I recently watched The Social Network, and was impressed by Justin Timberlake’s performance – far more than I have been by his music. It made me think of some other people who radically changed career.
Before she was the cake lady, Martha Stewart was a stockbroker on Wall Street. She sold securities at Monness, Horstmen, Williams and Sidel until the market crashed in 1973. She left Wall Street and started a catering company and opened a shop called The Market Basket, before incorporating her business under her own name in 1977.
The High Roller
Before he became known for My Name Is Earl and those Kevin Smith films, Jason Lee was a professional skateboarder. Airwalk even honoured him with a signature shoe. Though he’d founded a skateboarding company, he was drafted in as a music video guest star and made the switch to acting. Several Golden Globe and SAG nominations later, it looks like the career change is permanent.
When the Rocky star was 30, Sylvester Stallone was working at a deli counter. The Chalkboard Deli in San Diego even offers a Sylvester Stallone sub sandwich, featuring Italian salami and ham, Swiss and Provolone cheeses and Italian dressing. Additionally, Sly has been a fish salesman, horse trainer, short order cook, usher, zoo attendant, and teacher at the American College of Switzerland.
Schwarzenegger and Reagan aren’t the only ones to drop Hollywood for the political machine. Al Franken – a regular on Saturday Night Live who co-wrote the Meg Ryan movie When A Man Loves A Woman – is now the US Senator for Minnesota.
Kalpen Modi – known to most as Kal Penn from the Harold and Kumar series – had his character in House killed off so that he could take a job with Barack Obama as an Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement. He has since resigned twice to take further film and television roles (the third Harold and Kumar film and How I Met Your Mother). It will be interesting to see whether politics or Hollywood wins this one.