16 Celebrities Who Started Their Careers in Finance


They have worked as pen salesmen, hawkers, cookie scoopers, ballet dancers, firefighters, professional soccer players, shoe salesmen, restaurant hostesses, lion cage tenders, lifeguards, mascots, bellhops and telemarketers. Think of any role and they have done it. These men and women have undertaken different jobs to stay afloat before becoming celebrities. (For related reading, see Winning Celebrities And The Companies They Endorse.) 

TUTORIAL: Financial Careers 

Some celebrities worked in finance before they became rich and famous. Some worked part-time jobs, while others worked full-time. Here are some of the notable ones.

Whoopi Goldberg is an American comedian, actress, singer-songwriter, political activist, author and a talk show host. She sustained herself while looking for acting jobs by working as a bank teller, a bricklayer and a cosmetologist at a mortuary.

Raymond Albert “Ray” Romano is an American actor, writer and stand-up comedian. He studied to become an accountant, and then worked as a bank teller where he met his wife Anna.

Red Foo, one half of the party rock band LMFAO, was tracking stocks as a kid under his father Barry Gordon‘s guidance. Before he made the room groove, he held a job as a day trader. He still invests, though his portfolio has become less risky. He believes that Apple’s stock is a big winner.

Erin Isabelle Burnett is the anchor of CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront.” She was the co-anchor of CNBC’s “Squawk On The Street” program and the host of CNBC’s “Street Signs” program. Burnett began her career as a financial analyst for Goldman Sachs in investment banking. Her work included the areas of mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance. (To learn more, check out Biggest Merger And Acquisition Disasters.) 

Timothy Maxwell “Max” Keiser is an American broadcaster and film-maker. He was the co-founder of the Hollywood Stock Exchange. He has worked in finance for about 25 years and started his career as a stock broker on Wall Street.

Method Actor
Shia Labeouf
isn’t leaving his day job … yet. He got hooked on trading stocks while he worked on his movie “Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps.” Preparing for his role at John Thomas Financial, he managed to turn his $20,000 to around $489,000, extending his midas touch from movies to finance.

Lou Dobbs is an American journalist, radio host, television host on the Fox Business Network and author. Dobbs worked as a cash-management specialist for Union Bank in Los Angeles after graduating from Harvard University.

Martha Stewart made her millions teaching us how to bake and decorate homes better. She started her career as a stock broker in New York.

The iconic Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) worked as an insurance salesman before his famed career as founder of KFC.

It is difficult to imagine Demi Moore the star of “Indecent Proposal,” “GI Jane” and “Striptease” as an employee in a debt collection agency, but she did.

Moving up the Ladder
Former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, Carly Fiorina, started out as a secretary and then moved into a broker position at Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services, a commercial real estate brokerage firm. 

Brett Ratner, director of the “Rush Hour” movies, worked as a stockbroker at South Richmond Securities on Wall Street.

Prime Minister John Key of New Zealand worked as a foreign exchange dealer at Elders Finance in Wellington, before rising to be head foreign exchange trader in two short years. He has also served as Merrill Lynch’s head of foreign exchange. He chose to jump from the high volatility of the world of finance to the more volatile field of politics.

Former British Prime Minister Sir John Major took a correspondence course in banking after being passed over for a bus conductor’s job. He joined as a junior executive at Standard Chartered Bank before moving up the ladder.

Rick Yune the handsome, chilling villain from “Die Another Day” was not new to taking risks, having been a hedge fund trader post graduating from Wharton Business School. At the age of 21, he joined as a trainee at a hedge fund. When it was relatively difficult for a newbie to land a role in a hedge fund, he found it “humbling” to be entrusted with so much responsibility. He also enjoyed the role for its risk and not knowing what to expect next. He, however, was more attracted to the calling of acting.

Michael Roiff, the independent film producer, initially started his career in the world of finance. He briefly worked as a management consultant at CIBC World Markets and The Parthenon Group before he set off to produce his first film “Waitress” in 2007.

The Bottom Line
Before the big bucks and glamour, these celebrities worked at regular white collar jobs, like a lot of us. They were ready to work many jobs to land the one they loved. You never know when the spotlight will shine on you! (For additional reading, check out Celebrities You Can Bank On.)

This post originally appeared at Investopedia.

This story was originally published by Investopedia.