10 Hollywood Success Stories Against All Odds

Added by Andrew Tyson on Oct 6, 2017
Hollywood Success Stories

Hollywood can eat talent up and spit it right back out. It’s hard to get a break, and even harder to stay relevant. The struggle to get to Hollywood can be difficult, and some have faced greater challenges than others. While these actors, writers, and directors have had to battle great odds to become successes, those battles have given them the strength to stay relevant in a town where fame is extremely fleeting.

Another great list you might enjoy is about famous trios from history. The list contains fictional and non-fictional characters who've made a name for themselves.


Keanu Reeves

Career: Actor

Born in Lebanon to English and American parents who quickly separated, Reeves spent much of his childhood moving around, with no stable family or place to live. His mother remarried three more times, and moved Reeves around the world, from New York City to Sydney, Australia. For the most part, he was raised by grandparents and nannies in Toronto. Dyslexic and disruptive, he attended four different high schools in five years, never attaining a diploma. One thing he found to excel at was acting, taking on stage roles as early as age nine. Even when he was able to get to Hollywood and find a foothold, he still faced obstacles, with his close friend River Phoenix dying of an overdose, losing a stillborn daughter, and then losing his girlfriend in a car accident. Still, Keanu continued to work, getting a star on the Walk of Fame and continuing to act in and produce award-winning films.


Marlee Matlin

Career: Actress

While not born deaf, Marlee Matlin lost almost all ability to hear at the age of 18 months, with only 20% of hearing ability in her left ear remaining. Even so, she showed interest in acting from an early age, debuting on stage at age seven as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. Molested by a babysitter, and later a teacher in high school, Matlin continued to seek comfort on the stage. This would eventually lead to her being discovered by Henry Winkler. In her debut film at 21 years of age, she would become the only deaf performer to win the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance in Children of a Lesser God, as well as the youngest person to ever receive the award. She also received a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress for the role. She continues to be one of the most recognizable faces for performers with handicaps, working in television and film to this day.

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