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Famous People

  • After Fred Astaire’s first screen test, a 1933 memo from the MGM testing director said: “Can’t act. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.” Astaire kept that memo over the fireplace in his Beverly Hills home.
  • An expert said of famous football coach Vince Lombardi: “He possesses minimal football knowledge. Lacks motivation.”
  • Louisa May Alcott, the author of Little Women, was advised by her family to find work as a servant or seamstress.
  • Beethoven handled the violin awkwardly and preferred playing his own compositions instead of improving his technique. His teacher called him hopeless as a composer.
  • The teacher of famous opera singer Enrico Caruso said Caruso had no voice at all and could not sing.
  • Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper for lacking ideas. He also went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland.
  • Eighteen publishers turned down Richard Bach’s 10,000 word story about a soaring seagull before Macmillan finally published it in 1970. By 1975, Jonathan Livingston Seagull had sold more than seven million copies in the U.S. alone.”

Taken from Chicken Soup for the Soul: 101 Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit, written and compiled by Jack Canfield and Mark V. Hansen.