15 Celebrities and Their Surprising Jobs Before They Became Famous

Harrison Ford, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston and Sean Connery
Before they made a name for themselves, a great number of celebrities led mundane lives just like the rest of us. While some of them might have had it easy when it comes to their employment, there were others who really had to go through the dirtiest and most embarrassing jobs just to get by. If you wish to know what types of positions your favorite celebrities held before they made their start in the entertainment industry, check out the list we have compiled for you below:

1. Sean Connery, Famous Milkman

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Looking at what he has achieved now, you will never believe that Famous Sir Sean Connery started out working as a milkman at the age of 14 and earned a measly 21 shillings (known then as guinea) a week. Connery’s employment records date way back to 1944 and showed his first official title as that of a Corstorphine Dairy barrow worker. This information was discovered at the 130-year old Scotmid headquarters located in Edinburgh, when they cleared out old files in preparation for their move to a new location. The document was hidden inside a safe. When Connery left the company in 1948 to join the Navy, he had already worked his way up to becoming a dairy transport worker and then, a junior horseman. He came back a year later to work as a horseman, but left again in January 1950. During the same year of his leaving, he placed third in that year’s Mr. Universe Bodybuilding Contest. The other odd jobs held by the first James Bond actor included becoming a coffin polisher, bricklayer and lifeguard.

2. Harrison Ford, Famous Carpenter

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While he was still getting bit roles in Hollywood, Harrison Ford worked as a professional carpenter to earn money for his family. During this time, he became the stagehand of the rock band, The Doors and got hired to make a recording studio for singer Sergio Mendes and a sun deck for Sally Kellerman. Ford also made cabinets for Star Wars director George Lucas’ home and expanded The Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola’s office. This relationship with both directors earned him supporting roles in a number of their movies and became instrumental in his getting the role of Han Solo in the first Star Wars movie in 1977, which catapulted his name into the mainstream.

3. Sylvester Stallone, Lion Cage Cleaner

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Before his Rocky Balboa screenplay got attention and earned him his first leading role, Sylvester Stallone made ends meet by taking on all types of jobs. Aside from working as an usher at the Walter Reade cinema chain, the Rambo lead actor cleaned up lion cages at the Central Park Zoo, where he got pissed on by the huge cats a number of times. Stallone also got himself a bit role in an adult film in 1970 entitled A Party at Kitty and Studs before he got uncredited parts in such mainstream films as the 1971 Klute and Woody Allen’s Bananas, which also came out in the same year. Rocky, which Stallone wrote and starred in, came out in 1976 and cemented the actor’s fate as one of the multi-talented names in the industry. This movie earned itself five sequels over the span of 30 years and a spin-off in Creed, where Rocky is shown as young black boxer Apollo Creed’s mentor. Filming for this movie started in January this year.

4. Matthew McConaughey, Chicken Coop Cleaner

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The Famous Matthew McConaughey might be known as one of the most profound actors of our time, but he was actually just an easy and laid-back kind of guy during his youth. He lived for a year in Australia as a Rotary exchange student and took on odd jobs to pay his bills. These included washing dishes and cleaning chicken coops. When the Dallas Buyers Club lead actor, who won his first Oscar for his performance in the movie, was asked about his experience down under, he stated that “those types of trips are really the ones that leave a lasting impression”.

5. Nicolas Cage, Sold Popcorn at the Fairfax Theater

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While he was still studying theater at Beverly Hills High, The Famous Nicolas Cage landed a small role in 1982’s Fast Times at Ridgemont High. However, the part did not make the final edit. This prompted Cage to work at the Fairfax Theater selling popcorn and tearing movie tickets. Later on, he landed a role in the 1983 Rumble Fish, where he initially got a job to read lines with the actors auditioning for the film. But, it was his role as a punk-rocker in Valley Girl, which was released earlier in the same year that really cemented his place in the acting world. In 1995, the actor won an Academy Award for his role in Leaving Las Vegas.

6. Warren Beatty – Rat Catcher

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In his youth, Warren Beatty was one of those aspiring actors who did everything just to get into theater. He was reported to have turned down several football scholarships just so he can study the arts in Northwestern University. He dropped out a year later though, so he can become an actor in New York. But, if Beatty refused football scholarships left and right, there was one job that he was unable to say no to during this time. Because of his desperation to land a job at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C., the Bugsy star accepted the position of official rat catcher there.

7. Tom Cruise, Hotel Bellhop

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Before the Famous Tom Cruise got the kind of acclaim that the Mission Impossible series did to his career, he was studying to become a priest. But, this was not even the most surprising thing that the actor did before he became one of the most highly-paid and sought-after actors of all time. At one time, he worked as a hotel bellhop where he carried the bags of the rich and famous and brought them to their rooms, instead of being one himself. This just goes to show that you will never know what fate has in store for you unless you are already there enjoying the fruits of your labor.

8. Jennifer Aniston, Telemarketer/Bike Messenger

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The Famous Jennifer Aniston might be one of the sexiest and well-loved leading ladies of our time, but before she even came onboard the famous TV series, Friends, she held different jobs just like the rest of us. In an interview with Parade magazine, the actress said first job was cleaning toilets. She said this was how she earned her school money when she was a kid. While she loved waitressing while she was still waiting for her big break, Aniston shared that she hated being a telemarketer doing time-share selling. However, this was not even the toughest job she had to go through. The We’re the Millers lead actress said the hardest job she ever experienced was being a bike messenger in New York City when she was 19. She recalled that her lowest moment during that time was when she drove into a door that opened. Aniston accredited this to being so klutzy and uncoordinated.

