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The Accidental Celebrity: 10 Hollywood Stars Who Were Discovered By Chance

We’ve all had this dream: We’re pouring drinks at our town’s local dive bar/chowing down on lo mein at a Chinese eatery/playing tourist on a busy NYC street … when suddenly … a talent agent stops us mid pour/bite/step and shouts: “YOU are the next big thing. Follow me to L.A., where you will live a life of extravagence and fame.” No? Just us?

Well it might not have happened quite like that for these celebrities, but they definitely had luck on their side when it came to catching their big break. From walking their dog on a random L.A. street to cheering in the stands at a Canadian football game, these celebrities know the importance of being in the right place at the right time. Find out how ten of your favorite Hollywood stars were accidentally discovered! — Jenn Gimbel

  • Evangeline Lilly 1 of 10
    Evangeline Lilly
    The four-leaf clover might be the Irish's lucky charm, but Evangeline Lilly's appears to be an airplane. While working as a flight attendant for Air Canada, Lilly was approached by a Ford Modeling street agent and began working in their acting department. Eventually it was another airplane — a crashing one — that catapulted her into worldwide fame as one of the stranded passengers on ABC's hit show Lost.
    Get the latest on Evangeline and her family

    Photo credit: InsightNewsandFeatures.com
  • Ellen Pompeo 2 of 10
    Ellen Pompeo
    Before making it big as McDreamy's doe-eyed love interest on Grey's Anatomy, Ellen Pompeo was just another New York City cocktail waitress barely getting by. But unlike many, Pompeo caught a huge break when a casting director walked into SoHo Bar & Grill where she was bartending and asked to represent her. A L'Oreal commercial and small part on NBC's Law & Order were just the beginning in her rise to Hollywood stardom.
    Get the latest on Ellen and her family

    Photo credit: InsightNewsandFeatures.com
  • Pamela Anderson 3 of 10
    Pamela Anderson
    Long before campaigning for PETA and hitting the sandy beaches of Baywatch, Pamela Anderson was just another fan sitting in the stands at a Canadian football game. Sporting a form-fitting Labatt beer tee, she was broadcast over the game's Jumbotron, and the crowd went crazy for her! The beer company went on to hire Anderson as their official spokesperson, leading to a Playboy spread and paving the way for her to become one of Hollywood's hottest sex symbols.
    Get the latest on Pamela and her family

    Photo credit: InsightNewsandFeatures.com
  • Natalie Portman 4 of 10
    Natalie Portman
    Nine-year-old Natalie Portman thought she was just getting another slice of pizza after dance class, but ended up meeting a Revlon rep who asked her if she was interested in modeling. "I kept my cool — I told him that I wanted to act," recalled Portman. The rep put her in touch with an acting agent, and since, Portman has been "keeping it cool" — earning an Oscar and two Golden Globes by the mere
    age of 30.
    Get the latest on Natalie and her family

    Photo credit: InsightNewsandFeatures.com
  • David Boreanaz 5 of 10
    David Boreanaz
    Bones star David Boreanaz owes his Hollywood fame to his very own bone-lovin' pup! Boreanaz was out walking his dog one day in L.A. when he was spotted by a talent manager who thought he'd be perfect in a new gory teen drama, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Boreanaz was cast in the role and spent the next 8 years playing Buffy's love-interest, Angel — and ultimately proving that blood-sucking vampires were hot long before Edward's sparkling bod came around.
    Get the latest on David and his family

    Photo credit: InsightNewsandFeatures.com
  • Toni Braxton 6 of 10
    Toni Braxton
    Gas stations aren't just for fillin' up your tank … at least for Toni Braxton, they're not. Back in 1990, Toni was pumping gas and singing to herself when she was overheard by Bill Pettaway, co-author of Milli Vinilli's "Girl You Know It's True" hit single. He loved her voice so much that he landed both Braxton and her sisters a record contract with Arista Records — a humble start to her now Grammy-winning music career.
    Get the latest on Toni and her family

    Photo credit: PCNphotos.com
  • Katherine Heigl 7 of 10
    Katherine Heigl
    Katherine Heigl owes much of her big break to her own mom and aunt. At the age of 9, Heigl posed for her aunt's hair care products, and her mom sent the pictures on to talent agencies around Hollywood. Shorly after, Heigl was discovered by Wilhelmina modeling agency and began working as a child model before slipping into the world of acting 5 years later.
    Get the latest on Katherine and her family

    Photo credit: InsightNewsandFeatures.com
  • Harrison Ford 8 of 10
    Harrison Ford
    From cabinetmaker to Hollywood's leading actor, Harrison Ford caught his big break while working as a carpenter for George Lucas back in the ‘70s. As he was busy building cabinets for Lucas' new office, the writer asked Ford to read lines for absent actors starring in his upcoming film, Star Wars. Spielberg overheard Ford's readings and liked him so much, he hired him for the part of Han Solo, launching him into worldwide fame.
    Get the latest on Harrison and his family

    Photo credit: InsightNewsandFeatures.com
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar 9 of 10
    Sarah Michelle Gellar
    It takes some serious star power for a four-year-old to get discovered at a talent show where she's not even competing. But that's just how Sarah Michelle Gellar entered the world of acting. After being discovered by talent agents, she appeared in her fair share of TV commercials (including a Burger King ad) and TV shows (including Swans Crossing) before gaining a cult following for her role in the hit teen drama, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
    Get the latest on Sarah and her family

    Photo credit: InsightNewsandFeatures.com
  • Christie Brinkley 10 of 10
    Christie Brinkley
    It's hard to believe that Christie Brinkley's stellar looks weren't "discovered" until her early 20s — but alas, 'tis true. The blue-eyed bombshell was working as an illustrator in Paris at the ripe age of 21 when she was discovered by an American photographer. Although she was reluctant to drop everything and make a living off of her looks, Christie eventually embraced the modeling industry and has since appeared on over 500 magazine covers worldwide. Not bad.
    Get the latest on Christie and her family

    Photo credit: PacificCoastNews.com

 

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