Few people are born famous, meaning most of the actors and actresses we know and love started out doing menial work well below their current stature. Many times, Hollywood stars work as bartenders early in their careers. Bartending helps them develop their people skills, and can sometimes even help them make connections! Join Facts Verse as we explore Hollywood stars who got their start as bartenders.
Many audience members will be surprised to learn just how many Hollywood stars worked as bartenders early in their careers. It’s hard to imagine the world’s most famous celebrities ever having to serve drinks at bars, but even the most high-paid movie stars typically started out working low-paying jobs before becoming famous. Many of these stars were aspiring to be Hollywood actors and actresses while working as bartenders, while others hadn’t yet figured out what the future might hold for them. Either way, all of the following stars worked as bartenders before becoming the famous actors and actresses we know and love today!
Russell Crowe is the first celebrity we’ll be taking a look at that got his start as a bartender before transitioning into his high-profile Hollywood film career. Far before playing the titular gladiator in Ridley Scott’s award-winning film Gladiator, Russell Crowe was mixing and serving drinks as both a waiter and a bartender.
Before becoming famous, Russell was in a lot of debt. Russell worked tirelessly at his service job in hopes of getting out of the hole that he had found himself in, but little did he know that Hollywood stardom was just around the corner! While he spent his early days kicking intoxicated patrons out of bars and serving drinks to customers, he eventually started getting independent acting roles in films like Romper Stomper, and was eventually a Hollywood star!
Debbie Harry is another notable celebrity figure that started out bartending before becoming a big star. While Debbie Harry has certainly appeared in Hollywood films, she is better known as the lead singer of the seminal pop-punk group Blondie, known for hit songs like “Call Me”, “Heart of Glass”, “The Tide Is High”, and “Rapture”. Before her band made it big, Debbie was a waitress and bartender at a legendary music venue in New York by the name of Max’s Kansas City. Working there not only allowed Debbie to get a taste for the music scene, but also allowed her to make some connections that would pay off in later years.
Besides being a waitress and a bartender at Max’s Kansas City, Debbie also had many other jobs before making it big with her band Blondie. She was a secretary at the offices of BBC Radio for a period of time, a skilled go-go dancer, and even performed a stint as a Playboy Bunny! Blondie eventually took off, and Debbie never had to go back to mixing drinks again. After becoming famous as the lead singer of Blondie, Debbie appeared in a few Hollywood films, such as David Cronenberg’s 1983 cult classic Videodrome.
Grey’s Anatomy’s Ellen Pompeo is another Hollywood celebrity that worked as a bartender before striking it big in the entertainment industry. Before catching her big break on television. Ellen mixed cocktails and served drinks at a notable restaurant in New York. It was during one of Ellen’s shifts as a bartender that a casting director approached her. He thought Ellen would be perfect for some cosmetic advertisements he was casting and approached her.
Ellen took the job, and the rest is history! Ellen’s work as a model and commercial actress led to her getting bigger and bigger roles on television until she was eventually cast in her memorable role on Grey’s Anatomy! The show went on to become a major success, making Ellen a star. She has also appeared in films, as well as other cosmetic advertisements.
Mila Kunis is another television and film actress that has developed a reputation for her skilled work as a bartender. In addition to being a skilled mixer of drinks, Mila is also a skilled drinker. The That 70’s Show actress has shared that she has a strong affinity for whiskey, making her not that much different than the hard-partying character she played in the hit film Bad Moms and it’s sequel. Today, Mila is married to her former That 70’s Show costar Ashton Kutcher, and the two have a couple of children together. Although Mila no longer has to work as a bartender to make ends meet, one can imagine that she likes to take the opportunity to put her drink-mixing skills to work whenever she can!
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Ellen DeGeneres is another future celebrity that spent her early days working as a bartender. Before becoming a famous movie star with her own talk show, Ellen was a skilled bartender working behind the bar. Ellen has claimed that she had a lot of fun working as a bartender, with her considering it one of the more pleasant jobs that she worked before becoming the star we know and love today.
Of course, Ellen eventually ended up making it big as a stand-up comedian, but audiences today will best know her as the host of her own hit talk show, Ellen. As well, Ellen has had many memorable film roles, including voicing the character of Dory in the film Finding Nemo and it’s sequel. Ellen has come under quite a bit of controversy in the past few years for not treating the staff of her show right, so maybe it’s time that she goes back to bartending!
Jon Hamm is another celebrity figure that worked as a bartender before making it big in Hollywood. Jon apparently turned quite a bit of heads while working as a bartender, with ladies lining up around the corner to get the chance to have the future television star mix their drinks. Jon would be hired by famous ladies to bartend their parties, with Kelly Lynch having claimed she was a regular among Jon’s patrons.
Of course, Jon eventually made it big on shows like Mad Men, and has even appeared in some films, such as Baby Driver. Despite the fact that the actor no longer has to tend bar, he has shared that he still has a passion for mixing drinks and likes to take the opportunity when he can.
Jon Stewart worked as a bartender before becoming the original host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central. Jon worked as a bartender at a notable punk club in New Jersey that was called City Gardens. The venue would play host to many memorable punk bands from the era, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The venue was known for it’s rough crowd, and Jon has shared that there was one instance in which he had to disarm a customer that had pulled a gun.
Jon’s time at the City Gardens allowed him to develop his own brand of sophisticated punk ethos, which would carry over to his time as a stand-up comedian and the host of The Daily Show. Jon has since given up his job as host of the seminal satirical news program, though he still sporadically appears in films and on television in various capacities.
Before making his film debut in Zack Snyder’s adaptation of the Frank Miller graphic novel 300, Michael Fassbender was another aspiring actor moonlighting as a bartender. The actor has said that he spent the greater part of his 20s working as a bartender, though he eventually broke through and was able to make it big in the entertainment industry. Michael had plenty of experience working in the service industry before becoming a bartender, having worked at his parents’ restaurant when he was just a boy. Though he has now made it big in Hollywood, Michael has shared that he wouldn’t be above returning to bartending if the amount of roles that he’s being offered in the industry ever dies down.
Bruce Willis was many things before becoming the famous movie star that we know and love from roles in such classic hit action films as Die Hard and Pulp Fiction. In addition to being a television actor and an unlikely recording artist, Bruce is another future star that did his time as a bartender. Bruce was apparently a pretty incredible bartender, but later gave up the profession to become a star.
Sandra Bullock is the last start that we’ll be looking at in this video. Before rising to Hollywood superstardom in the 1990s, Sandra was honing her acting skills while working as a bartender. The bar that Sandra worked at was located near the Neighborhood Playhouse Theatre, which gave Sandra the perfect opportunity to perform in plays when she wasn’t working. This allowed Sandra to hone her talents.
In addition to the acting skills that Sandra gained while performing at the Neighborhood Playhouse Theatre, she also gained some unique experiences while bartending that paid off during her acting career. In order to pass the time during her job, Sandra would work on memorizing the voices and accents that she heard, and would then practice them to herself and other patrons on the job. Sandra eventually broke into the entertainment industry with hit films like The Net, Miss Congeniality, Speed, and The Blind Side.
Due to the immense social pressures involved in bartending, the profession often ends up being the perfect way for aspiring actors and actresses to pay the bills while working on their people skills and making connections. Comment down below to share if you can think of any other Hollywood stars that started out as bartenders, of if you were surprised to learn that any of the aforementioned figures in this video know their way around a bar! As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!