Photo: nonu photography/Flickr
Actor and comedian Jim Carrey was a born entertainer. In school, his teacher let him perform his comedy routines for his classmates at the end of the day in exchange for being quiet during class. Carrey used to wear his tap shoes to bed, just in case his parents needed cheering up in the middle of the night.
When he was young, Carrey's father lost his job and the whole family had to live in a camper van on a relative's lawn. They all took jobs working as janitors and security guards at a nearby factory - Carrey himself worked an eight-hour shift straight after school.
Carrey got his start as a stand-up comedian at 15, when his father drove him to Toronto's Yuk Yuk's club. Wearing a yellow suit that his mother sewed, Carrey's debut bombed so badly that it gave him doubt whether he could make a living as an entertainer. Fortunately, he persevered and gained popularity as a stand-up comedian. A year later, he dropped out of high school to concentrate on his career.
At 19, Carrey headed to Hollywood - but like many young actors trying to make it in Tinseltown, he found that success was elusive. In 1985, a broke and depressed Carrey drove his old beat-up Toyota up the Hollywood hills. There, sitting overlooking Los Angeles, he daydreamed of success. To make himself feel better, Carrey wrote himself a check for $10 million for "acting services rendered," post-dated it 10 years and kept it in his wallet.
The check remained there until it deteriorated but Carrey eventually made it: he earned millions for movies like Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Dumb and Dumber. When his father passed away in 1994, Carrey slipped the check in the casket to be buried.
Here's Jim Carrey talking about the famous $10 million check in this Oprah interview: