10 Stars Who Got Their Start On TV Commercials

Photo: S. Bukley | Tinseltown | Shutterstock
ben affleck paul rudd

The stardom of Hollywood and academy award-winning pictures and the celebrities that headline them is nothing short of mesmerizing. But it’s important to remember that everyone in those productions had to get their start somewhere before they could hit their big break.

Check out these stars who got their start on commercials!

Here are 10 actors that all got their starts in TV commercials — including fast food and toy advertisements.

Mila Kunis

Photo: Credit: Youtube
Mila Kunis

Before Kunis made her appearance on That 70’s Show she was in an advertisement for Lisa Frank.

It’s really strange to look back on this 1996 commercial where Kunis talks about how excited she is about stickers and other Lisa Frank products. Kunis really has come a long way since her days selling Lisa Frank products in commercials.

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Paul Rudd

Photo: Credit: Youtube
Paul Rudd

Paul Rudd, most recently of Marvel superhero fame was once, upon a time, famous for a different “super.” In this 1991 Nintendo commercial, a young Paul Rudd gets his start by advertising the Super Nintendo game console.

Somehow, the unabashed youthful joy of 1990s era video games is a perfect fit for the young Paul Rudd.

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Keanu Reeves

Photo: Credit: Youtube
Keanu Reeves

Everybody knows and loves Keanu. He is an international treasure and I don’t think that The Matrix needed a reboot, but you can bet that I’m gonna watch it just to see Keanu in it.

Long before The Matrix or John Wick there was Coca-Cola. That’s right, Keanu Reeves got his start in this 1983 Coca-Cola commercial

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Tobey Maguire

Photo: Credit: Youtube
Tobey Maguire

Tobey Maguire got his start in a 1991 Twister Juice commercial in which he makes a literally one-second-long appearance.

Frankly, the whole commercial is a weird, 90s fever dream of a commercial. While it was brief, Maguire’s iconic sass is on full display here and it’s kind of surreal to see a young version of Tobey Maguire here.

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Jodie Foster

Photo: Credit: Youtube
Jodie Foster

Jodie Foster, who is, perhaps, best known for her role in the psychological thriller Silence of the Lambs got her start in an unlikely role. The woman that would go on to play Clarice Starling got her start as the Coppertone girl. Obviously, being a little girl, she’s virtually unrecognizable in the commercial but this was the start that would lead to a long and prosperous career for the young Jodie Foster.

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Morgan Freeman

Photo: Credit: Youtube
Morgan Freeman

As it would turn out, Morgan Freeman got his start in a mouth wash commercial. That’s right, that Morgan Freeman, you know, voice of God Morgan Freeman.

And the 1970 Listerine advertisement doesn’t even claim that the mouth wash will make you sound like Morgan Freeman which seems like a big missed opportunity to me.

Honestly, Morgan Freeman could read the dictionary aloud and I’d feel compelled to listen.

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Tina Fey

Photo: Credit: Youtube
Tina Fey

Tina Fey of Mean Girls and SNL fame first appeared on TV in an understated role advertising Mutual Savings Bank. The commercial sees Fey doing a bit with a play on words of the word “Hi” which is a little weird when watching the youtube video because the title spells it out and the wordplay only works verbally.

The charm and humor that define Fey’s career are on full display even in her first appearance.

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Leonardo DiCaprio

Photo: Credit: Youtube
Leonardo DiCaprio

Before Titanic before Django Unchained, there was Bubble Yum. In the commercial, child Leonardo DiCaprio plays a too cool for school persona while talking about Bubble Yum bubble gum.

DiCaprio cool kid character is complete with all the trappings of an 80’s advertisement, including a boombox and exploding speakers.

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Photo: Credit: Youtube
Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Joseph Gordon-Levitt wasn’t always the big start that he’s known as today. Even in the beginning though, his charm and delivery were there.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt got his start selling Pop-Tarts in this 1991 advertisement.

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Ben Affleck

Photo: Credit: Youtube
Ben Affleck

That’s right, academy award winner Ben Affleck got his start in a role as a teenager in a Burger King commercial.

The commercial has that uncanny late 80s vibe to it and, unlike most of the other actors on this list, Ben Affleck is completely unrecognizable as a teenager in the commercial.

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Dan O'Reilly is a writer who covers news, politics, and social justice. Follow him on Twitter.