Brad Pitt used to be a chicken mascot for El Pollo Loco (Images Via IMDb and El Pollo Loco)

10 actors who held 9-5 jobs before they became actors

By the looks of the glamorous lives of actors, it is hard to imagine that they once had to do normal 9 to 5 jobs just like common people. Although there are many well-known celebrities who began their career at a very young age, an array of famous Hollywood actors were 9 to 5 employees before their lives changed.


The list includes notable and beloved names like Jim Carrey, Taraji P. Henson, Whoopi Goldberg, Hugh Jackman, and many more. From answering phone calls to sweeping floors to coaching a sports team, this set of actors knows exactly what it is like to hold down a normal job.

Without further ado, let's dive right in to take a closer look at the actors who were working regular jobs before becoming Hollywood stars.

From Brad Pitt to Margot Robbie, a list of 10 actors who had regular jobs before making it to Hollywood

1) Jim Carrey - Janitor

A still of Jim Carrey (Image Via IMDb)

The 61-year-old renowned actor and comedian Jim Carrey is known to be a powerhouse of energy and comedy. He is best known for playing fan-favorite characters like Ace Ventura in the Ace Ventura movie series, Lloyd Christmas in Dumb and Dumber, Stanley Ipkiss/The Mask in The Mask, Truman Burbank in The Truman Show and Bruce Nolan/Bruce Almighty in Bruce Almighty.

He was also nominated for the prestigious British Academy Film Awards for his performance as Joel Barish in the critically acclaimed movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. He also won two Best Actor Golden Globes for his outstanding performances in The Truman Show and Man on the Moon.


However, before becoming a famous actor, Carrey had a very normal life. He came from humble beginnings and even had to quit school in order to provide for his family. He used to work as a janitor for a few years. However, due to his immense talent, when he was 15 years of age, he made it as a stand-up comedian, which eventually led him to become an actor in Hollywood.

2) Whoopi Goldberg - Mortician

A still of Whoopi Goldberg (Image Via Whoopi Goldberg Instagram)

The 67-year-old legendary actor, author, and comedian, Whoopi Goldberg is truly one of the biggest Hollywood icons of all time. Goldberg is one of the 18 recipients of the EGOT, which entails the prestigious Emmy Award, Grammy Award, Oscar, and Tony Award.

She is best known for playing the role of Clara Mayfield in Clara's Heart, Oda Mae Brown in Ghost, Odessa Cotter in The Long Walk Home, Deloris Van Cartier / Sister Mary Clarence in the Sister Act movie series, Shenzi (voice) in The Lion King, Guinan in the Star Trek movie series, Yari in Yamasong: March of the Hollows, and Alma Carthan in Till.

However, prior to starring in feature films, Goldberg held a very unique job as a mortician. Being a Mortuary Beautician, she used to do makeup and hair for the deceased before their funerals took place. She was a licensed beautician, as she also attended beauty school ahead of working as a full-time mortician.

3) Brad Pitt - Chicken mascot

A still of Brad Pitt (Image Via Pinterest)

The 59-year-old highly acclaimed and beloved actor Brad Pitt is, without a shred of doubt, one of the biggest names in Hollywood. Over his long and impressive acting career, Pitt went on to receive several esteemed awards, including two British Academy Film Awards, two Academy Awards, a Primetime Emmy Award and two Golden Globe Awards, among other accolades.


He has been a part of several noteworthy movies. The actor is best known for playing the role of Tristan Ludlow in Legends of the Fall, Jeffrey Goines in 12 Monkeys, David Mills in Seven, Heinrich Harrer in Seven Years in Tibet, Tyler Durden in Fight Club, Young Man in Coffee Shop/Death as "Joe Black" in Meet Joe Black, Rusty Ryan in Ocean's Eleven, Achilles in Troy, Cliff Booth in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and many more.

However, before turning into an Oscar-winning actor, Pitt was on his way to becoming a journalist. But he decided to risk it all by moving to LA so that he could pursue his acting career. He had to do many odd jobs and one of them was a chicken mascot for El Pollo Loco, which involved him wearing a chicken suit and waving at potential customers.

4) Taraji P. Henson - Waitress and receptionist

A still of Taraji P. Henson (Image Via IMDb)

Taraji P. Henson is one of the most critically acclaimed actors in Hollywood. The 52-year-old actor's journey kick-started with her breakthrough role as Yvette in Baby Boy. She has many accolades under her name, including an Academy Award, which she received for her phenomenal performance in David Fincher's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.


The actor is also highly regarded for her portrayal of the character Sherry Parker in The Karate Kid, Pearl in Once Fallen, Catana Starks in From the Rough, Lauren Harris in the Think Like a Man movie series, Katherine Johnson in Hidden Figures, Ann Atwater in The Best of Enemies, and several others.

However, before making it big in Hollywood, Henson attended drama classes at Howard University. She was also a single mother who worked as a secretary at The Pentagon in the morning time and as a singing-dancing waitress on the Spirit of Washington, a dinner-cruise ship, in the evenings.

5) Hugh Jackman - Teacher and sports coach

A still of Hugh Jackman (Image Via Hugh Jackman Instagram)

The 54-year-old actor Hugh Jackman is one of the most prominent names in Hollywood. He is best known for playing the titular role of Logan/Wolverine in the X-Men film series. He has been nominated for a British Academy Film Award and an Academy Award. He has also garnered several prestigious awards, entailing Golden Globe, Primetime Emmy, Grammy and Tony Awards.

