Before They Were Big: Do You Recognize These Young, (IN)Famous Faces?

It’s a rare thing to catch a glimpse of well-known, famous/infamous people before they came into the public eye, even in today’s technological age.

As generations progress, that will no doubt change, but some noted members of the Baby Boomers and Generation X still enjoy a bit of mystery with regard to their pasts, having come of age before the Digital Age.

Or should we say enjoyed?

Here’s a look at some of those who’ve shaped the modern socio-political and cultural landscape before they came to our attention.

Think of it as a look behind the curtain in The Wizard of Oz, a view of how they looked before they, for better or worse, were thrust into global consciousness.

Some are dead ringers for their former selves.

Some will shock you with their youthful normalcy.

Some will make you wonder what happened to make them turn out the way they did.

Regardless of your reaction, here’s a glimpse into who they were before they became the people we know them to be now.


The woman born Norma Jeane Mortenson would come to be known as sex symbol Marilyn Monroe.

Joseph Stalin

A young Joseph Stalin, before his days as a despot.

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein, long before the greatness that would await him later in life.

Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Laden studied judo in the 1980s in Saudi Arabia.

Bill MurrayBill Murray’s yearbook photo. Did he go to school with Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer from the Little Rascals? (no)

Michelle Obama

Has Michelle Obama actually gotten younger through the years?

Barack Obama

That’s just a regular cigarette, right future President Barack Obama?

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Aside from the hair, young JFK looks exactly the same as the man he would grow into.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio

Young Jorge Mario Bergoglio, long before he would ascend to the role of Bishop of Rome as Pope Francis.

Rob Ford

The Mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, as a younger man.

Muhammed Ali

Born Cassius Clay Jr., here’s a look at boxer Muhammed Ali before he became “the greatest.”

Nicholas Coppola

Nicholas Cage, a man who never met a role he didn’t like.

Steven Seagal

Steven Seagal, who apparently bore a tremendous likeness to Moe Howard at some point.

Bill And Hillary

President Bill Clinton and Senator Hillary Clinton, back when Bill was auditioning for the part of The Dude in The Big Lebowski.

John Lennon

A young John Lennon doing his best James Dean back in Liverpool.

Nelson Mandela

The late Nelson Mandela as a younger man.

Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin, before he lost all his hair wrestling bears in Siberia.


Future Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.

Fidel CastroFidel Castro, before the beard.


A younger Karol Wojtyła, who would later be known to the world as Pope John Paul II.

George W. Bush

President George Walker Bush during his days at Yale.

Lawrence Tero

Pity the fool who doesn’t recognize a young Laurence “Mr. T” Tero.

Elvis Presley

Elvis Aron Presley, before he became The King.

Richard Nixon

President Richard Milhous Nixon, football player for Whittier College.

Queen Elizabeth

OK, so a member of the Royal Family was never really an unknown. Nevertheless, here is a younger Queen Elizabeth II.

Kim Jong un

A young Kim Jong-un.

Kim Jong-il

Young Kim Jong-il with his father, Kim Il-sung.

Chuck Norris And Bruce Lee

Young Chuck Norris And Bruce Lee.