It’s interesting how certain skill sets command fame, and others do not. A film director might slave away on projects for years and never be recognized in the street until they take a supporting role in front of the camera. Here are some of the most surprising examples of celebrities who have gone on to great success in a field that never made them famous…
Carrie Fisher, Script Doctor
Carrie Fisher is known for having played Princess Leia… and that hilarious cameo she did on 30 Rock as Liz Lemon’s childhood heroine. What most people don’t know is that Fisher’s “dayjob” was actually screenwriting. More specifically, Fisher was a script doctor, going over finished screenplays and improving them, cutting out the boring parts, making the jokes funnier and the dramatic beats more effective. Fisher’s work includes Lethal Weapon 3, The Wedding Singer, Scream 3, and even the Star Wars prequels. Fisher has since retired from screenwriting due to changes in the industry.
Flavor Flav, Actual Musician
Flavor Flav is most well known as a reality TV star and for his role as Public Enemy’s “hypeman.” In truth, he’s an accomplished drummer and pianist, often playing at live Public Enemy shows. To be fair, Flavor Flav might be a tremendous musician, but he’s probably the best hip hop hypeman of all time.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Businessman
We think of Arnold Schwarzenegger as an actor first, a bodybuilder second, and finally, a one-time politician. The truth is that all three of these careers are only different projects that the Austrian has taken on in order to diversify his portfolio as an entrepreneur. Schwarzenegger was already a millionaire before he ever stepped in front of a camera, having earned a fortune through various ventures including rental properties, construction, and a mail-order business selling workout supplies. In other words: Don’t let the accent fool you, he’s not as dumb as he sounds.
Jason Lee, Skateboarder
Jason Lee, that guy from all those Kevin Smith movies and My Name Is Earl, kind of lucked into acting by being cast in Mallrats, the follow-up to the cult hit Clerks. It was basically a project so small that there was no way they’d get an established comic actor playing the lead, so they turned to Jason Lee, the skater who perfected the 360 flip and founded the famous Stereo Skateboard Company. At 45, the actor can still pull off some tricks that might break any other actor’s ankles.
Daniel Day-Lewis, Anything He Does Onscreen
This is sort of a weird one: Daniel Day-Lewis is such a dedicated method actor that you can safely assume that he’s actually quite skilled at anything you see him doing onscreen. When he played Bill “The Butcher” Cutting in Gangs of New York, he worked as an apprentice butcher. He actually learned to paint with his left foot for My Left Foot, and for The Last of the Mohicans, he developed the abilities to live off the land in the location’s setting, developing his abilities in hunting, fishing, and even woodworking, allowing him to build canoes like those seen in the film. Although he’s yet to quit acting to become a professional meat-cutter or woodsmith, Day-Lewis has achieved a professional skill level at just about everything you’ve ever seen him “pretend” to do in film.
This is just a tip of the iceberg. Look up your favorite actors and recording artists, you might just find that they have a secret talent or even a whole other career that you’d never known about.