Johnny Depp once earned just $13,500 (£8,400) as a telephone salesman hawking pens, while dapper Jon Hamm took home just over $14,000 (£8,750) as a waiter before he found fame as Don Draper on Mad Men.
The two stars' past incomes are the stand-outs of Parade magazine's 30th annual What People Earn issue, which compares celebrities' salaries with their first paycheques.
And also making the pay disparity list is actor Steve Buscemi, who earned $22,700 (£14,180) as a New York firefighter. He now takes home an estimated $900,000 (£563,000) for his role in TV drama Boardwalk Empire alone.
Meanwhile, Oprah Winfrey tops the publication's all-star salary list, bringing home an estimated $290 million (£181 million) as the CEO of production company Harpo.