They may be born actors, but these people weren't born actors. And just like the regular non-famous humans they once were, they actually had to work regular, non-famous jobs at some point. Some of them are actually pretty interesting. Others are Sylvester Stallone.
1. Patrick Dempsey, champion juggler.
In his youth, Patrick Dempsey was a competitive juggler. In an interview with Forbes, he explains that as a kid he wanted to ski, so he learned how to ride a unicycle for balance. Then one day during some free time, a teacher at school taught him how to juggle. A vaudeville scout in town saw him riding a unicycle and juggling, and... now he's a famous actor.
In the video below, 18-year-old Dempsey juggles and also dances in a baggy eighties outfit that must be seen to be believed. Too bad McDreamy didn't get to juggle any scalpels or bones on Grey's Anatomy.
2. Sylvester Stallone, porn star.
Before he was Rocky, he was Stud: in 1970,Stallone starred in a softcore porn movie called The Party at Kitty and Stud's (re-released after the release of Rocky as Italian Stallion). It consisted of two days of work for which he got paid $200. Five years later, Stallone was offered $350,000 for the script for Rocky, which he wrote in three and a half days. He declined that offer, instead taking one that paid less, but that also stipulated he star in the movie (instead of Burt Reynolds or Ryan O'Neal, both of whom were supposedly being considered).
3. Hugh Jackman, gym teacher and party clown.
Before he was Wolverine, Hugh Jackman was a physical education teacher—in 1987 he taught for a year at a boys' school called Uppingham in England. In 2013, he ran into a former pupil of his, who'd become an entertainment reporter, on the red carpet, and they had a laugh about it.
Jackman also briefly worked as a clown, and last summer he even tweeted a picture of himself in costume as proof. Maybe one day he and Patrick Dempsey will have a juggling fight to the death.
4. David Zayas, cop.
It's no surprise that David Zayas played Sergeant Angel Batista so convincingly on Dexter—he actually was a New York City police officer for almost 15 years before he gave it up and started acting full-time, when he was cast as Enrique Morales on the HBO prison drama, Oz. He didn't, however, have any experience prior to that as a real inmate, so that role took more imagination.
5. Gerard Butler, lawyer?
Well, almost. Gerard Butler graduated from law school and got a job as a trainee at an Edinburgh law firm and was just a week away from qualifying as a lawyer when he was fired, mainly for partying too much.
6. Cyndi Lauper, ear piercer.
According to her memoir, Cyndi Lauper once worked as an ear piercer, "once" being the operative word. She was an employee at the store, and when they asked her to try her hand piercing ears with a piercing gun, she thought it would be no problem, since she'd helped her mother reupholster some kitchen chairs with a staple gun. Turns out she was incorrect in her assessment.
7. Kanye West, Gap employee.
Kanye's always loved fashion—before he was a megastar, he worked as a sales associate at Gap. He even rapped about it on his song "Spaceship": “Let's go back, back to the Gap / Look at my check, wasn't no scratch / So if I stole, wasn't my fault / Yeah I stole, never got caught."
Just last week West told Business Insider that his dream is to be "the Steve Jobs of the Gap," a position which recently became open (sort of) after Gap cut ties with its former creative director, Rebekka Bay. Don't give up, Kanye, maybe one day you'll make that dream come true.
8. Evangeline Lilly, flight attendant.
Before her plane crashed on a mysterious island in Lost, Evangeline Lilly was a flight attendant. She worked for Royal Airlines, and told Jay Leno that she once farted on a passenger who was annoying her. That's a pretty cool skill, should the whole acting thing not pan out.
9. Harrison Ford, carpenter.
10. Victoria Beckham, roller-skating sperm.
Rounding out a resume which includes Spice Girl, fashion titan, and professional non-smiler, Victoria Beckham was once a roller-skating sperm. Not just for fun—it was for the job she held on a BBC sex education show called Body Matters. Pictures do not exist; trust us, we've looked.
11. Jon Hamm, set dresser for porn movies.
Mad Men's favorite handsome scowler Jon Hamm had a job in the late nineties as a set dresser for Cinemax softcore porn movies. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Hamm called the job as "soul-crushing," so it probably gave him a lot of insight into what must be the next most soul-crushing job possible—advertising.
12. Tom Cruise, almost priest.
It seems Tom Cruise has always been fascinated with religion. Before Scientology, he was "infatuated" with the Catholic Church, even attending St. Francis Seminary School in Cincinnati, OH, where he thrived in drama club, until he got thrown out for stealing liquor.
13. George Clooney, insurance salesman.
George Clooney claims to have had a "a lot of rotten jobs," including door-to-door insurance salesman. He told David Letterman that he wasn't very good at that one:"The first day I sold one (policy) and the guy died."
14. Christopher Walken, lion tamer.
Among other things, Christopher Walken once worked as an assistant lion tamer in the circus, as a child. As a child! You know what, somehow that's not even that surprising, really. He would wait until all the lions save one had left the ring, then, pretending to be the lion tamer's son, and wearing an identical outfit, he would wave his whip at the big cat. "It was a female named Sheba, and she was very sweet. Like a dog, really."
15. Danny DeVito, hairdresser.
Not wanting to go to college after high school, Danny DeVito instead got a job working in his sister Angie's beauty parlor. He reportedly told George Lopez on his short-lived talk show that he attended Wilfred Academy (a beauty school in New Jersey) and later got a job as a hairdresser in a morgue. "There she would be—it was only women's hair I did—and she didn't talk back."
16. Whoopi Goldberg, morgue beautician.
Whoopi Goldberg also got her start at the morgue, working as a mortuary beautician. She had a job as a bricklayer, too, and when it comes to putting makeup on corpses, it's probably not an altogether different skill set.
According to Goldberg, on her first day on the job her boss pretended to be a corpse, and then sat up and waved at her (ah, jokes!). He told her, "That's the worst thing that could ever happen to you here, and it won't. So there's nothing to be scared of."
17. Sean Connery, coffin polisher.
That's not a euphemism—Sean Connery actually had a job polishing coffins (you know dead people won't tolerate dust and greasy fingerprints all over their caskets). He also worked as a bricklayer, milk man, and nude model, until 1950 when he placed third in the Mr. Universe contest and went into acting full-time.
18. Geena Davis, mannequin.
At six feet tall and stunningly beautiful, it's not surprising that Geena Davis would work as a model. What is surprising is that she actually posed, as a sort of joke, as a mannequin in an Ann Taylor store window, making use of what she calls "an uncanny ability to be still." Her prank worked, and the store hired her to sit in the window on weekends, where she'd draw a crowd of onlookers wondering if she was real or not.
19. Ozzy Osbourne, slaughterhouse employee.
Metal's "Prince of Darkness," Ozzy Osbourne,reportedly spent a few years working in a British slaughterhouse, killing cows. In his autobiography, I Am Ozzy (yeah, dude, you are), he says he'd sneak cows' eyeballs out of the slaughterhouse to drop into people's drinks. Yup, sounds about right.