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20 Celebrities Who Got Their Start in Cheesy Commercials

Whether actors are beloved for their work on hit TV shows or in blockbuster movies, they still had to start somewhere. It's no surprise that commercials are the path for many to get into the film industry.

These 20 celebrities began their careers with cheesy commericals before they stole our hearts by making it big. Whose first commercial do you love most?


Image via Lisa Frank

Photo via Burger King

1Ben Affleck

Before this two-time Academy Award winner appeared in films like Fargo and Good Will Hunting, he was just a teen in very '80s commercials, like this Burger King spot.

Image via Mutual Savings Bank

2Tina Fey

It's plain to see that the '90s were a time of some questionable clothing choices. Just look at Tina Fey's 1995 Mutual Savings Bank commercial. Two years later, she got her actual start writing on SNL.

Photo via Lisa Frank

3Mila Kunis

Just two years before her big break on That '70s Show, Mila Kunis was the ultimate '90s girl in a very rainbow Lisa Frank commercial. At the time, she also had her first few TV appearances on shows such as Walker, Texas Ranger and Baywatch.

Photo via Heinz

5Matt Le Blanc

In 1987, Matt Le Blanc showed off some of his trademark Joey charm in a commercial for Heinz—and the ad was so popular, it even won an award at the Cannes Film Festival.

Photo via Porsche

6Kristen Stewart

Though she may have reached mainstream acclaim in the Twilight movies, Kristen Stewart had actually acted for much of her childhood. One of her first gigs was a Porsche commercial

Image via Nintendo

7Paul Rudd

Long before he reached superhero status with Ant-Man, Paul Rudd was just a geeky guy in a 1991 Nintendo commercial. He'd get his first big role in 1994 in the series Wild Oats.

Photo via Maull's Barbecue Sauce

9Britney Spears

Hard to believe, but Britney Spears appeared in a commercial for Maull's Barbecue Sauce in 1993. At the time, she had already understudied in an off-Broadway show, and she was about to make it big as a Mouseketeer. 

Image via Shield

10Bryan Cranston

Long before he'd win the Emmy for his lead role in Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston donned a skunk costume for a 1987 Shield soap commercial. He got his first recurring role a year later on Raising Miranda.

Image via Bubble Yum

11Leonardo DiCaprio

Yes, even young Leo took some commercial jobs before he stole everyone's heart in Titanic and Romeo + Juliet. He even rocked his signature hair swoop in this very '80s Bubble Yum commercial

Image via Pops

13Aaron Paul

Bryan Cranston isn't the only Breaking Bad star who got his start in commercials. Co-star Aaron Paul played an angsty teen in a 1999 commercial for Kellogg's Pops cereal.

Image via National Dairy Board

14Elijah Wood

This Lord of the Rings actor may be well known for looking younger than his age, but he actually did get his start when he was around 10 years old. One of his first spots was a commercial for the National Dairy Board.

Image via Pringles

15Brad Pitt

Even before major roles in films like Fight Club and Se7en, Brad Pitt was a serious hunk. It's no surprise he was cast in a beachy, shirtless Pringles commercial in the '80s.

Image via Tampax

17Naomi Watts

This Oscar nominee may be a bombshell in films like King Kong and Mulholland Drive, but before her big break, she played an average teen in a Tampax commercial.

Image via Brown's Chicken

18Steve Carell

Before he was selling paper as The Office's Michael Scott, Steve Carell sold fast food in an early '90s commercial for Brown's Chicken. His comedic talent is evident even then.

Photo via FirsTier Bank

19Stephen Colbert

Over a decade before landing his own show with The Colbert Report, this comedian showed off his his charisma and charm in a commercial for Nebraska's FirsTier bank. Every talk show host has to start somewhere!

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