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18 People Who Achieved Success Late in Life

Amita Ray
It is easy to give up or settle for something less when all your attempts to achieve your dreams seem to fail. Here are some people who stuck to their guns and continued even as the going got tough and finally became famous, so what if it came a little late!
❝Never give up on what you really want to do. The person with big dreams is more powerful than one with all the facts.❞
― Albert Einstein
They say 'smooth sailing never makes a good sailor'. Similarly, the only way we grow and evolve in life is by overcoming the difficulties that we face. No matter what you do, life is always going to throw you a curveball every now and then. The only way out is to way face them head on and swing hard.
When you keep trying and don't get anywhere, you're exhausted after the endless unsuccessful attempts you've made. These are the true testing times, it is at times like these that the words "I quit!" would come to you very easily. But these words are actually friendly-looking foes that could make you give up when success may be just around the corner.
So what if you're thirty-something and still haven't settled down, you don't own a nice car, or have your own place? Everyone has their own time to shine; all that matters is you don't stop working hard for what you want. Success will definitely come to you, and believe us, when we say it's going to be that much sweeter!
Don't believe us? That's fine, we come with back up! Here are some real-life stories of famous people who should've given up long before they achieved success (thank God they didn't).

People Who Became Famous Late in Life


Started her own label of bridal wear at 40

Prior Success
Figure skater, Senior Editor at Vogue, Design Director at Ralph Lauren (till 1989)

Wang realized the need of fabulous gowns a bride may need while shopping for her wedding dress! She has dressed Jennifer Garner, Alicia Keys, Victoria Beckham, basically anybody who's somebody on their wedding.


First grabbed attention in Broadway at the age of 41
Debuted in movies with Die Hard at the age of 42

Prior Success
Owned a graphics design business, Graphiti

Rickman is well-known for his film performances in Robin Hood:Prince of Thieves as the Sheriff of Nottingham, and as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series.


Got a role in the TV series Desperate Housewives at 56

Prior Success
Began her career as a psychiatric nurse
Street performer in Disney World, Orlando
She has guest appearances in television series such as Home Improvement, Picket Fences, Dharma & Greg. Before her gig in Desperate Housewives, she played the role of Mrs. Landingman in The West Wing.


Became publisher of Timely Comics (now Marvel) at 50

Prior Success
Did odd jobs at Timely Comics
Joined the US Army

The creator of characters like Hulk, Thor, Spiderman, etc., initially repaired telegraph poles in the army. Later on, he was given the post of playwright in the army, which according to Stan Lee himself only 8 others were offered.


Shot to fame at 48, via the show Britain's Got Talent

Prior Success
Was misdiagnosed with learning disability, later found to be Asperger's syndrome
Was a trainee cook
Sang in her Church

In a few minutes on the show, her mezzo soprano voice mesmerized the audience! Within hours, her singing video was viral. She came second on the show.


Came into limelight at 45 with Oscar-winning role in the movie Amadeus

Prior Success
Few commercials and voice-overs
He won Academy Award for Best Actor for his role of Antonio Salieri in Amadeus. He worked in All the President's Men, Scarface, and The Grand Budapest Hotel. We cannot skip his work in the award-winning television series Homeland.


Noticed for his performance in the movie Driving Miss Daisy at 52

Prior Success
Short appearances in movies, appeared in TV shows for kids

Freeman first wowed audience and got Oscar nomination for his role in Street Smart. He won Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for Million Dollar Baby. He is known for his deep and smooth voice.


First substantial role in comedy series Malcolm in the Middle at 44

Prior Success
Few commercials and voice-overs, small roles in movies

Best known for his role as Walter White in the TV series Breaking Bad. He won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in Drama 4 times (3 consecutive wins) and 5 Golden Globe nominations and one win!


Got his claim to fame with the television series The Office at 40

Prior Success
Aspired to be a pop star

After a not-so-successful career in pop music, Gervais became the manager of the band Suede. Got his own comedy chat show Meet Ricky Gervais before achieving greater successes in The Office and Extras.


Noticed for his work in Single Blade

Prior Success
Played drums and sang
He debuted in thriller One False Move, which he co-wrote. He was noticed for his work in Single Blade; this time he not only just star and write the movie, but directed it. He was nominated for Academy Award for Best Actor and won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.


Got fame by American version of The Office

Prior Success
Worked as a mail carrier, did commercials, performed in theater
He got Golden Globe Award for The Office, nominated as "America's funniest man" in Life magazine. He starred in The 40-Year-Old-Virgin, Get Smart, Crazy, Stupid, Love. Was nominated for Academy Award for Best Actor for Foxcatcher.


Published her first cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking at 49
Debuted The French Chef, very own television series at 51

Prior Success
Worked at Office of Strategic services
Was too tall to join the Women's Army or Navy
Learned about French cuisine at the age of 40
Julia Child can be singled-handedly credited for introducing the American public to the gastronomic wonders of French cuisine. Her first cookbook is considered a seminal culinary work.


Published his first book, The Invisible Wall: A Love Story That Broke Barriers at 96

Prior Success
Retired at 62; worked as a magazine editor
For a movie production company
Bernstein wrote books like The Dream at 97, The Golden Willow at  98 and What Happened to Rose, released posthumously. He took to writing after the death of his wife of 67 years.


Published the first Thesaurus at 73

Prior Success
Roget published the Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases,which was the first to have classified collection of related words. In addition, Roget wrote numerous scientific papers on health and physiology and has a profound role in the establishment of the University of London.


Authored the Little House on the Prairie books at 69

Prior Success
Worked as a columnist and editor for Missouri Ruralist
With great encouragement by her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane who helped her edit and publish the book, Wilder wrote these novels based on her growing up in a settler family. This book later inspired a television series of the same name starring Melissa Gilbert.


Published the book "On the Origin of Species" at 50

Prior Success
His father sent him to learn Bachelor of Arts
Was to be Priest

Darwin is hands down one of the most influential people in history. The father of evolution is known for his theory on Natural selection, commonly known as 'survival of the fittest' to the common man.

Anna Mary Robertson Moses

Became a professional painter at 78

Prior Success
Worked on the field
Known as Grandma Moses, Anna took her love of painting professional a year before she passed away. But in a year, her art was well received by masses. Her works have been sold the world over and graced a few greeting cards. Her work, 'Sugaring Off' sold for 1.2 million dollars in 2006, and her 'Fourth of July' painting is displayed in the White House.


Was the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage at 64

Prior Success
Attempted four times before succeeding.
Was expelled from Emory University for jumping off the fourth floor window with a parachute.
She was the first to swim 110 miles to reach Florida from Havana, Cuba. She once ranked 13 among women squash player in America. She also happens to be a journalist, motivational speaker, and an author.