9 Famous Celebrity Firings
If you have ever lost a job, don't feel too bad. It's happened to some of the most famous – and successful – people you know. Check out some celebrities who hit a few rocky patches earlier on in their careers but have since come out on top.
In Pictures: 6 Biggest Millionaire Flops
- Sarah Silverman
Well-known for on-again/off-again romance with fellow comedian Jimmy Kimmel, the silver-tongued Silverman didn't last long with Saturday Night Live. In 1994, she was fired from her job as a writer and cast member after only a year on the show because none of the sketches she wrote ever aired. She turned her firing (by fax) into comedic gold during an episode of HBO's The Larry Sanders Show. Today she stars in the self-titled "Sarah Silverman Show" on Comedy Central.
- David Letterman
The King of Late Night has not always been so well-admired. He was fired from his job as weatherman and announcer at WLWI-FM, an Indianapolis news station, for the same type of on-air antics that today earns him an estimated $40 million per year.
- Sidney Poitier
A young Poitier was fired for his less than stellar driving skills as a parking attendant. However, he went on to make a little bit more of himself – in 1963 he became the first African-American to win an Academy Award for Best Actor in the movie "Lilies of the Field." He has been named as one of the "Greatest Male Stars of All Time" by the American Film Institute.
- Elvis Presley
"The King" tried to get an early start in the workforce, but in 1951 he was fired from the Memphis-based Precision Tool Company when management discovered he was too young to work legally. (Learn how you can make money from entertainment. Read Analyzing Show Biz Stocks.)
- Russell Simmons
The creator of the clothing fashion line Phat Farm and co-founder of Def Jam Records and brother of "Rev Run" (Reverend Joseph Simmons, formerly of the hip-hop band Run-DMC) didn't have such an auspicious beginning to his business career. He was fired from his job at an Orange Julius drink stand during high school. Today he is one of the top money-makers in the hip hop industry, with an estimated net worth of $340 million.
- Mickey Rourke
Rourke was fired from his job as a movie theater usher early in his working days for getting into a fight with a co-worker. He went on to become an award-winning actor; he most recently made his acting comeback in 2009 with the lead role of Randy "The Ram" Robinson in the movie "The Wrestler" for which he won a Golden Globe award and was nominated for both an Academy award and Screen Actors Guild award.
- Ray Romano
the "Everybody Loves Raymond" star wasn't as well-loved earlier in his acting career. He was fired in 1995 from the CBS sitcom "NewsRadio" and replaced by Joe Rogan. Time was a bit kinder to Romano than Rogan. Since NewsRadio Rogan went on to host the now-defunct TV reality game show "Fear Factor" while Romano went on to star in the well-known "Everybody Loves Raymond" sitcom and won an Emmy and three Screen Actors Guild awards for his role as Ray Barone. Today he stars in the comedy "Men of a Certain Age."
- Lisa Kudrow
In 1993 this "Friends" star was fired from her role as Roz Doyle, the production assistant for Kelsey Grammar's on-air personality in the NBC sitcom "Frasier." Kudrow wasn't out of work long, however. She landed the role of Phoebe Buffay which turned into a 10-year gig that earned her an Emmy award and two Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards.
- Adam Sandler
A former comedy club regular, Sandler was hired by Saturday Night Live in 1990 as a writer at Dennis Miller's recommendation but was fired in 1995. He founded his own production company (Happy Madison Productions) and has since gone on to star in more than 30 films including roles in financial hits including Billy Madison, Big Daddy, Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer and Mr. Deeds.
If you've been fired, take heart - even the biggest and best of us have survived the same fate. Regardless of why you were fired, focus on the possibilities ahead of you instead of what happened in the past. The experience can help you learn what you want, and help you appreciate the benefits of a better job!
Find out more about job loss, read Losing Your Job: From A To Z and Planning For Unemployment.