24TechNews| Great Actors Who Became Famous Later in Life

Samuel L. Jackson

Even though he didn’t get his big break until age 46, playing Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction, Jackson has made more than 100 films, including roles in the Star Wars and Avengers franchises, and has earned the title of the highest-grossing actor of all time. He started his career in stage productions, and had his first film role in the 1973 drama Together For Days.

Lucille Ball

Considered one of America’s most iconic comedians, Lucille Ball had dreams of becoming an actress from the age of 12. A drama teacher told her to “give up” that goal, but Ball persevered, dancing in Broadway chorus lines, working as a model, and landing small parts in films until starring on her own TV show, I Love Lucy, in 1951 with her real-life husband Desi Arnaz. She was 40 years old when the show first aired.

Jane Lynch

Born in 1960, the hilarious and scene-stealing Jane Lynch was 49 years old when she first appeared as Sue Sylvester on the Fox series Glee. The host of Hollywood Game Night appeared in dozens of TV shows and films prior to Glee, including The L Word and The 40-Year-Old Virgin, but it was her Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning turn as the mean yet entertaining cheerleading coach that made her a star.

Jeremy Renner

Best known as Hawkeye in the Avengers franchise, actor Jeremy Renner made a name for himself after starring in the critically acclaimed film The Hurt Locker. Renner received an Oscar nomination for the role, at the age of 37, and since then has become one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood. For two decades prior, Renner had worked steadily in smaller TV and film roles, while renovating houses with his friend to make ends meet.

Jon Hamm

Emmy Award winnerJon Hamm first worked as a drama teacher before deciding to move to Hollywood to pursue acting full time in 1995. After several years of landing small parts in film and television, Hamm was cast as Don Draper in AMC’s Mad Men at the age of 36. The role made him a star, and he’s been working steadily ever since, expanding his repertoire to include voice acting and many comedy roles.

Jessica Chastain

Her first screen role was a spot on ER in 2004, but the Juilliard-educated actress mostly stuck to stage roles until a part in the 2011 film The Help helped her “rise out of obscurity.” She was 33 when she landed the role, and has since gone on to star in popular films like Interstellar and Zero Dark Thirty, earning two Oscar nominations.

Alan Rickman

An accomplished stage actor and a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Rickman didn’t even try his hand at acting until he was 26 years old. He was 42 when Die Hard premiered, and his role as villain Hans Gruber made him internationally recognizable. Some of his other memorable credits include Robin Hood: Prince of ThievesSense and Sensibility and the Harry Potter films. He died of cancer in 2016 at the age of 69.

Melissa McCarthy

The year Melissa McCarthy turned 30, she finally began to get noticed, thanks to a role playing Sookie on the popular series Gilmore Girls. That year she also had roles in the films The KidDrowning Mona and Charlie’s Angels. But it was her unforgettable, Oscar-nominated role in the movie Bridesmaids 11 years later that made her a bona fide star and secured her status as one of the best-loved comedy actresses around.

Ken Jeong

His 2015 television series Dr. Ken wasn’t a far cry from Ken Jeong’s real life. Before his career breakout playing a gangster in the hit comedy The Hangover, Jeong worked as a general practitioner who dabbled in stand-up comedy on the side. He was 40 years old when The Hangover premiered and when he landed the role of Ben Chang on the series Community.

Harrison Ford

Harrison Ford studied English and philosophy in college, but was bitten by the acting bug after taking a drama class. After years of struggling to make it in Hollywood, he landed a small role in the 1973 movie American Graffiti by writer/director George Lucas. Of course it was Ford’s role as Han Solo in the 1977 blockbuster Star Wars that made him famous at the age of 35.

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Kathy Bates

Her first credited screen role was on a 1970 episode of All My Children, and it took 20 more years and many minor parts before Bates became famous for her portrayal of the deranged Annie Wilkes in Misery. Bates was 42 when the film premiered, and won her one and only Oscar for best actress.