Apart from his role in the X-Men franchise, he is also well known for portraying characters like Leopold Alexis Elijah Walker Thomas Gareth Mountbatten in Kate & Leopold, Gabriel Van Helsing in the Van Helsing movie series, Arthur in Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, P. T. Barnum in The Greatest Showman, and more.

Before he landed the famous role as Wolverine, Jackman used to live in England, where he worked as a high school physical education teacher. The actor was hired at an esteemed school for a job profile of an assistant housemaster, which involved coaching various sports teams and teaching P.E.


6) Margot Robbie - Subway employee

A still of Margot Robbie (Image Via IMDb)

Without a shred of doubt, Margot Robbie is a fan-favorite actor in Hollywood. The 32-year-old started her acting career with a regular role in the series Neighbours. However, she got her well-deserved limelight after landing the role of Naomi Lapaglia in The Wolf of Wall Street. She also received an Oscar nomination for her role as Tonya Harding in I, Tonya.

Margot Robbie is also well-known for playing roles like Harley Quinn in the Suicide Squad movie series, Daphne de Sélincourt in Goodbye Christopher Robin, Annie / Bonnie in Terminal, Queen Elizabeth I in Mary Queen of Scots, Sharon Tate in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Kayla Pospisil in Bombshell, Nellie LaRoy in Babylon, and many more.

However, before becoming an acclaimed actress, Margot Robbie used to make sandwiches at Subway. In an interview with Delish, Robbie spoke about her job at Subway. She said:

"Like, I actually don’t go that often anymore, because I watch them make it badly—and I’m upset."

7) Channing Tatum - Male stripper

A still of Channing Tatum (Image Via Pinterest)

The 43-year-old actor Channing Tatum is considered one of the most beloved actors in the industry. He had his breakthrough after securing his role as Tyler Gage in the Step Up movie series. Since then, Tatum has been a part of several popular movies.

He is best known for playing the role of Duke Orsino in She's the Man, Young Antonio in A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, Pretty Boy Floyd in Public Enemies, Conrad S. Hauser/Duke in the G.I. Joe movie series, Greg Jenko in 21 Jump Street, Michael "Magic Mike" Lane in the Magic Mike movie series, and more.

Before he dazzled the audience with his electrifying moves in Magic Mike, Tatum used to work as a male stripper before becoming a model, which eventually led him to his prolific acting career.

8) Lucy Liu - Aerobics instructor

A still of Lucy Liu (Image Via Lucy Liu Instagram)

Primetime Emmy Award-nominated actress Lucy Liu came to the spotlight after landing the famous role of Alex Munday in the Charlie’s Angels movie series. Since then, she has been a significant part of several notable movies. The actress has also received several prestigious awards, including the Critics' Choice Television Award, Seoul International Drama Award, and Screen Actors Guild Awards.

She is well-known for her portrayal of the character Agent Sever in Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, O-Ren Ishii in Kill Bill: Volume 1, Taryn Mills in Domino, Sadie Blake in Rise: Blood Hunter, Lindsey in Lucky Number Slevin, Anne in The Year of Getting to Know Us, Master Viper (voice) in the Kung Fu Panda movie series, and more.

However, Lucy Liu was not always a Charlie’s Angel. Prior to becoming a Hollywood actor, she used to work seven days a week. She was an aerobics instructor on weekends and a secretary on weekdays. She also took shifts whenever she could, as a restaurant hostess.


9) Jesse Williams - Teacher

A still of Jesse Williams (Image Via Jesse Williams Instagram)

The 41-year-old actor Jesse Williams turned into a household name after he began playing the fan-favorite role of Dr. Jackson Avery in the long-running ABC medical drama series, Grey's Anatomy. He also reprised his role as Jackson Avery in Station 19.

Apart from that, he is also well known for playing the role of Leo in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, Holden McCrea in The Cabin in the Woods, James Lawson in The Butler, Isaac "Ike" Singer in Jacob's Ladder, Todd Walkley in Random Acts of Violence, and several others.

Williams used to be a high school teacher before he became an actor. In an interview with Parade Magazine, he opened up about his job as a teacher. He said:

"As a teacher, part of your job requires you to stand in front of a group of people who don’t want to be there necessarily,...I’ve found a lot of parallels between teaching and commanding that attention [in acting]. You’re inspiring people. It’s about being comfortable in my own skin."

10) Julia Roberts - Baskin Robbins employee

A still of Julia Roberts (Image Via Julia Roberts Instagram)

The 55-year-old Julia Roberts is one of the most renowned actors in Hollywood. She has been a part of many classic and iconic romantic movies like Pretty Woman, which landed her an Oscar nomination. She went on to receive an Academy Award for playing the beloved role of Erin Brockovich in Erin Brockovich.

Roberts is also well-known for playing the role of Von Sidell in Everyone Says I Love You, Julianne Potter in My Best Friend's Wedding, Anna Scott in Notting Hill, Maggie Carpenter in Runaway Bride, Tess Ocean in Ocean's Eleven, Joanne Herring in Charlie Wilson's War, Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat Pray Love, and more.

However, before she took over Hollywood, Julia Roberts used to work as a Baskin Robbins employee. She used to scoop ice cream for the popular ice cream company.

Some other actors with regular jobs before they became an actor include Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, Cindy Crawford, Melissa McCarthy, Gabourey Sidibe, and Jennifer Aniston.


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Edited by
Upasya Bhowal
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