“Don’t give up.” This is probably one of the phrases people told you when you started building your career or founded your business. Like others, you might have viewed these sayings like other clichés because you don’t know when you will succeed. But you need to persevere as you pursue your dream or anything worthwhile.
Evaluating the lives of famous movie stars who never gave up can really boost your spirits and encourage you to stay on the course. Indeed some of the actors who are now household names didn’t become so easily. Some Hollywood celebs encountered rejection after rejection personally and professionally, suffered family abuse, and lived in their car before finally landing a role in television or film.
Continue reading this post for more inspiration.
Christopher Michael Pratt was born in Virginia, Minnesota, on June 21, 1979. His father died from multiple sclerosis in 2014. At one time, Pratt dropped out of college halfway through the first semester. Instead, he chose to work as a daytime stripper and discount ticket salesman.
As a result, the American actor ended up homeless in Hawaii, sleeping in a tent on the beach and a van. Although the celeb felt it was a fantastic place to live, they drank and smoked weed and worked minimal hours to cover food, fishing supplies, and gas. However, when he was 19, Rae Dawn Chong, actress and director, discovered him while waiting tables in a Maui-based Bubba Gump Shrimp Company restaurant.
Chris Pratt’s acting career was successful because he has been featured in various films, television, and video game series. Further, the celeb has won multiple awards and nominations as well as supports various charities.
Emily Olivia Laura Blunt was born in England on February 23, 1983. She was the second of four children and had a problem with stuttering between seven and 14. But through acting, Blunt’s teacher helped her manage the stutter. Her teacher’s efforts enabled her to carry on a conversation with her classmates and say a lot because she was a smart kid.
Although she viewed participating in a school play as totally unappealing, her junior high teachers’ gentle pressure and suggestion helped her get words out. Thankfully the actress overcame her stutter by the end of her teens. Further, the British actress has received several accolades, awards, and nominations. Additionally, Forbes ranked Blunt as the 2020 highest-paid actress in the world.
Jeremy Lee Renner was born in Modesto, California, on January 7, 1971. The American actor’s parents married as teenagers, and he is the oldest of his siblings. But his parents divorced when he just turned ten. His youngest sibling was born in 2011.
Renner married Sonni Pacheco, a Canadian model, on January 13, 2014, and divorced on December 30, 2014. On January 1, 2023, the actor had an accident where he suffered blunt chest trauma and multiple injuries.
During his acting career, Renner gained fame and recognition when he appeared in several films such as S.W.A.T (2003) and, The Town (2010), American Hustle (2013). These films earned him critical acclaim, nominations, and awards, while the media portrayed him as a young male actor who is pushing or being pushed into becoming Hollywood’s A-List.
James Eugene Carrey was born in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada, on January 17, 1962. Carrey’s father, Percy Carrey, an accountant and musician, lost his job, making them homeless. The entire family of six lived in a Volkswagen van on a relative’s lawn, but later Carrey and his brother lived in a tent on Lake Ontario for several months.
Carrey’s family continued to struggle financially until the dad found employment as an accountant at the Titan Wheels tire factory based in Scarborough. During that time, the teenage sons Carrey and John worked as security guards and janitors at the tire factory.
At age 10, Carrey sent his CV to The Carroll Burnett Show and continued working at the factory to make ends meet. The Canadian-American comedian, actor, artist, author, and producer moved back to Scarborough and attended Agincourt Collegiate Institute but had to drop out of school at 16. The young aspiring comedian continued to work at the factory and perform comedy in Toronto’s downtown.
Carrey would visualize his success every night. But because he planned his show business well, he didn’t have to continue working at the steel mill. The actor rose to fame when he began playing lead roles in various television series and major films.
Joanne Rowling was born in Yate, Gloucestershire, England, on July 31, 1965. She is popularly known as J. K. Rowling and for writing a seven-volume children’s fantasy series, Harry Potter, published from 1997 to 2007. This British author is also a philanthropist.
Jorge Arantes married J. K. Rowling in 1992 but divorced in 1995. Further, during the seven years before the first novel in the series was published, the author gave birth to her first daughter, witnessed her mother’s death, and relied on government aid because she was experiencing relative poverty. In 1998, the media unexpectedly gave her book good publicity and increased her public profile when it called the author a “penniless divorcee hitting the jackpot.”
