Origins:50 Hollywood Stars who started off in television shows #AtoZChallengeApril 18, 2016
For me, there is one major reason why I appreciate Hollywood over Bollywood and it is an observation I first made as a child. Two decades later, sadly the same persists.
It is simply that in Bollywood, talent often gets pushed aside in favour of family backing and looks. You very rarely get to see or hear stories of people starting off as television actors going on to make it huge in Bollywood. Take away Shahrukh, Vidya Balan & the highly underrated Madhavan and the list runs dry pretty fast. After that, it is all children/nephews of actors or producers who 'inherited the acting talent.'
In Hollywood, the ratio actually goes the other way.
You need to prove your talent from the ground level up, be it theatre, Broadway or television. So many of the stars in Hollywood whom you laud today struggled with nothing more than part-time roles in often forgettable television shows. They worked their way up to reach where they are today - Oscar and Emmy award winners.
So which movie stars am I talking about?
Whom all do you imagine had their ORIGINS FROM TV SHOWS before reaching Hollywood? The list may surprise you.
Pierce Brosnan - Remington Steele
Playing suave and cool came pretty naturally for this future James Bond as he played a crook helping solve crime in this detective show.
Bruce Willis - Moonlighting
I still say this is his best role, even better than Die Hard's John McClane, especially after the last two movies.
Russell Crowe - Neighbours
Fun fact: Neighbours jump started many an Aussie career besides that of our Gladiator Maximum. Others include Jesse Spencer (blonde doctor from House MD) , Liam Hemsworth & Chris Hemsworth, Guy Pearce, Margot Robbie, Natalie Imbruglia & Kylie Minogue.
Mel Gibson - The Sullivans
Ah yes, even Mel needed an Australian soap opera to start his career.
Hugh Jackman - Correlli
Well, Hugh said no to Neighbours, actually! He ended up choosing the far less successful Correlli. It worked for him though - that is where he would meet his future wife.
Will Smith - Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
You knew he would make it big someday after watching this comedy. Guy had talent from a very young age.
Halle Berry - Living Dolls
Out of money and forced to briefly live in a homeless shelter, she lapsed into a coma during shooting of the show Living Dolls due to diabetes.
Joseph Gordon Lewitt - 3rd rock from the sun
Never would have imagined that know-it-all alien would end up as a pivotal icon of the Batman trilogy.
Tom Hanks - Bosom Buddies
Patrick Stewart - Coronation Street
Can you imagine Professor X landed his first TV role in 1967 and 20 years later was still considered an 'unknown British actor' when he became the captain of the Enterprise in Star Trek: The Next Generation?
John Travolta - Welcome Back, Kotter.
Those bell bottoms were meant to be rocked by him.
Leonardo Di Caprio - Parenthood, Santa Barbara, The New Lassie, Growing Pains
After being noticed from tv ads, Mr Inception finally got his first break on television. And he's never looked back ever since.
Clint Eastwood - Rawhide
What kind of show do you suppose he debuted in? Yup, you guessed it. A western!
Mila Kunis & Ashton Kutcher - That 70's Show
It warms my heart to see that two decades later, they found love in each other's arms in real life.
Robin Williams - Mork & Mindy
God bless this man and the number of people he made smile through his pure gift of comic timing.
Johny Depp - 21 Jump Street
Well sure, he played a five minute role of a young kid who was among the first to be killed in the original 'Nightmare on Elm Street' movie but he finally landed a major role with 21 Jump Street.
Denzel Washington - St Elsewhere
Started of as a doctor. Don't think he ever played a doctor again once Hollywood called.
George Clooney - ER
Ah, goody. Another doctor in the house.
Brad Pitt - Another World, Dallas
When George Clooney is in this list, can his buddy be far away?
Morgan Freeman - Another World, The Electric Company
Like Depp, he has an inconsequential small role in one film prior to finally getting a role which lasted in a television show.
Ryan Reynolds - 2 guys & a Girl
He always had good comic timing. Which is why we forgive him for Green Lantern.
Ryan Gosling - The Mickey Mouse Club
Mind you, this was a star packed cast. You had a young Ryan, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake on the same show! That's what I call identifying talent young.
Jim Carrey - The Duck Factory.
Darned if I know what that is!
Helen Hunt - The Mary Tyler Moore show, The Bionic Woman, The Facts of Life, Mad About You
Before she went mainstream, she had quite a few roles to play on television.
Michelle Pfeiffer - Fantasy Island
She was rejected for the role of one of Charlie's Angels. Seriously, who rejects Pfeiffer?
Rebecca Hall - The Chamomile Lawn
She was barely eight when she started off. The Prestige actress has gone far since then.
Micheal Douglas - The Streets of San Francisco
Micheal Douglas started off as an officer of the law in the streets, solving crime week after week before Hollywood called.
Jennifer Garner - Alias
She actually had some other minor roles in television but being part of the spy show Alias finally got her noticed.
Jennifer Lawrence - Monk, Medium
Yes, that is a young Jennifer Lawrence in a bear suit attacking poor Adrian Monk. Oh Adrian!
Jennifer Aniston - MolloyYes, the third Jennifer on this list too began on television with the short lived series Molloy.
She used to be a telemarketer and a waitress - just like Rachel in FRIENDS - before that.
Benedict Cumberbatch - Heartbeat
You thought I was going to say Sherlock, weren't you? He's actually been on television for an entire decade prior to that!
Paul Rudd - Sisters
He's been in our television screens for more than twenty five years now. Good to see him make it big (P.S. That was not an Ant-Man joke. I swear!)
Jack Nicholson - I don't know
No, seriously. I really don't know. His bio notes him as having uncredited television roles before slowly struggling his way up over decades.
And then we have directors like Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, Robert Altman, Alan Taylor, Joss Whedon, the Russo brothers, & Edgar Wright (the last 4 have all done duty in the successful Marvel Cinematic Universe, including the 2 Avenger movies & the soon to be released Captain America: Civil War. Looks like Marvel has a type. A very successful type!)
Look at that list one more time. It is a sheer powerhouse of talent. The best of the best.
Just goes to show, that in the end, talent will shine.