15 Famous Actors Who Started as Extras

POSTED BY , UPDATED ON October 15th, 2019

15 Famous Actors Who Started as Extras

It may come as a huge surprise that many great actors had to work all the way up as their careers started as normal background characters. Realizing that there is no shortcut in the ladder of success, take a look at some of the most famous actors who started as extras:


15. Matt Damon

Matt Damon Hollywood Star

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While still a student at Harvard University, Matt Damon was trying to enter the movie industry and got his first chance at the age of 18 when he appeared as an extra in romantic comedy Mystic Pizza. The same and subsequent year, the actor was featured as an extra again in The Good Mother and Field of Dreams, respectively.

After appearing as extras, Damon got his first major role in Geronimo: An American Legend. Though the movie was a box office bomb, it opened the door of opportunities for the young actor and today, Damon is a big star and an Academy Award-winning actor.


14. Ben Affleck

The Talented Ben Affleck

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Speaking of Matt Damon, his childhood friend Ben Affleck had quite a similar path as well. Appearing as extras in The Dark End of the Street and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the actor eventually not only became a good actor but also a better director.

Admitted that his acting career had ups and downs, Affleck has put his past behind him by reinventing his career due to learning from his past mistakes. A two-time Academy Award winner, the actor certainly has great things in his present and future.


13. Channing Tatum

Channing Tatum American Actor And Dancer

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In 2005, Channing Tatum had four movie roles and all of them were minor with one of them being uncredited. That soon changed when the actor got his time to shine by starring in She’s the Man and Step Up in 2006.

The latter being his breakthrough role, all eyes were on Tatum as the actor started to receive numerous roles in big-budget movies such as White House Down, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and its sequel G.I. Joe: Retaliation.


12. John Wayne

Senior Actor John Wayne

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As the top box office draws for three decades, John Wayne established himself as one of the greatest actors of his generation and even won an Academy Award for Best Actor. However, the beginning of his career seemed anything but promising.

Believe it or not, Wayne appeared as an extra in more than a dozen times and fifteen of them were not even credited. Keep his chin high, the actor was bent on making a name for himself and succeeded big time.


11. Bruce Willis

Famous Actors Who Started as Extras

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The Die Hard star has appeared in more than 60 movies but you might not know that the first three of them featured him as an uncredited extra. If you happen to see the 1981 movie The Verdict, take a closer look at the courtroom and you will see Bruce Willis sitting among the people.

The actor eventually received leading roles in Blind Date and Sunset only to face negative reviews but they got him the spotlight as Willis subsequently starred in the first installment of Die Hard and the rest is history.


10. Megan Fox

Beautiful Megan Fox

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Even as an extra, things did not look too good for Megan Fox. After two uncredited roles, one being removed from the final cut the actress turned to television roles and got her big break in sitcom Hope & Faith.

Gaining recognition, Fox was later hired by Michael Bay in his first installment of Transformers and that catapulted the actress to international fame and a tasteful movie career.


9. Charlie Sheen

Charlie Sheen American Actor

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Long before Charlie Sheen became famous for drug abuse, legal issues, domestic violence, cementing his legacy of being one of the most difficult actors to work with and of course “winning”, he actually reflected a promising career.

But before that too, Sheen had to start his acting career as an extra. After several uncredited extra and minor roles, the actor eventually built a great career as a movie star only to flush it down the toilet.


8. James Dean

James Dean A Cultural Icon

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Despite only three movies under his belt, James Dean became a cultural icon and a symbol of teenage disillusionment and social estrangement. Because of his premature death as a result of a car accident, the actor became the first individual to receive a posthumous Academy Award nomination gaining a cult following in the process.

However, the bad boy actor might have never achieved the immense fame if he had never moved ahead of being an extra, something which he did four times and all of them being uncredited.