Didn’t they do well: Unlikely rises to stardom

Looking back at the careers of many of the most loved celebrities, it is a wonder how some – considering their uninspiring beginnings – made it to the top.

Ant and Dec

Now the UK’s favourite presenting pair, it is easy to forget that the Geordie duo began their careers in naff BBC kid’s programmes Why Don’t You? and Byker Grove. They even had time to make a number of cringeworthy hip-hop inspired records before finally landing their breakthrough gig as the hosts of Saturday morning programme SMTV Live. A far cry indeed from the X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent.

Guy Pearce

The English-born star of The King’s Speech, LA Confidential and Memento took the scenic route to stardom. Moving to Australia when he was still a toddler the young Mr Pearce was Mike Young in Neighbours and a bit-part player in Home and Away before Hollywood came calling.

Ian Wright

He might be a second-rate pundit and presenter today but it easy to forget that the former Arsenal and Crystal Palace star was once one of England’s most exciting footballers. The former record goalscorer for the Gunners, who also has 33 caps to his name, was a 22-year-old amateur before exploding into the big time after being spotted for the Eagles while playing for Dulwich Hamlet.

Happy Gilmore

Adam Sandler’s 1996 character Happy Gilmore was a wannabe hockey player and all-round loser before taking up golf in a bid to save his grandmother’s home. Spotted by one-handed coach Chubbs Peterson, Gilmore’s long drive took pro golf by storm helping the hot-head to victory in the Tour Championship against Shooter McGavin.

Colonel Sanders

The King of fried chicken was a steamboat pilot, farmer and insurance salesman before first serving his trademark to the dishes. He didn’t even develop his secret recipe until he was 49 – leaving him just 41 years to enjoy his finger licking creations until his death in 1980 aged 90.


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