Are you pondering a change in careers? You’re not alone. In fact, many celebrities have been through their own career transformations. Click through the gallery of stars who have reinvented themselves, both before and after becoming famous.
Child star to neuroscientistThe former star of NBC’s “Blossom’’ currently plays neuroscientist Amy Farrah Fowler on CBS’s “Big Bang Theory.’’ She has the credentials to play the role – she recieved her PhD in neuroscience from UCLA in 2007, and co-authored a book on child rearing based on the hormonal science behind parent-child bonds in 2012.
Christy Turlington Burns
Fashion model to humanitarianThe supermodel who was best known for representing Calvin Klein and pioneering the naval piercing stepped off the runway to focus her career on advocating for maternal care. Following complications in her own 2003 childbirth, Turlington got her master’s degree in public health and now advocates to end preventable deaths caused by pregnancy and childbirth.
Child star to ministerThe former “Growing Pains’’ star became a born-again Christian when he was a teenager and is currently an active evangelical minister. Cameron and his wife co-founded Camp Firefly, a week-long retreat for terminally ill children and their families.
Actor to teacherIn 2010, the star of “Taxi’’ and “Who’s the Boss?’’ became a 10th-grade English teacher at a Philadelphia high school for the A&E reality show “Teach: Tony Danza.’’ Last year, Danza published a book on his teaching experience, “I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had.’’
Police officer to actorThough the late actor played both cops and criminals on screen, from Det. Joe Fontana on “Law & Order’’ to gangster Ray “Bones’’ Barboni in “Get Shorty,’’ Farina got his career started on the side of the law. From 1967 to 1985, he served as a Chicago police officer, during which time a mutual friend introduced him to director Michael Mann. The two developed a lasting partnership, with Farina’s law enforcement experience landing him parts in Mann’s “Crime Story’’ and “Miami Vice.’’
Comedian to US senatorAl Franken was known for years as “Daily Affirmations’’ host Stuart Smalley, a less-than-successful self-help guru, on “Saturday Night Live.’’ After leaving SNL, Franken became a political satirist, writer, and radio host for Air America Radio. In 2008, Franken ran for the US Senate seat in Minnesota and narrowly defeated incumbent Senator Norm Coleman. He is still serving as Minnesota’s junior US senator.
Actress to aerobics iconOscar-winning actress Jane Fonda took ballet to stay fit, but was unable to continue it she was suffered a foot injury during the filming of “The China Syndrome.’’ Fonda started participating in aerobics to compensate, which led to her launching a second, highly successful career as a fitness guru.
Rapper to sports agentJay-Z is already one of the most successful rappers and entrepreneurs. In June, he was officially certified by the NBA players’ association to become an NBA player agent. Before he can make use of his certification and represent players, the rap superstar would have to sell his share of the Brooklyn Nets.
Politician to environmentalist, businessmanAfter losing the 2000 presidential race, former vice president Al Gore focused his attention on environmental issues and was the subject of the Academy Award-winning documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth.’’ Gore also co-founded Current Media, the company that broadcast Current TV. Gore sold his company to Al-Jazeera earlier this year.
Doctor to comicHe is probably best known as Leslie Chow, the constant foil to the Wolf Pack in “The Hangover.’’ Or as Señor Ben Chang, a psychotic Spanish teacher/security guard/’’changnesiac’’ on NBC’s “Community.’’ Comedic actor Ken Jeong pursued a career in stand-up comedy while simultaneously completing his Internal Medicine residency in New Orleans. Still licensed to practice in California, Jeong has since abandoned medicine for a full-time career in show business.
VP nominee to reality TV starSarah Palin announced she would not run for re-election for the governor of Alaska following the bruising 2008 presidential campaign. In 2010, she began hosting a reality show on TLC called “Sarah Palin’s Alaska’’ which lasted for one season. Palin is also an author and has campaigned heavily for the Tea Party movement. She recently hinted at a return to political life.
Red Sox pitcher to video game entrepreneurAfter helping the Boston Red Sox win two World Series championships, pitcher Curt Schilling retired from baseball to focus on his video game company, 38 Studios. Unfortunately for Schilling, his success as an athlete did not transfer when it came to running a video game company. Schilling laid off his entire staff last year and the company went bankrupt.
Political speechwriter to actor, game show hostBefore he was the monotoned teacher from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,’’ Ben Stein was a political speechwriter for both president s Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. In 1997, Stein began hosting the Comedy Central game show “Win Ben Stein’s Money,’’ which won several Emmy Awards during its six-year run. Stein is also a political commentator and regularly provides voice work on animated programs, including “Family Guy.’’
Action star to California governorArnold Schwarzenegger, who cemented himself as one of the most iconic action heroes in a generation, underwent one of the most high-profile career changes in recent memory . In 2003, he ran for California governor in a special recall election to replace Governor Gray Davis. Schwarzenegger defeated Davis and was elected to a second term in 2006. His term as governor ended in 2011 and he has since returned to acting.
Steven Van Zandt
Musician to “Sopranos’’ starWinthrop native Steven Van Zandt is a longtime friend of Bruce Springsteen and a member of the Boss’s E Street Band. In 1999, Van Zandt was tapped to play mob consigliere Silvio Dante on HBO’s “The Sopranos’’ despite having zero experience with acting. He is still a member of the E Street Band and is currently starring in the television series “LilyHammer.’’
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