Taxi drivers often welcome celebrities into their cabs – but there have been taxis in which the person behind the wheel was the famous face. And, whatever they went on to do, the taxi driving experience has usually remained close to their hearts.
Many actors take on everyday jobs to help make ends meet in between roles or as they wait for their big break. Some also use it as an opportunity to research characters as they delve into a new role.
So it shouldn’t be a huge surprise to learn that some of Hollywood’s biggest names have been taxi drivers.
In fact, Taxi Driver – one of the most iconic movies from the 1970s – thrust a young Robert De Niro on to the big screen and on his way to become one of Hollywood’s biggest A-listers.
De Niro played Travis Bickle, a mentally unstable Vietnam war veteran who drove a yellow cab at night – while New York was at its sleaziest and most dangerous – and who was at home amid the violence as he tried to free a young prostitute from the grasp of her pimp.
In preparing for the career-defining role, De Niro obtained a full New York taxi license to make sure he understood every part of his character and – complete with public hire insurance – ferried genuine fares around the city for a month.
And Taxi Plus shows how the Taxi and Limousine Commission tweeted a copy of De Niro’s licence which showed that it expired on May 31, 1976 – four months after the film’s release.
Another famous face who used to drive taxis is Lethal Weapon star Danny Glover. As he pursued his dreams of acting, he worked as a cab driver in San Francisco and used the experience to help campaign against cab drivers discriminating against black passengers in New York City.
Driving a cab also set Kiss frontman Paul Stanley on the road to international rock stardom. As he told Arizona Central: “I was a cab driver in New York City, and I remember driving people to Madison Square Garden to see Elvis Presley. I remember sitting in that front seat thinking, ‘One of these days, people are going to be coming here to see me. So, to go from that cab to the stage was a pretty good walk.”
We have also had our fair share of celebrities behind the wheel of taxis on this side of the Atlantic – albeit for a different reason.
The iconic London black cab has become something of a statement vehicle and has been used as personal cars for the late Prince Phillip, supermodel Kate Moss, TV presenter Noel Edmonds, comedian and presenter Stephen Fry, acting great Sir Laurence Olivier and Carry On star Sid James.
So it seems famous faces and taxis go hand in hand, whether they are the passengers or are the ones doing the driving.
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