When I started to research this inspirational celebrities list, I thought it would be quite easy but it was more difficult than I first thought. Plus, I’m afraid this is mainly Americans with a couple of Brits thrown in. I’m guessing if you wanted a list of famous French or German celebs, you’d be reading in French or German. So here is a list of inspirational celebrities who will inspire you to never give up.
Table of Contents
Inspirational Celebrities List:
1. J.K. Rowling
Of all the inspirational celebrities, perhaps the story of J.K. Rowling is the best known. Mind you, although she was a struggling single mum before the success of Harry Potter, not all the stories are exactly true. While she was quite poor, she wasn’t so poor as to be homeless.
And she didn’t write Harry Potter in cafes because her apartment had no heating; it did. She actually wrote Harry Potter in cafes because going for walks got Jessica, her daughter, to sleep. Having said that, the 12 publishers’ story is true, so she definitely needed the determination to succeed.
2. Jim Carrey
Jim Carrey is almost the archetypal comedian. He certainly started out poor, with him and his family even living out of a van at one point in their lives. Carrey even dropped out of school to contribute to the family’s finances.
Of course, he was eventually discovered and became the beloved man we know today. Unfortunately, Carrey seems to have had enough of stardom and has retreated into the life of an artist. Our loss is the art world’s gain, I guess.
3. Stephen King
Let’s look at another author but this one’s from the US. If you think J.K. Rowling had it tough being rejected by 12 publishers, spend a minute thinking about poor old Stephen King.
It is almost unbelievable that one of the world’s greatest horror stories, ‘Carrie’, was rejected by 30 publishers. So dejected was King that he threw the manuscript away. Fortunately for us, his wife saved it and it was eventually published, selling millions.
Related: 8 Inspirational Stories of Survival
4. Bill Gates
I wasn’t absolutely convinced about including Bill Gates in this list of inspirational celebrities because I’m not sure he’s actually a celebrity? Well, at least he can take the place in our super famous people list. Anyway, he was included because he started a business with Paul Allen called Traf-O-Data that failed miserably.
You might feel that with a name like that, he deserved to fail anyway, but many people never recover from a business failure. Not only did Gates recover but went on to become the world’s richest men.
5. Elvis Presley
Now, if ever there was a story of a dirt-poor nobody overcoming the odds and becoming a global sensation, Elvis Presly is it. Born in the deep south, his family survived by shooting squirrels, which are basically bushy-tailed rats.
He was told he’d never amount to anything by Jimmy Denny and yet Elvis became a worldwide sensation. Sadly, a sensation that left us far too early.
6. Fred Astaire
Another entertainer that I was having second thoughts about because most people reading this probably won’t know who Fred Astaire was, but for many years, he was the coolest of cool cats and definitely one of my earliest inspirational celebrities.
While he eventually became rich, successful and one of the famous people on earth. Once, head of the MGM talent department Burt Grady, originally said of Astaire, “Can’t act, can’t sing, can dance a little.” I bet he felt foolish later.
7. Bethany Hamilton
Bethany Hamilton gets on the list not because she is a world-famous celebrity but because she should be. You may not recognize her name but I am sure you have heard of her story.
At 13 years old, she had her arm bitten off by a shark. For many little girls, that would be the end of everything, but not Bethany, who was surfing just one month later. As Bethany understood, courage is not a lack of fear but that “Courage means you don’t let fear stop you.” What a star!
8. Albert Einstein
Since we haven’t had any scientists on this list, I think we need at least one and we’re going to include probably the most famous scientist of all time. Albert Einstein was definitely a slow starter.
He couldn’t talk till he was four and later got kicked out of school. He was working in a patent office when he came up with the theory of relativity. A Nobel Prize and world fame followed. Not bad for someone who couldn’t read until he was seven years old.
9. Sir Richard Branson
Richard Branson is on this list for two reasons, he’s a knight and he deserves to be. Branson dropped out of school when he was 16 years old, with barely any qualifications to speak of.
During his days of selling records, he got into trouble and his supportive but long-suffering parents had to remortgage their house to pay the £70,000 fine he was given. That’s the equivalent of nearly 1 million pounds in today’s money.
While that was probably the low point of his career, he has suffered many setbacks and yet always overcome them. Richard Branson is definitely a man with a ‘never give up’ attitude.
10. Michael Jordon
No list of inspirational celebrities would be complete without at least one sportsperson, so I am going to include the great Micheal Jordon. There are many reasons why he should be on this list but the main reason I’ve included him is because of his quote about success.
It’s also the reason he’s last. Because if you do not remember anything else from the list, remember this quote: “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game-winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
And there you have it. Each one of the above inspirational celebrities shows that success is possible if you never give up, or in Stephen King’s case, have a wife who doesn’t give up. But what many people don’t realize is that intelligence, qualifications, talent are rarely a necessity for success. It is persistence and the desire to never give up that made these inspirational celebrities what they are today.