7 Celebrities Who Had Badass Careers You Didn't Know About


It's hard to believe, but not everyone knows from childhood what they want to be when they grow up. And though your ambitions might start out as pro wrestler, ballerina or some kind of sex astronaut (let us have our dreams), you'll probably wind up working at a kiosk at the mall like the rest of us.

Several people who found fame later in life started out on a much different path. And if you're not still working at the first job you ever got, thank your lucky stars that you're in the same boat. Unless you operated a boat as your first job. Then, well, yeah. Sorry.

Chevy Chase Was Almost in Steely Dan

7 Celebrities Who Had Badass Careers You Didn't Know About

What He's Known For:

Believe it or not, there was a time when Chevy Chase was the biggest thing in comedy. That time was the 80s, and it featured a much funnier and much sexier Chase in his prime.


Men laughed, women slipped off their chairs.

The man had it all going for him: his three Vacation movies were instant classics; Fletch was the best comedy to ever become a historical artifact within a decade; he was skinny dipping with the likes of Cindy Morgan and Christie Brinkley. Hell, the man was even considered to play Han Solo.

Naturally, all good things come to end. And they did in a very big way for Chase when, in 1993, he was allowed to have a talk show so bad that society has purged it--in an order approaching Star Wars Holiday Special--from its collective consciousness.

What He Should Be Known For:

The 70s were a decade of change. And pantsuits. Mostly pantsuits.


The sexiest man alive, 1973

Vietnam was raging and months before the TET Offensive, Chase was faced with two choices: go to medical school or enter the draft. Naturally, Chase took the unmentioned third option: don't go to medical school, inform the Army of your "false... homosexual tendencies" and avoid Vietnam altogether. When choice C worked out, Chase stuck around and played drums for a band called The Leather Canary, with friends Walter Becker and Donald Fagen. You may recognize those two as the founding members of multiple-Grammy-Award-Winning Steely Dan.

Chase eventually left the group, calling them "a bad jazz band." Not long afterward, Becker and Fagen changed their name and hit the jackpot. We're not implying that Chase's departure had anything to do with their newfound fame, but then again, Chase is set to play fifth fiddle in a Not Another... flick.


Pictured: The window Chevy Chase's career flew out of.

Roger Ebert Wrote Softcore Porn

7 Celebrities Who Had Badass Careers You Didn't Know About

What He's Known For:

Roger Ebert went from TV critic to minor American hero after he lost his voice in a fight against cancer and continued to critique the shit out of movies. Of course he's best remembered for Siskel & Ebert at the Movies and despite the fact that he would go on to recommend Win a Date with Tad Hamilton, Ebert won a Pulitzer for his work in 1975, becoming the first the film critic to do so.

If winning a Pulitzer doesn't prove your critiques are worth a damn, also consider that his reviews are syndicated in 200 papers across the globe. There are primates in the Congo who have read his stuff.

7 Celebrities Who Had Badass Careers You Didn't Know About

"'...best moments belong to Amy-' what the? What a dick."

What He Should Be Known For:

When Ebert was but a young film critic, just starting out, he tried his hand at writing screenplays. Here is where you'd expect that a man whose entire career has been made up analyzing every aspect of a movie would have some semblance of talent at writing something decent. Something Oscar-worthy even.

7 Celebrities Who Had Badass Careers You Didn't Know About

The man wrote softcore porn.

Robsest emserican SFUN Movlet RussMeyer's alp! Maspol Winchestsu If alpl you don't see ..-you'ul feel dowm, DIL U8 -19


Back in the day, 20th Century Fox was looking for someone to make the sequel to Valley of the Dolls. They tapped Russ Meyer--a man known for his sexploitation films--to direct what would become Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. Ebert co-wrote the eventual travesty, later saying that it all seemed "like a movie that got made by accident when the lunatics took over the asylum."

Despite this, Ebert went on to write more movies with Meyer including the above Up! and Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens. Some people will comment that these movies hardly constitute porn but let's be honest here: When your films feature massive, topless titties, plenty of grinding and stars by the name of Candy Samples and Kitten Natividad, that's porn, man. Or as we say in Oregon, "the city park."

Dr. Seuss Made War Propaganda

7 Celebrities Who Had Badass Careers You Didn't Know About

What He's Known For:

It's unfortunate to think that someone out there doesn't know who Dr. Seuss is. Yet, we are aware that there are some confused young souls today whose only familiarity with the storybook legend is this:



While The Cat in the Hat is arguably his most famous character, Dr. Seuss was a creative and prolific writer, having 60 children's books under his belt. He's created many lovable and nonsensical characters like the Lorax, Horton the Elephant, some colorful fish and a whole bunch of other characters whose names we can't pronounce without some sort of hallucinogen. Also, that bastard the Grinch. But fuck that guy.

