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    Updated on Feb 26, 2019. Posted on Jan 15, 2019

    23 Famous People Who Reallllllly Failed Before They Succeeded

    Jim Carrey lived in a van and auditioned for Saturday Night Live twice before ultimately becoming a movie star.

    We asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us their favorite stories about famous people who "failed" before making it big. Here are the inspiring results.

    Note: Not all submissions are from Community users.

    1. Chris Pratt was homeless and lived in a van in Maui when he was 19. Almost 20 years later, he returned to Hawaii and was paid $10 million to film Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

    Facebook: PrattPrattPratt, Universal Pictures

    At one point, he worked as a waiter and would eat customers' leftover food so he wouldn't go hungry.

    2. Lisa Kudrow was originally cast as Roz on Frasier but was fired two days into rehearsals. A year later, she landed the role of Phoebe on Friends.

    youtube.com

    She also auditioned to be on Saturday Night Live but ultimately lost out to Julia Sweeney. Six years later, she hosted the show herself.

    3. Chrissy Metz only had 81 cents in her bank account when she booked This Is Us.

    NBC

    And she wasn't even sure if she'd have enough gas in her car to get to the audition!

    4. Sylvester Stallone was once so poor that he sold his beloved dog for $40 so he could buy food. Years later, he sold the script for Rocky, which brought him two Oscar nominations.

    Instagram: @https://www.instagram.com/officialslystallone/p/BSRPVCLjG9q/?hl=en, United Artists

    After Stallone became successful, he bought his dog back: "The owner knew I was desperate, and he charged me $15,000. He was worth every penny!"

    5. Vera Wang trained to be a figure skater but didn't make the Olympic team. Her fallback was fashion, and after a few decades she started her own company when she was 40.

    oprah.com

    She worked as an editor for Vogue and later worked as a designer for Ralph Lauren. Then, in 1990, she started her own company.

    k4d8ab699b

    6. Oprah Winfrey was fired from a co-anchor position when she was 23 and was told she was "unfit for television news." We all know what happened after that.

    youtube.com, youtube.com

    The Oprah Winfrey Show went on to become "the highest-rated TV program of its kind in history." Oh, and aside from being one of the most influential people in the world, she's also one Grammy away from EGOTing. A true legend.

    7. Stephen King's first novel, Carrie, was rejected over 30 times before it was published.

    youtube.com, United Artists

    In fact, he almost gave up on the book entirely, even throwing away part of the manuscript out of frustration. His wife saw it in the garbage and inspired him to keep going.

    8. Lady Gaga was originally signed to Def Jam Records, but they dropped her three months later because "it just wasn't for them."

    ABC, NBC

    And now she has six Grammy Awards and a soon-to-be Oscar.

    9. Vincent van Gogh only sold one painting while he was alive – he didn't become successful until after his death.

    Wikipedia / Public Domain / en.wikipedia.org, Wikipedia / Public Domain / en.wikipedia.org

    Even though he had over 900 paintings, the only one he sold while living was Red Vineyard at Arles.

    10. Michael Jordan was rejected by his high school's varsity basketball team when he was a sophomore.

    Warner Bros., youtube.com

    Years later, he's still recognized as one of the greatest athletes of all time.

    11. Jim Carrey auditioned for Saturday Night Live twice but didn't make it. He later went on to host the show three times.

    NBC / youtube.com, NBC

    Carrey also grew up homeless as a teen and had to live in a van after his father lost his job. He had to get a job as a janitor where, after school, he'd "spend eight hours scraping pubic hairs off the urinals."

    12. J.K. Rowling was on welfare when her first Harry Potter book was rejected by 12 publishers. She's since become the world's first billion-dollar author.

    Harpo Productions, Bloomsbury

    In her Harvard commencement speech, she claimed to be "as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain without being homeless." Harry Potter is now the best-selling book series in history.

    justind4

    13. Neither Amber Riley nor Naya Rivera made it through the first round when auditioning for American Idol, but they later landed life-changing roles on Glee.

    Fox

    Both of them were even nominated for a Grammy Award in 2011.

    popalinga and enimsekips

    14. Naomi Watts went on so many auditions that her "soul was being destroyed." She almost quit and moved back to Australia, but at 32 director David Lynch saw her headshot and hired her on the spot.

    Universal Pictures, Warner Bros.

    Mulholland Drive was originally going to be a TV series, but after 18 months of pushback it ultimately became a movie. Since then, Watts has been nominated for two Oscars.

    lx59

    15. R. H. Macy opened four different stores, which all failed, before he finally moved to New York and opened what's now known as Macy's.

    visitmacysusa.com, youtube.com

    At 1.1 million square feet, Macy's Herald Square is now one of the largest department stores in the world.

    16. Lauryn Hill performed at the Apollo when she was 13 and literally got booed by the audience. Ten years later, she won three Grammy Awards.

    youtube.com, youtube.com

    And two years after that, she won another five Grammy Awards, including Best New Artist and Album of the Year.

    schulzemary214

    17. Emily Dickinson wrote over 1,800 poems, but only 10 of them were published during her lifetime.

    Wikipedia / Creative Commons / en.wikipedia.org, arts.gov

    According to the Emily Dickinson Museum, all of her poems were "published without attribution."

    18. Gal Gadot was so tired of rejection that she came "as close as it gets" to quitting acting before finally landing the title role in Wonder Woman.

    NBC, Warner Bros. Pictures

    In an interview, she said: "There's so much rejection in this world that I thought, 'Maybe it's not for me. Maybe I should go back to law school instead of dragging my family with me.'"

    chortlingchode

    19. Katharine Hepburn was considered "box office poison" after a string of commercial flops, so she bought out her contract with the studio and then bought the movie rights to The Philadelphia Story.

    MGM

    During an interview with Dick Cavett, she said: "I had gone from offers of $150,000 and a percentage of everything, down to $10,000 for a picture... or no offers at all. In six weeks, my career dropped that far." The Philadelphia Story earned Hepburn an Oscar nomination, and after that she was nominated nine more times, winning three of them.

    20. Halle Berry moved to New York when she was 18 and had to live in a homeless shelter. Years later, she became the first and only black woman to win the Oscar for Best Lead Actress.

    youtube.com / youtube.com

    She's also halfway to an EGOT. A true legend.

    21. Geena Davis was passed over to be a cast member on Saturday Night Live. Four years later, she won an Oscar.

    Columbia Pictures, youtube.com

    SNL cast member Harry Shearer recalled the event, saying: "Geena Davis met with us in the lobby of the Century Plaza Hotel. And Geena had just been on a couple of sitcoms and it was all quite awkward and uncomfortable for everybody involved.” It didn't work out then, but Davis ultimately became a movie star.

    22. Walt Disney was fired from his first animation job at a newspaper because he "lacked imagination and had no good ideas." He later went on to win the most Academy Awards of any individual.

    Wikipedia / Public Domain / en.wikipedia.org, Disney

    Disney has won 22 Oscars out of 59 nominations.

    bittylawhead

    23. And Steven Spielberg was rejected by the USC School of Cinematic Arts twice. He later went on to be nominated for 17 Oscars.

    HBO / Steve Spielberg, youtube.com

    He's won three Oscars, an Honorary Oscar, and his movies have a total lifetime gross of nearly $4.7 billion (adjusted for inflation, that total is just over $10 billion).

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