23 Music Videos Starring Pre-Fame Celebrities

Though some of the songs may be forgettable, these 23 pre-fame actors at least made the videos memorable.

1. Zooey Deschanel

When Zooey Deschanel was just 18, she starred in The Offspring’s “She’s Got Issues.” Still pretty adorkable, in a 1990s-Delia’s-catalog kind of a way.

2. Aaron Paul

He appeared in Korn’s 2002 video for “Thoughtless.”

3. Christina Hendricks

Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks was in Everclear’s “One Hit Wonder” when she was about 22.

4. Zach Galifianakis

He appeared in Fiona Apple’s “Not About Love” video. The Between Two Ferns comedian was making the rounds on the comedy circuit—in fact, Apple knew him because they frequently performed at L.A’s Club Largo together—but he wasn’t known like he is now.

5. and 6. Eva Mendes and Seann William Scott

This Aerosmith video for “Hole in My Soul” is a two-fer: Eva Mendes as the Weird Science-like dream girl, and Seann William Scott playing a rather Stifler-like character a couple of years before he actually played Stifler in American Pie.

7. Angelina Jolie

Michael Bay directed this video for Meat Loaf’s “Rock And Roll Dreams Come True” in 1993, which features a young Angelina Jolie.

8. Katy Perry

Here’s Katy Perry in the Gym Class Heroes video for “Cupid’s Chokehold.” She was dating Travie McCoy at the time.

9. Minka Kelly

That’s a blonde Minka Kelly in Puddle of Mudd's "She Hates Me" video in 2002.

10. Adam Savage

Here’s a rather unexpected one: Adam Savage of Mythbusters fame was in Billy Joel’s “You’re Only Human” video. Fun fact: He was also Mr. Whipple’s stockboy in one of the Charmin commercials. 

11. Courteney Cox

Everyone knows that Courteney Cox was in Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark,” but it wasn’t as spontaneous as it would appear to be in the music video. She was actually cast by director Brian De Palma specifically for that purpose.

12. Matthew McConaughey

He played the title character in Trisha Yearwood’s “Walkaway Joe.” This was 1992, so at the time, McConaughey’s hero was Matthew McConaughey in The Wedding Planner.

13. Ke$ha

She appeared in Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl.” This wasn’t so random—the two of them were friends. What is kind of random, though: Back in 2005, Ke$ha and her mother “hosted” Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton for an episode of The Simple Life

14. Channing Tatum

This cameo in Ricky Martin's "She Bangs" isn't just blink-and-you’ll-miss-it—you can have your eyes wide open and still not realize you're looking at Channing Tatum, so I took a screenshot for you. It was Tatum’s first professional dancing job. He made $400 for a five-day shoot.

15. Josh Holloway

You already know that Alicia Silverstone was Aerosmith’s video muse in the 1990s, but take another look at the dude who steals her purse—it’s Josh Holloway from Lost!

16. RuPaul

She was in the B52s’ “Love Shack” video. Skip to 2:05 if you don’t want to sit through the whole earwig of a song.

17. Djimon Hounsou

He appeared in Paula Adbul’s “Straight Up.”

18. Wentworth Miller

He's starred in two Mariah Carey videos: "It’s Like That" and "We Belong Together." Both of them were directed by Brett Ratner, who also directed the first episode of Miller’s breakout series: Prison Break.

19. Jeremy Sisto

He was the boy in Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”

20. Jenna Elfman

Check out a brunette Jenna Elfman in Depeche Mode’s “Halo” in 1990. She was also in Anthrax’s “Black Lodge."

21. Matt LeBlanc

He's in the last 20 seconds of Tom Petty’s “Into the Great Wide Open.” Johnny Depp is the star of the video, of course, but this was a few years after 21 Jump Street.

22. Jennifer Connelly

You can spot her in this Mad Max-esque video for Duran Duran’s “Union of the Snake,” three years before Labyrinth.

23. Jennifer Lopez

Here she is as a dancer in Janet Jackson’s “That’s the Way Love Goes” video, around the same time that J. Lo was a fly girl on In Living Color.

BONUS: Elijah Wood

As a child actor, Elijah Wood had already been in a couple of movies (Radio Flyer, The Good Son, North) before he starred in the Cranberries’ “Ridiculous Thoughts” in 1995. But we're including it anyway.

Chloe Efforn
John Lennon Was a Crazy Cat Lady
Chloe Efforn
Chloe Efforn

John Lennon was crazy about cats, and though he owned a couple of dogs (Sally and Bernard) over the years, he was better known for getting by with a little help from his feline friends.


Growing up, Lennon's beloved mother, Julia, had a named cat after Elvis Presley, whom Julia and John were both crazy about. The Lennons later realized they had misnamed Elvis when "he" gave birth to a litter of kittens in the cupboard, but they didn't change the cat's name based on that small mistake.


He had two other cats as a boy growing up in Liverpool: Tich and Sam. Tich passed away while Lennon was away at art school (which he attended from 1957 to 1960), and Sam was named after famous British diarist Samuel Pepys

4. TIM

One day, John Lennon found a stray cat in the snow, which his Aunt Mimi allowed him to keep. (John's Aunt Mimi raised him from a young boy through his late teenage years, and he affectionately referred to her as the Cat Woman.) He named the marmalade-colored half-Persian cat Tim.

