With the plethora of stars who grace the screens in their teens and twenties and magazines that constantly laud a “young Hollywood,” it can seem that in order to become successful, actors have to race against the clock to land that big role early in their life. Fortunately for those who are past their twenties and still hoping to make it big, many celebrities didn’t actually become famous until they were well into their thirties or later, a good reminder for us all that it is never too late to dream of making it big.
14 Alan Rickman
The British star who has been known for many critically acclaimed roles throughout the years, from “Die Hard” to “Love Actually” and “Harry Potter,” actually worked as a graphic designer before he decided to make a career change and pursue acting. For a while, Alan Rickman was involved in many British theatre groups, and finally at age 39 was cast in his first breakout role in the show “Les Liaisons Dangereuses,” which earned him a Tony Award nomination. Since then, he has enjoyed a tremendous career in Britain and the U.S. in many prestigious film and theatre roles and has a net worth of $16 million.
13 Harrison Ford
12 Jon Hamm
Now well known for playing the role of ad exec Don Draper in “Mad Men,” Jon Hamm actually spent most of his twenties and thirties as a struggling actor in Los Angeles, only making minor appearances in some television series. When he finally landed his breakout role as Don Draper in 2007, he was in his mid-thirties. In 2008, he earned a Golden Globe Award for the role and has since received several Emmy nominations.
11 Jane Lynch
10 Gene Hackman
9 Kristin Wiig
8 Tim Allen
7 Samuel Jackson
Early in his life, Samuel Jackson was a civil rights movement activist and a social worker. After changing majors several times in college, he finally decided to study drama. Although he had several small roles early in his career, he didn’t land a major role until he was 45 in the movie “Pulp Fiction.” He received an Oscar nomination for the role. Since then, he has consistently been a box office star and has an estimated net worth of $150 million.
6 Lucille Ball
Famous for her iconic role in “I Love Lucy,” Lucille Ball actually spent decades as a struggling actress in New York City. She landed a few modeling jobs and small film roles, but never managed to escape the label of being a “B list” actress. Then, in 1951 at the age of 40, she created the classic television series, starring in it as well as becoming the first woman in television to become the head of a production company. She won four Emmy awards during the show’s run.
5 Melissa McCarthy
In her thirties, comedian Melissa McCarthy had a steady supporting role on the television series “Gilmore Girls” and co-starred in the sitcom “Mike and Molly,” but she really hit it big when she was featured in the 2011 movie “Bridesmaids” at the age of 40. Since then, she has had several major feature film roles including “Identity Thief” and “The Heat.”
4 Tina Fey
3 Amy Poehler
2 Steve Carell
1 Naomi Watts
The British-Australian actress Naomi Watts began her career with small acting roles in Australia, and after moving to the U.S., landed a few small roles in film and television. However, she finally earned attention by critics in Hollywood for her work in “Mulholland Drive” in 2001 when she was in her 30s. Since then, she has been in several other acclaimed roles and has earned Oscar and Golden Globe nominations.