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Terry Crews

  • Terry Crews has built a career by doing everything from action movies (“The Expendables”) and comedy series (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”), to being a game-show host (“Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”) and pitchman (Old Spice).
  • But at one point, after playing in the NFL, he was broke and had a job sweeping floors at a factory.
  • Now, he’s one of the most recognizable faces on the planet — and even has a furniture line.

Terry Crews learned the hard way that you should never take an opportunity for granted.

He was 11 years old when a woman at his church, impressed by his drawing ability, offered to have him create a sign for her storefront. She would give him $25 for the work, which for a kid from a blue-collar family in Flint, Michigan was quite a pay day. He was told to complete the sign within a week.

“I thought, ‘This is going to be easy!’” Crews recalled to Business Insider in a recent interview. “So I spent the week watching cartoons, hanging out, playing around, and the day before it was due I started. But the paint wasn’t sticking to the canvas, everything was going wrong, it was awful. The woman showed up at the house and looked at it and was like, ‘I’ve never been more disappointed.’ I was crushed. I didn’t put any effort into it. I vowed to work hard after that. I never wanted anyone to have that disappointment in me again.”

And Crews’ career proves that he’s never forgotten that life lesson.

From being the face of Old Spice commercials to his memorable roles in movies (“Idiocracy,” “The Expendables”) and TV (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”), thanks to his hulking size matched with his comedic talents, Crews, 49, has gone from being broke after a lackluster career in the NFL, to Read More Here