Actors Who Became Famous Accidentally

Those who dream of acting and glorious Hollywood careers often spend their entire life preparing for fame. They take acting classes, singing classes, dance classes, elocution classes, you name it. Then there are the actors who have stepped in you-know-what, becoming famous by complete and total accident. Sometimes it's because an agent saw them on the street, in a pizza place, or in an airport. These actors (and one game-changing model) found their fame by sheer strokes of luck, and by being in the right place at the right time.

Pamela Anderson

Every bio of the gorgeous Baywatch bombshell reminds us that she was discovered at a BC Lions football game in her native Canada. A cameraman noticed she was wearing a Labatt's shirt while she was sitting in the stands and featured her on the Jumbotron. The crowd reacted and Anderson even got to go on the field. See, those fancams aren't simply there to embarrass spectators acting like fools—they're legitimate talent scouts. Anderson went on to have a huge career in the '90s, all because a cameraman found her in the crowd and put her on the screen.

Kate Moss

She's not really an actor, but Moss certainly found fame by accident—and it's a great story. Storm Model Management founder Sarah Doukas happened upon the English rose all the way back in 1988 while traipsing through JFK Airport in New York. Doukas has just been on a scouting trip. Meanwhile, Moss was an awkward adolescent of 14; she and her dad were stranded in the United States for three days, waiting to fly home, according to Business Insider. It was a true case of airport downtime done good, as Moss went on to become one of the most famous and most photographed models ever.

Rosario Dawson

While the Sin City actress did appear on an episode Sesame Street as a kid, that wasn't her big break. That came when she was 15 and sitting on her stoop. Dawson told Vice that her dad sent her downstairs to "get discovered," because someone was shooting footage on their street. Amazingly, "getting discovered" ended up being what actually happened. Dawson confessed, "I kind of just hovered around for the weekend downstairs while they were shooting. That's when [director] Larry [Clark], Harmony [Korine], and the VP, and a few other crew members spotted me. They were scouting for locations in the neighborhood." They quickly cast her in her breakthrough role in Kids. Look at her now.

Charlize Theron

The South African-born actress was noticed while she was arguing with a teller at a bank. Fox reports that the blonde beauty was trying to cash an international check from her mother and things weren't going well. That exchange, or hissy fit, according to lore, caught the attention of the Hollywood agent who was standing behind her and quickly snatched her up and began representing her.

Harrison Ford

The man who would be Han Solo and Indiana Jones was actually a carpenter and a struggling actor when he met George Lucas, the man behind Star Wars. According to Fox News, Lucas wanted to cast unknowns for the parts in his movie, and a casting consultant finagled it so that Ford would install a door at Lucas' studio. However, in his Reddit AMA, Ford confirmed that he was cast because he stood in for screen tests for Lucas. "I had helped George Lucas audition other actors for the principle parts, and with no expectation or indication that I might be considered for the part of Han. I was quite surprised when I was offered the part."

Lana Turner

The legend surrounding this Golden Age of Hollywood actress is thus: bad girl gone famous. Playground to the Stars reports that the Hollywood siren played hooky from her high school typing class while a teenager, instead going to the Top Hat Cafe, a malt shop in L.A. The Hollywood Reporter publisher was there, saw her, and approached her, eventually connecting her with actors and an agent.

Channing Tatum

The hunky actor was a stripper in Miami when he was noticed on the street by a talent scout, according to Moviefone. He was already sort of on his way, but there are millions of struggling strippers and waiters in major cities hoping to pursue movie careers. Tatum just got lucky.

Sarah Michelle Gellar

The girl who would star in TV's Buffy The Vampire Slayer was plucked from obscurity at the tender age of four. Digital Spy reports that she was eating at a restaurant when she caught an agent's eye. She has worked steadily since.

Jennifer Lawrence

America's Girl Crush was discovered at 14, when she was walking in Union Square in Manhattan. An acting agent approached her and the rest is history. According to The New York Daily News, J. Law said "it wasn't creepy, he didn't ask to take me anywhere; he just wanted to take a picture. And then all these agencies started calling and then we just kind of went out of boredom." Not bad for a girl from Louisville waltzing through a major metropolis.

Natalie Portman

A post-dance class slice o' pizza lead to an Oscar-winning career. Portman was pre-teen and grabbing a slice when a Revlon representative who lived in her area hit her up and asked her if she wanted to model. She told the Associated Press that she was keen on acting but still signed a modeling contract.