It can seem like if you haven’t made in Hollywood by the time you reach 20 there’s no use even trying after. But that’s just not true. There are some true legends out there who achieved success way past their 30th birthday and they’re the people you should look up to. Let’s take a look at 12 people who became famous later in life.
1. J.K. Rowling
The legend that created the magical world of Harry Potter was going through some very difficult times before she achieved success. She was poor, depressed and struggling to support her child after a divorce. She was 32 when the first book in the HP series “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” got published and the rest is history. Now she’s known as the woman who not only created a magical world that shaped an entire generation, but also the writer who wrote the best-selling book series in history.
2. Samuel L. Jackson
Everyone knows Samuel L. Jackson, he’s been in over a 100 movies at this point, but he started out quite late for an actor. He got interested in pursuing this career in his early 20’s but his success only came after he starred in Pulp Fiction. He was 46 at the time, which just proves it’s never too late, you just gotta work hard and keep going.
3. Oprah Winfrey
Before Oprah became the famous woman that she is now she used to work as a news anchor on TV and got fired for being too emotional. It could’ve derailed someone’s career but Oprah isn’t one to quit. She kept at it and at 32 the first episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show aired.
These days Oprah is one of the richest and most influential women in the world and is known for giving presents to guests on her show. There’s been shows where literally everyone in the audience got new cars.
4. Morgan Freeman
Morgan Freeman is basically considered to be Hollywood royalty now, but he didn’t start out this way. He wanted to be an actor since he was a little boy, but instead chose to be an Airforce pilot first. Eventually his passion for acting prevailed and he left the Air Forces, but his big brake didn’t come until he was 50 and got a role in Street Smart.
5. Martha Stewart
Martha Stewart is known as a domestic goddess all over the world, but she only reached that level of success when she published her first cookbook at the age of 41. She was a successful entrepreneur before but when it comes to worldwide fame she was a late bloomer. And what’s more, Stewart definitely had a nasty run in with the law and even had to serve a prison sentence at the age of 63 yet she overcame that and is still extremely popular to this day.
6. Steve Carell
Steve Carell used to be a mailman in his 20s but decided to pursue a career in comedy and acting. Let’s just say it took him more than a decade to get his big break. Sure he appeared in some shows and movie but Steve was 43 when he finally scored his famous role of Michael Scott in the Office that brought him worldwide fame and success.
7. Viola Davis
Viola Davis realized she loves acting back when she was still in high-school so she chose to become an actress. She appeared in lots of movies, but didn’t really feel like she made it until she got her role in Doubt at the age of 43. She had only one scene in that movie but it was so good she got an Oscar nomination for it.
8. Harrison Ford
Did you know that before Harrison Ford became the famous sex symbol that is Han Solo he used to be a self-taught carpenter? That’s right, it’s a job he decided to do to support his family for a while, because he felt like he was getting the wrong roles and wasn’t happy with his film career. He was 35 when he got that Star Wars role that changed his life forever.
9. Jessica Chastain
Actresses generally start worrying about their career in Hollywood rather early, because a lot of the time if you haven’t made it in your 20s – you’re basically doomed to play someone’s mom and never be in the spotlight again. But Jessica Chastain proved that wrong by achieving world fame at the age of 34 when she got her role in The Help.
10. Christoph Waltz
Christoph Waltz has been an actor since his 20s but you probably never heard of him until he appeared in Inglourious Basterds at the age of 53. Yup it was a long wait for worldwide recognition and fame but definitely worth it, don’t you think? It would’ve been really sad if he gave up earlier and we never would’ve found out about this amazing Austrian actor.
11. Jon Hamm
Jon Hamm’s career had a very slow start. Back in the 90s he was still waiting tables to support himself and going to auditions in his free time. He literally promised himself he would give up on acting if he didn’t make it by 30. Lucky for us, he got enough work to not quit that early on, because the famous role of Don Draper in Mad Men that made him famous only came around when he was 37.
12. Billy Bob Thornton
Billy Bob Thornton has multiple film awards under his belt yet he was having a hard time supporting himself as an actor at first. He used to take all sorts of jobs between auditions to make ends meet. He worked in telemarketing and the fast food industry. He was 41 when he finally had his breakthrough in the film Sling Blade, which he wrote, directed and starred it. You could say he made his own luck and has only himself to thank for his success.