Create a free Overdrive account to continue reading

From Big Rigs to the Big Time

Before Elvis Presley became known as the “King of Rock & Roll,” he was a truck driver, trying to help support his family.

In 1953, Presley graduated from high school in Memphis, Tenn., and soon took a job with Crown Electric Co. The 18-year-old aspiring singer drove a truck, delivering electrical supplies to construction sites.

Presley might have continued a career in trucking if he had followed the advice of a Grand Ole Opry booking manager, who suggested he “go back to Memphis and continue driving a truck for a living,” after a mediocre performance in October 1954.

Presley soon left his truck-driving job when he joined the “Louisiana Hayride,” which was his stepping-stone to international stardom.

Country-crossover singer k.d. lang once drove a grain truck. Actors John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Gregory Peck, Sidney Poitier and Desi Arnaz also piloted big rigs before their successful show business careers.

James Cameron drove a truck and a school bus before directing The Terminator and Titanic.

Utah Jazz star Karl Malone occasionally drove a truck after he became rich from his basketball career, and once owned a small trucking company. Retired Detroit Tigers pitcher Mark “The Bird” Fidrych currently owns and operates a trucking business in Massachusetts.

Several other notable entertainers came from trucking families, including Australian-born actress Toni Collette (daughter of a trucker), Scottish actor Sean Connery (father was a trucker), comedian Chris Rock (son of a truck driver), and actors Jesse L. Martin (son of a truck driver), Dick Van Dyke (son of a trucking agent), and Brad Pitt (father owned truck company).

Source: “Biography,” A&E Television Networks

Showcase your workhorse
Add a photo of your rig to our Reader Rigs collection to share it with your peers and the world. Tell us the story behind the truck and your business to help build its story.
Submit Your Rig
Reader Rig Submission