ROCK HUDSON's first screen test for 20th Century-Fox was so bad it was shown to other aspiring actors as an example of how NOT to act.

GENE HACKMAN and DUSTIN HOFFMAN were both voted "least likely to succeed" at the Pasadena Playhouse in California. They went on to win two Oscars apiece.

JIMMY DURANTE was told his big nose would keep him from having a showbiz career. Instead, he turned it into an asset. By calling himself "The Schnozz" and cracking jokes about his prominent proboscis, he became one of America's most beloved entertainers.

A young vaudeville comic named Nathan Birnbaum got tossed out of one theater after another. He reputation was so bad he had to keep changing his name to get jobs. But after teaming with a lady named Gracie Allen, he gained lasting fame as GEORGE BURNS.

A young actor named Archibald Leach was rejected by Paramount because he had a thick neck and was bow-egged. He later shot to glory as movie heartthrob CARY GRANT.

After an aspiring author sent her manuscript to a publisher, an editor scathingly called her writing "painfully dull, inept, clumsy, undisciplined, rambling and thoroughly amateurish." But JACQUELINE SUSANN's book, VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, sold 29 million copies!

In 1966 actor RICHARD ATTENBOROUGH began trying to get financial backing for an historical biography. But a studio head told him, "Nobody is interested in a man dressed in a sheet." Attenborough finally raised the money from private sources... and 1982's GANDHI won eight Oscars.

CLARK GABLE worked hard to get a screen test, only to be turned down by producer Darryl F. Zanuck... who shouted in Gable's presence, "His ears are too big. He looks like an ape."

SALLY JESSY RAPHAEL was fired 18 times from showbiz jobs. She tried out for 134 commercial voice-overs and never got a single one. Sally even lived in her car and went on food stamps before she became a talk show host and won two Emmys.