Very few people are born celebrities, and many of our best and brightest have had some pretty accomplished lives well before stepping into the spotlight. Of course, some of these lives are defined by some very strange moments, and in the case of these 16, can be quite surprising or even shocking.
Christopher Walken used to be a lion tamer, and trained as a dancer before becoming an actor.
Somehow we’re not even a little bit surprised.
According to her birth certificate, Oprah’s real name is Orpah.
The doctors apparently didn’t know how to spell «Oprah,» so «Orpah» she became.
Justin Timberlake’s mom became Ryan Gosling’s legal guardian while they filmed The Mickey Mouse Club.
Gosling’s mom had to stay in Canada to work, so JT’s family looked after him.
Bill Murray was arrested at 20 for trying to smuggle marijuana onto a plane.
I mean, he’s Bill Murray. What else was he going to do, watch the in-flight movie?
Julie Andrews had a pretty rough time filming the most iconic scene in The Sound of Music.
The helicopter taking the shots would kick up such a bad wind that she got knocked over several times. She described «spitting out dirt and hay» between each take.
Jack Nicholson was a volunteer firefighter, and was VERY good at breaking that door with a fire axe in The Shining.
The prop department had to build sturdier doors in order to get the takes to look right.
Jerry Springer was once the mayor of Cincinnatti.
We can only imagine what town hall gatherings looked like.
The facts just get crazier from here…
Mr. T was given the task of chopping down trees by his army sergeant, who didn’t specify how many. He chopped down 70 in 3.5 hours.
I pity the fool that doesn’t give specific instructions to Mr. T.
Rita Moreno had an infamous affair with Marlon Brando. She would then go on to make Brando jealous by dating Elvis Presley.
She continued to refer to Brando as «The Lust of My Life.»
Nicolas Cage is related to the Coppola family. Acclaimed director Francis Ford Coppola is his uncle.
Debbie Reynolds asked Cary Grant to speak to her daughter, Carrie Fisher, about her drug habit.
Tom Hanks is distantly related to Abraham Lincoln.
Queen Elizabeth II commissioned the cast of Golden Girls to perform live for her mother in London, as her mother was a huge fan.
Talk about giving your mother a heck of a present.
Mr. Rogers’ sweaters were all knit for him by his mother.
As if you thought Mr. Rogers couldn’t be nicer.
Glenn Close was forced to join a cult by her father as a child.
It was an experience she only recently began to open up about.
Angela Lansbury moved her entire family to Ireland when her son became a member of the Manson family. Yes, that one.
According to her, it saved her family.