Jason Statham

Before he was an action movie hero, The Transporter star Jason Statham performed in his family band, competed in diving at the Olympics, and worked as a model. A stint selling counterfeit jewelry on the streets led to a fateful meeting with director Guy Ritchie. Statham, who had only previously appeared in video shorts, was cast in Ritchie’s popular 1998 film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels at the age of 31, and his path to career stardom was sealed.

Steve Carell

Versatile TV and film star Steve Carell got his first film role—a bit part in Curly Sue­—in 1991. While he worked steadily for the next decade, a small but memorable role as newscaster Evan Baxter in 2003’s Bruce Almighty helped him get the recognition he deserved, and his breakout role as the star of the American version of The Office came soon after. Carell was 43 when the series premiered. He’s been nominated for seven Emmy Awards and one Oscar.

Danny Glover

Best known as Roger Murtaugh in the Lethal Weapon film series, Glover was 41 when he starred in the first instalment. The actor, who is also a community activist, has since gone on to star in several acclaimed TV series and miniseries, earning four Emmy nominations for his work.

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Ty Burrell

Like many actors, Ty Burrell got his foot in the Hollywood door through small roles in movies like Evolution and TV shows like Law & Order. He was 42 years old when the ABC comedy Modern Family premiered, and his hilarious and endearing turn as Phil Dunphy earned him fame and accolades. Burrell won two Emmy Awards for the role. He also voices the dad, Jack Harris, on the Fox animated comedy series Duncanville.

Phylicia Rashad

Actress Phylicia Rashad was 36 when she landed the role that made her famous—Clair Huxtable, matriarch of the family on the hit sitcom The Cosby ShowRashad was an accomplished stage actress, but only had six credited screen appearances before that, including a recurring role on the soap One Life to Live. She’s been nominated for five Emmy Awards, for her work on The Cosby Show, the TV movie A Raisin in the Sun, and most recently for her guest appearances on the NBC series This Is Us.

Kristen Wiig

Kristen Wiig was 32 when she first appeared as a cast member on Saturday Night Live, quickly making a name for herself playing hilarious characters like Sue and Target Lady. It might’ve come as a surprise to those who knew her as a shy university student who avoided public speaking. Thanks to the discovery of her comedy chops, Wiig starred in the popular 2011 comedy Bridesmaids, which she co-wrote, and was catapulted to fame.

Tim Allen

With roots on the stand-up comedy circuit, it took Tim Allen several years to transition from life on the road to a successful Hollywood career. He landed his starring role on the ABC sitcom Home Improvement when he was 38, and won a Golden Globe for his performance in 1995. He is also known as the voice of Buzz Lightyear in the Toy Story franchise, and starred in the TV series Last Man Standing.

Leslie Jones

First hired as a sketch writer on Saturday Night LiveLeslie Jones became one of the show’s regular cast members in 2014. She was 46 at the time, which made her the oldest person to join the show. Before that success, Jones played college basketball, and also honed her skills as a stand-up comic. Since leaving SNL in 2019, she’s used her voice talents in The Angry Birds Movie 2 and was the new host of the series Supermarket Sweep.

Ricky Gervais

Ricky Gervais was 40 when The Office, the series he starred in and co-created with Stephen Merchant, premiered. The success of the show, both in the UK and around the world, made Gervais a household name, though he had been writing for comedy series and sketch shows for years before. He’s written for, directed and appeared in several TV shows and films since The Office ended, and has hosted the Golden Globes award show five times.

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Have you ever wondered if it’s too late to pursue your dreams? Well, the world of acting is filled with inspiring stories of individuals who achieved fame and success later in life. In this article, we will explore the journeys of actors who defied conventional expectations and rose to stardom in their later years. From their struggles to their breakthrough moments, these individuals serve as a reminder that age should never hinder one’s pursuit of passion and success.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Early Life and Career Struggles
  3. Embracing Opportunities
  4. The Breakthrough
  5. Achieving Success
  6. Overcoming Challenges
  7. Legacy and Inspiration
  8. Conclusion
  9. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Early Life and Career Struggles

In this section, we will explore the early lives and career struggles of actors who became famous later in life. Many of these individuals faced numerous challenges, including financial difficulties, lack of opportunities, and personal setbacks. However, their passion for acting and unwavering determination kept them going.

