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28 Famous & Successful Actors Who Started as Extras

Updated October 19, 2020 121.2k views28 items

Famous actors as film extras? It sounds wild, but you better believe it. Not every movie star was simply discovered sitting at a diner or at the first big audition they ever had. In fact, some of the biggest celebrities around got their start like every other struggling actor in Hollywood - as an extra! Occasionally they'd get a line or two, but most of the time they stood in the background trying to be spotted, just wanting to make a few bucks and get their foot in the door of the film business.

For every extra who became successful actors, there are probably about 10,000 who didn't. But this group of background actors went on to not only become celebrities, but they became some of the most powerful and richest actors and actresses to ever hit Hollywood.

Though you may have to squint to actually see some of them, they're there! They're much younger, but they're there. Which is the most recognizable? Which famous actor's early bit part is the most jaw dropping? And which Hollywood celebs got their start in terrible horror movies? Read on to find out!

  • Brad Pitt
    Photo: Less Than Zero / 20th Century Fox

    The 1987 film Less Than Zero, in which Robert Downey Jr. played an out-of-control addict, started the career of a young actor named Brad Pitt. Pitt is billed in the credits as "Partygoer / Preppie Guy at Fight."

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  • Sylvester Stallone
    Photo: Bananas / United Artists
    Stallone was an extra in a Woody Allen film before he got his big break with Rocky. It's a weird combination, but it's true, Stallone was a subway mugger in Allen's 1971 flick Bananas. Ironically, the two would go on to costar (well, co-voice) in the hit animated movie Antz. (You can also spot Stallone as a disco patron in the Jane Fonda vehicle Klute, also from 1971.)

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  • Charlize Theron
    Photo: Children Of The Corn III: Urban Harvest / Dimension Films/Miramax Films
    You probably didn't know, but Charlize Theron got her start as an extra in the horror film, Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest. When a priest tries to convert the children of the city to his religion, you can spot Theron. She can actually be seen in quite a few scenes and even meets her demise when an evil tentacle enters her... well, a not so great place.

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  • Magic Mike got his start as an extra in the Tom Cruise/Steven Spielberg blockbuster War of the Worlds, as one of many people running amok when the church broke in half. You can also find Tatum as an extra in Ricky Martin's "She Bangs" music video, as a hot, shirtless bartender and dancer.

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