Los Angeles - George Clooney realised he shouldn't be "embarrassed' about his acting dreams when he played a "male prostitute drug dealer" in a play.
The Monuments Men star credits his role in Vicious - a production based on the last night of doomed Sex Pistols rocker Syd Vicious' girlfriend Nancy Spungen's life - for helping him launch his career as it got him noticed.
He said: "In those days, most small theatre was as much a showcase as anything else. No one would have tape of themselves unless they'd gotten work on a show or a film.
"So agents and casting directors would come to the plays regularly to look for actors - that's how it worked.
"I got an agent from it. I got guest shots on TV shows from it. I got my sag card from it. I always look back at that play as the turning point for me. Later we took it to the Steppenwolf Theatre.
"It was really a terrific play! That was the first time I really felt like, 'OK, I'm in the right business, and I shouldn't be embarrassed about everything I do.'"
Though George, 54, described the play as "incredibly brutal", his role provided the light relief and marked the first time he was singled out for his performance in reviews.
He recalled to New York magazine's beginnings issue: "I played a male prostitute drug dealer and I was the comedy relief, believe it or not.
"It's not often you get reviewed - it was really nice just to be reviewed.
"You do all these little plays and then you get reviewed!
"It was the first play where I was singled out in reviews. Both Variety and the Hollywood Reporter."
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