Celebrities Who Became Famous When They Were Older

It’s never too late to live your dream if your dream is to become famous as these superstars prove…

As we live through early 2019, many people will be focusing on their New Year’s resolutions, some may be focused on ways to improve their health and fitness, whilst others may be looking to change their careers, feeling that they’ve hit a wall in their current jobs.

If you’re like many of us who move into our elder years and feel like we’ve missed the chance to pursue our dream jobs, than we may want to think again. Global stairlift manufacturer, Acorn Stairlifts looks into a list of famous figures who didn’t become famous until they were older.

Stan Lee

Stan Lee

We start with the late great Stan Lee, who many of us are familiar with his Marvel legacy over the past decade or so. The huge number of superheroes which have appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since Iron Man was released in 2008 all came to be thanks to the amazing vision of Stan Lee. However, don’t think that Lee started coming up with ideas for characters with phenomenal powers by doodling in school — he didn’t create his first comic title (The Fantastic Four, for the record) until 1961, when he was 39.

Stanley Martin Lieber was born in 1922 and chose to shorten his name once he became a writer, he was hired to be an office assistant at Timely Comics in 1939. During the early 1940s, he became one of the company’s interim editors and also served domestically in the Army throughout the Second World War by working as a writer and illustrator.

It was 1960, that Timely Comics had changed its name to Marvel Comics. Its boss sought out Lee and gave him a challenge of creating a series which could hold its own against DC Comics’ popular Justice League of America series. The Fantastic Four would be the result of that challenge, with Spider-Man, X-Men, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Black Panther, Captain America and so many more joining the cast in the years that followed.

During his later years, he became associated with a new generation of Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, that fans are familiar with his humorous cameo appearances in. Even after his death in November 2018, fans still can see him on the big screen when he appears in 2019 blockbusters Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame.

Samuel L Jackson

Speaking of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, our beloved Nick Fury is play by none other than Samuel L. Jackson who undoubtedly is one of most recognizable faces in Hollywood and is also recognized as Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction and Mace Windu in Star Wars.

However, Hollywood wasn’t waiting for to him straight after acting school. In fact, his big break didn’t come until he appeared in Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever in 1991 — at the age of 43!

Before his acting career took off, Jackson had graduated from Morehouse College in 1972 and then performed sketches on racial inequality with a theatre company. However, things could have turned out so differently. This is because in 1969 — while in his junior year at Morehouse College — Jackson protested the absence of black people on the board of trustees in a move that saw several board members locked in a building for two days. Jackson was subsequently expelled from the college and went about working as a social worker for two years in Los Angeles. During that time, he got inspired to act, managed to return to Morehouse College to study acting and eventually received his degree.

As we’ve mentioned, Jackson’s big break came to him by featuring in Jungle Fever and by the age of 63, he had been in over 100 movies. In 2011, he also received the accolade of being the highest grossing actor of all time with over $7.2 billion in wealth. An extraordinary feat by any standards, but even more impressive when you think about the age that Jackson started to get recognized on the big screen.

Colonel Sanders

The familiar face of the classic KFC logo, Colonel Sanders was formally known as Harland Sanders. That’s right, the face in the logo isn’t a mascot but actually a gleeful mugshot of the chain’s original founder. Perhaps surprisingly, Colonel Sanders didn’t franchise the company until he was aged 62 in 1952.

Sanders had always been a hard worker since a young age, as he become responsible for caring for his younger brother and sister at the age of 6 after his had father passed away. From the age of 10, Sanders held jobs such as being a farmer, a streetcar conductor, a railroad fireman and an insurance salesman.

During the age of 40, it was his stint running a service station in Kentucky that set-in motion events that would transform Sanders into Colonel Sanders. Part of his responsibilities was to feed travelers who visited the establishment, with the food proving so popular that Sanders eventually made the call to move his operation to a nearby restaurant. A fried chicken became the key dish here, to the point of popularity that Kentucky’s Governor Ruby Laffoon gave Sanders the title of being a Kentucky colonel in 1935.

It was in 1952, when Sanders decided to close his sole restaurant in favor of franchising his chicken business. He initially toured the US, cooking batches of chicken at restaurants that he visited and then securing deals that saw him being paid a nickel for every chicken that an eatery sold. Kentucky Fried Chicken went public in 1966 and the rest, as they say, is history.

Vera Wang

Vera Wang

Moving into the fashion world, Vera Wang is recognized across the globe today as one of the premier women’s designers. What you might not know though is that the American fashion designer didn’t enter the fashion industry until she was 40 — she was first a promising figure skater and then a journalist ahead of this career move.

Wang was once a figure skater when she was just 6 years old and she competed professionally in the sport during her teen years, coming in 5th in the junior pair competition in 1968 and 1969 US National Championship alongside her partner, James Stuart.

Within her graduation year from college, Wang had suffered a blow of failing to join the US Olympic team and had given up on her skating career in 1971. In the same year, she was invited to start working for Vogue magazine. Within a year and only aged 23, Wang received a promotion to become the publication’s senior fashion editor — a role that saw her become the youngest ever editor of the magazine’s fashion segment.

In 1987, Vera had made another major adjustment to her working life as she left Vogue and became an accessories design director for Ralph Lauren. Within two years, she had successfully created 13 accessories lines at the renowned fashion house.

It was her eye for fashion that took a new meaning while preparing to marry longtime boyfriend Arthur Becker in 1989. Annoyed with the designs available to her on the market, Wang sketched her own design for bridal wear and then commissioned a dressmaker to tailor her own elaborate wedding gown. A year later, Wang received support from both her now husband and her father so that she could open the doors of her own bridal boutique in New York City’s Carlyle Hotel.

The next few years after, Wang had welcomed Jennifer Lopez, Kate Hudson, Victoria Beckham, Ivanka Trump and Kim Kardashian as clients, and seen her wedding dresses being seen on hit TV shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Gossip Girl and Sex and the City. Wang even designed a hand-beaded ensemble that was worn by figure skater Nancy Kerrigan at the 1994 Olympic Games.

Hopefully, the four examples above will inspire you say it’s never too late to make a change to your career and pursue your dream job. All that’s left to say is to wish you all the best with your pursuits!

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