« Back to Blog
4 celebrities that were completely broke before hitting it big
They may be making millions now, but these Hollywood stars weren't always living the high life. Before stepping into the spotlight they survived from paycheck to paycheck, struggled with bills or lived without homes. Taking some paid surveys may have helped keep them stay afloat, but these A-listers made it to the top all the same.
One of the star members of cable TV's longest-running live action comedy series according to Bustle.com, Charlie Day clawed his way into blockbuster movies after writing and acting in "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." During a commencement speech at his alma mater Merrimack College, he spoke about the difficulties leading up to his shot at stardom.
"I moved to the city. I bussed tables and answered phones," Day told graduates at Merrimack College. "I lived in a basement apartment next to a garbage chute. The apartment was filled with cockroaches."
Despite his poor living conditions, Day described that he first started shooting for "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" in that apartment with his friends, and that he couldn't have made a better decision.
The leading lady from "Million Dollar Baby" has won two Oscars, and even she has no idea how she did it.
"I don't know what I did in this life to deserve this. I'm just a girl from a trailer park who had a dream," she said during her acceptance speech for best actress at the 2005 Academy awards.
A high school dropout at 15, Swank and her mother traveled to Hollywood with only $75 and a Mobil card, according to CBS News. The two jumped from home to home, slept on air mattresses and lived in poverty for years before Swank landed a role in "Beverly Hills 90210," and then in her first Oscar-winning role in "Boys Don't Cry."
Also a high school dropout at the age of 15, Carrey told Inside The Actor's Studio that he needed to leave his education to work as a janitor and support his family, according to The Huffington Post.
"My father was a musician who got a 'regular job' to support his children," he said, according to the news source. "When he lost his job that's when everything fell apart. We went from 'lower middle class' to 'poor'. We were living out of a van. I quit school at age 15 to begin working to help support my family as a janitor."
He left being a janitor behind when he became the opening comedic act for comics Buddy Hackett and Rodney Dangerfield. Years later, he found his big break in "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective," Bio reported.
The actor behind "Rambo" and "Rocky" had $106 in the bank, a pregnant wife and a starving bull mastiff in Hollywood in 1975, The New York Times reported. He chose to climb out of poverty by writing the script for "Rocky" and demanding he play the leading role himself.
He was offered $265,000 for the rights to the script but refused every offer that didn't include him playing the boxer. After striking a deal, "Rocky" was shot in 28 days, and has made over $117 million in the U.S. box office, according to the Internet Movie Database
« Back to Blog