Seven Famous Former McDonald’s Employees

I’ve seen a few articles over the years that identify very famous people who have worked under the equally famous Golden Arches. Seems fitting, doesn’t it?

Well, maybe not.

It may feel weird to picture your idol as a minimum-wage worker salting the fries for a few extra bucks after school. Get ready to have your mind blown.



Andy Card, Chief of Staff under George W. Bush

He’s the man that whispered the news of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to George Bush, who was reading a book to school children. I recently completed a 20-page paper that centered around 9/11, and I remember watching that video clip–as a 10-year old girl, and now. Who knew he was involved with McDonald’s?



Carl Lewis, 10-time Olympic track medalist.

I wanted to add him to the list because he participated in a campaign in 2005 to fight the “McJob” image. He countered the stereotype that assimilated McDonald’s jobs with “low-paying dead-end work” (Merriam-Webster). As a 16-year old employee, Lewis learned the importance of teamwork and speed–which are crucial life skills, regardless of what line of work you’re in. He is now a Celebrity Friend of the Ronald McDonald House Charities, volunteering to help children and families overcome difficulties and to raise awareness.



Keenen Wayans

Wayans worked an average of 70 hours a week at McDonald’s in New York. But he wasn’t a grill cook–he managed the restaurant. And he did it while still in high school! He was driven to provide for his family financially, and he did what he had to. Although his grades took a hit, he still received a scholarship to Tuskegee Institute in Alabama and went on to pursue work in the entertainment industry.



Rachel McAdams

Although she didn’t seem to do anything extraordinary while she was there, McAdams worked at McDonald’s for three years–as long as I have. She admits that she would spend time organizing sauce packets while the line snaked out the door–everything had to be “just right.” Although she admits she wasn’t the greatest employee, she does say McDonald’s was a great place to work. It’s comforting to know that extraordinary actors aren’t pros at everything.



James Franco

It seems that Franco put his time at McDonald’s to good use. He reportedly practiced foreign accents on female customers over the counter. What I love about Franco is that he expressly states that he’s not above working at McDonald’s. There was a period in his life during which he struggled financially, and he accepted a job at the only place that would hire him. This is very relatable.



Jay Leno

I think most people know about this one, but I found another tidbit about him. He decided to pursue comedy after participating in the company’s talent show while he was in high school. McDonald’s has a funny way of opening doors, I guess. (Yes, I’m so punny.)



Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon

He worked as a cook in a Miami McDonald’s during a summer in high school. Then, he graduated as valedictorian and went to Princeton University. I wanted to point him out because you really don’t know who you’re talking to when you call someone “uneducated,” “dumb,” or “McStupid.” Why throw around those words if you know nothing about the person you’re targeting? I hope that when Bezos got his big break some rude ex-customer saw his picture in the newspaper and facepalmed himself.

I hope this handful of examples opens peoples’ eyes. I try to stand up for myself every day, but the truth is, customers don’t recognize me as someone that matters… yet.

On the other hand, most Americans recognize the celebrities above. So maybe the truth will sink in. Some of these celebrities spent a considerable amount of time working for McDonald’s. Do you see any catastrophic consequences that resulted from the so-called “McJob”?

I don’t.

In fact, it’s quite the opposite.


3 responses to “Seven Famous Former McDonald’s Employees

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