Hollywood is filled with plenty of rags to riches stories. Jim Carey worked as a janitor, Demi Moore was a debt collector, Brad Pitt used to wear a chicken suit while handing out fliers and Sharon Stone worked (works?) at a McDonald's.
But some actors' beginnings can be attributed to not hard work, but sheer chance or accident. Such as...
Even though he's turned into a walking punchline the last few years, there's no denying Mel Gibson will go down as one of the biggest stars in Hollywood history. His movies have made two billion dollars in the US alone and he's got two Oscars to go with it.
But Gibson's accidental stumble into stardom started in New York, where he was born (not Australia, as it turns out). Gibson's father, Hutton, filed a lawsuit against the city and won. After collecting his money, he moved his family to Australia. It was in this dingo-infested continent that a young Mel started to dabble in acting, and would get his big break due to a ridiculous, drunken stroke of luck.
Gibson went to the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney. There he would perform in some stage productions, including the male lead in Romeo and Juliet, with Judy Davis as his co-star.
However, Gibson didn't consider a film career until a friend told him he needed a lift to audition for a movie. It was about a desolate, waste of a world in which gasoline is hunted by gay bikers.
Apparently, he still wasn't considering a film career, because the night before the audition, Gibson got into a drunken brawl at a bar. He dragged himself to the audition sporting a face full of fist shaped bruises. The director happened to catch sight of his sorry ass. Deciding that he already looked like he was living in a dystopian future, he asked him to come back because, as he put it, the film "needed freaks."
When Gibson did return, his wounds had healed into an unrecognizable mask of handsome manliness. The director asked Gibson to read for the only character who doesn't look like a blistered freak, and he landed the titular role in Mad Max , the franchise that would make him known around the globe.
LOST is widely thought to have become a hit for two reasons: a twisting, confounding plot and an often-moist Evangeline Lilly.
After LOST debuted, Lilly immediately shot to the top of every list ever made to chart hotness, including Maxim's (twice) and FHM's. We guess she's a pretty good actress too, since she was nominated for a Golden Globe. Of course, all the fanfare could be short lived. Lilly announced that after LOST is over, she intends to put her career on hold and become a humanitarian.
Yeah. A boner humanitarian!
Now usually when an actress claims to be a "humanitarian," it's because her agent had to explain to her that "vegetarian" is no longer socially-conscious enough, and "planetarium" is a type of building, and therefore also out of the question. But becoming a humanitarian isn't a stretch for Lilly. Before she was an actress, she was doing missionary work in the Philippines. After declining a two-year post, she became a flight attendant with Air Canada.
Things, however, changed one day when she was walking around Kelowna, British Columbia, and was spotted by a scout for the Ford modeling agency. She almost declined, but decided she needed the money to pay for school. While not actually doing any modeling for the company, she did do some acting for them. Like this tasteful ad.
That's right: Kate, from LOST, used to star in phone sex ads in Canada. For a young ex-missionary, we'd imagine that starring in Canadian phone sex ads was as lonely and existentially terrifying as anything the LOST writers can think up to throw at her.