Road to glory: Humble beginnings to Hollywood

Published: September 30, 2016
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Anthony Hemingway went on to direct popular show The People v. O.J. Simpson.  PHOTO: FILE

Anthony Hemingway went on to direct popular show The People v. O.J. Simpson. PHOTO: FILE

Despite the world of glitz and glamour that they live in now, many of those who achieved a Hollywood happy ending had to struggle to get where they are today. We frequently here of the humble beginnings of the world biggest celebrities, some of whom – like rapper Eminem –  have even capitalised on them by making movies or singing about their life before fame.

But hardy any consideration is given to those who work in Hollywood but remain out of the limelight. Jay Roach, director of the Austin Powers films and Meet the Parents, for example worked a job as a bed delivery man before getting lucky, reported Reuters. “For two summers I drove a truck around New Mexico delivering beds. It was for a company called Sleep World and I think their slogan was, ‘For a good night’s sleep and all the rest!’” said Roach. “I was paid $2.10 an hour back then and I was only 16 or 17. I used to drive a five-ton cube truck around to places like Santa Fe and Taos and Los Alamos and many times, was sent out alone.”

According to Roach, however, he had never really done anything alone before that. “I remember that job taught me that it was okay to be alone. I would keep awake by singing out loud or telling stories to myself. It was kind of a weird rite of passage, to be driving around a big empty state with all these crazy beds. I still consider it my fallback career,” he added.

As for The People v. O.J. Simpson film-maker Anthony Hemingway, it was burger-flipping to the rescue. “My very first job was at a fast-food restaurant in Wilmington, North Carolina where I was working illegally at the age of 13. I knew I was too young but I was determined to make it happen because several of my closest friends worked there and I wanted to join them,” he shared. “Every day, my manager would ask me for my birth certificate. I used every excuse in the book to not produce any documents and eventually ran out of excuses. I was not allowed to come back without my birth certificate so I never went back there, except only to pick up my paycheck.”

Courtney Kemp, writer and producer of The Good Wife, on the other hand, took to working at bookstore Barnes & Noble as a youngster. “I was 15 in Westport, Connecticut, and worked there until during the summer between my second and third years of college,” recalled Kemp. “I worked all different departments and ended up as cash wrap supervisor. I even had a key and was a manager at 19! I was getting a 30 percent discount on books and I love books!”

Published in The Express Tribune, October 1st, 2016.

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