These Celebrity Late Bloomers Will Make You Feel Better About Your Career
With a constant flow of thrilling success stories about superyoung celebrity megastars — like Jennifer Lawrence, Ansel Elgort, and Kendall Jenner, to name a few — it can be easy to think you're going nowhere fast. But what we often neglect to remember is that plenty of celebrities don't achieve success until later in life. Kristen Wiig didn't start delivering all those SNL zingers until she was 32, and Jon Hamm didn't start delivering his memorable performances until he was almost 40! Even the endlessly stunning Lupita Nyong'o didn't receive industry praise until she was 30, when she won an Oscar for her role in 12 Years a Slave. Still doubting that you can achieve plenty after your 20s? Keep reading to see all the huge stars who hit it big later in life.
- Breakout Role: It's true, Melissa McCarthy played a huge part on Gilmore Girls in 2000, but her hilarious Bridesmaids character took her to an entirely new level of fame.
- Melissa's Age at the Time: 30 during Gilmore Girls, 41 during Bridesmaids
- Breakout Role: Jon had small roles on Providence and The Division in his early years of acting. Nevertheless, it was his iconic Mad Men character, Don Draper, whom he began playing in 2007, that made him a household name.
- Jon's Age at the Time: 36
- Breakout Role: Harrison Ford had plenty of acting experience under his belt before he was cast in 1977's Star Wars: Episode IV, it's true. But Han Solo was how he really achieved heartthrob status.
- Harrison's Age at the Time: 35
- Breakout Role: Misery, the 1990 adaptation of Stephen King's novel, was a game changer for Kathy Bates, who earned an Oscar and a Golden Globe for the role.
- Kathy's Age at the Time: 43
- Breakout Role: Leslie Jones has tons of film and TV credits going all the way back to 1998, but it wasn't until 2014 that she really started making a name for herself. The actress joined Saturday Night Live's cast, and it all took off from there!
- Leslie's Age at the Time: In 2014, when Leslie first started appearing in SNL episodes, she was 47 years old.
- Breakout Role: Before she was dealing her savage blows as Sue Sylvester on Glee, Jane had audiences laugh out loud at her performances in Christopher Guest's classic mockumentaries. The first of these, Best in Show, came out in 2000.
- Jane's Age at the Time: 40
- Breakout Role: Lupita's first feature film role (which she won an Oscar for, by the way) was in 2013's 12 Years a Slave.
- Lupita's Age at the Time: 30
- Breakout Role: Just like Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig made it big on SNL. She joined the cast in 2005.
- Kristen's Age at the Time: 32
- Breakout Role: Steve Carell's comedic genius was first notably recognized when he played Evan Baxter, the unfortunate newscaster in 2003's Bruce Almighty.
- Steve's Age at the Time: 39
- Breakout Role: Connie had smaller recurring roles on a number of shows including The West Wing, 24, and Spin City, but Friday Night Lights really made her a household name in 2006.
- Connie's Age at the Time: 39
- Breakout Role: Amy Poehler wasn't an SNL cast member until 2001.
- Amy's Age at the Time: 30
Samuel L. Jackson
- Breakout Role: Although Samuel has plenty of credits dating before it, his role in 1994's Pulp Fiction continues to be one of his most iconic performances.
- Samuel's Age at the Time: 46
- Breakout Role: Jessica's big break came in 2011, when she acted opposite Brad Pitt in Tree of Life.
- Jessica's Age at the Time: 34
- Breakout Role: Alan played Hans Gruber in Die Hard in 1988, and it only got better from there.
- Alan's Age at the Time: 42
- Breakout Role: It was The Cosby Show, which premiered in 1984, that really carved out Phylicia's place in Hollywood.
- Phylicia's Age at the Time: 36
- Breakout Role: Tim Allen's most iconic role to this day has been as the star of Home Improvement, which first began airing in 1991.
- Tim's Age at the Time: 38