A lot of us tend to give up on our dreams because we think we’re too old. But no one ever said that there was a deadline on when you can achieve success. Some of our favorite celebs might look like they were born in the spotlight, but they weren’t always as rich and famous as most of us would assume. Take a look at the people on this list. They’re proof that you can pretty much achieve an amazing career after you turn 30. In fact, some of these people didn’t become famous until they were in their late 40s and 50s.It’s hard going a week without hearing Martha Stewart’s name, but that wasn’t always the case. Martha Stewart wasn’t always a media personality. She used to work as a stockbroker in Wall Street. But In 1982, she published her first cookbook at 41 and that’s when this entrepreneur’s career really took off.
If you don’t recall the name Ray Kroc, you should because you probably eat his burgers all the time. Ray Kroc is the founder of McDonald’s, but he didn’t start his restaurant chain until he was 52. So, for all of you out there having a mid-life crisis, just know that if Kroc could open a $600 million restaurant chain, then so can you.
Samuel L. Jackson was always interested in the arts, particularly drama, since he was in his early 20s. Unfortunately, Jackson had to wait a couple of years to achieve his dream. In 1994, he landed the role of Jules Winnfield in Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction.” He was 46 at the time but the movie roles kept pouring in after that.
Kathryn Joosten used to work a psychiatric nurse before making a bold career switch to acting. She joined a community theater when she turned 42, but it would be another 18 years before she would land a major role in “The West Wing” at 60. From that point on, she continued acting for the rest of her natural life.
Stan Lee had been working with comic books since he was 17, but it took a while to publish his work. He started working for Timely Publications as an assistant and then slowly climbed up the company’s ranks. Then, in 1961, he published his first comic book when he was 39, and his imagination blessed us with many iconic characters we love.
You may have seen Jane Lynch in a number of small roles in various films as well as on television. Lynch earned worldwide recognition after she landed a major role on the hit television show “Glee.” She was only 49 at the time, but she was simply unforgettable. It also made her visible to Hollywood producers!
Like most Hollywood actors, Billy Bob Thornton struggled to break into the movie industry quite a bit. The 1980s were not the best years in Thornton’s life. But in 1996, he wrote, directed and starred in the successful film “Sling Blade,” and this got people’s attention. He was 41 and off to a great start later in life.
Colonel Sanders is the founder of that delicious fried chicken from KFC, but he got famous later in life. The Colonel went from being a fireman to a steam engine stoker and then an insurance salesman. He also practiced law. But then he opened his roadside restaurant in the 1930s and then opened his first franchise restaurant in 1952 when he was 62.
Liam Neeson used to be a truck driver and a forklift operator before he achieved Hollywood stardom. Neeson had tried a bunch of professions, and even managed to land his first acting gig at 25. But he didn’t get his big break until he was 40 when he starred in the critically-acclaimed film “Schindler’s List.”
Judging from his work as Tony Soprano, you’d have sworn James Gandolfini had been acting for years. Gandolfini used to work as a bartender and eventually became a club manager. But he didn’t land the lead role in the hit series “The Sopranos” until he was 38. But in our hearts, he will always be Tony Soprano.
Julia Child was known for her TV show and cookbooks but wasn’t always that great at cooking. Child decided to enroll in the Cordon Bleu cooking school in 1948. The classes clearly paid off because she helped countless housewives figure out how to cook right from the TV screen. But she wrote her first book when she was 60 in 1961.
Toni Morrison spent a lifetime working as an editor, but found it tough to become a published writer. Then, at the age of 39, she published her first book in 1970. This led to her becoming one of the most famous novelists in American history. This just proves that if you’re patient, you can succeed at any age.
Back in the 90s, Jonathan Daniel Hamm was a struggling aspiring actor who waited tables to survive. He told himself he would quit acting if he didn’t succeed by the time he was 30. Then, he landed a couple of gigs until he landed a major role in “Mad Men” playing Don Draper. He was 37 at the time.
Danny Trejo wasn’t exactly a model citizen when he was younger, but he was destined for greatness. As a youngster, he struggled with substance abuse and also spent some time behind bars. But when he was 41, he got a role in the film “Runaway Train” which got his Hollywood career started and kept him out of trouble.
Bryan Cranston had made tons of guest appearances on various TV shows before he became famous. He was 44 when he landed his first major role as Hal in “Malcolm in the Middle.” Eight years after starring in the sitcom, his career got a bigger boost when he starred as Walter White in the hit show “Breaking Bad.”
Viola Davis wasn’t exactly a novice in the film industry but she didn’t make a big impact right away. Davis landed a couple of minor roles in several different films. But her big break happened in 2008 when she was 43 and got a role in the film “Doubt.” From that point on, her career in film and television skyrocketed.
Susan Boyle’s musical talent is undeniable and won people’s hearts from different parts of the world. However, the light at the end of the tunnel came in 2009 when she was 47 and appeared in “Britain’s Got Talent.” The competition gave her the chance to show everyone that opportunity knocks at any age and any time.
Seeing Ken Jeong as the funny man he is today, it’s difficult to imagine that used to work as a doctor. Jeong had a decent career as a medical doctor, but he wanted a bigger challenge that the OR simply couldn’t provide. So, he dipped his toes in the acting pool and landed his first big role in the film “Knocked Up” at 38.
You could say that J.K. Rowling is the mother of Harry Potter since she’s the writer that created him. Rowling was juggling divorce, depression, and poverty before she wrote the Harry Potter book series. Then, she wrote the first in a highly successful line of books in 1997. She was only 32, but off to a great start.
Steve Carell seems so comfortable in his Hollywood skin that you’d swear he’d been doing this forever. But Carell didn’t catch his big break in his 20s or 30s. He was 43 when he landed a major role in the popular sitcom “The Office.” This not only made him famous, but it opened up opportunities to venture into films.
When Jessica Chastain graduated from Julliard, she assumed her acting career would take off fast. Unfortunately, Chastain was virtually unknown in Tinsel Town, and she hadn’t had much luck breaking into showbiz. Then, in 2011, the actress did a role in “The Help.” She was 34 and on the Hollywood map… at last!
Harrison Ford would have retired as a simple carpenter if he hadn’t been recruited to save the galaxy. Ford wasn’t happy with the roles Hollywood was giving him, so he became a carpenter. But then, he was offered the role in Star Wars in 1977. He was 35 when he first played Han Solo and Ford has had an amazing career ever since.
Sylvester Stallone has had an illustrious career over the last several decades, but he was a late bloomer.Stallone struggled to find work. He even wound up homeless. Then, his entire life changed for the better when he landed the lead in the film “Rocky” at the tender age of 30. Now, he can’t walk out without someone yelling “Rocky!”
Kerry Washington may seem like a seasoned Hollywood veteran, but she’s relatively new to the game. You might recognize her from her role in the drama series “Scandal.” But this show didn’t just give her career a boost. It was her first major role, and it helped her achieve major stardom at the tender age of 35.