Indeed she couldn’t afford to pay the cost of photocopying the first Harry book or even a computer. As a result, she decided to type the 90,000 words of Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone version and send it to publishers. Because of that and other reasons, publishers rejected it multiple times. Fortunately, the eight-year-old daughter of the CEO of the small London publisher fell in love with it, thus giving it a second chance.
Eventually, the series was translated into 84 languages and sold more than 600 million copies. It also gave birth to a global media franchise, i.e., video games and films. In 2012, J. K. Rowling produced her first novel for adults, The Casual Vacancy. Further, she wrote an ongoing crime fiction series, Cormoran Strike.
Keanu Charles Reeves was born in Beirut, Lebanon, on September 2, 1964. When he was 3, his father, Samuel Nowlin Reeves Jr., abandoned them. In 1966 his parents divorced, and his mother relocated with him to Sydney and later to New York City. The Canadian actor later met his father when he was 13.
Reeves’ mother, Patricia, married Paul Aaron in 1970 and divorced in 1971. She married Robert Miller in 1976, divorced in 1980 and then married her fourth husband, Jack Bond, a marriage that lasted until 1994. As a result of these changes, Reeves attended different schools, and most of the time, a nanny took care of him and his siblings.
The actor began acting at nine and remained close to his stepfather Aaron, a Hollywood director. Aaron recorded Reeves for a job at the Pennsylvanian Hedgerow Theatre and offered him advice that helped him succeed in the film industry. The Hollywood star is praised for his role in My Own Private Idaho (1991), directing the film Man of Tai Chi (2013), and being named by Time as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2022.
Leighton Marissa Meester was born in Fort Wort, Texas, on April 9, 1986. The American model, actress, and model lived with her two brothers and parents. She was born when her parents, Douglas and Constance, were serving time in federal prison for being involved in a drug ring smuggling marijuana to the US from Jamaica. Her paternal grandparents raised her when her mother returned to prison to complete her sentence.
Meester’s parents separated in 1992, and at 11, she relocated to New York City with her mother and siblings. This enabled her to work as a model and attend Professional Children’s School. At 14, they moved to Los Angeles to allow her to attend Beverly Hills and Hollywood High Schools. The actress graduated a year earlier than expected from a small private school.
Meester is praised for her role in Gossip Girl (2007-2012), Of Mice and Men (2014), How I Met Your Father (2022), and much more. Besides acting, Meester participates in various charitable campaigns, including Feeding America.
Leonardo Wilhelm DiCaprio was born in Los Angeles on November 11, 1974. He is named after Leonardo da Vinci. When he was just one year old, his father fell in love with another woman, but they moved into twin cottages since the parents wanted to raise him together. They later moved with his mother to another neighborhood and enrolled in a public school.
The actor dropped out of high school and began acting because he loved imitating people, impersonating characters, and watching how they responded to his acting. But he had the challenge of getting an agent at the beginning of his acting career. He almost gave up his dream because of not getting jobs, even after 100 auditions. But his father encouraged him to persevere.
Leonardo DiCaprio gained praise for his role in movies such as Growing Pains (1991), What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), Romeo + Juliet (1996), Titanic (1997), and more. The male actor has won several nominations and awards.
Marilyn Monroe was born in Los Angeles on June 1, 1926, and died on August 4, 1962, due to a barbiturate overdose. Her mother, Gladys, divorced her first husband in 1923, who kidnapped their two children, Robert and Berniece and went to live with them in his native Kentucky. Monroe met her sister when she was 17 or 18.
Gladys married in 1924, separated months later, and divorced in 1928. In 1925 she had an affair with a coworker Charles Stanley Gifford who is Monroe’s father, based on a DNA test she did in 2022. Despite her mother’s financial instability, Monroe had a happy childhood. She grew up with a foster family until she was 7. However, Gladys suffered from a mental breakdown, and her friend Grace cared for her and Monroe.
The actress was sexually abused, developed a stutter, and since she was a shy girl, she became withdrawn. Her mother’s friend Grace placed Monroe in an orphan home, but she felt abandoned. For several years she lived with different families related to Grace. Because of her childhood experiences, Monroe chose to be an actress. She became one of the marketable Hollywood stars, top-billed actresses, and most popular sex symbols of her time.
