The Friday Five – Famous Van Drivers

This week’s Friday Five looks at the top five famous van drivers that later shot to fame. Did you know that Elvis used to need commercial vehicle insurance? Neither did we, until now! Have a look at our Friday Five below; we hope you find it as entertaining as we did.

  1. Sean Connery – Milkman

Somehow it just doesn’t have the same effect as a Martini. Before taking on his breakthrough role as James Bond, Connery’s first job was as a milkman in Edinburgh.

“I’ll have a milk, shaken not stirred.”

He worked for St. Cuthbert’s Co-Operative society for 15 years. Milk floats have a more unconventional appearance, compared to regular vans. The rear storage has no sides which enables the driver to easily offload crates of milk.

However, it requires drivers to be quite skilled, as a wrong turn could lead to disastrous consequences. But then again there’s no use crying over spilt milk.


  1. Elvis Presley – Truck Driver

Before becoming ‘The King of Rock & Roll’, his highness had to pay his dues by working as a delivery truck driver for 14 months until his big break came along.

He worked for Crown Electric company and began studying to be an apprentice Electrician but then opportunity called, literally. Sam Phillips, founder of Sun Records, invited Elvis into the studio and his journey to stardom continued from there.


  1. Barry Manilow – Beer Deliveryman

As a teenager, before he was singing songs about Mandy and the “the hottest spot north of Havana”, young Barry Manilow delivered beer. This temporary occupation seemed to run in the family as his father and step-father were both beer truck drivers.

Barry worked for Schaefer Brewery but was later fired for a rookie mistake. He left the truck door open and consequently spilled all the beer onto the road.

“Oh Barry, you came and you drove without delivering, so they sent you away…”

[image credit – Matt Becker aka Weatherman90 on Wikimedia]

  1. Walt Disney – Ambulance Driver

The man who is responsible for providing millions of families with heart-warming films and iconic characters did not choose animation as his first choice of career. Despite showing an early sign of what he was destined to do by becoming a cartoonist for his high school newspaper, Walt dropped out at 16 to join the army.

He was rejected for being underage and joined the Red Cross instead where he drove an ambulance in France. After this brief career change he continued on his creative career path.

Today in the UK a majority of Ambulances are Mercedes-Benz Sprinters, but around the 1920s van designs were based on the Czech manufactured Tatra.

[image credit – ARomanJ on Wikimedia]

  1. Benny Hill – Milkman

British born funny man, Benny Hill, had a career bringing laughter to the nation. Before being bitten by the showbiz bug, Benny worked in Woolworths. He had a variety of jobs here including bridge operator, regular driver and milkman.

The now defunct high street chain, which now operates online, provided children’s clothes, toys, stationary, household goods and most famously pick ‘n’ mix sweets.

It was during the time of WWII that Benny Hill worked for the retailer which had over 400 chains at this point.


[image credit – Ricardo Liberato on Wikimedia]

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