Starving Artists Who Became Hollywood Stars



Hillary Swank 

The Next Karate Kid

Million Dollar Baby


When Hillary Swank was 15 her parents separated. Knowing that Hillary wanted to become an actor, Hillary’s mother drove them to Los Angeles so she could audition. For parts. They didn’t have any money for rent so they lived in their car. Luckily, not too long after their arrival Hillary began landing small roles so the could afford to rent an apartment. In 1992, Hillary made her film debut as a minor role in the movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In 1994, she starred in The Next Karate Kid. Ten years later she won an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Best Actress in Million Dollar Baby.


Daniel Craig 

Casino Royale

Quantum Solace




In his early days when Daniel Craig was a struggling actor he waited tables and slept on park benches. It wasn’t until he played a seedy underworld criminal in the English drama series Our Friends in the North, when he started getting noticed as an actor. He got offers but was typed cast as the bad guy. He rejected them and acted on stage instead. All of this paid off because in 2006 he became the iconic secret agent James Bond in Casino Royale. He played James Bond for three more films before being retired from the role. He went on to be in many more films and is still a heavy hitter in Hollywood. 


Halle Berry

Monster’s Ball


John Wick Chapter 3


When Halle Berry was 21 years old she was living in New York City trying to become a super model. Time and time again she would spend all her money and have to ask her mother for more. One of these times Halle Berry’s mother told her no and suddenly Halle found herself homeless. Halle became angry and didn’t speak to her mother for 18 months but the experience taught her how to become self efficient. 5 years later Berry would make her film debut alongside Eddie Murphy in the romantic comedy Boomerang. Now, Halle has starred in many films and won an Oscar in 2001 for her role in the film Monster’s Ball. She is the only woman of African-American descent to have won the award. 


Drew Carey 

The Drew Carey Show

Who’s Line is it Anyway?

The Price is Right


When Drew Carey was 23 he went on a cross country trip to see his brother in California. He ended up staying in Las Vegas and living there for awhile. He had run out of money and was homeless. He had to sell his plasma so he wouldn’t go hungry. He eventually got a job at Dennys but didn’t say in Vegas much longer. He moved back to his hometown of Cleveland Ohio and would eventually become a really funny stand up comic. He got his start writing jokes for his friend David Lawrence’s radio show. His stand up career lead to acting in supporting roles on TV shows. He would often play the character of a hapless middle class bachelor man-child. This persona led him to having his own sitcom The Drew Carey Show, that ran for nine years. 


Charlie Chaplin

The Kid 

The Gold Rush

The Great Dictator


In 1899, Charlie Chaplin was 10 years old when he and his brother had to fend for themselves because their father had passed and their mother was in a mental institution. The Chaplin brothers were homeless for awhile, only scraping enough change not to starve. Charlie Chaplin wanted a career in show business so he started tap dancing at age 14. He joined a tap dancing troupe in London then trained in Vaudeville as a comic actor. He was talented enough to go to America were he was signed for silent films to Keystone Studios. This is where he developed his famous character “The Tramp” and he received national recognition. He went on to have a acting career that spanned 75 years. He is considered by many to be the greatest actor in film history. 


Chris Pratt

Parks and Recreation 

Guardians of the Galaxy

Jurassic World


After graduating high school in 1997, Chris Pratt went to 1 semester of community college before he dropped out. His friend bought him a one way ticket to Maui Hawaii, where Chris Pratt lived as a homeless person. He would sleep on the beach or in a car. He worked minimal jobs to cover food, gas and fishing supplies. When Pratt was 19 years old, he was waiting tables at a restaurant when the director Rea Dawn Chong offered him a role in her horror movie Cursed Part 3 which shot in Los Angeles. Pratt accepted her offer and moved to LA. There he got work acting in small roles until 2009 when he was cast in Parks and Recreation as Andy Dwyer. This launched his acting career and now he’s an A-list leading man, having starred in huge blockbusters like Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World.


Jim Carrey

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

The Mask

Dumb and Dumber


When Jim Carrey was in 8th grade his dad lost his job as an accountant, so Jim and his brothers had to work to help with the bills. Jim’s dad got a job as a security guard but quit not long after. The Carrey family became homeless and lived out of their Volkswagen camper van. After awhile Jim Carrey’s oldest sister let the family park their camper in her driveway and pitch a tent in her backyard to sleep. Jim started doing comedy at open mics around his hometown before he packed up and moved to Los Angeles. While he was doing a set at The Comedy Store, Rodney Dangerfield saw him and asked him to open for his act. Carrey’s breakthrough and film debut was Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. After that, he found more box office success with the films; The Mask, Dumb and Dumber and Liar, Liar. 


Sylvester Stallone



The Expendables


Sylvester Stallone moved to Hollywood in 1974 but struggled to find work as an actor. It got so bad he became homeless and had to sell his dog for food. When the underdog boxer Chuck Wepner knocked down Muhammed Ali in the heavyweight boxing championship in 1975, Stallone was inspired to write a script about an underdog boxer. He wrote Rocky in just 3 days. A producer offered him $350,000 for the script but Stallone refused. Stallone only had $100 in the bank at the time. He only wanted to sell the script if he could play Rocky. They said yes and paid him 30,000 for the script. Rocky was a box office smash and made Stallone a super star.