Before They Were Famous: Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg & Jeremy Renner

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

Welcome to “Before They Were Famous“, where we take a look at some of the past exploits of today's biggest stars, be it from movies, television, Broadway, competitions, etc.! The more embarrassing, the better. Our memories are long, but the internet's memory is forever, so jump back in time with us to witness some of our favorite stars before they were marquee names.


Tom Cruise might be on top of the world with his hit new film MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION (which is my favorite in the franchise), but before he was clinging to the side of an Airbus A400 or climbing the Burj Khalifa, he was auditioning for a role in the TV series THE POWERS OF MATTHEW STAR (1981). And yes, that is a young Heather Locklear as his scene mate. The series told the story of an alien prince, Matthew Star (Peter Barton), who lives on Earth as a typical American teenager… all while surviving assassination attempts from enemy aliens.

Neither actor got a part on the show, but Heather Locklear did later go on an “awkward” semi-date with Cruise, which she talked about on Chelsea Lately. "It wasn't really a date. We had auditioned for something together and he didn't have any friends… I mean, not that he doesn't have friends. Out here [in LA] he didn't have friends. We went out and we went dancing. You know in RISKY BUSINESS where he does that dance in his underwear and does the splits? We were dancing at a club and he went into that! He started doing the splits. You just kinda stand there and don’t know what to do. Do you dance around him? So I was like, ‘I’ll just sit down.’" Chelsea went on to ask if that was their only date, to which Locklear hesitantly replied, “I think so.”


Even before appearing in HIPPIES, SPACED, and HOT FUZZ, Simon Pegg was hilarious in commercials. Here he is in a 1990s advertisement for Buttercup cough syrup, which is apparently so good at relieving cold symptoms, he is forced to then lie to his boss to get off of work with a sick day. Not sure that excuse would fly on the MISSION IMPOSSIBLE set… you know, especially with Tom deciding to hang off of an airplane.


Speaking of commercials, Jeremy Renner really killed it in the ad department in the 90s/early 2000s. First, there was the Kodak Gold 200 Pie Plate commercial (above), where he accidentally takes a picture of a UFO and is confronted by the U.S. government.

Then there were commercials for Bud Light, Coors Light (isn’t this a conflict of interest??), Duracell, Pizza Hut, Aquafina, and 7-Eleven. I don’t think I have ever seen an actor in so many national ad campaigns! I wonder if he still gets a lot of free products from his commercial days.

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