To brighten your day, and in no particular order, here are nine famous people who, you may be surprised to learn, have previously worked as an electrician before making a career change and enjoying fame and fortune. The first famous electrician on our ‘wiring with the stars’ list, and arguably most current, is:
1. Liam Cunningham
Irish actor Liam Cunningham, widely known for his portrayal of the charismatic Ser Davos in the hugely popular Game of Thrones series, previously worked as an electrician in the mid 80’s. Interestingly, he spent three and a half years living Zimbabwe, Africa where he worked in a safari park, maintaining their electrical equipment and training local electricians. When he later returned to Ireland, and feeling the need of a distraction, he initially sought out acting as a hobby before catching the acting bug and becoming a household name.
2. Rowan Atkinson
You would never suspect that everyone’s favourite comedic actor, most famous for playing the clumsy yet endearing Mr Bean character, was an Oxford MSc Electrical Engineering graduate. Rowan had plans and ambitions to become an electrical engineer and attended Newcastle University and Oxford University where he earned degrees in electrical engineering.
He met writer Richard Curtis at Oxford, with whom he co-wrote the Blackadder series, before abandoning his previous career ambitions in favour of comedy acting and writing. Definitely a ‘sliding doors’ moment with the change of career direction for Mr Atkinson as he never took his electrical career any further!
3. Albert Einstein
Before developing the theory of relativity and winning a Nobel Prize in Physics, Einstein was an electrical apprentice for his family’s business: Elektronische Fabrik J. Einstein & Cie. During this time, the young Einstein worked alongside his brother as an electrician at Oktoberfest, as well as briefly providing electrical light for the Schwabing district of Munich.
4. Stuart Pearce
Stuart Pearce, at the very start of his career when playing for his local non-league team (Wealdstone), worked as an electrician and as a plumber. Roughly five years later, he was then recruited as a professional footballer by Coventry City which catapulted his subsequently long and successful football career.
5. Sir Bobby Charlton
Before beginning his professional footballing career, Sir Bobby Charlton (at his mother’s request) briefly worked as an apprentice electrical engineer. As one of the true greats and legends of football, we’re so glad he turned his back on the trade!
6. George Harrison
He is one quarter of one of the most famous bands of all time: The Beatles. The lead guitarist was part of a huge cultural impact that changed the world, and the sound of pop. In an interview he is quoted as saying: “I had a short go at being an electrician’s apprentice, but I kept blowing things up, so I got dumped”. By the sounds of it, he’s very lucky to be alive!
7. Alfred Hitchcock
He is one of the most famous English film directors, a real pioneer and influential force in cinematic and filmmaking history. He is known as the “master of suspense” who had a long career spanning six decades. His most famous movies include: The Lady Vanishes (1938), Strangers On A Train (1951), Rear Window (1954), Psycho (1960) and Vertigo (1958).
Hitchcock’s first job when he left school at 16 was as an apprentice electrician at Henley’s – a manufacturer of electronic appliances. He was quickly promoted to sales, and honed his design and craftsmanship skills. This job cultivated a habit of diligent planning. Often, he would make multiple notes, drafts and revisions. Whilst there, he also learned various means of publicity and promotion. All of which provided an excellent basis for a career in film as it educated him technically, artistically and commercially.
8. Benjamin Franklin
He is known as a founding father and an image of his face is present on the $100 bill. He is possibly one of the first, or at the very least, most famous electricians in history. He was also an inventor and scientist often pondering over the wonders and capabilities of electricity. He contributed to helping the world grasp a deeper understanding of what electricity is and how it functions.
The most famous experiment conducted by Benjamin Franklin was flying kites into lightning storms – the result led to the innovation of lightning rods and grounding.
9. Elvis Presley
Before being crowned the King of Rock and Roll and achieving international stardom, Elvis trained to be an electrician. He famously remarked: “I suppose I got rewired the wrong way round somewhere along the line”.
At the beginning of 1954, Elvis began working at Crown Electric with hopes of becoming an electrician. However, after only six months of employment with Crown Electric, he recorded his first record at Sun Studio and became a self-employed entertainer.
That concludes our list of famous electricians and people who dabbled or worked within the electrical industry. If their wires hadn’t been destined for fame and fortune, then they would still be, or could have been, electricians.