23 famous people who got their start in hospitality
Everybody has to start somewhere, right? You may think a lot of the “rich and famous” were born that way, but you’d be wrong. Many started off with humble jobs in hotels, restaurants and resorts and those experiences played a big part in their future success.
Here’s a list of celebs you may know who started out in hospitality:
- Tom Hanks: Tom started out as a hotel bellhop and was seen carrying the bags of a number of celebrities during his stint at a hotel.
- Amy Adams: Believe it or not, Amy worked as a waitress at Hooters to earn enough money to buy a used Chevy. She quit as soon as she had enough money ($900 at the time).
- Chris Rock: Chris earned a minimum wage plus tips at Red Lobster, waiting tables.
- Madonna: Madonna served customers at a local Dunkin’ Donuts until she was fired for spraying customers with jelly filling! Perhaps not so surprising.
- Chelsea Handler: Back in the day, Chelsea waited tables at Morton’s Steakhouse in California, slinging steaks and baked potatoes.
- Marisa Tomei: While taking acting classes and auditioning for roles in New York, Marisa worked at Brooklyn’s Tony Roma’s.
- Mariah Carey: Apparently Mariah wasn’t very successful in her waitress jobs in NYC at The Sports Bar and The Boathouse Café – “she had a terrible attitude.” Hmmmm...
- Lady Gaga: Before her big break, Gaga (Stephanie Germonatta) worked at the Cornelia Street Café waiting tables to cover her rent.
- Tom Cruise: Tom was once a hotel bellhop before hitting it big in Hollywood.
- Jennifer Aniston: Jennifer really enjoyed being a waitress while awaiting her break into show biz. She supported herself waiting tables until she could realize her big dream.
These famous folks honed some skills as bartenders:
- Ellen Pompeo: The star of Grey’s Anatomy was discovered mixing drinks at a restaurant in New York.
- Dave Mathews: Before selling over 30 million records, Dave was a bartender at Miller’s in Charlottesville, VA. While there, he was encouraged to write music and perform by his friend, Ross Hoffman, who later became the band’s first manager.
- Ellen DeGeneres: Ellen supported herself as a bartender before she tried her hand at stand-up. At a graduation ceremony for bartenders at the National Bartender School in Sherman Oaks, Calif., she offered this tip to the recent grads: “one of the toughest decisions a customer can ever make is whether to have their Margarita on the rocks or blended” and that “vermouth is like a cheap perfume: A little goes a long way.” Ha!
- Jon Stewart: Jon honed his wit stopping bar fights and cleaning up vomit at the New Jersey punk venue City Gardens.
- Sandra Bullock: After she moved to New York, she took a job bartending and picked up an unexpected skill: she learned to mimic a wide variety of accents serving customers from all over the world.
Famous Disney Resort Employees:
- Steve Martin: Steve Martin picked up some special skills at Disney: he became an accomplished magician while working at the Fantasyland Magic Shop. He also learned to play banjo from the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s John McEuen, who was also working at the park at the time.
- Robin Williams: Robin Williams was a tour guide on the Jungle Cruise before he became the voice of the “genie” in Aladdin with Disney later in his career.
- Michelle Pfeiffer: Michele played Alice in Wonderland in the Main Street Electrical Parade.
- Richard Carpenter: Richard Carpenter of the The Carpenters worked at Disney playing piano on the famous “Main Street.”
- Alyson Reed: Alyson Reed of “high School Musical” fame got her start playing Alice in Wonderland at Disneyland.
- Wayne Brady: Comedian Wayne Brady played Tigger at Walt Disney World.
- Kevin Costner: Kevin met his first wife, Cindy Silva (she was Snow White) while working as a tour guide at Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise.
- Kevin Richardson: The former Backstreet Boy played Aladdin and one of the Ninja Turtles during his time at Disneyland.