ByJames Buxton, writer at
Professional Nerf Herder. Twitter: @JayDBux
James Buxton

Everyone knows there's no easy way to become successful in the acting world. It takes a lot of skill, talent, and most of all luck to even get noticed these days, and even then it's a long way to the top.

But even the A-listers gracing today's screens had to start somewhere.

And so, with some help from the Internet (mainly Reddit), I've compiled some of the best first appearances of our favorite actors and actresses for you. Aren't I good to you?

1. Tom Hardy - The Big Breakfast (1998)

Technically, Hardy's first acting role was in HBO's Band of Brothers as Private John Janovec. However, before that, he appeared on The Big Breakfast's "Find Me A Supermodel" Competition.

Hardy has certainly come a long way since then, appearing in Inception and The Dark Knight Rises alongside his acting hero, Gary Oldman.

2. Sir Ian McKellen - The Indian Adventures of Rudyard Kipling (1964)

I doubt you'll find a single person who won't at least recognize Sir Ian McKellen. With such legendary roles in Shakespeare's Macbeth, as Magneto from X-Men and perhaps most notably, as Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, McKellen has managed to entertain several generations of movie watchers for many years.

However, McKellen's first appearance onscreen was far from the dizzying heights of fame he now experiences. In 1964, at just 25 years old, McKellen starred in the The Indian Adventures of Rudyard Kipling, a TV special that was only broadcasted once. Needless to say, it was the springboard he needed to launch himself into international stardom.

3. Matt Damon - Mystic Pizza (1988)

Nearly ten years before his breakout role in Good Will Hunting, Matt Damon made his first appearance as "Steamer" in the 1988 romantic comedy, Mystic Pizza. It was far from a starring role, with Damon uttering only one line of dialogue, but it was apparently enough to get him noticed by the industry.

4. Meryl Streep - Beatles Interview (1965)

Meryl Streep is one of the most distinguished actresses of our generation. She's received three Academy Awards in her time and has also performed in several plays on stage. She's also a well-known philanthropist and just generally an all-round wonderful person.

It's ironic that with such a presence in Hollywood these days, Streep's first ever appearance onscreen wasn't even an acting job. Twelve years before she was thrown into the spotlight in 1977's Julia, Streep appeared in the background of an interview just before a Beatles concert at Shea Stadium.

5. George Clooney - Centennial (1978)

George Clooney is certainly one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood. With a huge range of acting credits to his name such as Batman - yes, unfortunately that Batman - and Matt Kowalski in Gravity. He's also the only person to be nominated for an Academy Award in six different categories.

So, it's certainly surprising to find out Clooney's first role was as an uncredited blink-and-you'll-miss-it extra in the 1978 TV serial, Centennial, which you can see here.

It wasn't until 1984 that Clooney got his first proper acting job in the short lived sitcom, E/R (not to be confused with the long running series of the same name!)

There you have it. It just goes to show that for all you wannabe actors and actresses out there, anyone, no matter what their starting role or background, could still make it big in Hollywood. It's also always fun to see how the stars of today have changed as they've grown more experienced.


Which celebrity's first appearance surprised you the most?


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