Victoria Beckham

Victoria Beckham in white shirt

Victoria Beckham| Victoria Beckham via Instagram

  • Dressed as sperm for a BBC sexual education show

Before she was Posh Spice, Victoria Beckham simply needed a big break like everyone else. To makes ends meet, Beckham had a role on the BBC sexual education show, Body Matters. The fashion mogul dressed up as a sperm on roller skates to educate folks about their sexual health.

Next: You know her best as “Thelma.”

5. Geena Davis

Genna Davis at SAG Awards

Actress Genna Davis at SAG Awards | Twitter

  • A human mannequin

Oscar-winner Geena Davis is best known for her role in Thelma and Louise, but she actually began as a fashion model. How’d she get started? The actress was goofing around in Anne Taylor, posing in the storefront windows alongside actual mannequins.

She told NPR, “Somebody saw me do that, and then he stopped to see what was now going to happen. But I just froze. I didn’t know, but I had an uncanny ability to be still.” Davis was so good she was hired to be a human mannequin for real, which eventually helped her get discovered.

Next: An actor’s slew of odd jobs 

6. Dustin Hoffman

Dustin Hoffman attends the BAFTA Los Angeles

The Graduate‘s Dustin Hoffman | Rich Polk/Getty Images

  • A master typist, Hawaiian lei-maker, and more

Dustin Hoffman had to hustle before Hollywood. Before The Graduate, Hoffman took any odd job he could find. This meant working as a doorman, checking coats, and even stringing flowers on Hawaiian leis. He told Vanity Fair, “I had no shame.” Hoffman’s most shocking job was typing the Yellow Pages. The only man to take the job, he worked alongside 80 women.

Next: A rocker whose job made him sick, literally. 

7. Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne of Black Sabbath poses in the press room after winning Best Metal Performance for 'God is Dead?' during the 56th Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, January 26, 2014.

Ozzy Osbourne | Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images

  • Slaughterhouse janitor

Ozzy Osbourne may seem like a man with nerves of steel. After all, you must be pretty badass to be the frontman for Black Sabbath. However, even the rocker couldn’t tolerate his job before breaking into the industry. Osbourne worked in a slaughterhouse cleaning up remains. He told The Telegraph, “For the first four weeks, I did nothing but throw up.”

Next: An actress fired for her hot dogs

8. Eva Mendes

Eva Mendes poses with her hands resting together at an event for Nordstrom

Eva Mendes| John Parra/Getty Images

  • A hot-dog dipper

Before Eva Mendes starred opposite Denzel Washington in Traning Day and Out of Time, she was working as a hot dog dipper at Hot Dog on a Stick, wearing those brightly colored uniforms the employees are known for. Unfortunately, Mendes was fired for giving a co-worker a secret Santa gift with personal care products in it. Mendes did it jokingly, but she told W Magazine her manager was not amused.

Next: This actor had to get a job at 15 to support his family

9. Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey| Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

  • A janitor

Comedic legend Jim Carrey grew up very impoverished. In fact, during much of his childhood, he lived with his family in a van they parked across Canada. At age 15, Carey dropped out of school to work as a janitor and support his family. At the time, Carrey felt a lot of anger about his plight in life, so he carried around a baseball bat in his janitorial cart because he wanted to “beat the heck out of something.”

Next: A MCU actor’s “Magic Mike” moment 

10. Chris Pratt

Chris Pratt

Chris Pratt | Michael Buckner/Getty Images

  • A waiter and stripper 

Before he was known as a beloved character in Parks & Recfixture and a fixture in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Chris Pratt was living in a mouse-infested van in Hawaii and working at Bubba Gump Shrimp as a waiter. However, to earn extra cash, Pratt also stripped at parties. His dance moves weren’t up to par so he couldn’t get a stripping job at a club.

Next: An Oscar winner who got close with some chickens

11. Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey smiling in front of lights wearing a black bowtie

Matthew McConaughey | Loic Venance/AFP/Getty Images

  • Chicken-coop cleaner

Matthew McConaughey is known for his acting talents, rugged good looks, and southern drawl, However, when he was an exchange student in Australia, he found employment in a rather unlikely place. The Dallas Buyers Club actor worked cleaning out chicken coops. He told Quantas, “Those types of trips are really ones that leave a lasting impression.”

Next: An actor who did some different kind of acting.

12. Sylvester Stallone

Sylvester Stallone strikes a pose the 67th edition of the Cannes Film Festival

Sylvester Stallone | Loic Venance/AFP/Getty Images

  • Softcore porn star

Well before Rocky, Sylvester Stallone did some unconventional acting. In 1970, he performed in the softcore adult flick called Party at Kitty and Stud’s. Stallone said he was so broke at the time he either had to do the movie or rob someone. You may still be able to find some still photos from the film.

Next: An actress who hated the friendly skies

13. Evangeline Lilly

Evangeline Lilly

Evangeline Lilly | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

  • A flight attendant

Long before her big break on the ABC series Lost, Evangeline Lilly was a flight attendant for Royal Airlines. Evidently, the gig was awful. On The Tonight Show, Lilly revealed to Jay Leno that it was “the worst job ever” and she was always forced to deal with rude and nasty passengers. Lilly once farted in a particularly rude passenger’s face because she was fed up.

Next: An EGOT winner’s ghostly job

14. Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg | Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images

  • Corpse styler for funeral homes

Whoopi Goldberg is now a staple on The View. However, prior to her breakout performance in The Color Purple, Goldberg was a trained beautician. That’s not really an odd job, but the actress/comedian also lent her services to a mortuary, styling corpses for funerals.

Apparently dead bodies didn’t bother her. However, her boss thought it was funny to hide among the corpses and scare her, so the Ghost actress went back to styling living, breaking people.

Next: This actress had to become a piece of fruit 

15. Megan Fox

Megan Fox in Jonah Hex, Warner Bros

Megan Fox in Jonas Hex | Warner Bros.

  • Dressed as a banana for a smoothie shop

Prior to her breakthrough as a teenage actress, Megan Fox had one other job. She worked as a cashier in a smoothie shop in Florida which is pretty normal. However, once a week the smoothie shop forced her to do something much more outside the box. The Transformers actress told Ellen DeGeneres that every week she put on a banana suit and stood out on the highway to promote the shop.

That would have been a dealbreaker for us.

Follow Aramide Tinubu on Twitter @midnightrami.

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