Figures Who Became Famous At An Older Age

When celebrity status arrives later in life.

Stan Lee

These days, we’re often seeing people going viral and getting Instagram famous overnight, which can lead us to think that we have until our late 20s to become famous, and once you hit your mature years that it’s too late. But, this couldn’t be far from the truth as everyone has plenty of opportunity for success within their own timeline. With an investigation carried out by stair lift supplier, Acorn Stairlifts, we found examples of people who didn’t find fame until a little later than usual.

Leonard Cohen

Worldwide breakout work: Songs of Leonard Cohen at age 33

Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen who originally spent his years as a poet and writer before releasing his debut album in 1967. Of course, Cohen would see another surge of popularity across the world through his song ‘Hallelujah’ — the song did not release to much success for Cohen but it ended up being covered by John Cale and later by Jeff Buckley. These covers had found much better footing with critics and casted a new spotlight on Cohen’s original recording.

Stan Lee

Worldwide breakout work: The Fantastic Four at age 39

The late great, Stan Lee, is a surge of Hollywood success from the past few decades after managing to bring his comic books from a more niche geeky market to the realm of ‘cool’ for everyone. You’d be forgiven then for thinking Marvel founder Stan Lee had been relaxing in a successful world for his whole life. Truth be told, Lee didn’t actually find great success for his comic books until the publication of The Fantastic Four in 1961, when Lee was almost 40 years old.

Lee had certainly made up for his late start to stardom, and his comic books have changed the face of cinema with the interconnected ‘cinematic universe’ that will continue in generations to come.

Christoph Waltz

Worldwide breakout role: Inglourious Basterds at age 53

Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained,

Christoph Waltz was originally successful across Europe but had made his worldwide name for himself in 2009’s Inglourious Basterds playing the ruthless Standartenführer Hans Landa. His chilling depiction of a character that director Quentin Tarantino had previously worried was “unplayable”, gained Waltz an Academy Award  a BAFTA, and a Golden Globe — as well as rocketing him into Hollywood fame.

Vera Wang

Worldwide breakout work: The Vera Wang Bridal House at age 41

During her earlier years, Vera Wang was originally a figure skater, and her major worldwide claim to fame didn’t occur until 1990 when she founded her own fashion label. Her desirable fashion garments are no stranger to the rails of high-end retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.

The design that saw Wang becoming a public eye of the world was created in 1994. Wang designed the outfit worn by Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan. The glittering, pearl-white garment was beaded by hand especially for the event.

From his breakout role, Waltz had become a star in many blockbuster movies such as Django Unchained, Big Eyes, and Spectre, where he played fan-favourite and reoccurring Bond villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

J.K. Rowling

Worldwide breakout work: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at age 32

Everyone knows J.K Rowling’s success story as much as the fantasy world she’s created within her books. However, it was story of rags-to-riches, as J. K. Rowling’s manuscript for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was rejected by a number of publishers before finally finding success through Bloomsbury.

By the time her books were published in her home country, she was 32 and her final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released when the author was 42. Since then, J. K. Rowling has enjoyed unparalleled success as a writer and is credited not only with being the creator of some of the world’s most beloved books, but with renewing interest in reading in an increasingly technological world.

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    Mark Fraser Reply

    Morgan Freeman was around 43 when he had a bit part in Brubaker. Samuel Jackson was over 40 when he had a small role in GoodFellas.

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