ByVaria Fedko-Blake, writer at
Staff Writer at Moviepilot! [email protected] Twitter: @vfedkoblake
Varia Fedko-Blake

We all know the entertainment business can be incredibly cruel sometimes and not everyone who makes it to the top manages to get there easily. In fact, in many cases, today's high-profilers encountered many failures and obstacles that almost buried their ambitions.

Despite having far from smooth beginnings, with determination and persistence, the following 13 people went on to experience unrivaled success and to prove all those haters wrong.

Take a look and be inspired!

1. J. K. Rowling

Before she made a name for herself, Rowling was penniless, recently divorced and raising a child on her own. She was so poor that she even wrote the first Harry Potter book on an old typewriter.

Twelve publishers rejected her manuscript, before being given a chance by Bloomsbury and being told to also get a day-job because it was unlikely she would make any money from children's books.

Oh, how I bet all those other publishers are punching themselves now...

2. Charles Darwin

When he was a young man, Darwin gave up on his medical career because he was too often told by his father how useless and lazy he was. He wrote himself:

"I was considered by all my masters and my father, a very ordinary boy, rather below the common standard of intellect."

Today, he is considered one of the most influential scientists of all time.

3. Lady Gaga

When she was finally signed on to a major record label, Gaga was dropped three months after.

However, by 2013, she had sold over 125 million singles. Let's all bow down to the Mother Monster.

4. Walt Disney

In 1919, Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star newspaper because, as his editor put it, he "lacked imagination and had no good ideas." How ironic - even after his death, today he is still considered one of the best storytellers in the entire world.

5. Oprah Winfrey

When she was an evening news reporter, Winfrey was fired because she attached to much of her personal opinion to stories. According to the producers, she was too "emotional."

6. Steven Spielberg

Film director Spielberg was rejected from USC's prestigious film school three times! He eventually managed to get a place at another one but dropped out to become a director before completing his course.

In 2002, thirty-five years later, he returned to school to earn his BA, releasing a statement saying:

"I wanted to accomplish this for many years as a thank-you to my parents for giving me the opportunity for an education and a career."

Today, he is one of the industry's most successful and influential filmmakers, having produced a myriad of blockbusters such as Jaws and Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones and Lincoln. Check out the trailer for the latter here:

7. Hugh Jackman

Before he was Wolverine on X-Men, Hugh Jackman got fired from his cashier job at the 7-Eleven for talking too much to the customers.

8. Elvis

After performing at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry, Elvis was approached by the concert hall manager and told that he was better off going home to Memphis and going back to driving trucks.

9. Bill Gates

The richest man in the world struggled to make any money at first. Failing miserably with his first company, Traf-O-Data, he went on to sell the unsuccessful venture with his business partner which nobody even wanted to buy.

A couple of years later, they released Microsoft and the rest is history.

10. Marilyn Monroe

When she tried to kick-start her acting and modeling career, agencies told her that she shouldn't bother and should just consider becoming a secretary.

And when her first contract with Columbia Pictures expired, they told Marilyn they would not renew it because she wasn't pretty or talented enough to be an actress. Ouch.

11. Stephen King

His first book, Carrie, was rejected thirty times. Having given up on getting it published, King decided to toss the book in the garbage. Thankfully, his wife rescued it and convinced him to try submitting it once more.

Today it is one of his most famous novels and even has two film adaptations. Check out the trailer for the recent one:

12. Michael Jordan

As a sophomore, Jordan was rejected from his high school's basketball team. Today, he is arguably one of the most famous players of all time and has shared some inspiring words of wisdom, saying:

"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that's why I succeed."


13. Jay-Z

Jay-Z was turned away by many labels when he was trying to make it big. Refusing to give up, however, he then founded Roc-a-Fella Records to launch his first album.

Since, he has sold over 75 million records and has received 17 Grammy awards.

So next time you're feeling down about your own failures, keep these famous faces in mind and remind yourself that sometimes, you have to fail to succeed.



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