Hitting it big in Hollywood embodies the American dream in genuine rags-to-riches tradition. And while celebrities like Ryan Seacrest, Jon Hamm and Johnny Depp pull in whopping million-dollar paychecks in exchange for being household names today, their humble beginnings put things firmly in perspective.
To wit: Seacrest earned just $10,800 as a radio host; Hamm cashed in $14,350 waiting tables; and Depp made $13,500 selling pens over the telephone. Compare that to today's dizzying numbers: Seacrest at $15 million ("American Idol"), Hamm at $2.1 million ("Mad Men"), and Depp reportedly at a staggering $350 million (okay, for the entire five-part "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise, but still).
For more of celebrity salaries then and now, click through to Parade for their special coverage of "What People Earn." And check out our slideshow of other famous faces who dabble in normal-person day job activities on the side, below.