Everyone thinks that celebrities have had it made their wholes lives, but the truth is, just because someone is famous, doesn’t mean they didn’t have to struggle! Many a famous inventor, actor, and musician have had tough times leading up to their careers.
That said, you probably had no idea these 18 famous people—icons in their own right—were fired from their jobs before they made it big. We bet their former employers regret those decisions…
1. Robert Redford
Redford was fired from his job as an oil man and supermarket helper.“I was a failure at everything I tried. I was a box boy at a supermarket and got fired. Then my dad got me a job at Standard Oil—fired again,” Redford said.
2. Elvis Presley
Elvis was fired from his job at a local movie theater when he got into a fistfight with the boyfriend of a girl who worked with him. Apparently, this girl was sweet on the future King and gave him free candy, which, naturally, did not please her boyfriend.
3. Oprah Winfrey
WJZ-TV in Baltimore fired Oprah because they felt she was “unfit” for television—can you believe that one?
4. Thomas Edison
This great inventor was fired from Western Union because he spilled acid in the office and it ate through the floor.
5. Jerry Seinfeld
It’s odd that a man known for his eponymous hit Seinfeld would’ve been fired from another sitcom, but that’s just what happened. Seinfeld once showed up to a read-through for a show called Benson, only to find that his character had been written out of the show without any explanation.
6. Bill Hader
The funnyman was let go from his position as a movie theater attendant when he gave away the ending to Titanic. “One night, a group of sorority girls came in and were blocking the doors. I asked them to move,” Hader said. “They were being really rude to me. So, as I tore the tickets, I said, ‘By the way, the boat sinks at the end, Leo dies. It’s great, you think he’s sleeping, but he’s frozen. Oh, and the old lady throws the jewelry in the ocean. Enjoy the movie.'”
7. Walt Disney
Disney was fired by The Kansas Star because his editor claimed he lacked imagination and originality… if you can believe that!
8. Babe Ruth
The Great Bambino wasn’t always a baseball legend; the Yankees fired him in 1934 after a low-scoring season with a batting average of .288.
9. Chico Marx
This lesser-known Marx brother used to play piano at a brothel… until he was fired for hitting on the girls. Classy.
10. Kate Walsh
As a teen, Walsh was fired from her Burger King job, claiming that the manager simply didn’t like her or her chronically runny nose.
11. J.K. Rowling
The Harry Potter author used to be a secretary for Amnesty International. She was fired for—get this—daydreaming about her future hit children’s book too much.
Madge claims to have been fired from Dunkin’ Donuts because she squirted the customers with jelly from the doughnuts.
13. Lucille Ball
Everyone’s favorite ginger comedienne was fired as a soda jerk for forgetting the banana in customers’ banana splits.
14. Hugh Jackman
Jackman was let go from his job at 7-11 because his supervisor claimed he talked too much.
15. Harpo Marx
These Marx brothers can’t catch a break! Harpo was apparently fired from his dog-walking gig when one of his charges got into a tussle with another pooch. Unfortunately, Harpo’s client’s dog died from the fight, and he had to go.
16. Truman Capote
The In Cold Blood author worked as a copy boy for The New Yorker. An illness forced him to leave in the middle of a reading performed by famed poet Robert Frost, who complained. Capote was promptly axed.
17. Snoop Dogg
Snoop D-O-double-G was fired from his job at a supermarket, saying he was “better at stealing the groceries than selling them.”
18. Howard Stern
The shock jock didn’t always call the shots: Stern was fired from two radio jobs simultaneously because of his excessive use of sexual language and affinity for discussing religion. Oh, the irony.
It’s inspiring to know that everyone—regardless of celebrity status—must overcome certain life obstacles. There’s no doubt that these experiences helped propel them into fame. Hey, who knows? Maybe one day, you’ll become famous, too!
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