Embracing Opportunities

This section will highlight the importance of embracing opportunities, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem. Actors who became famous later in life often had to start with minor roles, community theater, or independent projects. It was through these experiences that they honed their craft and paved their way to success.

The Breakthrough

Here, we will delve into the breakthrough moments of these actors’ careers. Whether it was a standout performance, a critically acclaimed role, or an unexpected opportunity, these defining moments propelled them into the spotlight and brought them the recognition they deserved.

Achieving Success

This section will explore how actors who became famous later in life achieved success despite the challenges they faced. From securing leading roles in movies and television shows to receiving prestigious awards and accolades, their hard work and talent eventually paid off, proving that age is just a number.

Overcoming Challenges

In this section, we will discuss the various challenges these actors encountered on their path to fame. From battling stereotypes and ageism in the industry to balancing personal responsibilities, they faced adversity head-on and proved their mettle, inspiring others to pursue their dreams fearlessly.

Legacy and Inspiration

This section will focus on the lasting impact and inspiration these actors have left on the entertainment industry and society as a whole. Their stories serve as a testament to the power of perseverance, determination, and following one’s passion, regardless of age or circumstances.


In conclusion, the journey of actors who became famous later in life is a testament to the fact that success knows no age limits. These individuals defied societal norms and overcame numerous obstacles to fulfill their dreams and leave a lasting legacy. Their stories inspire us to never give up on our aspirations and remind us that it’s never too late to chase our passions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Q: Can anyone become an actor later in life? A: Absolutely! Age should never be a deterrent in pursuing a career in acting. With passion, dedication, and perseverance, anyone can achieve their dreams.
  2. Q: Who is an example of an actor who became famous later in life? A: One notable example is Alan Rickman, who gained widespread recognition in his forties for his role as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter film series.
  3. Q: Are there any challenges specific to actors who start their careers later in life? A: Yes, actors who begin their careers later in life may face challenges such as limited opportunities, ageism in the industry, and the need to catch up with younger competitors. However, these challenges can be overcome with perseverance and a strong belief in one’s abilities.
  4. Q: What are some advantages of becoming a famous actor later in life? A: One advantage is the life experience and maturity that older actors bring to their roles. They often bring depth and authenticity to their performances, which resonates with audiences. Additionally, their success serves as an inspiration to others who may be pursuing their dreams later in life.
  5. Q: How can aspiring actors who are starting later in life get started? A: To get started, aspiring actors can take acting classes, join local theater groups, and participate in community productions. Networking with industry professionals, attending auditions, and building a strong portfolio are also essential steps towards pursuing a career in acting.
  6. Q: Are there any famous actors who started their careers later in life and transitioned from other professions? A: Yes, there are several actors who successfully transitioned into acting from other professions later in life. One example is Morgan Freeman, who worked as a mechanic before becoming a renowned actor known for his captivating performances.
  7. Q: What advice do actors who became famous later in life have for aspiring actors? A: Many actors who achieved fame later in life advise aspiring actors to never give up on their dreams. They emphasize the importance of honing their craft, staying committed to continuous learning, and embracing every opportunity that comes their way.
  8. In conclusion, the stories of actors who became famous later in life serve as a testament to the power of perseverance, determination, and following one’s passion. Despite facing challenges and societal expectations, these individuals defied the odds and achieved remarkable success in the acting industry. Their journeys inspire aspiring actors to pursue their dreams fearlessly, regardless of age or circumstances. So, if you’ve ever dreamed of stepping onto the stage or appearing on the silver screen, remember that it’s never too late to make your mark in the world of acting.

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