11 surprising jobs actors had before they got famous

Frederick M. Brown/Getty ImagesTerry Crews was a courtroom sketch artist.

Although a few celebrities are born into stardom, many of Hollywood’s biggest actors and actresses came from less glamorous beginnings.

Before they were accepting Oscars, these celebrity actors were working at some pretty surprising nine-to-five occupations. From one actor’s stint at the National Security Agency to another’s starting job as a hairdresser, here are some of your favourite celebrities’ pre-fame jobs.


Christopher Walken was a lion tamer.

Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Tribeca Film FestivalIt was part of a circus.

Long before Christopher Walken got his big break on the silver screen, he was just another hard-working 16-year-old looking for a quick buck. Instead of working at a local restaurant or grocery store, he worked with a lion tamer.

“When I was a kid, I worked in the circus. It was a touring circus that was owned by a man named Terrell Jacobs. It was just one big tent, and he was a lion tamer,” he told Vanity Fair. “When he would finish his act, there would be one lion left, and I used to go in and have this lion do tricks.”


Danny DeVito was a hairdresser.

Wikimedia CommonsHe worked with his sister.

The “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” actor was a hairdresser for his sister’s beauty parlor, according to an interview he did with BBC. He styled hair for six months before moving on to his next venture.


Steve Buscemi was a firefighter.

Cantor Fitzgerald/Getty ImagesHe took the FDNY civil service test at 18.

The actor returned to his firefighting roots to help search for survivors during 9/11, according to The Independent. He took the FDNY civil service test when he was just 18-years-old.


Terry Crews was a courtroom sketch artist.

Rich Fury/Getty ImagesTerry Crews has serious artistic chops.

Actor Terry Crews can apparently do it all. Before he was a professional football player, he was apparently a courtroom sketch artist in Flint, Michigan. Although he’s since moved on to acting, he still shows off his artistic chops.


Nicole Kidman was a massage therapist.

Christopher Polk/Getty ImagesShe said she still enjoys giving massages.

The actress’ stint in massage therapy was actually initially for her mother, who was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“When you go through radiation you get terrible seizure of the muscles, so I took the massage course and then I liked doing it, so I started to go around to people’s houses and do massages,” she told The Daily Beast.

She also said she still loves giving people massages.


Hugh Jackman was a clown.

Before he was Wolverine, he was entertaining (and possibly frightening) children as a party clown.

He even posted photographic evidence of his former occupation on his Instagram with the caption, “Damning proof I used to do clowning.”


Jon Hamm worked in the pornography industry as a set dresser.

Robin Marchant/Getty ImagesHe said it was depressing.

Way before Hamm got his role as Don Draper in “Mad Men,” he worked in the movie industry as a set dresser. In an interview with Anderson Cooper, he noted his disdain for his former career move.

“I guess the most politic term is sort of like Skinemax movies. There was nothing tasteful about it,” he told Cooper. “It was depressing.”


Whoopi Goldberg worked as a beautician at a morgue.

Kevork Djansezian/GettyIt wasn’t an easy job.

Whoopi Goldberg may be one of the funniest people in Hollywood, but one of her first jobs was a bit more serious. She worked as a beautician in a morgue, a job that she said required a lot of empathy and guts.

“It’s a rough gig,” she told Oprah’s Master Class, according to HuffPost. “You have to be a certain kind of person. And you have to love people in order to make them worthy of a great send-off.”

She also told them she had quite a few spooky experiences, but that after she got over her fears, it was totally fine.


Megan Fox had to dress in a banana suit

Mark Davis/Getty ImagesHer past later came back to haunt her.

Actress Megan Fox said the “only real job” she ever had before acting was dressing up as a giant banana to promote a smoothie shop in Florida.

“Once a week, usually on Fridays, someone had to dress up as a piece of fruit and go out and stand by the highway.” she later told “Ellen.” “I was a banana, a giant banana.”

Of course, when she told Ellen DeGeneres this, the queen of pranks sent out one of her staff members dressed in a banana costume to scare Fox.


Sylvester Stallone cleaned lion cages at the zoo.

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty ImagesAnother lion job.

The second lion-related entry on our list, actor Sylvester Stallone had a myriad of jobs before his script for “Rocky” was picked up, including working cleaning lion cages at the Central Park Zoo, according to Biography.com


Wanda Sykes worked for the National Security Agency.

Angela Weiss/GettyShe said she basically shopped all day.

In an interview with Larry King on CNN, Sykes stated that she was a former employee of the NSA before her comedy and acting career took flight. To be exact, she was a “government procurement specialist” for the NSA.

“Basically, I shopped all day,” she told King. “Anything from, office furniture to intel equipment.”

For more great stories, head to

INSIDER’s homepage

.

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.