FROM TOM CRUISE TO AKSHAY KUMAR: HERE’S WHAT THEY DID BEFORE BECOMING STARSby Monojit Lahiri November 7 2023, 12:00 am Estimated Reading Time: 2 mins, 59 secs
Did you know Marlon Brando worked as a watchman and Sylvester Stallone in a beauty parlour? Monojit Lahiri invites you to have a peep in the life and times of your favourite stars before they burnt the marquee.
Appearance and reality are seldom perfectly matched. What you see in some of the most successful individuals usually has a startlingly different back-story. Why not have a quiet peek into the lives of first jobs of some of the most desirable and cherished luminaries of Hollywood?
What better than kicking off with the Actor’s actor, the one model and guru of most of the gifted actors - Marlon Brando! His unforgettable performance in Streetcar, On the Waterfront, The Wild Ones and of course the Godfather remain templates of great screen acting. Do you know Don Corleone began life as a labourer for the Drainage & Construction Company in Libertyville, Illinois, laying tiles in ditches? Later, he moved on to become a watchman, lemonade salesman and lift operator at a Department Store, where after selling Fourth Floor Lingerie, Fifth Floor Garments for four days, he fled!
The macho ‘mard’ Rambo Stallone’s beginning was equally bizarre. The hunk who smashed his way to the top of the charts was slung out of 14 schools in 11 years as a kid, before he was forced to follow his dad in his chosen business – running a Beauty Parlour! He detested it and expressed his sentiments by chopping off the hair of some models. He was immediately fired, with ceremony!
The Mission Impossible superstar Tom Cruise is up next. After his parents split when he was 12-years-old, leaving his mom to raise 4 kids, Cruise pitched in by being a gardener. He also secretly harboured a serious desire of being a priest. Luckily, acting knocked and all his holy desires thankfully for his fans, went to hell!
Funny Girl Barbara Streisand’s beginning wasn’t all that funny because she started out as a helper in a New York chop suey restaurant. Later, the A-lister diva moved to play baby-sitter! The sensuous Maryln Monroe once worked at California’s Radio Plane aircraft factory! The chores involved inspection of parachutes and spraying of aeroplane fuselages. She worked wearing overalls and one day, accidentally, an army photographer took some shots of her. Her naturally-startling-photogenic-ness prompted the lensman to send her pictures to some modelling agencies – the rest is history!
Another Italian bombshell, Sophia Loren, too had a weird back-story. A struggling newcomer desperate for acting roles to make two ends meet, La Loren did appearances in Strip Cartoons that ran in Italian papers. She usually portrayed negative characters – a gypsy or an Arab! She then proceeded to practise her grotesque, loud “Naples School of Acting” until Carlo Ponti, one fine day turned up...and changed forever the trajectory of the amazing actress’s life.
So why get shocked when, closer home, you get to know that Bollywood’s Nobel Laureate poet-lyricist-filmmaker Gulzar started life working in a garage, superstar Akshay Kumar worked as teacher and chef (some combo!), Big B as a disqualified newsreader with the All India Radio (AIR), and earned his keep as a struggling actor in the Bombay of the late 1960’s doing voice-overs for radio commercials and Bengal’s immortal matinee idol, Uttam Kumar, was an ordinary clerk in Kolkata’s Port Trust Office.
So all aspirants, doing dull, routine, monotonous jobs in an unglamorous environment, don’t lose hope…Kuch bhi ho sakta hai!!