What Actors Did Before Finding Fame

Graham Host

If somebody were to ask you what Hugh Jackman did for a living, you’d say actor. Despite being international icons now, many of our favorite actors had relatively mundane and sometimes unusual careers before making it big. Let’s take a look at some professions actors pursued before they were famous.

Liam Neeson – Teacher

Starting big, Zeus, Ra’s al Ghul, and the voice of Aslan was once trained as a teacher. It is not publicly known specifically where he trained, but it is believed to be at the now closed St Mary’s College in Fenham, Newcastle. Neeson quit shortly after an incident with a threatening student.

Steve Buscemi – Firefighter

Steve Buscemi was a firefighter before he was famous

Back in the 1980s, Steve Buscemi served with the New York Fire Department. Buscemi would later go back to help his old ladder-mates on several occasions. One of the most notable instances was during the 9/11 attacks. During the worst of it, he pulled 12-hour shifts to sift through rubble in search of survivors and missing persons.

Steve Buscemi Fire Fighter 911
Steve Buscemi (left) during 9/11

Gerard Butler – Lawyer

Gerard Butler was a lawyer before he was famous

Before Gerard Butler was fighting dragons, leading Spartans, and melting hearts, he attempted to take up practicing law. After obtaining a law degree from Glasgow, Butler drank his way through his first job as a trainee civil servant. He was fired only a week before he was due to qualify. While studying law, he also sang in a rock band.

Tom Cruise – (Almost) Priest

Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher

Before becoming famous and converting to Scientology, Cruise attended a Franciscan seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio. He worked on a scholarship and had aspirations of becoming a Catholic priest, however, Cruise was expelled for stealing booze.

Channing Tatum – Stripper

Channing Tatum in Magic Mike

Channing Tatum had the edge on his Magic Mike cast mates. It turns out that a 19-year-old Tatum spent eight months stripping. A good night would land him $150, but a bad night could be $50-$70 or sometimes even less. His stage name was Chan Crawford.

Angelina Jolie – Funeral Director

Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie once pursued a career as a funeral director. When her grandfather passed away, she found his funeral disappointing and decided not to let other people have similar experiences. She dropped out of her acting classes and took at-home embalming lessons, but eventually returned to theater studies after graduating high school.

Katheryn Winnick – Martial Artist


Despite starring as a shieldmaiden in Vikings, Winnick started martial arts at seven and obtained her first black belt at 13. At 16, she got into her first school and by 21 she had started three martial arts schools. As well as being a third-degree black belt in taekwondo and a second-degree in karate, Winnick is also a licensed bodyguard, licensed self-defense instructor, and she taught martial arts on movie sets.

Graham Host is a member of the Fan Contributor program. In his spare time, he enjoys the works of Terry Pratchett, DC Comics and a wide assortment of video games. Under no circumstances should he be fed after midnight.
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