As we’re in a period of HGV driver shortage (we have mentioned it once or twice) maybe it’s a good time to say that there’s much to be said for a career in the cabin of a lorry as can assuredly be testified by the number of somewhat familiar faces who have taken to the open roads as a truck or lorry driver over the years.
Before fame, fortune and other kinds of notoriety struck, HGV driving (or truck driving in America) was the career path of choice for a fair number of celebrities over the years.
Include this lot:
Danish actor Viggo Mortenson found global superstardom as the long haired warrior Aragorn, destined to be the King of Middle Earth in Peter Jackson’s Oscar-nabbing adaptations of Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings saga. But long before he led his merry fellowship of dwarves, hobbits and elves into battle against the dark forces of Suaroman, Mortenson had spent time back in his native Denmark working the roads as a long-haul HGV driver following graduation from college back in the 1980s.
Best supporting actor in The Untouchables and arguably the original (and some may say best) chap to don the tuxedo and Walther PPK of suave superspy James Bond, there are few more iconic actors than Scotland’s own Sean Connery. But before his name and distinctive accent found their way to the A list, Connery was driving the A roads of his homeland, following in the footsteps of his father as a lorry driver in the years between a stint in the navy and attaining a licence to kill.
And if you thought Connery was the most famous man to get behind the wheel of a truck then think again. Because even the King of Rock’n’Roll had a spell as a lorry driver while still a teenager in early 1950s Mississippi. Legend has it that the famous Elvis hair even comes from his time as a driver, following similar styles of the day. Elvis would drive a delivery truck for Crown Electric Service as a high school kid and was still behind the wheel up the fateful day Sam Phillips at the Sun Studios, singing and swivelling his hips into immortality.
The pathway for yet another Oscar winner was one of happy days in the cabin of a truck, this time along the highways and bi-ways of America. We’ve already heard about the lorry driving exploits of King of Middle Earth and the King of Rock’n’Roll, this time it’s self-proclaimed king of the world James Cameron (following his famous Oscar acceptance speech for Titanic). The man behind Terminator 2, Aliens and Avatar spent his youth driving a truck around the states, giving him plenty of time to dwell upon future film-making glory.
Before hitting the highway as head of the Griswold family in National Lampoon’s Vacation movies, American funny man Chevy Chase went through a number of career options. Upon leaving medical school and playing in a jazz band, Chase took on a job as a truck driver prior to getting his break with Saturday Night Live.
Grizzled tough guy and ace tunneller (in the Great Escape) Charles Bronson served in the army during the Second World War where his role as a truck driver near the front lines earned him a Purple Heart for Valour and injuries suffered in the line of duty.
From Jedi Master and star of the preposterously fun Taken movies, Neeson is yet another Oscar nominated actor to have the roll of truck driver proudly upon his CV. In this case, it was in the guise of a forklift truck in the hallowed Guinness factory in his native Dublin, which he carried out as a young man before answering the call of the acting fraternity.