From Background Faces To Leading Actors: Big Stars Who Started Out As Extras

Every big celebrity from John Wayne to Ben Affleck had to start somewhere! The life of an extra is not known to be glamorous, but it is a solid way to temporarily make ends meet or get one’s foot in the door to the entertainment industry.

Some of the following mega-stars went as far as winning Emmys, Golden Globes, and Academy Awards down the line. For them, starting out as extras was the gateway to building a successful career in the worlds of film, music, and television.

Coming To American Stardom

cuba gooding in coming to america
Twitter/trivworks
Twitter/trivworks

Before he went on to become an Oscar winner, Cuba Gooding, Jr. was an extra in Eddie Murphy’s classic comedy Coming to America in 1988. Did you notice him in getting his hair clipped in the barbershop scene with all of the other Eddie Murphy characters?

While Gooding Jr. didn’t have any lines, he mastered facial reactions during the scene where Murphy plays four characters at the same time. He’s listed in the credits as “Boy Getting Haircut.” It was his first acting gig.