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- Before these stars graced red carpets, stages, and film screens across the country, they were homeless.
- These inspiring rags-to-riches stories go to show that even the direst of situations can turn around.
- Here are 20 incredible stories of rich and famous people who were once homeless and turned misfortune into great success.
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Rags-to-riches stories don’t just happen in the movies.
Some of the world’s richest and most successful people didn’t start off that way — they spent nights sleeping on the streets, in their cars, or on friends’ couches. Some of these celebrities struggled with addiction or trying to make it on their own while pursuing their dreams.
Fast-forward to today, many hold Oscar, Grammy, and Emmy award titles and have earned the respect and admiration of their industry peers and fans across the world.
Here are 20 incredible stories of people who turned misfortune into great success.
Vivian Giang and Natalie Walters contributed to earlier versions of this story.
‘Jurassic World’ star Chris Pratt lived out of a van in Maui, Hawaii
Pratt, aka Burt Macklin, has been turning heads with his transition from lovable funny guy Andy Dwyer on "Parks and Recreation" to action hero Owen Grady in "Jurassic World."
But that’s not the only major transition the actor’s gone through.
At age 19, Pratt accepted a one-way ticket to Maui, Hawaii, from a friend and set up a humble abode in a flea and mice-infested van — a setup that he told The Independent was "pretty awesome."
"We just drank and smoked weed and worked minimal hours, 15-20 hours per week, just enough to cover gas, food, and fishing supplies," Pratt said. "You know it was a charming time."
That same year, actress Rae Dawn Chong met Pratt when he was waiting tables at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company in Maui, took note of his good looks, and cast him in her directorial debut, "Cursed Part III." (Pratt is seen holding the script in the above photo.)
"The moment she told me she was bringing me to LA, I knew," he said. "I was like, ‘This is what I’m going to do with the rest of my life.’"
Director James Cameron lived out of his car before selling the rights to ‘The Terminator’ for $1
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When Cameron was writing "The Terminator," he was "barely making ends meet, even living in his car for a time," according to IGN.
But his main concern at the time wasn’t money. He was determined to direct his screenplay despite his limited experience.
When he pitched "The Terminator" at meetings, the production companies said they liked the script, but they didn’t like the idea of him being in charge.
Cameron persevered and partnered with producer Gale Anne Hurd, who bought the rights to the screenplay for $1 and named Cameron the director.
The film went on to make $77 million worldwide.
Comedian Jim Carrey once lived out of a VW camper van and in a tent on his sister’s front lawn
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According to the biography "Jim Carrey," 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 said it was during these tough financial times growing up when he developed a sense of humor.
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