9 huge stars on game shows before they were famous

Nicola Agius
Photo credit: Simone Joyner / Neil Mockford/GC Images / Steve Granitz/WireImage / Getty Images

From Digital Spy

Ever wonder what celebrities get up to before they become famous? Without jumping to conclusions, the evidence seems to suggest that they spend a fair bit of time applying to be on gameshows.

From Hollywood royalty to TV stars to pop icons, an array of celebs appeared on TV trying to win cash before becoming household names. Seriously, some of the names will probably surprise you. Check out our list below of stars that competed on gameshows years before they became famous.

1. Olly Murs – Deal or No Deal

Before finding fame on X Factor, Olly appeared on Deal or No Deal in 2007 in the hope of winning the £250,000 jackpot. Unfortunately, his plan didn't quite work out. We're sorry to report that our favourite chart-topper was sent home with a measly £10 after turning down an offer of £26,000 from The Banker. Oops.

Despite the terrible performance, Olly gave the show another shot in 2012 but this time, he was a celebrity playing for charity. Sadly, that didn't work out either and he walked away with a paltry 50p. To make up for it, he pledged to donate £5,000 to the organisation out of his own pocket. Such a gent.

2. Amanda Holden – Blind Date

Amanda cringes when she watches this back – and we don't entirely blame her. In 1991, the then fresh-faced 19-year-old boasted to Cilla Black about her soft spot for the "experienced, mature man" before naming Jack Nicholson as her celebrity crush. Four years later, she married her first husband Les Dennis, who is 17 years her senior.

3. Simon Cowell – Sale of the Century

Simon's TV career started long before he launched X Factor – in fact, it spans four decades. The music mogul first appeared on the small screen back in 1989 when he was a contestant on Sale of the Century.

He featured in two episodes after winning the first round, but then it was game over for Simon. However, he didn't leave empty-handed. Nope. The music mogul was sent home with a prize of £20 worth of cooking utensils.

4. Lady Gaga – Boiling Points

We can't imagine how the actress who plays the waitress feels when she watches this clip back. In 2005, five years before releasing 'Let's Dance', Gaga was set up by a pal and unknowingly competed in the MTV prank show Boiling Points. If she could have just lasted 14 minutes without swearing at the intolerably rude waitress, she would have won $100. Sadly, Gaga only managed to survive 12 minutes before completely losing her temper. Luckily she's now more than made up for that financial loss.

5. Arnold Schwarzenegger – The Dating Game

Before he was a movie star, Arnie set pulses racing on The Dating Game back in 1973 as the then-reigning Mr Olympia. The bodybuilder proudly announced his body measurement to the female contestants before very cheekily asking them to share theirs. It wasn't his last time on screen, of course. He'd be back.

6. Stephen Fry – University Challenge

An array of famous British faces have competed on University Challenge over the years, from Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes to Christopher Hitchens. But the most memorable has to be Stephen Fry, who appeared on the show in 1980. The former QI legend was just 23 at the time and a student at Queens College Cambridge University. Even back then he was an absolute genius.

7. Kirstie Alley – Match Game

When she was just 22 years old, Kirstie made a big impression during one of her first ever TV appearances when she competed in a syndicated version of Match Game. The aspiring actress was awesome at the game and viewers seemed to love her. However, despite her impressive performance, it would be some years before she would get her real break as Rebecca on Cheers.

8. Aaron Paul – The Price is Right

Talk about TV gold. Breaking Bad Jessie Pinkman actor Aaron Paul is hilarious in this throwback clip from 2000, when he competed on US gameshow The Price is Right. Who knew a few years later he would go on to win an Emmy?

Looking back at the footage, Aaron recently joked to Us Weekly: "It looks like I'm on some serious crack! I downed about six cans of Red Bull because I knew they wanted people with energy. It worked, but I could not sit still. It was not healthy." We thought you were pretty good, Aaron.

9. Konnie Huq – Blockbusters

Before finding fame as a Blue Peter presenter, Konnie competed on gameshow Blockbusters in 1992. She was just 16 years old at the time but already a natural in front of the camera. Unfortunately though, she didn't win and was sent home midway through the game. But it wasn't all bad news. She won several prizes on the programme including £30, a Blockbusters shirt and a dictionary. Plus she became mega famous a few years later.

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