Mark Alan Ruffalo was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on November 22, 1967. As a kid and young adult, the American actor struggled with untreated dyslexia and ADHD. He worked as a bartender for nearly a decade before becoming successful in acting. In 2001, Ruffalo was diagnosed with a benign brain tumour that led to partial facial paralysis and deaf in his leaf ear after it was removed.
He is praised for his role in You Can Count on Me (2000), Awake and Sing! (2006), Infinitely Polar Bear (2015). Ruffalo has earned several nominations and awards during his career.
Oprah Gail Winfrey was born in poverty in Kosciusko, Mississippi, on January 29, 1954. Her mother gave birth to her as a teenager. Winfrey was molested multiple by a family friend, cousin, and uncle. The American actress, author, talk show host, media proprietor, and television producer became pregnant at 14, but her son, born prematurely, died in infancy.
During her public life, Winfrey faced criticism about her sexuality, weight, racism, and much more. She has been criticized severally for promoting controversial self-improvement ideas, creating a confession culture in the media, and entertaining an emotion-centered approach.
However, despite her poor childhood experiences, Winfrey reinvented herself in the mid-1990s in order to focus on self-improvement, spirituality, and mindfulness. As a result, many praise her for overcoming adversities and her philanthropic efforts. Apart from owning Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), she has established Oprah’s Angel Network and Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. She has won several awards and nominations, as well as being ranked the wealthiest African American of the 20th century, the most influential woman in the world, and much more.
Robert Downey Jr.
Robert John Downey Jr. was born in New York City on April 4, 1965. The American actor and producer was surrounded by drugs when growing up. Because his father was a drug addict, he allowed Downey to access marijuana at 6, when they would drugs together. Such incidents gave them an emotional bond and allowed his father to express his love for him.
But his father regretted that decision because Downey spent his nights pursuing drugs and abusing alcohol. Thankfully Downey got minor roles from his father, an actor and filmmaker. At age five, he portrayed a sick puppy in Pound (1970), appeared in Greaser’s Palace (1972) at seven, and studied classical ballet at 10 in England.
His drug addiction and several trips to rehab and jail strained his relationship with Sarah Jessica Parker and Deborah Falconer. He has a stable marriage with his wife, Mel Gibson and has been featured in several movies and won some awards.
Sarah Jessica Parker
The American actress and television producer was born in Nelsonville, Ohio, on March 25, 1965. When she was three and a half, her parents divorced, and her mother got married again and had four more children. Parker had seven siblings, including actors Pippin Parker and Timothy Britten Parker.
Her parents struggled to support them, and often they had to forego birthdays and Christmases as well as blackouts because they could not pay their electricity bill. But Parker believed she had all she needed and wouldn’t change any of it for something else.
Parkers took up dancing, singing, and child actress at an early age to feed their large family. Thankfully, her mother and stepfather supported her career development, as well as her siblings’ interest in the arts. For instance, this family of 10 relocated to Cincinnati to enable the future starlet to enrol in a theatre school on scholarship. They also travelled to New York City to enable the child actress to audition for a Broadway play.
Happily, Parker and her brother were successful and were both cast. The actress is famous for portraying Carnie Bradshaw on Sex and City (1998-2004), the HBO television series, and And Just Like That (2021-present).
Selena Marie Gomez was born in Grand Prairie, Texas, on July 22, 1992. The actress, singer, producer, and businesswoman began appearing in the children’s television series at a young age. Her parents divorced when she was only five, and this was frustrating. Gomez was homeschooled since their family had financial troubles. At one point, the family had to search for quarters to at least find their car some gas, as well as walk to a nearby dollar store to get spaghetti for dinner.
Although her mother remarried, she had a close relationship with her grandparents, who appeared in many pageants. Actually, it’s her grandparents who took care of her when her parents completed their studies because her mother gave birth to her at 16. Gomez started with her grandparents until she was successful in the show business.
The American movie star has won several accolades and recognition. She has starred in and produced various films and released many albums. Gomez features in different television commercials and supports multiple charities. She has bought and sold mansions worth millions of dollars in Los Angeles and Texas.
