5 Hilariously Bizarre Early Careers of Famous People

#2. Jimi Hendrix Was the Worst Soldier Ever

Evening Standard / Stringer / Hulton Archive / Getty

Jimi Hendrix is arguably the greatest guitarist who ever lived, and no other artist is as symbolic of the anti-authoritarian movement of the '60s. Jimi was the most prominent Afro-sporting, paisley-wearing, patchouli-scented foot soldier of the counterculture movement.

He was also just a regular ol' foot soldier.

Retronaut
As you can tell, regulations were a big deal for him then.

To be fair, Jimi Hendrix only enlisted in the Army to avoid going to prison for driving around in stolen cars. To be even more fair, Hendrix's discharge papers paint him as being possibly the worst member of the armed forces in history. He smoked weed, slept in, missed bed check, stayed out all night, and spent his downtime frantically jerking it. No, seriously:

U.S. Army, The Smoking Gun
Some days, this job feels like a public service.

Those very official-looking papers state, in no uncertain terms, that Jimi Hendrix was basically an X-rated Beetle Bailey. They go on to say that not only was Hendrix caught masturbating, but he even carried on with it after the first witness went to get another soldier to come over and look. Although in this situation, we're not sure who's being creepier: the guy publicly disciplining the snake, or the guy who brought a friend over to watch. Luckily for fans of 15-minute guitar solos, Hendrix was eventually discharged from the Army due to a broken ankle after a parachute jump. We doubt most of his platoon missed him much, but we know at least two voyeuristic soldiers who were probably a little heartbroken that day.

#1. James Lipton Was an Actual Pimp

Frazer Harrison / Staff / Getty

You might know James Lipton from his time hosting Inside the Actors Studio, or perhaps as the warden from Arrested Development. But rewind back to postwar Paris and you would have found the soft-spoken, bespectacled man with the gentle smile on the streets of the red light district, slingin' ass to passersby.

That was not research for a role. James Lipton was straight-up pimpin'.

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

The literature is notably silent on whether he chased bitches like Tom chases Jerry.

In the 1950s, Lipton was a poor American youth living in Paris to pursue his dream of becoming a lawyer. Because that's what the city is most known for: its rigid bureaucracy. As he tells the story, one day Lipton was approached by two beautiful women who asked if he would like to watch them make love to each other. Lipton answered in the affirmative, because it is literally against the laws of physics for a man to answer that question in the negative.

Obviously the women were prostitutes, but it wasn't strictly the business of getting the business for Lipton. He became fast friends with one of the ladies, though he insists that they never slept together because -- get this -- he doesn't believe in prostitution. Apparently Lipton has an open mind, however. As soon as he fell on some hard times, his lady friend offered James a job as a pimp for the bordello she worked at, and he took it.

Taylor Hill / Stringer / Getty
This man officially has more street cred than Lil' Wayne.

In Lipton's defense, he rejects the term "pimp" and prefers to refer to himself as a maquereau, because he didn't degrade, harm, or dominate the women. He was more like an agent. In Lipton's offense, a preliminary Google search reveals "maquereau" to be a colloquial French word for "pimp."


Aaron Short has a blog he updates infrequently about bad movies. Richie Ryan occasionally works the wood real good. See his things. You can also follow Richie on Twitter, if that's how you roll.

Related Reading: For some famous people "early career" meant not existing at all. Neither Mavis Beacon or Betty Crocker were ever real. If that bums you out, cheer up by learning about Tupac's start as a ballet dancer. Need more dirt on our rich and famous role-models? Click here!

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