9. Julia Roberts, Baskin-Robbins Employee

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The Famous Julia Roberts might have one-time actors and playwrights as parents and even have one of Hollywood’s well-known villain actors Eric Roberts as a brother, but she didn’t have everything the entertainment industry handed to her on a silver platter. Instead, while she was taking acting classes, the Pretty Woman actress scooped ice cream at Baskin-Robbins to make ends meet. Although this job was way nobler than her role in the romantic comedy opposite heartthrob Richard Gere, it is still something you wouldn’t expect from the woman who brought a breath of fresh air into other such romantic comedy films as My Best Friend’s Wedding and Notting Hill.

10. Sandra Bullock, Bartender

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The Famous Sandra Bullock is one of the quirkiest and talented actresses in Hollywood. And, if you will listen to her describe the job she had at the side while she was still starting and struggling to find her footing in the industry, you will understand why. Bullock told Associated Press that she paid the rent while she was still making her way into stardom by being a bartender. She revealed that she learned quite a number of accents while she was serving drinks to bar patrons. The Gravity lead actress said, “A lot of girls came in looking for rich husbands. I learned to imitate them.”

11. Danny DeVito, Hair Stylist/Mortician

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This Italian-American character actor is best known for being the balding and diminutive character actor who always gave an edge to such films as Twins, Matilda, L.A. Confidential, Get Shorty and The Rainmaker. However, when Danny DeVit was younger and yet to enter into the acting world, he actually worked as a hair stylist, both for the living and the dead. The actor, producer and director said that when he was 18 and fresh out of high school, he worked for his sister Angie, who was a hairdresser. He did this in return for his sister sending him to school. But, DeVito did not stop at styling hair of living people. He also went to the mortuary to style those of the deceased, particularly dead women. “It was only women’s hair I did, and it was usually a really old lady, and she didn’t talk back!” DeVito jokingly recalled.

12. Brad Pitt, Chicken Mascot for El Pollo Loco

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The Famous Brad Pitt may be a Hollywood A-lister now, but he didn’t always enjoy this status. Way before he started earning extra roles in the movie industry, he worked several odd jobs that included being a limo driver for a strip-o-gram service and a furniture mover. There was also a time when this family man, who was made more popular by having children and marrying the equally bankable actress Angelina Jolie, dressed up in a chicken costume just so he could pay his bills. Pitt was studying journalism in the University of Missouri when he dropped out to go to Hollywood and go after an acting career. But, as he had to eat and live somewhere while looking for acting jobs, the Fury lead actor wound up working at an El Pollo Loco restaurant located on Sunset Boulevard. According to People magazine, Pitt withstood 100-degree temperatures wearing a chicken suit while handing out flyers for the chain restaurant.

13. Hugh Jackman, Professional Clown/PE Teacher

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The Famous Hugh Jackman may be one of the big names in Hollywood these days, but he went through jobs in the past that you may not believe he ever took. Before he became the Wolverine in the highly popular X-Men series, there was a time in Jackman’s life when he was just simple gym teacher at England’s Uppingham School, where he taught boys the importance of physical fitness. However, if it is easy enough to imagine The Prestige actor as a hunk of a PE teacher, then how do you think would you envision him as a clown? Yes, Jackman worked as a professional clown, earning an estimated $50 per party. But, according to the actor in an interview with In the News, he was really bad at doing magic while he was Coco the Clown. In fact, he revealed that during one of the parties he was hired for, a six-year old stood up and proclaimed to his mom that he was “terrible” because he did not know any tricks. Jackman humbly admitted that the kid was right.

14. Madonna, Dunkin Donut Cashier

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Before she became known as The Material Girl and the Queen of Pop, The Famous Madonna dropped out of college and relocated to New York City to get herself a dance career. But, she did not get the fame she now has quite that fast. So, she had to go through a number of odd jobs, most of which lasted only a day. One of such jobs was working as a cashier at a Dunkin’ Donuts located in Times Square, where she was said to have been fired on her first because she squirted donut jelly on customers. Coincidentally, Madonna also did not last long with the first band she worked. Known as The Breakfast Club, the band had a lot of record label doors slammed to its face. This prompted the multi-awarded singer and actress to find her success on her own, which she certainly did, considering what she has already achieved.

15. Gwen Stefani, Dairy Queen Employee

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Without a doubt, The Famous Gwen Stefani is one of the music industry’s icons. However, not everyone knows that her success as a singer can be highly associated with her former job at Dairy Queen. When she was a senior in high school, she was working behind the counter of the said ice cream shop located in Orange County, California. It was also during this time when her older brother Eric founded the band No Doubt, which was a virtual unknown back then, with their fellow workers at Dairy Queen. Although Stefani did backup vocals at first, she was able to find her true calling in life when she was elevated later on to become the lead singer. The rest, we can all say, is history. There are still a lot of celebrities who held surprising or shocking jobs before they made names for themselves in the entertainment industry. This just goes to show that with passion, talent and a few odd jobs on the side, you can certainly make it in Tinseltown.