His books were designed to entertain children, but over time they've become the inspiration for film directors to come up with new and interesting ways to completely destroy classic characters.

7 Celebrities Who Had Badass Careers You Didn't Know About

It's only a matter of time before Tim Burton does a twisted reimagining of Green Eggs and Ham and then that'll be our whole childhood, completely ruined.

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What He Should Be Known For:

Before Dr. Seuss was Dr. Seuss, he was Theodor Seuss Geisel, an artist turned eventual filmmaker in the U.S. Army's propaganda department during World War II. And this guy took to this job like a moth to the flame. He hated the Axis and anyone who didn't want to blow their shit up. Seriously:


Would you kill Hitler in a box? With some socks? On the rocks? Your answer should always be "yes."

Other than Ted Williams, we're pretty sure no one had bigger patriotic balls than Seuss did at the time. He would take his propaganda career one step further when he started writing films for the Army.

At some point, though, Seuss changed his tune. Along with his wife and a producer at RKO, he took one of his propaganda shorts, Our Job in Japan, and made it into the feature-length Design for Death, a 48-minute film that details what happens when a government has too much control over its people and resources. It gave perception and insight into Japanese culture and how the country should be a staple on what not to do if we wanted to avoid another world war.

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Well, couldn't hurt, right?

Bosley Crowther, a hugely important critic during his time, panned the documentary. But he's also the same man who loved Citizen Kane and hated Godzilla--so make of that what you will. Obviously the Academy wasn't listening to Crowther, since they decided to give Seuss an Oscar for his film. So to recap, he wrote and directed Academy Award-winning thought-provoking anti-war films, and what will most people remember him by?



Sir Isaac Newton Invented the Doggy Door

7 Celebrities Who Had Badass Careers You Didn't Know About

What He's Known For:

Also known as the Father of Physics, or the Fabio of Fabios around the Cracked office.

7 Celebrities Who Had Badass Careers You Didn't Know About

Science never looked so good.

As we've discussed before, while an apple didn't actually conk Newton in the noggin, he did put to word the laws of gravity.

Gravity wasn't the only thing Newton was getting his swerve on with. The man also had an integral part in developing calculus. Newton also did some other sciencey-mathematical bullshit that's probably important, but whatever: The dude loved science. We get it. Give it a rest, Newton, you're a knight already.

7 Celebrities Who Had Badass Careers You Didn't Know About

"A body persists in a state of uniform motion or of rest unless acted upon by an external force.
In this case, such force is the can of medieval whoop-ass I'm about to open all up in here."

What He Should Be Known For:

Newton loved him some optics, so much so that he invented the first working reflecting telescope, thus making Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek possible a mere several hundred years later. He truly was a renaissance nerd.

Newton couldn't have made such an impact on the world of optics if he hadn't been experimenting like crazy. Coincidentally, this also led to him having an impact on the pet world as well. The story goes that during these experiments, Newton's cats kept bothering him--as felines are wont to do.

7 Celebrities Who Had Badass Careers You Didn't Know About

Congratulations, you discovered gravity. I left a present for you in my litter box.

At some point, he became fed up with their crap and just made a quick fix to his door so they could come and go as the please. Yes, the man who knew more about physics than anyone else during his time invented the cat door. He is better than you at everything.

James Lipton Did the ThunderCats Theme

7 Celebrities Who Had Badass Careers You Didn't Know About

What He's Known For:

The Actors' Studio is a members-only club for actors (in case you had a hard time telling). Playwrights and directors can join also, but unless they're Mel Brooks, who cares?

In 1994, someone over at Bravo got the brilliant idea to open up the Studio for public viewing. Performing arts students would come and listen to James Lipton--a sonorously voiced gentleman resembling a cross between Rip Torn, and Pavaratti--interview members. We're not sure who decided that putting a virtually unknown fat, bearded man on stage with the hottest actors of the day was a good idea, but man did that shit work.

7 Celebrities Who Had Badass Careers You Didn't Know About

"I want this man to interview the likes of Angelina Jolie, Dave Chappelle and Johnny Depp."
"Brilliant! Pass the cocaine."

Lipton has hosted the show, Inside the Actors Studio, for all 16 years of its existence, (maybe you've seen Will Ferrel's in-no-way-accurate-but-still-hilarious impression). He's appeared on Family Guy, The Simpsons and Arrested Development. And he hasn't even touched a dime of his vast chicken noodle soup fortune.

What He Should Be Known For:

Lipton's producer cred could fill in here nicely: He's produced 12 Bob Hope specials and is even responsible for the first televised Presidential Inauguration (Jimmy Carter's). But that stuff is child's play in comparison to his short-lived time as a composer. What music did he piece together that could outshine his productions, his hosting and his acting?

