10. Leighton Meester
Leighton Marissa Meester is an American actress, singer and model. She is mostly known for her starring role as Blair Waldorf in the drama series Gossip Girl (2007–12). She was born in a federal jail in Texas. At the time of her birth, her mother was serving time in a federal prison for her involvement for smuggling marijuana from Jamaica to the United States. She was able to give birth to Leighton in a hospital and nurse her for three months in a halfway house, before returning to prison to complete her sentence, after which Leighton’s grandmother cared for her.
9. Jim Carrey
James Eugene “Jim” Carrey is a Canadian American actor, comedian, impressionist, screenwriter, and producer. The comedian dropped out of high school and lived in a VW bus with his family parked in different places throughout Canada. They eventually moved into a tent on his older sister’s lawn and parked the van in the driveway. Carrey moved on to a plethora of low-paying jobs; he was a janitor, a construction worker and a picture frame factory worker.
8. Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo Wilhelm DiCaprio is an American actor and film producer. He grew up ‘very poor’ in a run-down neighborhood of Los Angeles where there was ‘a major prostitution ring on his street corner and his youth was overrun by ‘crime and violence everywhere’, an alleyway near his childhood home was notorious for both crack cocaine and heroin abuse.
7. JK Rowling
Joanne “Jo” Rowling, is a British novelist, screenwriter and film producer best known as the author of the Harry Potter fantasy series. JK Rowling may be the best rags to riches story of them all. She started out as a struggling, single mother living off handouts from the government. But, somehow she found the will and the inspiration to turn all that bleakness into magic.
Mariah Carey is an American singer, songwriter, record producer and actress. Mariah Carey grew up with nothing. She moved to New York and had to work multiple jobs at the same time just to survive. But by some miracle, she was discovered at a party by an executive from Columbia records. And the rest, as they say, is history. She went on to win five Grammys and became one of the highest-selling female artists ever.
5. Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise is an American actor and filmmaker. Cruise grew up in Syracuse, New York and was the son of an abusive father. His family lived in poverty throughout his childhood. Cruise spent his childhood trying to hide his dyslexia from his peers. Diagnosed at the age of seven, Cruise describes his younger self as a “functional illiterate”. He could barely read in high school or through his earliest roles.
4. Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Gail Winfrey is an American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist She is best known for her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show, which was the highest-rated program of its kind in history. Oprah is the ultimate rags to riches story. She came from a small farm in Mississippi. There, she lived with her grandmother while her unwed teenage mother desperately searched for a job to support her family. Oprah was also raped by a relative when she was only 9 years old. Basically, she had it super tough as a kid. But, she soldiered on to become a media mogul and the first black woman billionaire in the world. She really is an inspiration to us all.
3. Daniel Craig
Daniel Wroughton Craig is an English actor most famous for his role as the fictional British secret agent James Bond. As a struggling actor with the NYT, he was toiling in restaurant kitchens and as a waiter. The James Bond star also used to sleep on Park Benches during his early days.
2. Harry Houdini
Harry Houdini was an American Illusionist and stunt performer, noted for his sensational escape acts. At a young age Houdini knew he wanted to be a magician, and he ran away from home by hopping a freight car. At one point, the future greatest magician of all time used to beg on the streets for coins.
1. Charlie Chaplin
Sir Charles Spencer “Charlie” Chaplin, KBE was an English comic actor, filmmaker, and composer who rose to fame in the silent era. After the early death of Chaplin’s father, his mother was put in a mental hospital, and the young boy and his brother had to try to make a living by themselves .