5 Pre-Fame Celebrity Stories You've Never Heard Before
Being a celebrity is all about managing your image. Some, however, have backstories that seem crazy, given how we view them today. Or there are the stories that they'd simply rather we not know about which, goddammit, are just so irresistible that we can't help but broadcast them. For example ...
Chris Pine Wrote "Fantastic" Erotica In College
For celebrities named "Chris," the internet thirst market is a pretty crowded place right now. So in a world in which fat stacks of cash, great hair, and bodice-ripping muscleceps are the norm, what's a guy gotta do to get noticed? Well, if Chris Pine is any guide, umm ...
That's Dana Koster, a writer and poet, revealing that back in 2002, she taught a writing class about erotica at UC Berkeley -- a class that included one Chris Tiberius Pine, because magic is real. By all accounts, he was pretty damn good at it, although we'll have to take Koster's word on that, seeing as none of his work from has survived. (Although it would've been weirder if she'd kept it, to be honest.)
It's not clear whether Pine kept up the habit after he became an actor -- an actor, no less, who currently owns a role responsible for generating more erotica than should be possible inside God's light. And our therapist tells us that it's probably a bad idea to spend the rest of our lives reading everything on fanfiction.net in the hopes of tracking it down. Between these details and the class reader above, however, we absolutely have faith that one of you hardcore stans out there can find it.
Macho Man Randy Savage Was A Minor League Baseball Star
The average person knows only three things about Randy Savage: He was a wrestler, he liked shout-screaming OOH YEEEAAAHHH, and he dressed like someone's aunt going through an existential crisis. That's not a bad legacy as they go, but it overlooks something which we think more people need to know about: his short-lived, bananas career as a baseball player.
Before he took up wrestling, Savage -- real name Randy Poffo -- was a two-time all-star baseball catcher in high school. After he failed to make the draft, however, he and his father road-tripped out to St Louis, where the Cardinals were hosting open tryouts. Out of 300 candidates, Savage/Poffo was the only one to be awarded a contract. How did he manage that feat? The dude was a fucking beast.
While in high school, Savage taught himself to pitch ambidextrously, and his training regimen consisted of beating the shit out of a tire with a bat to strengthen his hands and shoulders. It paid off, too. His right (dominant) arm was so powerful that, according to one of his teammates, he could return the ball to the pitcher from the outfield faster than the pitcher could throw ever.
His career with the Cardinals came to an end after only two seasons. During a game, he collided with an opposing player at the plate and screwed up his shoulder, which caused him to start missing games and left him wanting for swings and catches -- things that we're sure you'll agree are pretty important for a baseball player. Despite this, he finished up his career with some pretty respectable stats before moving to wrestling in 1975. He came to dominate that scene until 2002, when he had to drop out in shame after losing to some punk-ass kid dressed like a spider.
A Teenage Meghan Markle Called Out Sexist Advertising On Nick News
In response to the growing movement in Britain to kick the queen into a retirement home and turn Buckingham Palace into a coffee shop, it's become a thing for each member of the royals to champion a cause and add, like, value to their existence or something. For Prince William, this is conservation. For Kate, this is children's mental health. For Prince Harry, it's making sure that veterans are looked after. And for the newly inducted Meghan Markle, it's women's equality. Although we probably could've guessed this, considering how in her early teens, Markle appeared on Nick News to drag the patriarchy for its sexist advertising practices.
Back in 1993, young Markle got some attention after a school project inspired her to contact Procter & Gamble over a dish soap commercial which described washing up solely as women's work. In response, P&G swapped out "women" for "people," which not only earned them some major props for being super-woke (the bar isn't much higher today), but also resulted in Markle appearing on Nick News to talk about the myriad ways advertisers talk about women like they're domestic servants.
Phil Hartman Designed Your Dad's Favorite Album Covers
It's an unstated rule that whenever anyone writes about Phil Hartman, they have to make a joke about how you may remember him from The Simpsons, NewsRadio, Jingle All The Way, or the criminally underappreciated Small Soldiers. We're not going to do that -- not just because it's an overplayed cliche, but also because Hartman had depths, man.
He was Troy McClure, sure, but did you know that he helped create Pee-Wee Herman? Or that his first television appearance was as a contestant on the The Dating Game ... which ended with him getting stood up? ("She asked me, if I was a street sign, what would I be? I said, 'Slippery when wet.'") Or that he started out in showbiz as a graphics designer who managed to eke out a living designing album covers for no-names like Steely Dan and America (of "A Horse With No Name" fame), as well as the logo for some bumpkins called, um, Crosby, Stills & Nash.
On the face of it, it's a pretty bizarre career path, until you learn that Hartman spent the '70s hanging out in Laurel Canyon, California, which was pretty much the nexus of the music industry and the home of several major artists, including Carole King, Mama Cass, Frank Zappa, CSN&Y, and Jimi Hendrix. Hartman even worked as a roadie for Hendrix for a brief spell, so he wasn't exactly short on connections when he needed a gig.
A Young Donald Glover Appeared In The Film Of A Beastie Boys Concert
As we strap cameras to every inch of ourselves, the chances of us accidentally snapping an up-and-coming celebrity gradually becomes oh so much more likely. If you don't believe us, how about that guy who snapped photos of some rando mimes working in Central Park, and realized 35 years after the fact that one of those mimes was the late great Robin Williams? Or how about this footage of a pre-fame Donald Glover spitting fire at a Beastie Boys gig back in 2004,, shot by a concertgoer who didn't realize that they were looking at a Literal Child(ish) Gambino?
It's three seconds of music, sure, but what are the odds of the camera focusing on this one unassuming guy, right before his career goes supernova with Derrick Comedy, Conan O'Brien, and 30 Rock? As The AV Club notes, there were a lot of cameras documenting the gig, which sounds like it skews the odds ... but they were mostly recording Ben Stiller, who was also in the audience.
We're not quite sure what the lesson is in this story -- or indeed, this entire article. But it sounds an awful lot like "Take intrusive photos of everyone you meet and steal their fanfiction." You might get arrested a whole bunch, but trust us, it'll be worth it when you can waltz into the offices of TMZ in 2045 and score some major bank.
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