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Breaking into the biz: How A-list stars got their starts

 

Now they walk the glitzy and glamorous red carpets as big time celebrities in the spotlight, but every actor had to start somewhere and it may surprise you how these big stars got their start.

Ben Stiller told FOX411: “I was on a soap opera called ‘The Guiding Light’ when I was about 15…I was there for about a week and never came back.. I was supposed to play chess with the guy who was playing my father and I didn't know how to play chess and I kept on screwing up the moves and I got really nervous. I had one line, I said ‘Goodnight, Eve'”

Emile Hirsch got an early start too. “One of my first gigs was when I was 4 years old. I came up with this character called Funny Cowboy and I would just run around the room and smash it up and my sister drew up the tickets and we sold our parents tickets for 50 cents.”

Dermot Mulroney remembers his first time taking the stage. “The first time I was in front of an audience I was 7 years old. It was an old play called The Bluebird of Happiness and I played the dog, speaking role. But I remember being 7 and that curtain call. So that’s probably what hooked me in the first place”

Many may know Justin Long starred in Mac Commercials, and that’s similar to how the world met Bradley Cooper… if viewers were looking really closely at their TV. Cooper told us: “I was an extra in a Dell computer commercial and we worked weekends so it was time and a half plus over time so I wound up making so much money I couldn’t believe it. And I was just throwing a football about 150 yards away from camera in like a college field.”

When Stanley Tucci took the New York City stage he did so in a big way. “I remember coming to New York, and understudying a play. That was sort of how I got my equity card, had a little role, and did understudying. So the first show I ever did in New York was a Broadway show and it was very exciting. Really exciting. You’re suddenly standing on a Broadway stage and it’s something you've always dreamed about.”

His “Some Velvet Morning” co-star Alice Eve recalls the day she learned skipping breakfast is not a good idea. “I did a film called Stage Beauty with Billy Crudup and Claire Danes. And the first day I was ever on set, I didn't eat breakfast because the woman doing my makeup was all up in my face and I wasn't used to it and I didn't know to make time to like eat. So I got on set and it was 10 o’clock and I was in a corset and I was nearly fainting.  Billy Crudup, who will forever be my hero for this, was like ‘Everybody, Stop. Get the girl some toast, let her eat and then we'll start again.’ And I was like ‘thank you.’”

We asked Julia Roberts about getting nerves but she admits it doesn’t have to be your first day on set to get the jitters. “I still get them when I start shooting, or a particular day’s particular scenes. I am prone to butterflies always.”

Meanwhile it’s Mark Wahlberg who takes a musical trip down memory lane. “My first gig was on a TV show, a local Boston show where I was performing and it was called RTG, ‘Ready To Go.’ There were a bunch of kids in the audience and I did a remake of John Cougar Mellencamp’s ‘Life Goes On’ and I performed it on there.”

He also performs it for us, check out the video of these celebrities telling stories about their first gigs and keep an eye on all those aspiring actors and singers out there!

Fox News Entertainment Producer Ashley Dvorkin covers celebrity news, red carpets, TV, music, and movies. Dvorkin, winner of the 2011 CMA Media Achievement Award, is also host of "Fox 411 Country," "Star Traveler," “Fox 411 Big Screen," and "Fox on Reddit."

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