Before Vin chose his high-octane stage name, he was Mark Sinclair, and he got his start in a New York City theater, but he wasn’t doing what you’d expect.
He and his friends broke into a theater one night, but when they were caught, the artistic director ended up giving Diesel a role instead of calling the cops. A number of theater productions later, Vin moved to Los Angeles, where he made a short film about his experience as an actor with an “ethnic” look. From there, he got his first big role as a soldier in “Saving Private Ryan.”
Ellen Pompeo Was an Advice Away From Bartending to Acting
Ellen Pompeo was just getting by working as a bartender in SoHo in New York City in the 90s. A casting agent entered the bar and started giving her acting advice. Ellen suspected this was flirting, but when she took the advice she started landing commercials and minor television roles, such as in “Law & Order” and “Friends.”
Film roles came next, including a highlight as Jake Gyllenhaal's love interest in “Moonlight Mile” and playing opposite Luke Wilson in “Old School.” However, major breakout success didn't hit until she was cast as Meredith Grey, the titular character in “Grey's Anatomy.”
Rod Stewart Had a Harmonica Standing by
Before he was Rod the Mod, Rod Stewart was a fence erector and laborer at Highgate Cemetery in England. One day, in January 1964, Stewart saw Long John Baldry, a blues singer and musician, at a railway station.
Stewart pulled out his harmonica and performed a blues song by Howlin' Wolf. Baldry was impressed by the young Stewart's musical skills, and the two got to talking. Baldry invited Stewart to sit in with his group, eventually discovering that Stewart could sing, as well. Before long, Stewart was an official member of the group and was working his way toward stardom.
Danny Trejo Was Doing the Responsible Thing
Just looking at the guy can tell you Danny Trejo didn't have the standard Hollywood story. After years of being heavily involved in bad substances, Trejo sobered up and found work as an AA counselor.
One day, a mentee asked Trejo to come to the set of a prison film he was filming to help avoid a relapse. When the director saw Trejo's ultra-rugged tough-guy look, he asked Trejo to step in as an extra. This led to bigger and bigger roles, including starring in movies that basically just use his legendary cool as a selling point.
Mary Steenburgen Was Just Doing Her Desk Duty
We got a lot of things thanks to Jack Nicholson, and it's also thanks to him that we have Mary Steenburgen, an actress that you've almost certainly enjoyed at one point, even if she doesn't have an A-list name. Jack Nicholson was casting for his 1978 comedy western (also his directorial debut) and saw Steenburgen inside Paramount's New York office.
At the time, Steenburgen was an unknown actress, but she would quickly garner awards for her roles, including Both a Golden Globe and an Oscar for a supporting role in “Melvin and Howard.”