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The 10 Richest Actors Who Made It Later In Life

When it comes to fame and fortune, they're elusive prizes in an over-subscribed lottery. The glamourous institutions of television and film are cutthroat worlds of competition for hopeful actors and i

When it comes to fame and fortune, they're elusive prizes in an over-subscribed lottery. The glamourous institutions of television and film are cutthroat worlds of competition for hopeful actors and it's generally believed that the younger you start to pursue fame, the more likely you'll be to finally obtain it. And while that does seem to be true for the majority of successful Hollywood actors, there are a minority who started their acting careers later in life and become famous stunningly quickly. Find that hard to believe? Take Harrison Ford; before Star Wars, he was building cabinets and making a living as a carpenter. But after he met George Lucas, who was a client, he was cast as Han Solo in “Star Wars” at the age of 30.

Some actors on our list hadn't even set foot on a stage or appeared on screen before the age of 30. Of course there are other actors who sweated away throughout their careers with roles on stage, in B movies, and with small parts on television shows throughout their teens, twenties, and thirties without ever becoming household names. But a lucky few found their careers started to really take off in their late thirties and early forties.

The following are ten of the very richest actors in the world today who achieved fame when they were in the late summer or the autumn of their lives, in their late thirties and beyond. While by traditional standards we'd hardly consider 37 ancient, this is certainly older by Hollywood's standards. If you're a young, career-focused individual facing a quarter-life crisis right now, let this list serve as an inspiration. These 10 actors prove it's never too late to start following your dream.

10 Jane Lynch – $5 million

If there's any actor that Hollywood hopefuls should look up to it's the inimitable Jane Lynch. Many of us know her as the hilariously inappropriate, tough gym teacher Sue Sylvester in the series “Glee” - which earned her an Emmy - or as one of the memorable recurring members of Christopher Guest's crew of 'mockumentary' comedy actors. But before joining the Guest fold, Lynch was a struggling actress doing commercials and bit parts in a few movies in the 90s. It was in 2000, at the age of 43, when Lynch landed a role in the Christopher Guest movie “Best in Show” which would become her breakout role and would earn her more high-profile comedic work in films like “The 40 Year Old Virgin”.

9 Melissa McCarthy – $10 Million

8 Kathy Bates - $32 Million

7 Lucille Ball - $40 Million

6 Phylicia Rashad - $55 Million

5 James Gandolfini - $70 Million

4 Ricky Gervais - $80 Million

Although Gervais has mocked reports of his net worth climbing to $80 million by 2011, he's still certainly one of the richest comedy actors in Hollywood these days, having made his acting debut in 1998 at the ripe old age of 37. Before this, he had studied at University College London and went on to work on British radio before branching out into sketch writing and stand-up comedy. Gervais' really hit the big time when he wrote, directed and starred in the original BBC series, 'The Office' (which was later adapted for the U.S. by NBC, with Steve Carell playing Gervais' character).  Despite making his first on-screen appearance in his late '30s - and despite his unconventional leading man looks - Gervais has taken Hollywood by storm, even hosting the Golden Globes in 2011.

3 Tim Allen - $80 Million

2 Morgan Freeman – $90 Million

1 Samuel L Jackson – $150 Million

Believe it or not, before Samuel L. Jackson became the famous actor he was today, he paid the bills as a social worker. After deciding to pursue an acting career he had small roles in movies like “True Romance”. Work was unstable, but as proof that patience is a virtue, Jackson was cast in the famous film “Pulp Fiction” at the age of 45 and received critical acclaim. Since then, he has become a hit in Hollywood, acting in major films and netting himself millions in the process.

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The 10 Richest Actors Who Made It Later In Life