Every great actor had their origin story, and with a great throwback feeling, our team has put together side by side images of legendary actors from the beginning of their career to what they look like today! Is one of your favourite legends on our list?
West Yorkshire's star actor, recently riding high in a return to his famous role as Picard, Patrick Stewart started acting at the age of 11 (an event he attributes to an English teacher handing him a copy of a Shakespeare play and telling him 'Now get up on your feet and perform'), leading to him being scouted by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1966.
On to Patrick Stewart's best friend, the irrepressible Ian McKellen. Famed in modern times for heroic turn as Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and as the anti-villainous Magneto in the X-Men films, McKellen also first entered into professional acting through Shakespearean roles. He saw his first play at the age of 3, a performance of Peter Pan (in the middle of World War 2!), which clearly influenced him to keep a youthful vigour well into old age.
Named as Britain's Best Actor in multiple national polls, Judi Dench has always been a consummate professional. With a father who worked as a GP for York theatre, and a mother who worked in wardrobe, acting seems to have been her fate. She initially trained as a set designer, but made her first professional stage appearance in 1957, as Ophelia in Hamlet; the rest is history. Fun fact; she's an avid fan of Dungeons and Dragons, a hobby she picked up from Vin Diesel.
Samuel L. Jackson
Legendary potty-mouth and the best proof there is that character actors can be far more memorable than leads, Jackson's first role was in a college adaption of Brecht's The Threepenny Opera, which he was cast in after deciding on drama as his major over marine biology and architecture. After twenty years of bit parts and extra roles for directors as varied as Spike Lee and Martin Scorsese, he finally secured his place in the public consciousness with his famous role as erudite hitman Jules Winfield in Quentin Tarantion's Pulp Fiction.
With 3 Academy Awards and a staggering 21 nominations, it's difficult to believe that Streep was shy in her youth. Yet she claims to have been so, with encouragement from her mother being the key to overcoming it. Though she acted in numerous school plays during high school, it wasn't until college that she became serious about acting as a career.
As the image above shows, Al Pacino is one actor who certainly didn't come from a pampered background. The son of two poor Italian immigrants in New York, he spent many of his teenage years homeless; he would later credit his time at HB Studio and New York's Actor's Studio with 'saving his life'. Taking his first major role at the age of 27 in Boston, his story is a reminder that greatness can await even those from the most humble and difficult beginnings.
Daniel Day Lewis
Known for his absurdly dedicated method acting and picky taste in projects (only six films since 1998 - and lauded for all), Daniel Day Lewis recently retired from acting. His first role was uncredited, and seen here; almost unrecognisable at the age of 14 in Sunday Bloody Sunday. He was paid £2 for the role, in which he smashed the window of a car; he described this experience as 'heaven'. It seems his passionate intensity started young.
It's strange to think that one of the most popular actors of all time would refer to himself in high school as 'a geek...horribly, painfully, terribly shy', but apparently that was so. That he could go from this to memorable, affecting, loveable roles such as Forrest Gump should be a heartening story to any actor who feels their shyness is holding them back.
It was in 1966 when a young Goldberg, birth name Caryn Elaine Johnson, was watching Star Trek for the first time with her mother; upon seeing Nichelle Nichols as Uhuru, she exclaimed the immortal words 'Momma! There's a black lady on television and she ain't no maid!'. It was then and there that she decided to become an actress; less than 20 years later, in 1985, she would be nominated for her first Oscar in The Colour Purple.
The lovable Billy Murray may have gained some white hairs, but still is the brilliant comedic talent that brought us hits like ‘Ghost Busters’, ‘Groundhogs Day’ and many many more classics.
Many incredible stories and starts to long lasting careers. Did your favour legend make the list?
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