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I was fired by HBO, reveals Girls star Lena Dunham

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If you needed anymore proof that we all fail at something, listen up to Girls actress Lena Dunham, who has been speaking out about the time she got fired.

Dunham, who created a cult hit with Girls - hailed as the grittier, modern day answer to Sex and The City - said she was "sweetly dismissed" by the powers that be at HBO - the same company that now broadcasts Girls - three years ago.

Talking to US commentator Bill Simmons on his podcast, the 27-year-old actress described a small part she landed on 2011 mini-series Mildred Pierce, co-starring Kate Winslet.

"I got fired off of the one day I did on [Mildred Pierce]," she recalled. "'Fired' might be [a] rough [word] but I got sweetly dismissed from the one day I acted on Mildred Pierce, the HBO miniseries. [...] They told me it was a three-day shoot and halfway through the first day, they were like, 'We got what we needed!'"

"I was given a smaller part as a nurse who was in attendance while Kate Winslet's child dies... I didn't practice. I looked over the script with my mom. [The project] takes place in the 30s so I was like, 'Am I supposed to do any kind of accent?' My mom was like, 'They are hiring you to be you. Just go for it.'"

Dunham improvised, Girls-style, but her performance was not well-received.

"You could just see everybody's faces drop," she said. "It was like I was Ricky Gervais in Extras. They were like, 'This is a fucking disaster... I know I didn't do well because the producer of Mildred Pierce, Ilene Landress, now produces Girls and she said to me that she was auditioning extras in the basement to replace me because that's how bad I was."

Anna Wintour was fired from Harper's Bazaar

Humiliating it may be, but Dunham is in good company when it comes to being fired. A whole host of famous names have also received their P45s and sent packing before they hit the big time.

Lauded Vogue editor Anna Wintour was fired as junior fashion editor on Harper's Bazaar once upon a time, because it was felt her shoots were too edgy. "I recommend that you all get fired," she later told fashion students. Madonna lost her out-of-college job at Dunkin Donuts for squirting jelly over customers and J.K. Rowling spend too much time daydreaming about writing during her desk job at Amnesty International and was quickly shown the door.

Amnesty International let JK Rowling go

Oprah Winfrey was told she was "unfit for television news" by Baltimore's WJZ-TV before becoming the most successful daytime chat show host of all time and legendary writer Truman Capote was given the boot by The New Yorker for attacking poet Robert Frost.

It just goes to show, you can still hit rock bottom and sail sky high. Food for thought as you take a look at our video of Lena talking about being fired to Bill Simmons:

Words: Anna Brech Photos: Rex Features

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