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Strange early jobs of 23 famous people

  • Story Highlights
  • Many celebrities performed unglamorous jobs before becoming famous
  • Ozzy Osbourne worked in a slaughterhouse; Rod Stewart worked as gravedigger
  • Gwen Stefani mopped floors at a local Dairy Queen in her early days
  • Colin Powell once worked in a baby furniture store
By Ethan Trex
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Mental Floss

(Mental Floss) -- Summer is here, and that means so are summer jobs. While lots of young people find work as lifeguards or camp counselors, just as many are forced off the beaten path to find their first paychecks.

Actress Amy Adams is wearing a lot more clothing than she once did as a Hooters girl.

Actress Amy Adams is wearing a lot more clothing than she once did as a Hooters girl.

Don't worry if you get stuck with an odd job that might not totally dovetail with your life goals, though. Lots of wildly successful celebrities have had some strange jobs before hitting it big.

Here are just a few quirky vocations held by some of your favorite celebs:

1. Orlando Bloom's first job was working at a skeet shooting range as a clay pigeon trapper when he was just 13.

2. Beyonce Knowles' mother owned a salon when the future pop star was growing up, so the aspiring singer picked up some extra cash by sweeping up hair.

3. As a teenager Mick Jagger worked as an ice cream salesman. After entering the London School of Economics, Jagger also worked as a porter at a mental hospital.

4. Jagger wasn't the only member of the band to have a gig before the Stones. Keith Richards worked as a ball boy at a tennis club.

5. Need a rat catcher? Call Warren Beatty. He caught rodents to pay the bills before hitting it big. Mental Floss: 6 movies with depressing alternate endings

6. It's tough to envision Colin Powell as anything other than a general or diplomat, but when he was growing up in the Bronx, he worked in a baby furniture store. Powell even picked up a bit of Yiddish on the job since that was the preferred language of his employers.

7. Warren Buffett had cash going through his hands even as a young man; his first job was at his grandfather's grocery store, although he eventually worked his way up to a gig at J.C. Penney.

8. Actress Amy Adams needed cash to buy a car after high school, so she spent two months working as a Hooters girl.

9. Of course, some early jobs predict the future rather well. Before rising to prominence with Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne worked in a slaughterhouse.

10. As a young man, Matthew McConaughey wanted to get away from Texas for a while, so he spent a year in Australia. To support himself, he took on a number of jobs, including one that involved shoveling chicken manure.

11. When country star Clint Black was 14, he got a job selling newspaper subscriptions door-to-door in Houston. Mental Floss: 13 patent-holding celebrity inventors

12. Gwen Stefani earned some cash in her early days mopping floors at a local Dairy Queen.

13. Rod Stewart had a number of jobs before his music career took off, but gravedigger was undoubtedly the creepiest.

14. NFL running back Edgerrin James had a particularly grueling summer job as a kid: he worked 16-hour days loading watermelons into a truck near his Florida home to save up the cash to buy his first car.

15. Jimmy Stewart was a man of many talents, from acting to being an Air Force general. As a young man, though, he had a job painting the lines on roads and also spent two summers as a magician's assistant.

16. James Brown had a number of jobs before he became the Godfather of Soul, including one in which he racked balls at a pool hall.

17. You never know how a weird job might pay off. Singer Chubby Checker had a job as a chicken plucker at Fresh Farm Poultry in Philly. His boss would let Checker sing to entertain the customers. When the boss realized just how talented his chicken plucker was, he arranged for Checker to have a recording session with Dick Clark. Mental Floss: 10 celebrities who didn't go from rags to riches

18. Bill Cosby played four sports in high school, but he still found time to sell produce, shine shoes, and work as a stock boy at a supermarket.

19. Tom Cruise's family moved around a lot when he was young, but during one stint in Louisville he picked up some extra cash as a paperboy.

20. Ed McMahon knew his voice was going to be valuable early on. As a teenager he worked as a carnival barker and a bingo caller, and he later put himself through college working as a pitchman for vegetable slicers on the boardwalk in Atlantic City.

21. Bill Murray never worked as a greenskeeper, but he did have an interesting job selling chestnuts outside of a grocery store.

22. Brad Pitt did all sorts of things to earn a buck while he tried to start his acting career, including dressing as a giant chicken to promote an el Pollo Loco restaurant.

23. When Christopher Walken was a kid, he joined the circus. He took an unpaid job with a small act and even did a little lion taming, although he later claimed the lion was very old and "really more like a dog."

For more mental_floss articles, visit mentalfloss.com

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