That's right: the fucking ThunderCats theme.

Every Saturday that you rocked out to that music while waving around your little plastic Sword of Omens, you've been rocking out to this dapper gentleman:

7 Celebrities Who Had Badass Careers You Didn't Know About

Did we say "dapper"? Because we meant "fly."

When you've interviewed (and conversely, have been interviewed by) Dave Chappelle, had a guest spot on Arrested Development and composed the theme music to ThunderCats, that's pretty much an immediate inclusion into the Cracked Hall of Fame--right next to elderly male stripper Bernie Barker and Teddy Roosevelt.

7 Celebrities Who Had Badass Careers You Didn't Know About

Ian Fleming Wrote Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

7 Celebrities Who Had Badass Careers You Didn't Know About

What He's Known For:

We'll just be frank: He's the guy behind everyone's favorite spy, James Bond.

As previously detailed, Fleming drew on his own badass background and created the suave, sexy, martini-drinking rogue we've all seen on the silver screen. Fourteen books chronicled 00's adventures, all of which have been taken in by Hollywood.

PFRGE FUnswan DAA op hAy 1

It wasn't always for the best, mind you.

So if Ian Fleming isn't on this list for being a total badass during World War II, then what?

What He Should Be Known For:

If we told you that Ian Fleming was responsible for a film that featured singing, dancing, a love story and borderline pedophilia, would you believe us? Of course not, because Fleming wasn't into that kind of shit.

And you'd be totally wrong. Sort of.

Fleming penned Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Originally intended for his son, the book reached mass publication--eventually falling into the laps of the fat cats at MGM. But the film and Fleming's product didn't really hold much in common other than the name. Fleming's version contained everything you'd expect from a creation of his: a badass car, gangsters, explosions. The film was so different from the original work that Disney commissioned a separate novelization of their product.


So before you go getting all freaked out by the Childcatcher the next time you watch the film, keep in mind that Roald Dahl--noted children's writer and the guy who helped write the screenplay--put that sleazeball in the film.

7 Celebrities Who Had Badass Careers You Didn't Know About

Thanks, Roald!

Tigger Invented the Artificial Heart

7 Celebrities Who Had Badass Careers You Didn't Know About

What He's Known For:

You probably wouldn't recognize Paul Winchell if you saw him on the street. Mainly because he's dead and if you saw him on the street you should be more concerned with finding an object to stab into his brainstem rather than playing "place the face."

But if this was 2004 or before, and you were talking on the phone with him, you'd recognize his voice instantly:

Yep, Winchell was Tigger. He voiced the questionably high cartoon tiger when the character first started speaking onscreen, until he retired in 1999. His voice work for the character even garnered him a Grammy award for Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too! (the popular follow-up to Winchell's solo work, Tiggas With Attitude).

Winchell voiced other famous characters as well, such as Gargamel from The Smurfs and the awesomely named Dick Dastardly from just about every Hanna-Barbera cartoon you've ever seen. If you still can't place his voice, you may have also recognized him as the voice of that bastard owl in the Tootsie Roll Pop commercial.

7 Celebrities Who Had Badass Careers You Didn't Know About

Why are we in the inner circle of hell and where are my clothes, Professor Owl?

What He Should Be Known For:

Aside from wanting to have a place in our hearts forever, Winchell was also interested in medicine and inventing shit. Among his patents were a flameless cigarette lighter, battery-heated gloves and an invisible garter.

7 Celebrities Who Had Badass Careers You Didn't Know About

Pictured: Genius.

The most famous design he had, however, wasn't for recreational purposes but for being alive purposes: The man designed the first artificial heart. With the help of Dr. Henry Heimlich--of "thank you for giving men a reason to grope women while masking it as a life-saving technique" fame--the two invented the device, and were the very first to acquire a patent for it. A Dr. Jarvik came out with a heart shortly thereafter but, of course, Winchell already had the patent. Jarvik denies that his design was influenced in any way by the voice actor's patent, but Dr. Heimlich maintains that both hearts are exactly the same, thus making Jarvik's claim utterly "ridicarus," as Tigger might say, or "bullshit," as Winchell might.

7 Celebrities Who Had Badass Careers You Didn't Know About

"Artificial-heart-patenting is what Winchell's do best."

Be sure to check out Fitzgerald's friend Thad over at CallMeThad

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To find out what RoboCop is up to these days, check out The 7 Most WTF Post-Fame Celebrity Careers. Or find out about some other inventors who yoinked their famous creations, in 5 Famous Inventors (Who Stole Their Big Idea).

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