Eilleen Regina “Shania” Twain was born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, on August 28, 1965. When the Canadian singer, actress and songwriter was two, her parents divorced, and her mother got married to Jerry Twain. Her stepfather adopted her and her two sisters and legally changed their surnames to Twain and had a son named Mark together.
Twain and her siblings had a difficult childhood because her parents struggled to put food on the table. Further, she witnessed violence between her parents, and her mother struggled with depression. At one time, her mother took the children and ran away to live in a homeless shelter based in Toronto. But they returned to Jerry in 1981.
To help her parents pay bills, Twain began singing at bars at eight, where she often earned $20. But the singer disliked singing in such a place because of being with drunks. At age 21, her parents died in a road accident, and she had to step in and raise her siblings, who were in their teens. In the 1990s
Twain sang with Mercury Nashville Records. Although her first album failed upon release, the second studio album, The Woman in Me (1995), helped her to rise in fame. Indeed Shania Twain’s career in acting and singing was a success and garnered her several titles. The singer is also known as the best-selling female artist because of selling over 100 million records and has earned several awards and nominations despite her poor childhood experience.
Stephen Edwin King was born in Portland, Maine, U.S., on September 21, 1947. The American author is known as the King of Horror because of his publishing of supernatural fiction, science-fiction, crime, suspense, and fantasy novels. King struggled to write these novels because he was broke. His wife, too, was a writer, lived together in a trailer, and worked multiple jobs to support their family and continue their craft.
The couple had to borrow clothes and dispose of their telephone for their wedding because it was too costly to maintain. The author’s work was rejected several times, and by the time she was 14, the nail in his wall couldn’t support the weight of the rejection slips it was holding. But King didn’t give up. Instead, he replaced the nail with a spike and didn’t stop writing. Until the sale of his first short story, The Glass Floor ($35), the author had 60 rejections.
Further, his best-selling book, Carrier, was also not a hit in the beginning because it only sold 13,000 copies. But he achieved success when Signet Books signed on for $400,000 for the paperback rights, and King was paid $200,000. So far, the author has received several awards for contributing to literature, recognition from the National Medal of Arts, etc. His books have been adapted into television series, films, comic books, and miniseries.
Steven Allan Spielberg was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on December 18, 1946. Spielberg felt embarrassed about his heritage. Between seven and nine years, he didn’t like the idea that they were Orthodox Jews as well as the outward perception of their Jewish practices. Further, the American filmmaker suffered from anti-Semitism.
He was smacked and kicked severely in high school, which he said was horrible. Spielberg parent’s divorced after he graduated from high school. He went to live with his father in Los Angeles while his mother stayed back in Saratoga with his sisters. The filmmaker wasn’t interested in academics, so the University of Southern California turned down his application to join its film school because of his poor grades.
Throughout his career, Spielberg has had opportunities to write, direct, and produce short films, television, and theatrical films. He has won several awards, recognitions, and nominations. Despite the earlier rejection, he sits on the Board of Directors of the University of Southern California film school and donates millions of dollars to the school each year. Additionally, he is one of the most commercially successful film directors and influential person of all time.
Tyler Perry was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on September 13, 1969. The American filmmaker, actor, playwright, writer, producer, director, and entrepreneur had a rough childhood. For instance, he got kicked out of high school, was physically and sexually abused when growing up, and attempted suicide twice. Actually, his childhood can be described as a “Living hell.”
Perry sensed a certain refuge and contentment when his mother went with him to church every Sunday. To distance himself from his father, Perry changed his name legally at 16 from Emmitt Perry to Tyler Perry. Years later, Perry revealed that three men molested him, his friend’s mother repeated this abuse at age 10, and his own father molested his friend. To make the matter worse, Perry discovered through a DNA test that Emmitt Perry Sr. was not his biological father.
One day in his early 20s, the actor, while watching an episode of Oprah Winfrey’s show, heard an interviewee say that writing has a therapeutic effect and can help the author work out their own problems. That statement inspired him to venture into writing which he started by writing himself a series of letters. His play I Know I’ve Been Changed comprised Christian themes of dignity, forgiveness, and self-worth. It initially failed miserably but became a success on its seventh run. Tyler Perry has received several awards and nominations throughout his career and is presently one of the highly successful writers, actors, and directors, as well as Forbes’ highest-paid man in the industry in 2011.