Amazing Actors Who Had Amazingly Lucky Breaks


Every celebrity’s unique path to stardom is paved with ups, downs, and an incredibly lucky break or two. As for the famous figures on this list, they each got their stellar start in show biz (and their most famous parts) when the odds were seemingly stacked against them.

Some were on the verge of giving up, while others didn’t even know they wanted to act. Sometimes, they went to an audition that changed everything, and a few had fame find them. Regardless, none of them could have possibly known just how huge their careers would inevitably become.

No matter their backstory, each celebrity on this list has something in common: they were in the right place at the right time. And luck was definitely on their side. Here are ten talented celebrities who credit their coveted careers with incredibly lucky breaks.

Chris Pratt

Chris Pratt in Jurassic World
Universal Pictures

There’s no doubt about it, Chris Pratt is one of the biggest movie stars on earth. But once upon a time, he was a friendly employee at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. Pratt once told Entertainment Weekly that his luck changed when Director Rae Dawn Chong noticed his potential start power while just doing his job and being himself.

Changing his fate in a huge way, Chong gave him a role in her debut director role, Commando. Just the beginning, it would be a while before his well-known name was officially up in lights. Sadly, the movie didn’t do well, but it did lead the Guardians of The Galaxy star to realize he wanted to keep pursuing acting. And it’s a good thing he did!

Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron at the Cannes Film Festival

Charlize Theron was discovered in an unusually lucky and unique way. She gave the world the full scoop during an interview with Oprah. Believe it or not, she was at a bank. According to the award-winning actress, she gave an award-worthy dramatic performance after they refused to accept her out-of-state check. While she was making a real-life scene, the right person took notice and tried to help her in more ways than one.

The good samaritan who attempted to help smooth things over became a talent agent. Right away, he knew he had a star in the making on his hands. That incredibly helpful agent, John Crosby, famously made a career out of spotting potential stars in unlikely settings. However, Theron had no idea at the time. He offered to represent her, and she said yes. And just like that, her soon-to-be iconic career began taking off.

Harrison Ford

Before Harrison Ford became Indiana Jones, the living legend was seriously struggling to make a living. But his knack for juggling odd jobs would soon pay off. While working as a carpenter in the 70s, he met the one and only George Lucas. Talk about a twist of fate. After a casual cold read, he was given the iconic role of Han Solo. While this career-making encounter indeed played a part, Ford says that his tenacity really led to stardom.

 I had an ambition to do what I ended up doing, and persisted when others had said I couldn’t do it. There were a lot of people I worked with in that same time period who gave up. But I prevailed and tenacity was a big part of the reason. I didn’t give up. I didn’t quit.

Harrison Ford, ShowBiz CheatSheet

Jennifer Lawrence


Jennifer Lawrence continues to prove she’s an incredibly versatile actress and a famously down-to-earth celeb. The Hunger Games star has won countless awards for her crowd-pleasing talent, and I’d personally like to nominate her as one of the luckiest actresses on the planet, thanks to the story of her big break.

Lawrence told Vanity Fair that one visit to the Big Apple changed her life forever. She was randomly approached by a modeling agent who asked to take her photo, and the rest was soon A-list history. Well, almost anyway. After the chance encounter, J-Law realized that modeling wasn’t for her, but the opportunity made her realize she wanted to be an actress.

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Hugh Jackman

Today, Hugh Jackman is among the most popular leading men in show business. A seasoned acting vet with career-defining roles (especially in the Marvel Universe), he’s been bringing Wolverine to the silver screen for over a decade. But his acting roots are surprisingly humble. Jackman was a working actor in various stage productions at the start of his epic career.

The Australian A-lister’s breakout role as Wolverine came to be after a little help from a friend who thought he should give movies a real shot. Ultimately, the very green actor landed the superhero franchise gig on his own.

Anya Taylor-Joy

Modeling is not an uncommon route for aspiring actresses to take. However, Anya Taylor-Joy’s model-turned-actress decision was somewhat by accident. Now the star of Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit, the US-born British actress didn’t always have her sights set on acting, or modeling for that matter. In fact, she started out very afraid, so she ran the other way.

According to Vice, Taylor-Joy was walking her dog in London when fate stepped in. At some point, she noticed she was being followed by a fancy black car, so she scooped her fur baby up and bolted! As luck would have it, legendary model scout Sarah Doukas was inside. After Doukas helped Anya get her feet wet in the modeling world, Taylor-Joy found her way to her acting agent.

Henry Golding

Henry Golding at Screen Actors Guild Awards

Don’t let the exceedingly negative reviews of Netflix’s Persuasion fool you, people still love it. In part, that’s because the show’s cast is top-notch. Unsurprisingly, Henry Golding is one of the very famous faces that makes it all worth watching. Throughout his career, the British-Malaysian actor has just exuded that star quality, no matter the actual quality of the production.

Thankfully, an accountant for Crazy Rich Asians noticed he had something extra special while Golding was hosting an awards event. As noted by Vulture, Golding caught their eye while they were on a casual hunt for up-and-coming talent to play Nick Young. Once the flick became a mega-hit, the naturally talented actor became a bonafide star. Talk about a big break!

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Joe Pesci

Joe Pesci’s career is what acting dreams are made of. His star status was solidified in films like Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas and The Irishman. Proving sometimes raw talent trumps resume length, Pesci had previously starred in only one low-budget flick before landing the roles of a lifetime.

Like so many struggling actors, he was on the verge of calling it quits. He decided to embark on a career in the food and beverage industry. But luckily, his soon-to-be costar Robert DeNiro was one of the few people to watch his debut starring role in The Death Collector. Thanks to a young DeNiro’s eye for true talent and encouragement, he convinced Pesci to give acting one more go with Raging Bull.

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Carey Mulligan

Carey Mulligan has proven that she has incredible range as an actress. In turn, her star power continues to grow for all the right reasons. With leading roles in movies like The Great Gatsby and Promising Young Woman under her belt, the British actress has become one of the most respected names in Hollywood. But it might’ve never happened without a bit of luck (and a lot of confidence) on her side.

In an interview with The Arts Desk, The British actress said success was far from overnight. She’d been rejected from multiple acting schools before her big break. Then, an unlikely networking opportunity presented itself. Famous screenwriter and novelist Julian Fellowes was giving a talk at the school she happened to be attending. Mulligan decided to shoot her shot, asking for his expert help. This magical meeting soon led her to be cast in Pride and Prejudice. ​​​​

Matt LeBlanc

Matt LeBlanc

As it turns out, Matt LeBlanc’s acting backstory is eerily similar to the role that ultimately made him the household name he is today. Much like Joey Tribbiani’s storyline, LeBlanc was once a struggling actor dreaming of a big break that looked out of reach. But all it takes is one perfect role (and being in the right place at the right time) to flip the script forever. And that was definitely true for this famous funny guy.

In various interviews, the Friends star has been incredibly open about almost going completely broke before being cast in the 90s mega-hit. He’s even claimed he “would have starved” had he been out of work much longer. On Conan, LeBlanc explained how his lucky break ultimately came down to timing.”You know when you think, ‘Alright, I got a little money in the bank. I can hold out until the next gig, I think I was down to $11,” he revealed.

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