10 Hollywood Success Stories Against All Odds
Career: Talkshow host
Long before she was the most powerful female in show business, Oprah was the daughter of a poverty-stricken single teenage mother. Born in Mississippi, she lived with her grandmother until she moved to Milwaukee to be with her mother at age six. Molested by family members from the age of nine, Winfrey herself became a pregnant teenager at age 14. After the loss of her son in infancy, her mother sent her to live with the man she thought was her father, Vernon Winfrey, in Nashville. It was living with Vernon that finally allowed Oprah to blossom, and got her on her path to become the entertainment juggernaut she has become.
Fun fact: Oprah's success as a talkshow host has led to coining of the term "The Oprah Effect", owing to her opinions and endorsements being strong influencers of public opinion. In April 1996 during a show on mad cow disease, Oprah mentioned in passing that she was "stopped cold from eating another burger", which led to her being sued by Texas cattlemen for "false defamation of perishable goods", claiming that Oprah's statement sent cattle prices tumbling and costing beef producers a whopping $11 million. Now if that doesn't speak volumes to Oprah's power and influence over public opinion, I don't know what does. (By the way, a Texas jury found Oprah not liable for the outlandish claims).
In Dumb and Dumber, Lloyd Christmas spends some quality time in a van with his buddy Harry. This location must have seemed somewhat auspicious for Jim Carrey, who as a child lived out of a van with his parents. After his father lost his job, Carrey had to quit high school to help support his family, taking odd jobs as a janitor. To help his family survive, and to care for his chronically ill mother, Carrey had to give up dreams of ever finishing high school. On top of this, he has had to battle depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder throughout his career. With all of these hurdles, Carrey has still managed to become one of the most recognizable and bankable comedians in the movie business.