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Before They Were Famous: Legendary Career Failures

With their lavish lifestyles, multi-million dollar mansions and private island getaways, it can be easy to forget that many of our best-known famous faces haven’t always trodden a path paved with gold.

Admittedly, many celebs have had it handed to them on a silver platter (anyone else thinking of a certain celebrity clan with the initials KK?), but most have had to learn the hard way that success is rarely achieved on the first try.

Just like us common folk, film stars, sporting heroes and CEOs alike have all experienced their fair share of career failures and setbacks.

So next time you’re questioning the earthly origins of the rich and famous, take a look at some of their rebukes, rebuffs and outright rejections. It should dish up a wholesome reminder that if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!

Walt Disney was told he lacked imagination

As unlikely as it may seem, the man behind Mickey was once fired from a newspaper because �he lacked imagination and had no good ideas�. After dissolving his first animation company and being forced to survive on dog food, he later bounced back, only to be told that his Mickey Mouse character would never take off � a giant mouse would surely terrify women! As we now well know, Disney took the mickey out of them by going on to found an animation empire.

Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team

It�s hard to believe that Jordan wasn�t scoring career slam-dunks from the outset, but the �best basketball player of all time� was actually cut from his high school team. The acclaimed sportsman has made failure his friend. �I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.�

J.K. Rowling was a single mother on welfare

Divorced, penniless and raising a child on her own, we�ll bet that Rowling found herself wishing she could really down a vial of Felix Felicis. It took 12 rejections before a publisher finally decided to provide Harry Potter with the broomstick with which to soar. Although her luck did eventually turn (many, many millions of times�), she has remained ever mindful of her humble beginnings. �You might never fail on the scale I did, but it is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all � in which case, you fail by default.�

The Beatles were denied a record deal

With a degree of infamy that now spans Across the Universe, it�s hard to imagine that the Beatles could ever have been anything but a supergroup. But, before they were famous, a record company decreed that they had no foreseeable future, stating �we don�t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out�.

Colonel Sanders received over one thousand knockbacks

It took precisely 1009 rejections before the Colonel could market his famous chicken recipe. That�s nearly 100 knockbacks per secret herb and/or spice.

Elvis Presley was fired after his first performance

Presley was cut down to size when Grand Ole Opry manager, Jimmy Denny, suggested that 'You ain't goin' nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin' a truck�. Denny was proven nothing but a hound dog, with Presley going on to become one of the best-selling artists of all time.

Oprah Winfrey was deemed �unfit for TV�

We know her as talk show host extraordinaire, media mogul and wielder of the mystical �Oprah�s Book Club� sticker, but Winfrey was fired from her first job as a television reporter.

Fred Astaire was told he couldn�t act or sing

That�s right. �Can't act. Can't sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.� Decades later, and the general consensus is that Astaire was plenty to give a song and dance about.

Jerry Seinfeld was booed off stage

It wasn�t always �gold, Jerry, gold!� In his first gig, the young comedian was struck down with a case of stage fright. A great deal of jeering and booing ensued, with Jerry making a beeline off the stage.

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