Before they staked a claim and became well-known, these celebrities had to slowly build brand recognition, just like the rest of us.
Here’s what they were doing before we knew them:
1. Brad Pitt – worked as a giant chicken in front of El Pollo Loco, a fast food chain
2. Marlon Brando – department store elevator operator (he quit after four days because having to call out “lingerie” embarrassed him)
3. Danny DeVito – hairdresser in his sister’s beauty salon
4. Whoopi Goldberg – applied makeup to corpses in a mortuary (she said it was great work because clients never complained about how they looked)
5. Gene Hackman – ladies’ shoe salesman at Saks, New York
6. Gregory Hines – karate instructor
7. Cyndi Lauper – cleaned dog kennels
8. Steve Martin – eight years at Disneyland selling Mouseketeer ears and Davy Crockett coonskin hats
9. Gregory Peck – carnival barker at the World’s Fair and tour guide at New York’s Rockefeller Center
10. Telly Savalas – Peabody Award-winning executive with ABC News and State Department employee
11. Sylvester Stallone – gym instructor and dorm bouncer at a girl’s boarding school in Switzerland
12. Warren Beatty – dishwasher and cocktail-lounge pianist
13. Benny Hill – milkman
14. Sinéad O’Connor – singing kiss-o-gram French maid in Dublin
15. Luther Vandross – defective merchandise clerk at S&H trading stamps
16. Dan Akyroyd – wrote a manual for penitentiary guards
17. Frank Zappa – greeting card designer and encyclopedia salesman
18. Sean Connery – milkman and coffin polisher
19. Danny Glover – social worker
20. Rod Stewart – grave digger, fence erector, and sign writer.
Compiled from “The Book of Lists” by David Wallechinsky.