We look at the most successful actors now, and it is hard to imagine them starting at the bottom. But when it comes to success in Hollywood, that is often what even the most well-trained actors have to do. They have to climb the ladder, starting at the ground floor. The ground floor for actors is often being extras. Extras are the people who are in the background shots. They usually just fill space, and very rarely are given lines or any credit in the film. In most cases, the pay is pretty awful, too. But you know what they always say, right? You gotta pay your dues, and that is just what these actors did. Here are the twelve highest grossing actors who started out as extras. In other words, these guys are worth millions now, and were worth hundreds back then.
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Bruce Willis: While he may be best known as playing the smug action hero who can overcome any adversity hurled at him, Bruce Willis once was an extra in the 1981 film, The Verdict. Start as one of the extras, end up as a super star. Doesn’t always work out like that, though.
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Matt Damon: With a rumored net worth of 75 million, it is insane to think he was one of the extras at Fenway in the movie Field of Dreams way back in 1989. The craziest part is, he was sitting with his best friend at the time, who you will read about in a few moments.
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Brad Pitt: in the 1987 film Less Than Zero, Brad Pitt is in one party scene, and you don’t even notice him. Now, less than thirty years later, his movies have made almost 250 million dollars. Just shows you Drake is right. Started from the bottom now we’re here.
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Jackie Chan: The best part of this story is that Jackie Chan was played extras in two Bruce Lee films, way back in the early seventies. Now he is worth 130 million dollars.
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Ben Affleck: We already talked about his BFF matt Damon further up on the list. Yes, it was Matt Damon and Benn Affleck who were both at Fenway as extras for a scene in Field of Dreams. Though he has already grossed multiple millions, except Ban Affleck’s stock to seriously rise once more when he dons the bat cowl in 2015.
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Channing Tatum: Depending on where you go and what you read, people say Channing Tatum’s worth somewhere in between 15 and 50 million dollars. But it all started when he was an extra in the War of the Worlds remake. Truth is, it started before that when he was a successful model, but I still felt like he deserved a spot on the list.
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Sylvester Stallone: The superstar who would best be known for his Rocky role had a rocky start to his career, playing extras in the Woody Allen movie Bananas, as well as a movie called Klute. But he is the one laughing now, as he is worth almost 300 million dollars.
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Marilyn Monroe: Ah, Norma Jean. Who can ever forget the presence Marilyn Monroe had on-screen? She may have started out as an extra in a movie called Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay! (I cannot fathom the name of that movie, nor what it could possibly be about), but by the time she died, she was worth 27 million dollars which today is quite a bit more.
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George Clooney: Though Clooney is worth roughly 160 million dollars now, there was a time when he would play nothing more minor parts in any gig he could get. For laughs, you should look up his old Facts of Life episodes. Pretty sure dude rocked a mullet and set the tone for Uncle Jesse on Full House back then.
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Clint Eastwood: Clint Eastwood may have started out as one of the extras in one of the westerns he loved, but he went on to become the current face of the genre. Oh, and with a net worth rumored to be 300 million plus, it just shows you starting out in the trenches can really pay off. Like, REALLY pay off.
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Renee Zellweger: She may have started out as an extra and then taken the leads in some terrible films (Texas Chainsaw, anyone?), but with a net worth of over 60 million, she paid her dues and proved she had what it takes to rise to the top. Though 60 million is minor compared to some other entries on the list, it is an insane amount of money.
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Michael Caine: It just felt fitting to end the list with a real movie icon. Though his films have not made him as rich as Sly Stallone or Brad Pitt, 75 million is nothing to scoff at. It is even more impressive when you realize he started out playing non-speaking roles as one of the extras. But did that stop him? Nope, just a necessary bump on the road to super stardom.
So what superstar or celebrity that started out as an extra and went on to gross millions did we miss? Take to our comments and let us know!
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