Top 10 List of Actors Who Found Fame Later in Life

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  • Top 10 List of Actors Who Found Fame Later in Life 

    You’re never too old to become a successful actor! 

    (By Carmichael Phillips)


    “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” 
    (George Eliot)

    You may have been putting in the work for years, without much success. You might feel like it’s time to quit and move on to other endeavors.

    But before you do, consider the fact that many of your favorite actors have walked in your shoes. They thought about hanging it up after years of disappointment. But eventually their moment came.

  • Here is our top 10 list of actors who achieved success later in life:


    Christoph Waltz

    Christoph Waltz’s career as an actor was rather obscure, until he was 51 – yes, 51 – when acclaimed director, Quentin Tarantino, offered him the role of SS Officer Hans Landa in the 2009 film, Inglourious Basterds. He has won 2 Academy Awards and a Golden Globe since then.



  • Judi Dench

    Dame Judi Dench was barely known to American audiences until she was cast to play James Bond’s boss in GoldenEye. She was 61.


    Morgan Freeman

    Morgan Freeman might have been known to some, but he certainly wasn’t known to many until he was 52, when he played Hoke Colburn in Driving Miss Daisy.



  • Samuel L. Jackson

    Sam Jackson found meaningful acting work, but never found fame until he was 45, when he played Jules Winnfield in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction.


    Billy Bob Thornton

    Billy Bob Thornton had to write, direct and star in his own film to break into the entertainment business. The film: Sling Blade (1996). His age: 39.



  • Jon Hamm

    Jon Ham was 36, when he finally found success, after he was cast to play Don Draper in AMC’s Mad Men.



  • Steve Carell

    Steve Carell never achieved great success until America discovered his comedic genius when he played Michael Scott, the lead character in NBC’s The Office. He was 43.


    Ricky Gervais

    Speaking of The Office, there was also a British version of the same show. The British version made Ricky Gervais a star, at 40.



  • Ann Dowd

    Ann Dowd struggled for years to find the same success she witnessed her actor-friends achieve. While they found success, Dowd toiled and struggled until she landed a breakthrough role in the movie Compliance. Dowd was 56!


    Estelle Getty

    And, finally, we had to save the best for last. Estelle Getty became a star and household name when she was cast to play the quick-witted elder of the foursome of women roommates on the hit comedy series, The Golden Girls. Getty was 62.


    There you have it folks. Our top 10 list of actors who found acting success later in life. Let us know if we’ve left anyone out who deserves to be in the top 10. We’re sure we have, because there are so many. So, if you feel like you’re too old to begin an acting career, or too old to continue one, just remember one thing: it can be done because it has been done!


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