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Famous Actors Who Landed Roles With No Experience At All

Updated April 8, 2021 249.9k views15 items

Imagine being so beautiful that you can simply walk down the street and a talent agent will stop you and persuade you to join a modeling agency or try out for a part in a feature film. Don’t think that sort of thing really happens? Well, it actually happens all the time, if a person happens to look like Charlize Theron or Natalie Portman. Here are some famous actors with no experience who got their big break by being in the right place at the right time.

Mel Gibson was simply keeping his friend company while he auditioned for a role in the film Mad Max. Director George Miller spotted Gibson in the background and liked his look. Not only did he get a role in Mad Max after having no prior film acting experience whatsoever, but also, he got the lead part.

Some of the people on this list are now celebrities who didn't want to be actors in the first place. Rosario Dawson didn't even have to leave her front porch to get noticed. Charlize Theron was just trying to get her last paycheck cashed at the bank. Pamela Anderson received a ton of love when she appeared on a stadium big screen at a Canadian football game.

These charmed stories of how actors caught breaks are fairy tale in nature and almost too impossible to believe. Read more about actors that came from nothing and successful actors without formal training below. 

  • Photo: Nightmare on Elm Street / New Line Cinema

    Johnny Depp had nothing better to do one day, so he decided to go with his pal Jackie Earle Haley on an audition for Nightmare of Elm Street. As is the case in these kind of scenarios, Haley didn't get the part, but director Wes Craven saw Depp around the set, and asked him to audition. Depp got the part as Glen, who has one of the most disturbing and iconic kill scenes in horror history.

    Depp would of course go on to become one of the biggest movie stars in Hollywood.

    • Age: 57
    • Birthplace: Owensboro, Kentucky, United States of America

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  • Photo: Léon: The Professional / Gaumont

    Natalie Portman was just a nine-year-old girl eating pizza in Long Island when a rep from Revlon spotted her and got her into modeling. The Academy Award winner quickly grew tired of the modeling business and segued into acting. Portman made her feature film debut in Luc Besson's The Professional, where she played a young girl who learns how to become an assassin.

    Portman already has over 30 acting credits, including her Academy Award-winning performance in Black Swan.

    • Age: 39
    • Birthplace: Jerusalem, Israel

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  • Pamela Anderson

    Photo: Home Improvement / ABC

    Pamela Anderson was leading the life of a simple fitness instructor up in Canada during the 1980s. One day, she went to a Canadian football game wearing a Labatt's T-shirt and suddenly her whole life changed. Up went a picture of the buxom blonde on the stadium's big screen, and the crowd went so crazy for her that they summoned Anderson down to the field for a standing ovation.

    A contract with a beer company followed that made her "The Blue Zone Girl," then a Playboy centerfold in 1989. Hollywood came calling quickly after that. Anderson played bit parts on several television shows, before landing the gig of Lisa on Home Improvement. Of course, the sex symbol then went on to play C.J. Parker for five seasons of Baywatch.

    • Age: 53
    • Birthplace: Ladysmith, Canada


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  • Photo: Dangerous Years / 20th Century Fox

    Marilyn Monroe, born Norma Jeane Mortenson, spent most of her childhood in foster homes and orphanages. Perhaps the most iconic blonde sex symbol in American history, was actually born a brunette. Monroe was working at a plant when a photographer just happened to spot her, take her picture, and put it in a magazine. She then dyed her hair blonde, and gained success as a model.

    From there, Monroe took acting classes with a dream of becoming an actress like Lana Turner. She was cast in her first film in 1947, Dangerous Years, and would go on to appear in several classic Hollywood films, like Some Like It Hot and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

    • Age: Dec. at 36 (1926-1962)
    • Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States of America

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