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The Jobs Of Celebrities Before They Were Famous

By: Gail Kenny

Anyone who is becoming disillusioned with their online job search and has found themselves looking enviously onto the effortless lives of celebrities can take comfort in the fact that they haven’t always had it this easy. Even the most glamorous celebs have crumpled discarded CVs that they’d rather we never see. Fortunately, the internet has made it rather easy to research celebrities’ embarrassing occupations before they were famous…

Without further ado, here’s a list of 10 celebrities’ jobs from before they were famous:

Sir Bob Geldof – Pea Canner

The outspoken former frontman of the Boomtown Rats and face of the ‘Make Poverty History’ movement took on all kinds of dead-end jobs before finding his calling in music. He worked as a road navvy, a hot dog vendor, a slaughterman and finally an exciting career in pea canning before getting a job as a music journalist in Canada.

Sylvester Stallone – Porn Star

Stallone’s tough reputation may have begun in one of his first pre-celebrity jobs – a lion cage cleaner! Years later, after dropping out of Miami University, Stallone pursued his acting dreams, but the ‘Rocky’ star had a long way to go before he was famous and his place in Hollywood history – one of his first films was called ‘Party at Kitty and Stud’s’, which is exactly as high brow as it sounds. This silver screen ‘classic’ was a hardcore pornographic film, which has since been repackaged on the back of Stallone’s success as a softcore release entitled ‘Italian Stallion’ – a reference to Rocky Balboa’s nickname.

Rod Stewart – The Grave Digger

After trying out for a football career with Scottish giants Celtic and London minnows Brentford, a young Rod Stewart decided the glamorous career of a footballer wasn’t for him and opted for the not-so-glamorous career as a grave digger. He wasn’t there for too long though, before pursuing a career in music. The Maggie May songwriter took up street singing, travelling around Europe… indeed he was actually deported from Spain for vagrancy for his art!

Madonna – Dunkin’ Donuts Worker

Madonna is now one of the best selling female music artists of all time, but somehow this will have seemed an unlikely scenario for her 20 year old self upon arriving in New York with just $35 to her name. Over the course of these tough months before she became famous, the ‘Like a Prayer’ singer made ends meet by taking on a range of low paying jobs including a stint serving customers at ‘Dunkin’ Donuts’. An exhibitionist even in those days, she also took on some nude modelling work to supplement the limited fast-food income before finding her celebrity job calling…

Michael Dell – Dishwasher

At the age of 12 the founder of Dell computers, Michael Dell was washing dishes in a Chinese restaurant for $2.30 an hour. With Dell Inc. now worth over $16 billion, I would hope that the CEO is allowing himself a better salary than he earned at the restaurant.

Helen Mirren – Amusement Park Promoter

Long before she was famous and had won her oscar, SAG Awards, BAFTAs, Golden Globes and Emmy Awards, Dame Helen Mirren had the slightly less glamourous role of attracting punters to use the rides at an amusement park in Southend on Sea. It’s unclear whether she won as many accolades in this period of her life…

Paul Daniels - Accountant

The magician and entertainer Paul Daniels was in the army, serving in Hong Kong during his national service. On his return he began training as an accountant in the civil service before leaving to run a small mobile grocery business owned by his parents. While performing magic in the evenings, the door to show business was eventually opened to him.

Jack Nicholson – Mailroom Worker

The veteran actor and star of classics like A Few Good Men, The Shining and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was reportedly discovered working in MGM’s mailroom. Before that, the three times Oscar winner had worked in a toy store and as a lifeguard.

Jerry Seinfeld – Lightbulb Retailer

Before he became famous as a comedian and sitcom star, Jerry sold lightbulbs over the phone. After no doubt being on the end of several aggressive customers, Jerry made fun of his former career on his hit sitcom by telling a cold-caller that it was a bad time and asking if he could call them back later when they’re at home trying to relax.

Brad Pitt – Man in a Chicken Suit

Now regarded as one of the most desirable men on the planet, you’d be hard pushed to see that in Brad Pitt when he handed out flyers outside El Pollo Loco Restaurant in Los Angeles dressed in a chicken suit! Even the role of refrigerator delivery man, although a step up, is a far cry from his current status! As the most embarrassing celebrity job in the list, we can’t imagine Brad looks back fondly on his occupations before he was famous!

So, aside from a slight feeling of smugness, what have we gained from seeing what these celebrities’ occupations before they were famous? Not much, but it’s clear that celebrities come from all walks of life and you never know when you might be spotted. Hopefully that’ll give you the impetus to return to your online job search with renewed vigour, afterall sir Bob Geldof wasn’t stuck canning peas forever!


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About The Author, Gail Kenny

Gail Kenny is the managing director of Puregenie (http://www.puregenie.com) – and online recruitment agency for the travel industry. The site caters exclusively to talented individuals with skills and experience to succeed in the online environment, and businesses looking to increase their online presence. Although the site is mainly travel focussed, it also displays vacancies in the hospitality and leisure industries.
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