Tim remained a special favorite of John's. Every day, he would hop on his Raleigh bicycle and ride to Mr. Smith's, the local fishmonger, where he would buy a few pieces of fish for Tim and his other cats. Even after John became famous as a Beatle, he would often call and check in on how Tim was doing. Tim lived a happy life and survived to celebrate his 20th birthday.


John and his first wife, Cynthia, had a cat named Mimi who was, of course, named after his Aunt Mimi. They soon got another cat, a tabby who they dubbed Babaghi. John and Cynthia continued acquiring more cats, eventually owning around 10 of them.


As a Beatle, John had a cat named Jesus. The name was most likely John's sarcastic response to his "the Beatles are bigger than Jesus" controversy of 1966. But he wasn't the only band member with a cat named Jesus: Paul McCartney once had a trio of kittens named Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.


In the mid-1970s, John had an affair with his secretary, May Pang. One day, the studio receptionist brought a box of kittens into the recording studio where John and May were. "No," John immediately told May, "we can't, we're traveling too much." But she picked up one of the kittens and put it over her shoulder. Then John started stroking the kitten and decided to keep it. At the end of the day, the only other kitten left was a little white one that was so loud no one else wanted it. So they adopted it as well and named the pair Major and Minor.


John owned a pair of black and white cats with his wife Yoko Ono. As befitting John's offbeat sense of humor, many places report he christened the white cat Pepper and the black one Salt.


John and Yoko also had two Russian Blue cats named Gertrude and Alice, who each met tragic ends. After a series of sicknesses, Gertrude was diagnosed with a virus that could become dangerous to their young son, Sean. John later said that he held Gertrude and wept as she was euthanized. 

Later, Alice jumped out of an open window in the Lennons' high-rise apartment at the Dakota and plunged to her death. Sean was present at the time of the accident, and he remembers it as the only time he ever saw his father cry.


In later years, John also owned three cats he named Misha, Sasha, and Charo. Always an artist at heart, John loved to sketch his many cats, and he used some of these pictures as illustrations in his books.

This piece originally ran in 2012.

Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images
7 Famous Actors Who Starred in Obscure Short Films
Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images
Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images

Well-known actors who can attract attention or lend prestige to film projects can often command significant salaries. Jack Nicholson, for example, reportedly made more than $50 million for portraying The Joker in 1989’s Batman after merchandising royalties were factored in. But performers don’t always opt for money—or even feature-length movies—if a filmmaker is persuasive enough. Here are several notable talents who agreed to appear in obscure short films for a variety of peculiar reasons.


Arguably one of the most successful leading men of the 20th century, Harrison Ford has always been candid about his criteria for film work. In addition to being intrigued by a role, he wants to be compensated. (“No, I got paid,” he told a talk show host who asked if he was nostalgic about returning to the Star Wars universe in 2015.) He apparently made an exception for Water to Wine, a 2004 amateur film shot by a group of snowboarders in Wyoming. Ford—who has a ranch in the state—accepted the role of “Jethro the Bus Driver” as a favor to the filmmakers, who were friends of his son, Malcolm. Ford’s sole request was that his name not appear in the credits.


Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston was shooting the feature film Cold Comes the Night in 2012 when Hurricane Sandy interrupted production. Rather than sit idle, the actor told the movie’s production assistants that if they wanted to try writing a short film, he’d shoot it immediately. Winner Brandon Polanco came up with Writer’s Block, a 13-minute black-and-white mood piece about an author wrestling with a lack of inspiration.


Billy Bob Thornton broke into Hollywood with his 1994 short film Some Folks Call it a Sling Blade that he later expanded into a full-length feature. That DIY approach may have helped director Jeff Lester entice the actor to star in The Last Real Cowboys, a short that featured Thornton as one of two main characters sitting next to a campfire. The production shot for just one day 50 miles outside of Las Vegas. 


A year after Star Wars: The Force Awakens crossed $2 billion at the box office, Oscar Isaac (who portrayed Poe Dameron) appeared in this eccentric short by director Brian Petsos. Isaac is Basil Stitt, a man who gets hit in the face with lightning and is convinced he will soon develop supernatural abilities. Isaac and Petsos previously worked on a feature film, Ticky Tacky.


The BBC’s Sherlock helped make Benedict Cumberbatch a highly recognizable screen presence worldwide, which in turn helped this short film raise and exceed its $40,000 budget via the Indiegogo platform. Cumberbatch portrays a British intelligence officer active during the Iraq War who is contacted by an American spy to repay a favor. Cumberbatch, who was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for The Imitation Game in 2015, also produced the film.


Two-time Oscar nominee Michael Fassbender co-stars in this tight heist thriller about two thieves who are forced to complete a job in total darkness. (Liam Cunningham, who plays Davos Seaworth on Game of Thrones, co-starred.) Director John Maclean knew Fassbender before the actor broke out in 2009’s Inglourious Basterds and convinced him to take the gig. The two later worked on the well-received 2015 Western Slow West.


The urban legends surrounding Murray’s puckish behavior are well-documented, from crashing karaoke parties to spontaneously tending bar. In 2012, Murray was filming a promotional video for a school in South Carolina attended by his son. Afterward, director David Smith asked if he could film Murray walking down a hall with crew members. He complied—and then kept walking, out of the building and into his car. 


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