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Celebrities Reveal the Jobs They Had Before They Became Famous

Samantha Franco
Photo Credit: Lynn Goldsmith / CORBIS / VCG / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Lynn Goldsmith / CORBIS / VCG / Getty Images

Since they’re in the public eye, there’s a lot about celebrities’ lives that fans are aware of. However, not all stars were famous the moment they were born – many had to make a living before they found success. The first jobs of these celebs are pretty relatable, as many of us have worked in similar occupations.

Matt LeBlanc

Matt LeBlanc standing on a red carpet
Matt LeBlanc, 2004. (Photo Credit: Carlo Allegri / Getty Images)

Matt LeBlanc says he comes from a family of dexterous people. He once told Jimmy Kimmel, “Everyone in my family does some kind of work with their hands,” which is why it’s totally believable that he thought he was going to become a carpenter before he tried his hand at acting.

While attending a technical vocational high school, LeBlanc studied carpentry and claims he “made a complete kitchen and installed it in a house” before deciding to become an actor. However, just before becoming Joey Tribbiani, the loveable ladies’ man on Friends (1994-2004), he experienced a lack of gigs that left him almost broke. “I had, I think, I was down to $11,” he explained in a 2019 interview with Conan O’Brien.

Landing Friends completely changed his career and made LeBlanc a household name.

Halle Berry

Halle Berry holding her Academy Award
Halle Berry, 2002. (Photo Credit: Frank Micelotta / GettyImages)

Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry once worked nine to five like the rest of us. Her parents’ name for her is a nod to the Halle’s Department Store chain that was a landmark in Cleveland, Ohio, where she grew up. She eventually found herself clocking in to work at a different department store.

“My first job was selling cookies at a place called The Cookie Company in Cleveland. I was about 16. Hated it. I knew that 9-to-5 selling cookies would not be for me,” she once told Women’s Wear Daily.

Moving on from cookies, Berry got a job at Higbee’s Department Store. However, even though it was better than cookie sales, she knew it wasn’t going to be her job for the rest of her life.

Harrison Ford

Harrison Ford standing at a wood-working station
Harrison Ford. (Photo Credit: Paul Harris / Getty Images)

During the early stages of his acting career, Harrison Ford was struggling to make a name for himself. While he had some small success in television, all he could get his hands on in the film industry was a small role in American Graffiti (1973). Dissatisfied with his acting career and running out of cash, he turned back to an old profession.

In order to financially support his family, Ford became a self-employed carpenter and was hired to install a door in Francis Ford Coppola‘s office, working at night. “I did the job. While I’m finishing up, first thing in the morning in walked George Lucas and Richard Dreyfuss to begin the process of meeting people for Star Wars,” Harrison later told Esquire. “I was there with my tool belt on, sweeping up, said hello, chatted, and that was it.”

Even though Lucas had indicated he didn’t want the same actors that had been in American Graffiti, Ford was offered the part of Han Solo.

Nicole Kidman

Nicole Kidman posing on a red carpet
Nicole Kidman, 2018. (Photo Credit: Christopher Polk / Getty Images for Turner)

There was a time in Nicole Kidman‘s life when her mother was going through radiation treatment for breast cancer. This can cause some patients to have intense muscle seizing and, unfortunately, that was what her mother was experiencing.

Kidman decided to take a massage therapy course to help ease her mother’s symptoms and even made some extra cash doing so. “I started to go around to people’s houses and do massages… I still love giving people massages,” she once told The Daily Beast. Even though she stays busy starring in award-winning films, she can still take the tension out of co-stars’ shoulders if need be.

Sylvester Stallone

Portrait of Sylvester Stallone
Sylvester Stallone, 1982. (Photo Credit: Michael Putland / Getty Images)

Before becoming internationally known as Rocky, Sylvester Stallone had a really tough go at life. Dropping out of college, he fully gave himself to acting, with little success. After being evicted, he was homeless and struggling to make ends meet.

He took a job as a lion cage cleaner at the Central Park Zoo. When that proved to bear little fruit, he became a softcore adult actor until he finally put pen to paper and drafted Rocky (1976), which he would later star in. This obviously changed his life, turning him into an award-winning actor who continues to star in the ongoing franchise.

Cindy Crawford

Cindy Crawford standing on a red carpet
Cindy Crawford, 2019. (Photo Credit: John Wolfsohn / Getty Images)

One of the most well-known supermodels in history, Cindy Crawford had a humble beginning. At the age of 17, she wasn’t posing in front of cameras or walking the runway for designers. Instead, she was shucking corn for a whopping $4 per hour. “My kids are very lucky,” she told Town & Country. “Because money is not a motivating factor for them at this point in their lives. It was for me when I was getting started. I felt a responsibility to work all the time.”

She wasn’t shucking corn for long though, as she became a global supermodel by the time she was 20.

Michael Douglas

Michael Douglas standing on a red carpet
Michael Douglas, 2019. (Photo Credit: Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images)

Despite being the son of legendary actor Kirk Douglas, Michael hasn’t exclusively worked in the entertainment industry. In fact, one of his first jobs was as an attendant at a Mobil gas station. He was obviously good at the job, as he was at one point awarded “Mobil Man of the Month.”

Douglas would go on to win many more awards of a different caliber. Even in his older age, he remembers loading up gas into customers’ cars.

Julia Roberts

Julia Roberts smiling
Julia Roberts, 2019. (Photo Credit: Jeff Spicer / BFC / Getty Images)

Starring in films like Pretty Woman (1990), Notting Hill (1999) and Mona Lisa Smile (2003), Julia Roberts has become one of the greatest stars of the romantic comedy genre. She seems to be born for the job, but before she made it on the silver screen, she worked in the food industry.

Roberts’ first job was scooping ice cream for hungry customers at Baskin Robbins. Just imagine going for ice cream and being met with Roberts’ million-dollar smile as she asks if you want one scoop or two.

Bill Murray

Bill Murray standing on a red carpet
Bill Murray, 2010. (Photo Credit: Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

It should come as no surprise that Bill Murray has held some odd jobs in his day, given his eccentric personality. One of his earliest jobs was working at the Treasure Island grocery store in Wilmette, Illinois, at the age of 19. He was let go following a misinterpreted comment about a sausage to a female customer.

More from us: Before She Became Famous, Madonna Got Fired From Dunkin’ Donuts for Doing This

What’s strange about it is that he was originally hired to roast chestnuts, so what business did he have discussing sausages with customers? Well, as he put it, “No one wants roasted chestnuts. I still don’t know how to roast a chestnut.”

Samantha Franco

Samantha Franco is a Freelance Content Writer who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Guelph, and her Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Western Ontario. Her research focused on Victorian, medical, and epidemiological history with a focus on childhood diseases. Stepping away from her academic career, Samantha previously worked as a Heritage Researcher and now writes content for multiple sites covering an array of historical topics.

In her spare time, Samantha enjoys reading, knitting, and hanging out with her dog, Chowder!

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