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10 Celebrities Who Were Fired from their Ordinary Job

6. Kate Walsh worked at a Burger King, but she was fired because her manager did not like her.

Kate Walsh
Image credits: Kate Walsh/Facebook

Kathleen Erin Walsh, popularly known as Kate Walsh, is perhaps best known for her roles on shows like Private Practice and Grey’s Anatomy. The stunning actress and businesswoman have most recently starred in Bad Judge, a popular sitcom on NBC. She first came into the spotlight when she appeared as a guest on ABC’s hit medical drama, Grey’s Anatomy. Soon, this five-episode gig turned into a 57-episode-long recurring role, and Kate became a household name and a fan favorite.


Kate’s father was a prison psychologist, and her first-ever job was typing psychological profiles for her father at $5 per hour. As a teenager, however, she worked at a Dairy Queen and a Burger King. When talking about that experience in an interview, Kate said that her 14-year-old self was quite the troublemaker. She also stated that her manager at Burger King did not like her and ended up firing her because she had a runny nose! (1, 2)

7. Before starting KFC, Colonel Sanders got booted from several jobs. As a lawyer, he assaulted one of his clients in court. His first restaurant business got shut down. At 65 years old, he found himself broke.

Colonel Harland Sanders
Image credits: Edgy01/Dan Lindsay via Wikipedia

Colonel Harland David Sanders, the man behind KFC, did not have the easiest life. Before inventing the iconic fried-chicken recipe and revolutionizing the fast-food business, he held several jobs. He worked as a filling station operator, insurance salesman, steam engine stoker, lamp salesman, and tire salesman. For three years, he was a practicing lawyer in Little Rock. Though he made a decent income, his legal career ended when he got into a fight with his client in the courtroom. Most of his business ideas failed and he got fired from jobs for starting fights.

During the Great Depression, the Colonel opened a roadside restaurant in Kentucky and started selling fried chicken. It was during this time that he came up with his famous “secret recipe” and also the idea of cooking in a pressure fryer. As his fried chicken got famous, the Colonel understood the true potential of the restaurant-franchising business. The first KFC opened in 1952 in Salt Lake City. After his original restaurant idea failed, he dedicated all of his time to expanding his fried chicken restaurant through franchising. (1, 2)

8. J.K Rowling was fired from her job as a secretary. She would often get lost in the world of writing and neglect her work. So, she was let go.

J. K. Rowling
Image credits: S.macken6/Wikimedia

Joanne Rowling, more popularly known as J. K. Rowling, built the magical world of Harry Potter. Her fantasy novel series has sold over 500 million copies worldwide and received several awards. She also oversaw the scripts for all the Harry Potter movies, and she produced the final films as well. However, what became the best-selling book series in history was conceived at one of the darkest times in the author’s life.

She spent two years doing research on human rights violation for Amnesty International. Even though she considered the work commendable, she also found it dull. For a time, Rowling also worked at the London office of Amnesty International as a secretary. In fact, she came up with the idea for Harry Potter in 1990 while traveling by train from Manchester to London. By her own admission, Rowling was the “worst secretary ever.” She would often get lost in writing and would end up neglecting her work. She even got fired for the same reason. She then used her severance check to support herself while she finally focused on writing. (1, 2)

9. Thomas Edison once spilled sulfuric acid on the floor when working with a battery. The acid then leaked through the damaged floor and spilled down on his employer’s desk. His boss fired him in response.

Thomas Edison
Image credits: Louis Bachrach, Bachrach Studios, restored by Michel Vuijlsteke/Wikimedia

Thomas Alva Edison, dubbed as America’s greatest inventor, developed a number of devices in range of fields including motion pictures, sound recording, mass communication, and electric power generation. His famous inventions such as the light bulb, the motion-picture camera, and the phonograph had a longstanding and widespread influence on the industrialized world. He was among the earliest inventors to endorse teamwork and organized science. He worked with many employees and researchers and also opened the very first industrialized research laboratory.

In 1866, when he was just 19 years old, Edison relocated to Louisville in Kentucky. There, he found a job at Western Union. He worked at the Associated Press bureau’s news agency. He requested his employer to give him night shifts so that he could spend time reading and experimenting. However, his experiments later cost him his job. In 1867, when working one night with a lead-acid battery, Edison spilled sulfuric acid on the floor. The acid seeped through the floorboards and dripped onto his employer’s desk. He was fired the next morning as a repercussion of this accident. (1, 2)


10. Elvis Presley was fired for receiving free candy from a colleague at the Loew’s State movie theater in Memphis.

Elvis Presley
Image credits: John Irving/Flickr

Elvis Aaron Presley, widely renowned as simply “Elvis,” was an American singer and actor. Lauded throughout the world as one of the most influential cultural icons, Elvis is known to this day as “the King” or the “King of Rock and Roll.” In 1954, at the age of 19, Elvis got his first real break in the music industry. Fame and success followed soon after the release of his first single, Heartbreak Hotel.

However, before he became a world-famous singer and performer, Elvis ran a lawn-mowing business with three of his friends. In 1950, he got a job as an usher at a Memphis theater called Loew’s State Theater. Then, in the summer of 1951, he worked at Precision Tool for three months. There, he made $27 a week. A year later in 1952, Elvis resumed his job at Loew’s State Theater.

However, he would only work there for five weeks before he got fired for having a fight with his co-worker. It turns out, a female employee at the theater was fond of teen Elvis, and she gave him free candies. That prompted another usher to feel jealous which led to the heated altercation and subsequent firing. (1, 2)


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