Today, they’re Oscar-winners and household names, but before they were famous, these actors were just like us. From restaurant servers to professional jugglers, we take a look at the surprising jobs Hollywood’s most well-known names had before they hit the big time.
- Whoopi Goldberg – Goldberg has had a couple of unexpected professions (including as a bricklayer), but perhaps her most bizarre was her stint as a morgue beautician – yep, she used to doll-up corpses for funerals!
- Hugh Jackman – Before he was Wolverine, the beloved Aussie actor was known as “Mr. Jackman” – he was a P.E. teacher at Uppingham School while living in the UK during his post-high school gap year. Jackman also worked as a clown for hire at birthday parties!
- Johnny Depp – Prior to becoming a screen star, Depp was a salesman of sorts! The actor sold personalised pens over the phone to “people who don’t want you to call them.”
- Rachel McAdams – The Notebook star, like many young people, got her start at Maccas. In fact, she worked at the fast food joint for three years, but told Glamour she “was not a great employee” but that it was “a great place to work”.
- Helen Mirren – She may have played the Queen, but Mirren’s first job wasn’t exactly the most royal role in the world. As a child, she worked as a promoter for the Kursaal amusement park in the UK.
- Harrison Ford – Before saving the world as Indiana Jones, Ford was just a regular tradie. Before hitting the big time, the actor was a carpenter. In fact, he was renowned as one of Los Angeles’ best cabinetmakers.
- Jim Carrey – The Hollywood funnyman worked as a cleaner in a factory before finding fame as a comedic actor. He took up the janitorial job after quitting school at 15 to help provide for his financially struggling family.
- George Clooney – Heartthrob Clooney had many jobs before becoming a successful actor, including as a door-to-door insurance salesman, tobacco cutter and ladies shoe store sales assistant.
- Nicole Kidman – She’s one of Australia’s most well-known exports, but prior to breaking into the film industry, Kidman worked as a masseuse! She took up the job at 17 to support her mother, who had been diagnoses with breast cancer.
- Christopher Walken – The acclaimed actor’s career almost went in a very different direction, after he took up the position of lion tamer in a travelling circus. “I used to go in and have this lion do tricks,” he told Vanity Fair. “It was a female named Sheba, and she was very sweet.”
This article first appeared on Over60.