Did you know that Mr. Bean (real name: Rowan Atkinson) actually holds a Masters degree in Electrical Engineering from The Queen's College, Oxford? And did you know that Leslie Chow (real name: Kendrick Jeong) is a licensed physician in California? Here are some more famous Hollywood comic actors and their career before entering the movie industry. Some of these people's early career may actually stun you.
1) Rowan Atkinson
Who does not know Mr. Bean? Every kid and every person across the world who loves comedy would know the goofy character Mr. Bean played by Rowan Atkinson. Also having played the character of Johny English, Rowan Atkinson has definitely won everybody's heart. But did you know that before entering the Hollywood movie industry, he actually completed his degree in Electrical Engineering from Newcastle University. In 1975, he went on to finish his M.Sc in Electrical Engineering at the Queen's University, Oxford, United Kingdom.
2) Hugh Grant
While Hugh Grant hasn't made a name in mainstream comedy, he still made a name in romantic as well as romantic comedy movies. Grant's comic skills include a touch of sarcasm with a timely dialogue delivery and facial expressions. Interestingly, Hugh Grant always claimed that acting was not his calling, but just a job that accidentally happened. So, what was he before entering the movie industry? Grant dabbled with a number of jobs before he entered mainstream acting.
He tried his hand at tutoring, wrote comedy sketches for television shows, and wrote and produced radio commercials for products. Apart from that, he also played small roles in different plays as well as TV shows. He had also created a comedy revue.
3) Ken Jeong
Kendrick Kang-Joh “Ken” Jeong became famous worldwide as Leslie Chow, thanks to the 'Hangover' trilogy. However, many people do not know that he is also a qualified physician and a licensed practitioner in the state of California. Jeong completed his undergraduate studies in the year 1990 at Duke University. He completed his internal medicine residency at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans while developing his stand-up comedy. He then obtained his M.D from the University of North Carolina in the year 1995. He made his movie debut only in the year 2007 with Judd Apatow's Knocked Up and slowly went on to become a comedian in the Hollywood movie industry.
4) Steve Carell
The name may not resonate with you if you are not a comedy movie buff... Does 'Evan Baxter' or 'Evan Almighty' ring a bell? Yes, the television anchor of the famous Jim Carrey movie 'Bruce Almighty'. Before coming to the movies, Steve had a five-year stint with 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart' and then the American version of The Office. He also worked as a small time mail carrier in his early life and then on stage with a touring children's theatre company. He then acted as a stage artist for some time and a couple of television comedy shows before he was cast in his first movie Curly Sue. It was only later that he started bagging some big comic roles such as Evan Baxter in Bruce Almighty and Andy Stitzer in The 40-Year-Old Virgin.
5) Sacha Baron Cohen
Sacha Baron Cohen is known for his roles that are highly controversial such as Borat (movie: Borat) and Admiral General Aladeen (movie: The Dictator). But, many people don't know that he is a graduate from the University of Cambridge. After his basic schooling in Hertfordshire, London, he entered Christ's College, University of Cambridge and studied history. This is where he first started acting in the Amateur Dramatic Club. Here, Baron Cohen acted in various plays. After leaving university, he became a fashion model and appeared in various fashion magazines. While being a fashion model, he had a tryst with various television shows. It was after his roles of Ali G and Borat, Baron Cohen shot to fame.
Please do write in the comments section if you know about any Hollywood comic actors and their career before Hollywood.
Karthik Kashyap (author) from India on April 15, 2014:
Thanks a lot WiccanSage. I think I like him at his best in The Dictator.
Mackenzie Sage Wright on April 15, 2014:
I love Sacha Baron Cohen; though I don't like a lot of the films he is in (like Borat, couldn't finish it). I love him in Les Mis and Sweeny Todd, I think he's totally awesome.
Karthik Kashyap (author) from India on April 05, 2014:
Bernie: Thanks a lot for sharing that.
lmoyer02, NateB11: Thanks a lot for commenting.
Bernie Ment from Syracuse, NY on April 04, 2014:
Harrison Ford was a carpenter before he became an actor.
Leon Moyer on April 04, 2014:
It's impossible for me to see any of the actors as anything but actors. It's very strange seeing their original career plans. Thanks for sharing
Nathan Bernardo from California, United States of America on April 04, 2014:
That is all very interesting, I didn't know about these guys' early careers. Some of them are my favorites of comedy too.