8 Celebs Who Were Taken Under the Wings of Other Stars, Showing That No One Succeeds Alone

year ago

We love stories about self-made men and women. But many times, it turns out that behind every successful person, there was someone who helped them at the very beginning of their career. There was someone who inspired them, encouraged them to fulfill their potential, and made a positive impact on them.

We at Bright Side have found some famous people who extended their generosity to their fellow stars and helped them to become who they are today.

1. Chadwick Boseman

Boseman studied at Howard University, where he was recruited to play basketball but chose the arts instead. He was mentored by the famous actress Phylicia Rashad. One day, a group of her students were accepted into the British American Drama Academy’s Midsummer program. They received the invitation to audition but simply couldn’t afford it. So Rashad made a phone call to a friend to get some help.

Turns out that friend was Denzel Washington. He simply said, “Okay, I got this money.” And Boseman never forgot such a generous gesture. During the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019, he gratefully shared this story during an honoring speech. “As fate would have it, I was one of the students that he paid for,” said Boseman. And added, “There is no Black Panther without Denzel Washington. And not just because of me, but my whole cast — that generation — stands on your shoulders.”

Washington was deeply touched. Tears welled in his eyes and he gave Boseman a standing ovation following his speech.

2. Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey was a huge fan of the book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings written by a poet and writer, Maya Angelou. The 2 first met in the ’70s at the beginning of Oprah’s career. And since then, Angelou became Oprah’s precious mentor and even more than that. “She calls me her darling girl, and I call her my mother-sister-friend. She was there for me always, guiding me through some of the most important years of my life.”

In May 2013 Oprah conducted an interview with Angelou. In a preamble, she wrote, “Over the years, she has taught me some of the most profound lessons of my life: that when we know better, we do better; that to love someone is to liberate, not possess, them; that negative words have the power to seep into the furniture and into our skin; that we should be grateful even for our trials.”

Angelou truly inspired, challenged, and guided Oprah through all these years. And she tries really hard to pay that back, serving as a source of inspiration for so many others.

3. Meryl Streep

It is hard to imagine today that Meryl Streep ever needed any kind of mentoring or help. But there was actually someone who guided her at the beginning of her career. And it was a Hollywood icon, Jane Fonda. Though Fonda refused any claims to that title. In an interview on Good Morning America, she said, “I didn’t see myself as a mentor, but enough other people tell me so, so I guess I am.”

Anyway, in the same interview, Fonda admitted that there was one actress that was asking her “endless questions.” And that was a young Meryl Streep. In her speech at the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony in 2014, she thanked Fonda for her advice and guidance. “All of the young actors I’ve worked with subsequently, in the years following, thank you too because that lesson and kindness got passed down,” she said. “And it does keep going.”

4. Viola Davis

Meryl Streep and Viola Davis first met while filming 2008’s Doubt. The 2 women shared only one 8-minute scene in the movie. But Davis conquered everyone’s hearts on the set and truly impressed her co-stars and producers with her talent. The 2 actresses became close friends after that. In her interview with ELLE, Davis mentioned how Streep had been helping her by giving some advice about her career and life.

Streep really has been helpful in giving her lessons in confidence and being a great role model and inspiration. “I think she does it in a way that she doesn’t even understand or think she’s doing it,” said Davis. In another interview with Entertainment Tonight, Davis was more specific about how supporting Streep was since they first became friends. “I never feel like the words she has for me are haphazard. I feel like they’re very specific and they’re well thought out and that makes me feel good. It makes me feel like she really is a friend, that she really takes me in.”

5. Colin Firth

Our beloved Severus Snape from the Harry Potter films also took some actors under his wing. One of them was Colin Firth. He wrote for the Hollywood Reporter that Rickman just had an “instinct for people who were in need of guidance of some kind.” Maybe because people like this were in need one day too and somebody helped them, who knows.

After graduation from drama school, Firth was still a young actor who was unsure of himself. That’s when the 2 men first met. They soon became friends, and Firth found the strength to ask for some advice from a more experienced actor. As Firth stated, this guidance always was more a “personal wisdom, not actor-y advice.” They’ve been close friends for 30 years. And we can’t wait to find out who Firth will guide in the grateful memory of his mentor.

6. Iggy Pop

Undoubtedly, the main person in Iggy Pop’s life was David Bowie. Pop just stated it as simply as possible in one MTV interview, “David Bowie saved my life.” The story of their friendship begins in 1971. Going through difficult times, Pop really needed some kind of a benefactor and protector. “The friendship was basically that this guy salvaged me from certain professional and maybe personal annihilation — simple as that,” said Pop much later.

Bowie also managed to persuade Pop to take a 3-year break, during which he overcame his substance addiction and take some acting classes. After Pop’s band, The Stooges, finally broke up in 1974, he suffered a nervous breakdown and ended up in a psychiatric hospital. David Bowie was the only visitor who came to support his friend. No wonder Pop called the icon “the light of my life.”

7. Robin Williams

The story begins when the future comedian watched one of Jonathan Winters’ performances together with his father. Usually, it was very hard to make senior Williams laugh. So, his son was really startled when his daddy completely lost it that day. “Seeing my father laugh like that made me think, ’Who is this guy and what’s he on?’” Williams wrote in 2013.

Later, Robin Williams stated that Winters was the reason he became a comedian. Winters was a true pioneer at the time. And he made Williams realize “that anything is possible, that anything is funny.” Giving a speech at the 2008 TV Land Awards Williams said, “Once upon a time, I called Jonathan my mentor and he immediately corrected me and said, ’Please,’ he told me, ’I prefer idol.’”

Idol or not, he was a real guiding star for Williams indeed.

8. Eminem

Eminem and Elton John first met at the Grammy Awards in 2001 where they performed Stan together. After that, they became close friends. And John even supported Eminem during his recovery from addiction. In the past, John had endured quite a history of substance addiction himself. “So when I first wanted to get sober, I called him,” said Eminem, “because he’s somebody in the business who can relate to the lifestyle and how hectic things can be.”

Elton John became Eminem’s mentor during that period. He called Eminem once a week to check on him. Asking for help was a hard decision for Eminem. But he somehow managed to swallow his pride and admit his weakness. And that’s what really works in those situations. “I’m there if people want my help,” Elton said. “If people ask for help, you can tell them where they should go, but there is no point advising someone if they don’t want to do it.”

Eminem has been sober since April 20, 2008.

Have you ever had any mentor or close friend who’s totally changed your life? Has anyone ever helped you to shape your path or given you some guidance that you truly appreciate? Please share your ’star’ stories with us in the comments below.

Preview photo credit shutterstock.com, shutterstock.com


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