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10 Celebrities Who Used To Be Teachers

FUN FACTS November 24, 2017 By Hugo

Most artists who break into show business probably imagined that they would attain their fame sooner rather than later, but superstardom doesn't always begin at an early age.

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In fact, many artists forged successful careers in industries far removed from the entertainment business long before their talents went noticed, and one respected profession that always seems to be a popular career choice for aspiring artists is teaching.

Here, we take a look at 10 artists who were once teachers.

1. Gene Simmons

The frontman of Kiss and the dude with the extraordinarily long tongue was actually a teacher before he achieved global success in the music industry. Simmons, who has sold some 75 million records with his band, taught sixth-graders at a school in Harlem, New York.

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But the 'gig' didn't last long, as Simmons was fired from the job for replacing the works of Shakespeare with Spiderman comics, believing it would help make reading a more attractive proposition for his students.

2. Sting

One of the best-selling musicians of all time wasn't always kicking it with the biggest names in show business. In his earlier career, Sting, whose real name is Gordon Sumner, turned his attention to teaching after various odd jobs which included work as a bus conductor, tax officer and building laborer. 

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Working as a teacher for two years in his home city of Newcastle, Sting would eventually move to London to form The Police, a band which catapulted him to worldwide fame.

3. Sheryl Crow

Everyone's favourite female country artist recently released a new album after many fans wondered if she was even alive, such was her idleness in recent years. Not that Crow needs to release new music to stay relevant or wealthy. She's achieved everything there is, and it all started for Crow when she was teaching.

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Yes, Crow taught music at Kellison Elementary School in Missouri before she quit and decided to have a crack at a solo career.

4. J.K. Rowling

Everyone knows that J.K. Rowling suffered in her earlier life, with the now-billionaire writer once living off state handouts as a single mother in a cramped apartment in Edinburgh, Scotland yet few are aware of her teaching past. 

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Moving to Portugal, where she met her first husband and father to her first child, Rowling would take up the offer of teaching English as a second language to school students in the coastal city of Porto.

5. Billy Crystal

The comedian-turned-actor has been around in Hollywood for so long it's easy to forget that he had a life pre-fame, but he did, and it wasn't until he hit his late 20s that he started gaining prominence within the underground New York comedy scene.

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He balanced his comedy nights while also working as a substitute teacher in Long Island following his graduation from NYU IN 1970, which saw him share classes with the likes of Oliver Stone. 

Recalling his teaching past to Oprah Winfrey, he said, "I taught everything from English to auto shop." Just imagine it. Billy Crystal as your substitute teacher. We would have paid to see that!

6. Jon Hamm

Jon Hamn was on the verge of quitting acting altogether before he finally got his big break in the hit AMC series Mad Men because for long periods of time he was consistently failing auditions and was barely making ends meet as a waiter.

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Before moving to Los Angeles, however, Hamm taught eighth-grade drama at Missouri high school for two years, and in that time he would teach Ellie Kemper, who has since gone on to star in the Netflix series, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

7. Hugh Jackman

This brawny Austrailian has become one of Hollywood's most famous faces in recent years and has arguably replaced Russel Crowe as Australian's most famous actor, but Jackman's success didn't happen overnight. 

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After graduating high school, he went on a gap year and taught physical education for one year at an English boarding school before going on to train as an actor back in his native Australia.

8. Liam Neeson

Liam Neeson is one of Ireland's most successful exports in Tinseltown following a film career synonymous with critically-acclaimed dramas and high-octane popcorn flicks.

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Yet before his glittering film career took off, Neeson trained as a teacher in his native Northern Ireland but was fired after getting into an altercation with a 15-year-old boy after he threatened to stab him.

9. Tony Danza

Unlike the others on this list, Tony Danza had already made it big in Hollywood when he decided to take up a teaching position.

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Expressing a love for the profession, Danza's teaching skills were recorded in 2010 when the former “Who’s the Boss?” star signed up for a reality show called "Teach: Tony Danza",  a show which saw him teach tenth-grade English.

10. Mr T

Saving the most random one till last, we couldn't help but find this inclusion incredibly cool. I mean, Mr T as a teacher?! How cool would that be! 

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Apparently, as well as working as a bouncer in Chicago (of course he was a bouncer) he also held down a day job as a gym instructor at a local school before he found fame in Rocky III.


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