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Before They Were Famous: Previous Jobs of Hollywood’s Heavy Hitters

When you see someone on the cover of US Weekly, it’s almost always a celebrity who has found some semblance of success in the glamorous world of entertainment. If you dream of reaching celebrity status, only to be brought back to reality by your humdrum job, don’t lose hope. Whether getting their foot in the door or just working for a living, those at the top often had to start at the bottom.

Johnny Depp Before he was an Oscar-nominated actor, Johnny Depp sold pens. “You’re calling people who don’t want you to call them,” he recalled. “You put on your best fake voice and try and sell them a gross or two of ballpoint pens with their name printed on them.” Depp was still selling pens when Nicolas Cage suggested that he try acting, and he soon landed his role in the film A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Nicole Kidman Young Nicole Kidman’s first love was ballet, but she also practiced mime and drama. In her adolescent years, she worked regularly at a local theater, and eventually dropped out of high school to pursue acting full-time. She broke into movies at age 16, landing a role in the Australian holiday favorite Bush Christmas.

Halle Berry This Oscar winner got her first taste of the spotlight at the Miss Teen All-American Pageant, representing the state of Ohio in 1985. The following year, she was the first runner-up in the Miss USA Pageant which was a catalyst for a stint in modeling. It was this that eventually led to her first weekly TV series, 1989’s “Living Dolls.”

Salma Hayek Before she was on Hollywood’s radar, Salma Hayek was a superstar in her native Mexico thanks to a role on the soap opera Teresa. Anxious to make films and to explore her talent and passion, Hayek left the soap and Mexico in 1991, and left her heartbroken fans spreading rumors about an affair between Hayek and Mexico’s president.

Russell Crowe Way before he was in Gladiator and A Beautiful Mind, Russell Crowe worked, very briefly, as a waiter. Luckily, the aspiring actor and musician didn’t like the service industry and turned toward more creative endeavors.

Quentin Tarantino When Quentin Tarantino dropped out of ninth grade, his mother insisted he get a job. He did, and promptly began working at the Pussycat Lounge — a local adult entertainment theater. Years later, he landed a job as a “production assistant” on a workout video. His job duties: Cleaning up dog mess from the front lawn of the house in which the video was being shot.


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