From Bungle to Bickle, here's half a dozen actors you never knew drove a cab

In the uncertain world of acting, having a second profession to fall back on can be the difference between starvation and keeping a roof over your head, whilst waiting for that breakthrough role.

Some of those within the acting profession have done everything from painting and decorating, to the thankless task of waiting on a hungry, and often disrespectful public, to keep the wolf from the door.

It is actually quite a rarity for somebody to start acting from an early age, and remain in that profession until they retire, or die. It has been done, but most opt for the security of that second profession. 

There are however, a number of actors who have also undertaken the noble art of cab driving at one time or another, as the aforementioned second profession. 

So here, for your delectation, is a rundown of a few of those now famous names who have sat behind the wheel of a cab at one time or another.

Geoffrey Hayes

Born in 1942, Charles Geoffrey Hayes started out working various jobs, including working for British Rail as a booking clerk. 

After leaving drama school in Manchester he went on to win a recurring role in Z Cars.

However, in 1974, he became the second presenter on a childrens television show which would catapault him from "jobbing actor" to TV icon. That TV show was Rainbow.

Hayes remained in that role until 1992, when Thames Television lost its franchise.

Post-Rainbow, Hayes found it difficult to get stable acting work because of being so heavily identified with Rainbow, and as a result turned to stacking shelves in Sainsbury's, before turning his hand to cab driving before retiring.

One of the little known facts about Rainbow is that Hayes insisted on Zippy being coloured Tangerine rather than his original Blue, on the basis that he was a Dundee United supporter, who play in Tangerine, as opposed to Dundee, who play in Blue.

Sadly, Geoffrey passed away in 2018, aged 76, after a bout of pneumonia.

Danny Glover

Yes thats right, Danny Glover of Lethal Weapon fame as well as The Colour Purple, Witness and Predator 2, was also a San Fransisco Cabbie.

73 year old Glover took to driving a taxi in between acting gigs to make ends meet, before becoming a household name in Lethal Weapon, starring alongdide Mel Gibson.

In 1999, the actor used his leverage as a former San Francisco cab driver to raise awareness about African Americans being passed over for white passengers.

As a result of this New York Mayor, Rudolph Giuliani, launched Operation Refusal, which suspended the licenses of cab drivers who favoured white passengers over black ones.  

Barry Evans

The name Barey Evans doesn't spring off of the tongue like a Geoffrey Hayes or a Danny Glover, but Gulidford born Evans, somewhat unwittingly became a bit of a heart-throb in the 70s after taking a lead role in sitcoms Doctor In The House and Mind Your Language, and starring in Confessions Of A Taxi Driver.

After Mind Your Language finished, Evans struggled to find any regular acting work, in part because of his youthful looking appearance.

As a result, and as if life was imitating art, Evans became a cabbie in Leicestershire.

In 1997, Evans was found dead at his home aged 53. There is some mystery surrounding his death, with the cause of his demise never confirmed by the coroner.

Jimmy Smits

LA Law, NYPD Blue and Star Wars star Jimmy Smits once drove a cab to make ends meet in the 1980s.

The critically acclaimed 63 year old, who also has a Masters in Dramatic Arts from Cornell, became a cabbie for a brief period, before recieving the pilot script for LA Law.

He has since appeared in more than 50 TV series or films. Curiously he was in fact the original partner to Sonny Crockett in Miami Vice, before being killed in the first episode, making way for Philip Michael Thomas to play Ricardo Tubbs.

Paul Stanley

Paul Stanley, AKA The Starchild, real name Stanley Bert Eisen is the guitarist and lead singer with KISS. He is also an occasional actor, appearing on stage in Phantom Of The Opera, as well as voicing himself im Scooby Doo And The Rock And Roll Mystery.

With the early days of KISS, and his previous group Wicked Lester, being rather unstable, and under pain of parental excommunication, Stanley did the only thing any aspiring rocker and actor could do, take a part time job as a cab driver.  

Thankfully for Stanley, his music career took a turn for the slightly more positive and KISS became one of the biggest selling bands on the planet, however the acting career dissapeared without a trace.

Robert De Niro

Well it had to happen, didn't it. Robert De Niro has a New York taxi license.

The 75 yeat old, who has starred in more than 60 films, including Mean Streets, The Deer Hunter, The Godfather, Raging Bull and as a transvestite pirate in Stardust, took it upon himslef to obtain a taxi license in New York, working 12-hour days as a cabby for a month to prepare for his role as the anti-hero Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver.

An unusual fact about De Niro is that he and Marlon Brando are the only actors to win an acadamy award playing the same fictional character, Voto Corleone, in the Godfather.

So there you have it, Rainbow, Lethal Weapon,  Mind Your Language, LA Law, Phantom Of The Opera and Taxi Driver all have one thing in common, cab driving stars.

Image Source: Twitter

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