Celebrities Who Got Their Start At A Dealership

June 2nd, 2022 by

Johnny Cash star on Hollywood Walk-of-Fame
From the car detailer who keeps the cars clean to the finance manager who keeps the deals flowing to the dealer principal overseeing it all, there are plenty of great jobs in America’s franchise auto dealerships – enough to directly employ 2 million people.

In fact, President Biden’s father was part of the auto retail business, as he revealed during a recent visit to a Ford factory in Detroit. “For more than 30 years, my dad, when we moved to Delaware, managed automobile dealerships in Delaware, including the Ford dealership.”

Even a brief stint working in the auto industry can lead to big things. Just ask these seven celebrities who spent time working in the auto industry.

Basketball pro Alonzo Mourning may be the Vice President of Player Programs and Development with the Miami Heat, but he probably learned all about staying in bounds while working as a porter at a Virginia dealership. “My junior year in high school, I worked at this place called Parkway Pontiac prepping cars. If you go to any car dealership, you see how straight the cars are on the lot. That was my job—to keep all the cars straight and to keep them clean.”

Some celebrities have picked up their tools and tried their hand at being auto mechanics. Actor Sean Penn dropped out of the auto mechanics program at Santa Monica College to take an apprenticeship with LA’s Group Repertory Theater. Movie star Henry Fonda had a number of temporary jobs after he dropped out of the University of Minnesota, including as a window dresser and as a mechanic.

Johnny Depp, meanwhile, found out the hard way that it takes real skill and education to be a mechanic. “I was working at a gas station, pumping gas, and they put me in the garage and made me a mechanic. I told the dude, ‘Hey, I know very little about this.’ And he said, ‘Oh, you’ll just do what I tell you to do and it will work out fine.’ Well, it didn’t. I changed all the tires on this guy’s car, did the alignment, put the ******* wheels back on, pulled it down, guy got in, and his left rear wheel shot off the ******* vehicle. I was asked to leave, needless to say.”

Bob Marley singingDetroit is known for its cars and its music, so it’s no surprise that a number of musicians have worked in auto factories. Bob Seger worked at both Ford and GM plants long before his “Like a Rock” helped “sell a lot of trucks” for Chevrolet. The Man in Black, Johnny Cash worked at the Fisher Body Plant in Pontiac for a brief three weeks. Berry Gordy worked at a Lincoln-Mercury plant for two years before going on to found Motown Records. “Those slow-moving car frames were the loveliest sight I’d ever seen,” he wrote in his autobiography “To Be Loved.” And Bob Marley used his earnings from working on an assembly line at a Chrysler plant in Newark, Delaware to start his own record label, Tuff Gong Records, back in Jamaica.

Finally, Jerry Seinfeld is known as a car aficionado – he owns more than 150 cars estimated to be worth between $50 to $150 million. But the comedian also secretly aspires to be an automotive journalist, Seinfeld revealed on an appearance on “The Tonight Show.” “My original thing that I wanted to do if comedy didn’t work out, I wanted to write funny articles for car magazines. I only wrote one, in 2003, and I won an award for it. Very proud of that.”


Story written by Sheryll Poe via NADA – See more NADA stories here.
Posted in Dealership Stories