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The Top Ten Most Surprising Former Celebrity Careers

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Sure, most celebrities probably waited for their big break with a less-than-glamorous restaurant job. But what about those who thought a bit more outside the box? These are ten famous people whose former careers you’d never guess.

10. Elvis Costello, Computer Programmer

Sometimes, you imagine that certain immensely talented people — like, for instance, a musical icon — had to devote all of their time to that one pursuit to get good. Sadly, that’s clearly not the case, as before he began his recording career, Elvis Costello was working as a computer programmer, tooling around with ancient IBMs.

9. Marlon Brando, Ditch Digger

After he got kicked out of high school (for, awesomely, riding a motorcycle in the hallways), the young Brando found work as a ditch digger. While that is a perfectly rugged sort of thing for Brando to do, it almost seems perverse that someone as talented as he was to waste time digging holes.

8. Ken Jeong, Doctor

Here’s the thing: becoming a doctor is hard and takes a long time. Frankly, sometimes we’re shocked that anyone manages to do it. On top of that, breaking into the comedy business is hard and takes a long time. Ken Jeong did both. He also made us feel incredibly lazy.

7. Brad Pitt, Chicken Costumed Restaurant Promoter

Brad Pitt is many things: suave and handsome actor. Dedicated philanthropist. Chicken-costumed promoter for the El Pollo Loco restaurant chain. One of these things is not like the other.

6. John Stewart, Puppeteer

Jon Stewart once famously defended his show’s right to be the satire it is by saying it followed another show about puppets making prank phone calls. Little did we know Crank Yankers was not Stewart’s first brush with puppetry; he used to perform for children with disabilities, which is noble enough for us to get over our lingering fear of ventriloquist dummies.

5. Jeremy Irons, Social Worker

In his job as a social worker, Jeremy Irons did lots of different jobs — visiting the elderly, helping the homeless, etc. The oddest part, though, is that Irons ran the youth group, given how many children he’s probably scared over the years as the voice of Scar in The Lion King.

4. Tom Cruise, Seminary Student

As we all learned from… well, knowing who Tom Cruise is (but perhaps most especially that bizarre video he did a few years ago), Cruise is crazy for Scientology. (Crazy.) But before pledging his devotion to a dogma of alien ghosts and space warlords, Cruise was actually working to become a Catholic priest. Apparently, when he commits to something, he really commits.

3. Whoopi Goldberg, Bricklayer

The things we will do for money are many and varied, but not many struggling young actresses decide they want to go into manual labor to make their rent money. Goldberg was apparently very talented — she was invited to join the bricklayer union, which she said was a huge honor. This also means she doesn’t just have an EGOT, but a BUEGOT.

2. Danny DeVito, Hairdresser

We know that DeVito isn’t actually like his It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia character Frank Reynolds, but the outrageous character makes such a strong impression that it still makes it hard to imagine DeVito doing something as creative as hairdressing. But he did, both when he went to school for it (at the Wilfred Academy of Hair and Beauty Culture, if you’re curious) and then at his sister’s beauty salon.

1. Amy Adams, Hooters Waitress

Adams is mostly known for her sweet disposition, Bambi-like eyes, and for taking on chaste roles like princesses and nuns. Which is why her history as a Hooters girl is such a surprise. Adams took the job because she wanted to buy a car, and — shockingly! — hated it.

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